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Sandvik Learning Lab: Tooling Trends

At the Sandvik Coromant Learning Lab “Tooling Trends & Technologies: Operations Session,” Marco Zwinkels and Johnny Bruhn, who are involved in the toolmaker’s R&D materials and processes, provided a peek inside the activities taking place at the company’s R&D facility in Stockholm, Sweden.

Zwinkels noted that about 150 people work at the R&D center, using a knowledge-driven design process to develop productivity-enhancing cutting tools. 

Although input from industry and academia are instrumental in the design and development process, end customers provide the primary input, according to Zwinkels. With that input about the machines and software being used in the industry, as well as the component features and new workpiece materials being machined, the company creates the building blocks and then puts them together when developing products, he explained.

Simulation software plays a role in learning how to strengthen the insert/tool body interface and reduce insert movement, Bruhn noted. He added that the company continues to research metal injection molding for adding unique tool features while achieving the same level of accuracy as conventional toolmaking processes. Another advantage of metal injection molding is the tools require significantly less finishing than traditional processes. While that research continues, Sandvik Coromant offers some commercially available metal injection molded tools.

Zwinkels pointed out that one trend is toward an increasing use of carbon-fiber composites, including automotive applications, which have different machining requirements compared to metal workpieces. The company also sees more R&D activity focused on PCBN and other advanced, noncarbide tools.

A third trend is improving coolant application by increasing the pressure beyond 1,000 psi, and using other types of fluids, such as liquid nitrogen. “These are disruptive changes,” Zwinkels said. “We have to be ready to adapt.”

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