Located in Poole, Allied Tooling is a company that has completely evolved its cutting tool services over its almost 40 years of existence. The company offers a comprehensive range of services from the supply and sharpening of TCT saw blades to bespoke CNC and PCD tooling for the woodworking and metal cutting industries.
Referring to the recent investment and growth at Allied Tooling, Mr Rod Knight says: “We are one of the largest re-grinding and manufacturing companies for what we do in the UK. We are split into three areas and this includes engineering, woodworking and band saws. We recently spent almost £1.2m on new equipment and this includes Vollmer and Anca grinding machines and also the Haimer machines.”
As part of its product offering, Allied Tooling offers world leading brands for all types of metal cutting band saw blades and HSS circular saw blades with re-grinding and manufacturing of engineering cutting tools, special tools, step drills, form tools and TCT tooling to mention a few.
“We have bought three different machines from Haimer, so we can develop our products as the business moves forward.” The company has acquired the Haimer Tool Dynamic TD Comfort balancing machine, the UNO 20/70 Microset pre-setting machine and the Power Clamp Economic Plus NG heat-shrinking machine that we use for clamping our tools in the holders.”
When asked why the company opted for the Haimer UNO 20/70 Microset pre-setting machine, Mr Knight continues: “I researched the market and looked at every conceivable machine on the market, but this one really suited our needs outright. It is simple to use, the software is very user friendly and we even opted for a version with the extra travel height of 700mm for our particularly long tools. Because we are a service company, we don’t know what tools are going to come through the door.”
“The Haimer machine is fundamentally used with our two Vollmer QXD spark erosion machines. We have to pre-set the tools to a specific height. Once we’ve done this, we can load the data from the Haimer directly into the Vollmer CNC machines. This allows us to run our Vollmer machines 24 hours a day without any operator intervention. By pre-setting the tools, we can load the tools into the Vollmer loading stations, push the button and at the end of the day we have a batch of finished PCD tools.”
Looking particularly at the heat shrink system, Mr Knight says: “With the Haimer heat shrinking system, we can now offer a service where we are heat-shrinking customer’s tools into holders for them. What we do is re-lap or re-grind tools in the holders, which are perfectly concentric. This is a service that has taken our business into an area that we didn’t have before. We can provide a complete refurbish service on the tools.”
Moving onto the importance of tool balancing and the arrival of the Haimer tool balancing system, Mr Knight says: “Tool balancing is very important to our business and that of our customers. Everything we do on our Vollmer machines has to be balanced to within 2.5G. It’s essential, especially as some of the machines running these tools are now running upward of 24,000rpm. If you have a tool that isn’t balanced when working at those speeds, it won’t be long before you have a spindle that is out of sync.”
“We have bought toolholders that are ‘balanced’ from a number of companies and when we put these toolholders on the Haimer balancing machine, I was staggered by how bad some of these toolholders are. People advertise toolholders to 2.5G; and there are one or two companies that are OK, but it’s amazing how many companies are supplying toolholders that are way out. I bought one balanced toolholder from a company expecting it to be 2.5G; it was actually 48G, which was tremendously out of balance. If somebody is buying these toolholders, they won’t realise how badly their spindle will be affected by that.”
“We’ve invested £1.2m, but without the Haimer machines, we couldn’t have gone down that road as they are so important. The balancing machine is fundamental to what we are doing.”