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ITC Tooling has reported how its Air Turbine unit has helped the Birmingham Mint solve heat dissipation problems in its coin and medal machining processes.

Medal production is currently the core business at the Birmingham Mint.

The Mint produces the stamping dies for its coins and medals on a small, high- precision three-axis machining centre.

Upon finish machining, the dies are hardened and then polished, making the stamps ready to press out the medals.

The machining centre currently producing coins has a 10000 rev/min spindle.

However, with heat dissipation creating quality problems, the Mint could only run the spindle at 6000 rev/min.

Despite the speed decrease, heat dissipation was still causing quality issues and the stamping dies often had to be ground flat and re-machined.

As could be expected with coins and medals, the detail and surface finishes have to be of impeccable quality and the movement of the cutting head in the spindle and the heat dissipation caused a major problem for the Birmingham-based business.

Angus Law, managing director of the Birmingham Mint, said: ‘We could not continue with the situation as we were losing production due to this quality problem.

‘We could actually see when the machine spindle was cold and when it was warming up by the finish on the stamping dies.

‘I did an internet search for a high-speed spindle and the only suitable option I found in the UK was from ITC, the UK distributor for Air Turbine and its range of high-speed spindles.

‘I immediately made contact and to my surprise somebody arrived the same day with a spindle.

‘I did look at a couple of alternate options but all other spindles needed an air compressor or a cooling unit.

‘The Air Turbine unit from ITC fitted straight onto our machine and it automatically blasts cool air at 70 lb/in2 straight to the cutting tool.

‘This solution immediately eradicated our problem.’ Acquired in November, the Air Turbine unit from ITC increases spindle speed to 40000 rev/min and its versatility enables it to be fitted to virtually any machine tool.

This suits the Birmingham Mint as it uses the high-speed spindle for finishing and engraving operations, so the company can simply and efficiently remove the spindle to suit production requirements.

The Birmingham Mint utilises square-end and ball-nosed end mills from 0.1mm to 2mm diameter for the production of its dies and the delicate nature of the work sees the company taking between 0.2-0.5mm depths of cut depending upon the material it is machining.

Cutting anything from tool steel to copper, aluminium and resins the machine and cutter performance can be unpredictable.

However, the Air Turbine spindle has improved performance, reliability and quality.

With stamping dies taking anything from a couple of hours to two days to produce, the Birmingham Mint now has the confidence to let its machining centre run unmanned overnight without the worry of heat dissipation causing the need for re-machining of the dies.

Not only has the Air Turbine unit given the company confidence to improve productivity through lights-out machining, it has also improved cycle times 50 per cent by machining aluminium components at more than three times the speed with double the feed rate.

ITC is a round tool specialist with an objective to provide the correct cutting tool at the right time. ITC is confident that its products are the best available. To achieve this, we continue to invest in the right team of time served engineers, equipped with a full CAD-CAM facility dedicated to the design and manufacture of precision cutting tools. Whatever your requirement, from a one-off special to 1000 pieces, ITC can provide your company with a cutting tool that works.

ITC’s state-of-the-art production facility includes CNC grinding machines from world leading manufacturers. We have invested in a centralised oil filtration system to ensure optimum grinding conditions and our inspection department includes computerised laser measuring equipment to maintain the high standards for which ITC is renowned.

We source and stock the best available products from around the world, and hold over 100,000 HSS Co and Solid Carbide tools on the shelf ready for immediate despatch. ITC can also provide a fast modification service – even same day in some cases.

We provide same day despatch on standard stocked lines, whatever your industry sector may be. From production sub-contractor to tool room, through aerospace, motor sport, and the medical industry, from milling, drilling and reaming to de-burring, ITC has the tools and expertise to solve your problem.

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