Mould Manufacturer Gets Quality Tooling Boost From Rainford ...
When BM Injection Ltd was having issues with its component quality and tool life, the mould & die specialist immediately set about finding a new tooling supplier, a search that reaped dividends when the company was introduced to Rainford Precision at Southern Manufacturing.
As a manufacturer that conducts tool making and injection moulding from concept through prototyping, models and tooling for medium and high output mouldings and assemblies, the Whitchurch based company places a high emphasis on the quality and surface finishes of its tooling. Considering the company is predominantly imbued in the Tier 1 and 2 supply to the automotive, electronics and packaging industries, such quality is a pre-requisite.
So, when poor quality surface finishes, limited tool life and reliability were becoming an issue for the Hampshire company, Rainford Precision stepped in with its range of Union Tool end mills. As Technical Engineer, Mr Mark Combes comments: "Our tooling issue was on-going and we tried a number of reputable suppliers in an aim to resolve the problem, but they all came up short. All our toolroom work is either machining graphite electrodes for sparking cavities in mould tools or machining very hard tool steels for the mould tools, so tool life and surface finish used to cause serious issues. However, Rainford Precision introduced us to their range of Union Tool cutters and it remedied the problems instantly."
Mould tools with deep cavities at BM Injection can require anything from 8 to 20 hours of machining and it is this non-stop machining that continually wore out competitor tools. However, the HardMax Series from Union Tool has an extremely thick coating that resists wear when machining hardened steels up to 65HRc. This immediately delivered a 30% tool life improvement for BM Injection. The improvement has enabled the Hampshire company to manufacture mould tools lights-out with the confidence that the tooling will not fail overnight, losing valuable machining time.
Since initially opting for the HardMax cutters from Union Tool, the company now specifies long reach ball nosed and corner radius cutters from 0.5 to 8mm diameter, ensuring that all its stainless and tool steel machining demands are met.
As Mr Combes continues: "We rough machine our mould tools in a soft state and then finish machine after hardening on our Hurco VM1 at up to 30,000rpm. For both soft and hard state machining, the tools from Rainford have surpassed the performance of anything else we have found. We have religiously stuck to the recommended speeds and feeds, as reducing cycle times is not our objective. Our aim is to deliver impeccable quality levels and Rainford supports this philosophy with its HardMax Series."
Working closely with all the UK's major automotive OEMs, 'cost down' is an inevitable pressure. However, Rainford Precisions' tooling supports this by enabling the company to operate lights-out with confidence, reducing tool changeovers and significantly reducing the cost of tooling by improving tool life beyond 30%, demonstrating that not all savings evolve around cycle times.
BM Injection also conducts a considerable amount of graphite machining on the electrodes it produces to spark erode detailed cavities in some of its mould tools. This area of the business also proved problematic from a tooling perspective, as Mr Combes says: "The HardMax tooling was working extremely well on our hard steel machining jobs, so we tried the Union Tool range of diamond coated end mills on our graphite. This yielded remarkable results. We had already trialled a number of market leading tooling suppliers with very little performance difference between them. However, the diamond coated SD97KL and SDM915 long reach end mills for rib processing amazed us. We instantly witnessed tool life increases of 50 to 60%. The instant success of the diamond coated Union Tool range has since seen us introduce a range of two flute end mills from 0.3 to 8mm diameter."
The company uses an extensive range of end mills from 0.3mm diameter upwards, for the finishing and intricate details on its electrodes. As Mr Combes concludes: "We have just acquired a number of small diameter diamond coated cutters for machining electrodes that are creating the tooling for high quality boxed wines. The job requires 12 electrodes and each graphite electrode involves over 20 hours of machining. Through this process we have witnessed longer machine uptime, higher product quality and improved surface finishes as well as a cost savings, attributed to the exceptional tool life and reliability."
Commenting on the remarkable service life of the Union Tool range, Rainford Precision's Managing Director, Mr Arthur Turner comments: "The Union Tool products have thicker coatings than competitor tools. This sees the HardMax and the diamond coated series offer tool life gains of up to 60%. Additionally, every Union Tool end mill shank is ground to better than a 0.005mm tolerance on diameter and roundness, which is far greater than the standard H7 that most suppliers guarantee. This tight tolerance is maintained on all cutters, so as the shank diameter increases the concentricity level is more impressive. This may be considered a small element of performance, but when competitor tools are inspected it can be seen that one flute cuts more than the other due to the lack of concentricity. This lack of concentricity is what enables Union Tool to instantly improve tool life, productivity and surface finishes when compared to other products in the marketplace."
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