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Machine Shop Cutting Tools: Why Speed Doesn’t Always Mean Efficiency

In manufacturing, especially in industries with a high demand, speed is the king. The ability to produce large amounts of product in a short span of time is what gives a manufacturing company an edge over the competition. The problem that companies who rely on machine shop cutting tools often run into is that they often think that a higher surface speed will equal a higher manufacturing speed. Although it seems like a rather sound line of logic, it is actually a fatal flaw.

The thing that people often forget when milling is that the surface speed and types of machine shop cutting tools in use are dependent upon the material. Harder materials require a slower surface speed because the cutting tools can and will break at higher speeds. Sometimes, using a higher surface speed can actually slow down production and harm your profits. The following are things that you need to consider when choosing your surface speed.

Chip Load

The chip load is simply the thickness of the material that is being removed when using machine shop cutting tools. Running your machine too fast will cause the chip load to shrink, which may lead to overheating problems. To maximize the efficiency of your machine, use the correct number of flutes on your cutting tools, and do not run at the maximum speed. Keeping the chip load relatively large will prevent your machine from overheating, which in turn will keep the machine running for a longer period of time. An overheated machine is just going to burn your profits.

Hardness of the Material

If you are working with a relatively soft material, you can use a very fast surface speed to cut it quickly and efficiently. However, when working with a harder material, caution should be used. Working at a high speed on hard materials can cause your machine shop cutting tools to overheat, wear down, or break.

Heat Capacity and Strength of the Tools

Choosing the right machine shop cutting tools for the job is one of the most important factors when it comes to milling. A higher surface speed will produce more heat, so you have to make sure that the material of your cutter can withstand it. You also have to consider the strength of your tool compared to the hardness of the material you are cutting. The last thing you want is to wear down or break your tools. Broken tools mean a delay in your production, which can start cutting into your profits.

To maximize your efficiency, simply increasing surface speed is not enough and can even prove harmful. It is important to take every factor into consideration when milling parts, so make sure you do your math before you start.


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