With so many new machinists opening up shop competition has become fierce. The race for reaching the ever-shifting high-performance goalpost is being run in different fields, and drill bit manufacturers seem to be the ones setting the rules.
The push for more productivity experienced during the last two decades in the metalworking industry has placed a seemingly exaggerated emphasis on a cut-down in operation costs. For many, this means a reduction in quality and reliability unless the right tools are implemented during the process.
New manufacturing methods range from advanced roughing strategies to high-speed machining, to high-feed machining. They all require completely different approaches, tools, and materials, but the use of carbide tools seems to be growing in all different segments of the metalworking industry. We are seeing that the use of carbide tooling is getting increased momentum in the aerospace, medical, and die and mould sectors.
Solid carbide drill manufacturers, like Online carbide, have taken notice and now offer higher-quality tooling for added toughness and structural reliability. The consequence has been an increase in the speed at which many shops now operate. The increased hardness allows for higher spindle rotation speeds without any loss of accuracy.
Tools with high hardness and temperature resistance rates contributed to the development of machining strategies that combine small radial engagement with higher RPMs and table feeds. The insane material removal rates achieved with these strategies provide new incentives for shops to consider working with superalloys, composites, cobalt-based materials, and even hardened steels. All of this without having to drastically reduce productivity, something impossible to even imagine when working with high-speed steel drill bits.
However, the real push is towards high-performance machining. More than a specific technique, HPM is a mindset adopted by machinists and shop owners who want to produce parts faster and more efficiently. It relies more on downtime reduction than almost any other aspect of machining. Nonetheless, adopting this philosophy eventually allows you to increase feed rates and material removal rates to levels you never thought possible. Many shops have seen a drastic increase in production output and cost reduction, giving them an edge when competing for hard-to-get clients.
The first step taken by shops who want to start going down the path of HPM is often investing in a new CAD system. That might sound counterintuitive, but newer CAD software can make an old 3 axis machine drastically increase material removal rates and keep temperatures and tool integrity in check. The problem is that you soon realize that you´re underutilizing your carbide bits. You need faster and more versatile machines that can really push solid carbide drill bits to proper rotation and cutting speeds in order to make them shine (in a good way).
One might think that the buck stops there. However, machines multi-ax machines with faster spindles and stronger workholders allow your operation to adopt more efficient toolpaths that are only viable with even more robust tools.
Carbide tools are still not as easy to find as other more traditional tools. Moreover, many big brands tend to put a steep price tag just for slapping their name on them. One option is to buy imported carbide pieces. However, consistency and reliability become an issue since quality standards cannot be guaranteed outside the US. Fortunately for us, there are incredibly reliable US carbide drill bit manufacturers and suppliers who understand the current trends of the industry and the need for cost-efficient tools. Visit onlinecarbide.com and find out more about their high-quality tools made in America.