Turning is a mature machining process that has seemingly been around forever. However, those thinking that their process is rock-solid – tweaking and fine-tuning parameters to maximise output and profitability – need to think again.
What if there was a new way of turning that questions established and preconceived ideas about this age-old process? The time has arrived to join the new turning revolution and breakthrough existing production barriers to revel in new-found productivity.
Throughout its long history, turning in the conventional direction – namely starting at the end of the workpiece and working longitudinally towards the chuck – has prevailed. Although this technique has proved successful, as the process has matured, ongoing advances in productivity and profitability have been increasingly difficult to achieve.
Many are bound by the limitations of traditional turning. For instance, while experienced operators are aware that factors such as small entry angles permit increased feeds, they are restricted to around 90° in conventional turning in order to reach the shoulder and avoid the long, curved chips that small entering angles characteristically provide.
In recent years, the advent of globalisation has led to a trading environment for machined parts that is becoming increasingly challenging. Manufacturers need to reduce their costs in order to compete. Production engineers are under pressure to increase cutting parameters and/or reduce tool set-ups, but find that turning is slowing them down. In many cases it has become a bottleneck operation.
Turning in a new direction
Machine shops around the world have only known one way of turning – and that approach has been around for decades, arguably spanning back not just one but two generations. But what if there was something that could deliver genuine competitive gain? To make such a leap, the very principles of conventional turning would have to be challenged.
This is the exact thinking applied by Sandvik Coromant in its development of PrimeTurning, a revolutionary new process that has to be seen to be believed.
The company’s engineers began by investigating the potential for longitudinal turning to start at the chuck end and cut material ‘backwards’ as the tool traverses towards the end of the component. Although some machine shops have already tried such a method, the problem has always been chip control.
In PrimeTurning, Sandvik Coromant has succeeded in developing a solution that not only overcomes the chip control issue, but provides multiple benefits. For instance, it allows a small entering angle to be applied, which in turn provides considerable productivity gains.
Read more: Turning revolution