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Velden gets to the point with WNT drills
Velden gets to the point with WNT drills
Velden gets to the point with WNT drills
Velden gets to the point with WNT drills

Velden gets to the point with WNT drills

Added to MTDCNC by WNT (UK) Ltd on 02 April 2014

The use of WNT’s WTXChange drilling system has brought major advantages to Bolton-based Velden Engineering Components, with tool life, quality, consumable costs, and productivity all seeing improvements.

With a long-term contract to supply components to a customer in the oil industry Velden Engineering needed to ensure that all of its machining processes were secure and delivering optimum performance. However, when it came to drilling holes 150 mm deep at 36.5 mm diameter in the 17/4PH stainless steel the use of indexable insert drills was creating a number of issues and a solution needed to be found. 'We were using indexable insert drills from another supplier, but were faced with poor tool life, only able to achieve 4-5 holes before the inserts needed changing. Also, because of the non-standard diameter we could not simply drill, but had to follow up with a boring operation, which at these depths and the fact it is a blind hole, also caused problems with tool breakage due to the swarf,” says Velden’s Lee Valentine.

The solution came in the form of a WNT WTXChange drill which combines a steel drill body with a precision ground and interchangeable carbide drill head. The first advantage gained by Velden was the fact that these drill heads are available at 36.5 mm diameter and the quality of the drilled hole eliminated the need for the secondary boring operation, which helped to reduce the cycle time. Running the WNT WTXChange drills at 42 m/min surface speed and a feed rate of 45 mm/min the life of the drill went up to 20 parts before the head had to be exchanged. A significant 400 per cent increase over the indexable insert drill.

Due to the design of the carbide drill heads, which have almost 20 mm of carbide length, they can be reground using WNT’s regrind service at an equivalent cost of replacing inserts in a compatible sized indexable insert drill. By virtue of this length of carbide process security is also improved. Velden was finding that if the inserts broke on the indexable drills then it almost inevitably resulted in the total destruction of the drill, where with the WNT WTXChange drills this risk is greatly reduced.          

The success of the WNT WTXChange drills on these components encouraged Velden to investigate their use on another part from the same 17/4PH stainless steel material. This time the hole was 29.7 mm diameter and 181.6 mm deep, a depth that is totally out of reach for indexable insert drills. Using a slightly smaller diameter WTXChange drill a short pilot hole is created before the 29.7 mm drill completes the operation without any pecking cycle required. This is enabled by the drill’s through tool coolant facility that delivers cutting fluid directly to the cutting edge, maximising swarf evacuation and providing lubrication directly where it is needed. The cutting data for this application is 36.2 m/min surface speed with a feedrate of 42.7 mm/min, this is being limited by the available spindle power and torque of the Okuma lathe being used.

'The cost benefits of using WNT’s WTXChange drilling system are significant. While the initial investment is higher we are seeing increased productivity and better machine utilisation as we can now eliminate boring operations. We have also benefit from reduced tooling costs, as the regrind cost of the WTXChange drill heads is equivalent to changing inserts, but we are avoiding the expense of replacing drill bodies, which we had when using indexable insert drills. Process security is improved as a result with less risk of scrapping an expensive component.” says Lee Valentine.

Having proved the potential of the WNT WTXChange drills on the difficult to machine 17/4PH stainless steel Velden Engineering is now using them on more favourable materials and achieving even better results when compared to indexable insert drills. Typical cutting data for drilling steel is 100 m/min surface speed and a feed rate of 400 mm/min. This compares extremely favourably to an indexable insert drill of the same diameter, which would typically run at higher revs, but at a federate of only 170 mm/min taking more than twice as long to drill the same hole.

In addition to the drilling at Velden Engineering Components, WNT (UK) also provides much of the company’s regular cutting tool requirements. These are managed using four of WNT’s Tool Vending systems. These vending machines are loaded with the equivalent of two weeks-worth of cutting tool stock, which Velden calls off as and when required. Once the tool has been dispensed a restocking order is generated and the machines are refilled during one of the regular visits by WNT’s Technical Sales Engineer. In this way, Velden can manage its tooling budget much easier and, can also monitor usage down to operator and component level if required.


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