If you’re a high-volume production type facility, getting as much value as possible out of your cutting tool inserts on long runs is essential. So, what if you could find a source of high-quality cutting tool inserts at half the price? That’s exactly what happens when you take advantage of our Tool Reconditioning services. Beyond the initial cost savings of extending tool life 2-3 times, our regrinding operations offers value-added benefits you won’t find anywhere else, including reduced lead times, inventory management and cloud-based tracking. Most importantly, the service you get will be tailor-made to your needs. Let’s take a closer look at how it all comes together.
Let’s set the record straight right up front. Reconditioning cutting tool inserts does not mean taking a step down in quality. Quite the contrary. The GWS Tool Reconditioning program regrinds your worn out, chipped and used tools back to newly manufactured tool quality. When you put one of our reconditioned inserts in your CNC, you can machine with confidence.
An insert can generally be re-sharpened 2-3 times. After that the substrate is too degraded from the heat applied during the brazing cycle. The type of materials that can be re-sharpened varies. We do a lot of whiskered reinforced ceramic inserts for the aerospace industry that run a lot of Inconel and other heat resistant alloys. Inserts made with CBN and PCD are good candidates, as well.
Most commonly, we are regrinding diamond shaped, triangular or trigon shaped inserts that have less than 3 tips. In our experience, most operators don’t get full utilization of inserts with higher multiples. You can pay for 6 tips and really only use 2. Customers can save money by using 2 tip tools and having them reconditioned.
Choose a Process
Depending on your needs and the application, there are three ways to add new life to your old inserts. The first is to shim and regrind. With this method, the PCD tip is removed and then placed back into the original body with a shim behind it, providing a raised surface that can be reground to the same dimensions as a new tool.
If you use a variety of insert sizes in sequence in your shop, a succession technique may work for you. This is often used in conjunction with ceramic-style inserts. Starting with the largest size (or feeder) insert, regrinds are cut to the next standard size. For example, 4v to 3v to2v or even 4v to 2v. Unless a rush order comes in that empties out your inventory, you may never need to buy new smaller sized inserts again.
Another approach is to re-tip the insert, replacing the worn insert surface with a new layer of substrate. The edge length, nose radius and nose angle are exact matches to the original. This process even works with applications such as hard turning that require a completely new surface due to excessive tool wear. This is slightly more expensive due to the new material which is added, but is still 30% less expensive than a brand new insert.
With each process, new coating and edge prep (T-Land chamfer) are added as required.
Whatever method works best for you, our turnaround for reconditioned inserts is significantly less than for new tool manufacture.
Besides seeing insert costs go down by half or more, our Tool Reconditioning program offers additional benefits that reduce inventory handling and carrying costs.
Our Tool Tracking System gives you a customized communication experience. We provide live to-the-minute information on your tool regrind process and keep everything accessible through the cloud. The GWS Portal, customized to your needs, allows you to track your current regrinds in real time and stay on top of your tool inventory.
Personalized service comes standard in the reconditioning process as our technicians have the expertise to visually analyze each of your unique inserts and decide which can be shimmed and reground, which can be re-tipped and which should “fallout” (be scrapped). They can accurately predict the number of times your tool can be reground, which reduces the need for new tool purchases and helps you avoid rush charges.
We also provide custom laser etching/labeling on your reconditioned inserts for traceability and inventory management programs provided certain minimums are met.
As you can see by this article, we are offering not only an insert reconditioning service, but a whole new way to administer the tool consumption process. To discover all the ways we can help you save money and time managing your tool insert program, please contact us for a consultation.