Shane Soberg, District
As you may already know, the aerospace industry is constantly evolving, which is why OSG has dedicated a tremendous amount of resource into the development of new technology for this industry. One such innovation is the EXOPRO® UVX-SUS End Mill, designed for maximum metal removal rates in stainless steel, titanium and high nickel alloys.
Unlike traditional geometry end mills that have a difficult time with harmonics and chip removal, the unique 4-flute variable helix design of this UVX end mill allows for chatter-free milling and facilitates excellent chip evacuation, leading to improved tool life.
Recently, one of my customers from Minneapolis, MN was running into some issues with a part they were machining. The 15-5 stainless aircraft part required a 4” long slot at 0.587” deep. At the time, they were using a traditional 5/16” diameter, 4-flute TiAlN coated end mill from a competitor. The end mill had a 0.015” corner radius, slotting at 0.0625” depth of cut per pass. Running at 4,800 RPM with a feed rate of 10 IPM, they were getting 10 passes per part and producing 10,000 parts per year. Cycle time was 5 minutes and tool life was only 14 parts per end mill, which were disappointing numbers and showed very little profit for the customer.
I was confident we could reduce the number of passes and decrease cycle time using the EXOPRO® UVX-SUS End Mill, so I explained the benefits to the customer. Striving to improve their machining process, they gave us the green light to begin testing, so we ordered two 5/16” diameter UVX end mills with a 0.015” corner radius.
We changed the CNC program to take three depth of cut passes at 0.150” and one at 0.137”. After decreasing the speed from 4,800 RPM to 3,000 RPM and increasing the feed from 10 IPM to 25 IPM, we let the UVX end mill run its course, milling so quietly that the only sound we heard were the chips hitting the door on their Makino.
I followed up with a visit the next day to see the final results of the test and was greeted by smiles. The EXOPRO® UVX-SUS End Mill was not only able to reduce cycle time from 5 minutes down to 1 minute 47 seconds, but it also increased tool life from 14 parts per end mill to 64 parts per end mill, a more than 400% increase. Based on those numbers, this customer would see $38,000 per year in cost savings and $18,000 in tool cost reduction on just this part alone. The customer said it best, “Wow!”
Since then, they started to run the UVX end mills in other applications as well and have been able to reduce cycle times all around, allowing them to bring in new work, thus providing growth and expansion for the company as a whole.
Although part designs and materials continue to become more and more complex, especially in the aerospace industry, the goal to remain profitable will always remain, as will OSG’s pursuit to develop the innovative tooling to keep up; case-in-point, the EXOPRO® UVX-SUS End Mills.