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Ognibene, an Italian steering-systems manufacturer, is using Ceratizit HEC milling cutters to increase production and reduce costs.

Ognibene, which is based in the northern Italian town of Reggio Emilia, produces steering systems for off-highway power-steering actuators.

Of particular importance to Ognibene is the market for hydrostatic steering systems.

Due to the low torque required to operate the steering wheel, these are ideal for off-road trucks, forklifts, earth-moving machines and tractors, which are the main products of its customers, including New Holland, Caterpillar, Komatsu, Bobcat, Claas, Bombardier and Husqvarna.

Ognibene also manufactures a range of steering systems for ‘compact design vehicles’ such as small watercrafts, mowers and small tractors, but here the mechanical connection, between the steering wheel and the steered wheels, is much more demanding and expensive.

Typical of the special projects that the company’s engineers work on is the Ognibene Comfort Steering System, which aims at making lawn mowers more versatile and easier to use.

This system uses a torque amplifier, which increases the efficiency of the mower and lets it operate effortlessly at high speed on every surface.

Ognibene entered a partnership with Ceratizit about two years ago.

Francesco D’Agostino, process engineer for Ognibene, said: ‘The first contact we had was through Pasquale Cristallo, Ceratizit’s sales engineer, who introduced a Hypercoat turning insert to us.’ Hypercoat from Ceratizit provides a heat-resistant combination of substrate and coating, namely the innovative carbide substrate of ISO class P and M35 combined with a carbide substrate specially tailored to this application range.

This new carbide grade is called CTP5240.

However, the real breakthrough in production resulted from the Ceratizit Maximill HEC milling system.

Ognibene equipped all four of its CNC Makino lines with the Ceratizit HEC milling cutters.

The result was a 25 per cent increase in production and a 39 per cent cost saving when compared with the previous method.

D’Agostino added: ‘We were looking for ways to optimise the production of a special component made of GS400, of which we produce about 200,000 pieces per year.

‘The HEC system from Ceratizit is designed for high efficiency milling and allowed us to drastically increase cutting data when rough milling – a solution we are very happy with.’ The cutting data for rough milling these GS 400 SG iron castings is now a cutting depth of 3.5mm at a surface speed of 800m/min, relating to 5000rev/min, at a feedrate of 0.15mm/tooth, which gave a traverse rate of 4500mm/min.

Once the HEC system had proved itself on the roughing operations it was transferred to the finishing operations.

The Ceratizit Maximill HEC face milling system is proving extremely popular due to its high cutting data and consistent performance.

The cutter bodies accept Ceratizit precision-manufactured inserts of either carbide, ceramic or CBN material.

These inserts have up to eight useable edges, saving further money.

Tangentially mounted, the inserts ensure maximum cutting performance and cutter stability and reduce the power required to operate them at their optimum cutting speed, making them suitable for a much wider range of machine tools.

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