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Meeting the productivity needs of cutting tool manufacturers

In the broad and varied cutting tool sector, some pressures are constant: the drive towards even more productivity and performance and even lower costs, even as applications and manufacturing technologies become more challenging. Many of the innovations that are shaping the cutting tool sector find their origin in these pressures. Bernex and Hauzer, both coating equipment manufacturers within the IHI Group, together have more than 80 years of experience in serving the cutting tool industry with high-performance physical and chemical vapour deposition (PVD and CVD) coatings.

New manufacturing processes

The drive towards ever higher productivity in all sectors has led to the rise of high-performance turning and milling as manufacturing processes. This higher-speed process places different demands on tools than traditional machining operations – for instance higher resistance to thermal oxidation and abrasive wear, and better chip removal.

Experienced technology partners such as Hauzer and Bernex are constantly keeping up to date with what is happening at the cutting edge of industrial innovations. We carefully watch what tool producers are doing and support them with different coating technologies or updates to current ones. Large tool producers often have very competent process engineers and R&D teams. We work to anticipate their technology and coating needs, to give them the control and flexibility to create the solutions they have in mind. We also develop good basic coatings that can then be finetuned by the on-site R&D team to match the specifications of each specific tool.

Although custom coatings created in a joint development projects are of course proprietary, our coating service provider customers still benefit from our range of proven coatings – with excellent coating properties and process stability –  their coating portfolios.

 

More complex coatings

The type of coatings used in the cutting tool industry changes only slowly. The traditional coatings have shown their value over timevalue, and even for advanced applications there are proven standards. However, one trend that is visible is the desire to incorporate more elements in a single coating, to finetune the coating and get the highest possible performance out of it. Especially in academic research, many 5- or 6-element coatings are being tested for use in industry.

To be able to create these complex coating, you need coating equipment that can work with many different elements at the same time. For CVD machines, that means adding more gas channels, liquid models and even solid element sources. For PVD machines, it means moving from single-element targets to combined targets that include 2 or even 3 elements. 

Both Bernex and Hauzer machines excel at this flexibility. The broader the range of technologies, the more options there are for the final coating results.

 

Data mining

Industrial process data is a goldmine when it comes to finding opportunities to improve productivity and performance. While Industry 4.0 – the fully automated, intelligent production line – is still in the future, it starts with what we can do today. Many companies are already using process and batch information to help improve their productivity and quality. Larger companies, especially, are working to switch their entire production lines over to data-driven processes, including for optimised planning and maintenance.

At Bernex and Hauzer, we champion industrial data sharing standards such as OPC-UA. At this early stage of Industry 4.0, we want to enable our customers to reap the benefits of data analysis today. That is why our machines have clear logs that can be downloaded and studied, giving access to detailed process information.

 

Sustainability

When you think of sustainability, you don’t immediately think of productivity improvements. However, sustainability is a part of the broader context of tool producers from many different angles. For instance, with the cost of electricity rising, any development that reduces the amount of energy needed to produce the end product is good for business and for sustainability at the same time. Since materials costs are high, focusing on dry machining – a more sustainable solution that allows more of the chips to be reused since they are not contaminated with oil or coolant – is both profitable and sustainable.

The applications for cutting tools, too, are shaped by sustainability demands, whether from the consumer market, from regulatory changes or from the business need to keep costs low. Use of lightweight materials in aerospace and automotive is increasing as the pressure for better fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions is increasing from all sides. These materials are often not the easiest to machine, increasing the requirements for tools and their coatings.

Bernex, Hauzer and the IHI Group are highly involved in the automotive and aerospace industries. Our coating machines can meet the strict specifications and deliver the advanced coating properties these sectors require. For cutting tool manufacturers in all industries, that means you can rely on us to deliver the equipment to apply the advanced surface properties you need to boost cutting speed, increase tool lifetime and balance productivity, cost and performance.

 

Interested in learning more about Bernex and Hauzer technologies? Register for our cutting tool webinar.