What are cutting tools? They are tools used to cut through all kinds of hard materials, be it metal or glass. Time was when cutting tools were made of iron with carborundum or loose emery as the abrasive. Today, tools are usually made with the working edge embedded with small diamond particles. From cutting speeds of maybe five times more than ordinary machining, todays advanced tools and holders mean faster rpms and specific materials that go for specific applications. The latest in cutting tool holders is made of a new alloy called Ninitol, made from nickel and titanium.
From aluminum to hardened steels, its been a rapid move for cutting tools. High speed machines ensure increased production where deep die-casting dies are concerned. It also ensures better hardness in shallow forging dyes in tool steels. These tools cut down on expensive grinding time and electrical discharge machining. Though tooling constitutes just 3% of total productivity in manufacturing units, keeping abreast with the latest technology and using the latest cutting tools can mean accelerated production. This requires a thorough understanding of the properties of the tools and the surfaces that need to be cut.
Most cutting tool manufacturers encourage manufacturers to use the latest technology and offer training and familiarization through training programs, manuals and training through Web sites. They realize that technology in this area can only be driven from the users end. Honing in on a machining process requires a lot of planning and taking into account a whole host of variables. These include the speed of cutting, the feed rate, the depth required and the tool path. The choice of a sequence of machining operations could have a dramatic effect on the output.
And what are the methods adopted to make cutting tools? Since they are made of super hard materials, conventional materials mean slow work. The latest process is the water jet-guided laser that takes cutting speeds up to 15 mm/minute!
What are the benefits in a wider context? Since machining is so essential to manufacturing, it would, from an overall view, give the whole country a cutting edge in manufacturing.