Auto parts maker saves 60% with mill and chuck solution

June 11, 2021 - 05:15am

Auto parts manufacturer SB Dezigns in North East, Maryland, has implemented a new end mill and chuck solution that helped them save 62% in costs on a high-performance shifter part machining application for the racing industry.

SB Dezigns invested in the Emuge-Franken Top-Cut VAR end mills and a FPC milling chuck from Emuge Corp. in West Boylston, Massachusetts.

Established in 2003 as a home-based machine shop, SB Dezigns has evolved into a full-service precision production machine shop and tier-two automotive supplier. The company has grown to the point that it required a move to a larger facility.

Billy Crabtree, owner and CEO of SB Dezigns, takes great pride in his larger, state-of-the-art machine shop. “It is very important that we keep evolving with the latest and best technology, and that includes the cutting tools,” said Crabtree. When Crabtree and his team encountered long cycle times milling stainless steel automotive shifter parts, they sought out a way to reduce time and free up resources for other machining projects.

“We were having excellent results with versatile Emuge MultiTAPs,” he said, “so we were all ears when Emuge and our local distributor W.C. Chapman suggested we try an Emuge-Franken end mill solution for the manufacture of the shifter parts.” At the time, SB Dezigns was using a couple of different brand end mills and was not optimizing the milling process.

For the shifter parts, Emuge recommended and tested its Top-Cut VAR end mill and FPC milling chuck solution, as well as more aggressive feeds and speeds on the vertical CNC machining center.

The standard length Top-Cut VAR End Mill with corner radius is made from premium solid micro-grain carbide with ALCR Coating. The mill dampens vibration, increases feed rates and can be used in nearly all materials and milling strategies due to its special geometric properties. 

The Emuge FPC milling chuck provides a critical part of the solution, offering unprecedented rigidity, vibration dampening, concentricity and optimal pull-out protection via a pin lock collet system to enaSales Representative Bill Anderson from EMUGE’s local distributor W.C. Chapman (L), and SB Dezigns Owner and CEO Billy Crabtree (R) at the SB Dezigns precision production machine shop.ble faster machining speed and longer tool life.  

Crabtree said the new tools reduced cycle times, and lated longer, which provided them with more than 60% cost savings on shifter parts manufacture.

“With the EMUGE end mills and holder combination, we are able to save over 30 hours of machining time and more than $5,000 for every 500 shifter parts we manufacture,” he said. “And I don’t have to wait for my tools – they are locally stocked at our distributor.”

Related Glossary Terms

  • chuck


    Workholding device that affixes to a mill, lathe or drill-press spindle. It holds a tool or workpiece by one end, allowing it to be rotated. May also be fitted to the machine table to hold a workpiece. Two or more adjustable jaws actually hold the tool or part. May be actuated manually, pneumatically, hydraulically or electrically. See collet.

  • collet


    Flexible-sided device that secures a tool or workpiece. Similar in function to a chuck, but can accommodate only a narrow size range. Typically provides greater gripping force and precision than a chuck. See chuck.

  • computer numerical control ( CNC)

    computer numerical control ( CNC)

    Microprocessor-based controller dedicated to a machine tool that permits the creation or modification of parts. Programmed numerical control activates the machine’s servos and spindle drives and controls the various machining operations. See DNC, direct numerical control; NC, numerical control.

  • feed


    Rate of change of position of the tool as a whole, relative to the workpiece while cutting.

  • gang cutting ( milling)

    gang cutting ( milling)

    Machining with several cutters mounted on a single arbor, generally for simultaneous cutting.

  • machining center

    machining center

    CNC machine tool capable of drilling, reaming, tapping, milling and boring. Normally comes with an automatic toolchanger. See automatic toolchanger.

  • milling


    Machining operation in which metal or other material is removed by applying power to a rotating cutter. In vertical milling, the cutting tool is mounted vertically on the spindle. In horizontal milling, the cutting tool is mounted horizontally, either directly on the spindle or on an arbor. Horizontal milling is further broken down into conventional milling, where the cutter rotates opposite the direction of feed, or “up” into the workpiece; and climb milling, where the cutter rotates in the direction of feed, or “down” into the workpiece. Milling operations include plane or surface milling, endmilling, facemilling, angle milling, form milling and profiling.

  • milling machine ( mill)

    milling machine ( mill)

    Runs endmills and arbor-mounted milling cutters. Features include a head with a spindle that drives the cutters; a column, knee and table that provide motion in the three Cartesian axes; and a base that supports the components and houses the cutting-fluid pump and reservoir. The work is mounted on the table and fed into the rotating cutter or endmill to accomplish the milling steps; vertical milling machines also feed endmills into the work by means of a spindle-mounted quill. Models range from small manual machines to big bed-type and duplex mills. All take one of three basic forms: vertical, horizontal or convertible horizontal/vertical. Vertical machines may be knee-type (the table is mounted on a knee that can be elevated) or bed-type (the table is securely supported and only moves horizontally). In general, horizontal machines are bigger and more powerful, while vertical machines are lighter but more versatile and easier to set up and operate.


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