Solid carbide endmills are the most commonly used tools in almost every machine shop. Process engineers are always concerned with productivity gains by reducing the tooling cost, machining time and bring down the cost per part to increase the margins. The selection of the machining conditions either rely on the experience of the operator or the recommendations from the tool manufacturer. In spite of all efforts, hitting the sweet spot or getting the part first-time-right is still challenging. Though complete mastery of the dynamics of milling process is difficult, some insights on tool geometry would definitely help.

How effective you can machine a part largely depends on the structural dynamics of all the components involved in the process. It can be seen as two systems: one concerning the machine tool, which includes the drives in the spindle, the tool holder and the cutting tool, while the other system concerns the workpiece being cut and the fixture set-up. Now to have an effective cutting process, the dynamics of both the systems should be taken into account.

Structures are already widely used to give functionality to a surface, with nature as the best example. However, in order to use this in technical applications, we must take into account the limitations and possibilities offered by the various (current) production methods.

YouniQ Machining is a Flemish startup based in Zonhoven, Limburg that specialises in making aluminium components. What is unique about this company is the fact that the entire process from quotation to NV programme is fully automated.

The EMO fair in Hanover took place recently. The theme this year at the machining trade fair was Industry 4.0. Tongtai presented the VU5, a machine that provides ultrasonic support when milling.

Among the different working strategies for ‘high performance cutting’ (HPC), trochoidal milling is an efficient way of processing (difficult materials), and is one that also utilizes a longer cutting edge. In order to increase productivity even further, the materials and processes laboratory at University of Karlsruhe has developed another strategy for trochoidal cutting, namely epicycloidal cutting.

Processing hard materials such as ceramics is particularly time-consuming. Especially with conventional machining methods such as grinding. Fortunately, there are more and more alternative techniques that can perform the operation easier and faster, such as laser-assisted milling.

L&D Jet Techniek based in Diest in Belgium, specialises in water jet cutting and is the first company in Benelux to acquire a hybrid water jet and milling machine. For some time now water jet cutting has been recognised as a good technology for cutting large components at high speed and with an excellent quality of finish. It can be used on materials difficult to process, such as titanium and carbon and glass fibre composites.