High-speed finishing to perfection

Manufacturing companies are constantly looking to reduce machining times, their search may be over with the arrival of WNT’s 3D Finish range, which provides quick and reliable results, especially on time-intensive finishing processes, where it offers huge potential for shortening cycle times and improving productivity.

The new 3D Finish from WNT (part of the Ceratizit Group) is said to enable users to significantly reduce the time spent on finishing processes carried out on 5-axis machines, while achieving improved surface qualities at the same time. The WNT 3D Finish tool range is a development of the ball-nose end milling cutter and has been designed with a large radius (up to 1,500mm) in the cutting area. This feature allows the cutters to achieve considerably increased stepovers when compared to conventional ball-nose cutters with the same tool diameter. The result is processing times in pre-finish and finish machining reduced by up to 90%, without the workpiece, tool and machine being subjected to a higher load. Much greater widths of cut (ap) are also possible so, in addition to reduced cycle times, surface quality is maintained, but is the user chooses to reduce the step-over then surface quality can be improved significantly. A typical Ø 20mm ball nosed cutter would achieve a surface quality of Ra1.6 µ with a stepover of 0.5mm, but with the 3D Finish and a radius of 1,500mm, the stepover could be increased to 6.93mm with the same surface quality result.

The 3D Finish tools are available in a barrel, oval, taper or lens shape and are ideal for the five-axis finishing of free-form surfaces, such as in tool and die production or, in the aviation and aeronautical industries. The cutters are available in a wide variety of size and style to ensure the ideal cutter geometry for any component shape. Also, in terms of application they are universal in that the 3D Finish milling cutters are suitable for machining steel, stainless steels, cast iron, non-ferrous metals, heat-resistant steels and hardened steel.

In assessing the cost-effectiveness of the WNT 3D Finish tools, the machining experts at the Ceratizit Group carried out extensive trials. These highlighted the major time savings that can be achieved when compared to a conventional 10 mm diameter ball nose cutter. In the trial a 100 x 200mm component was milled at a feed of Vc 200m/min. Owing to the higher stepover of 1.5mm for the 3D Finish (compared to 0.1mm for the ball nose cutter), the total milling travel was reduced from 200m to just 13m, with a corresponding reduction in cycle time from 79 minutes to 7 minutes and a resulting reduction in machining cost of 88%. To fully exploit the advantages of the 3D Finish tools fully, a modern 5-axis machining centre and compatible CAD/CAM software are required, such as Open Mind’s hyperMILL MAXX, which supports the tool geometry, other software suppliers also offer CAD/CAM solutions.


Mike Richardson :