By Dustin Loschiavo, District Manager
Did you know there are twice as many people wearing braces today than there were 15 years ago? The need for the new and improved orthodontic products has grown rapidly. I recently visited American Orthodontics in Sheboygan, WI, one of the largest Orthodontics manufacturers in the world. They have just introduced the PowerScope, a wire to wire device that eliminates the need for headgear and special bands with more comfort and a better aesthetic appearance.
I spoke with Lee Vogel, Manufacturing Engineer at American Orthodontics, who expressed that they were having a problem with tool life on the right and left side tower mounts. They had recently changed materials per the customer’s request from a 316 stainless steel to a 17-4 stainless steel to extend the life of the device. The machining process involved milling a flat on two sides of round stock using a Citizen bar-feeder lathe. They were using a competitor’s 1/8 – 1/8 – 1/4, 1 ½ 4 fluted end mill. This end mill was taking 10 passes per side running at 4500 RPM and a feed rate of 8 IPM. I suggested that Lee should take less passes and test OSG’s Aero UVX end mill (3/16 – 7/16 - 0.015 CR 4 flute) for his new material application. We set up at 4 passes per side running at 5000 rpm and a feed rate of 16 IPM. This change alone saved 11 seconds per part and the tool life went from 1600 pieces to 6000 pieces per end mill.
As the number of people with braces is expected to increase more in the near future, manufacturers need to keep up with the trends and demands for the improved braces by coming up with new innovations. In order to do so, it is crucial to be flexible and ready to machine any new materials with efficiency. OSG’s Aero UVX end mills changed the game of machining 17-4 stainless steels with efficiency and extended tool life.
*This article originally appeared in the OSG Cutting News Magazine 2015 Medical Edition.