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Southampton Solent University has acquired a five-axis CNC router with cutting tools from ITC for use in its Solent Centre for Design and Innovation.

The centre conducts design and rapid prototyping, 3D and FDM modelling, digital manufacturing, consultancy and also offers facility hire for local manufacturers.

It also conducts multi-axis machining of aerospace structures and large prototype boat hulls from hardwood, MDF, polystyrene, aluminium and styrene foams.

The arrival of the 3 x 1.5m bed routing machine more than two years ago led to ITC being introduced to the university by a consultant that had implemented ITC cutters at companies machining similar materials.

With a diverse range of projects and material types in production at any one time, Solent University needed a cutting tool supplier capable of delivering a wide selection of cutting tools.

The university initially trialled ITC’s long six-flute series of cutters for five-axis machining of cavities and boat hulls.

Gordon Brand, projects and deliveries manager at Solent University, said: ‘The speed and feed range of our new router was way beyond the capability of our previous tooling, which rapidly burnt out.

‘This was seen as a problem with long cycle times, frequent tool changes and poor surface finishes.

‘Our previous tooling could only machine at relatively slow feeds and speeds and this meant we were not maximising the productivity potential of our new router.

‘The introduction of ITC cutters enabled us to increase feeds and speeds and this reduced lengthy cycle times for complex components.

‘The cutters also improved our surface finishes, reducing the need for secondary hand-finishing of boat hulls and similar models and components that demanded impeccable surface finishes.’
For producing components with deep cavities, the Solent Centre for Design employed ITC’s 300mm-long six-flute milling cutters with a 200mm length-of-cut.

The rigidity of the extra long carbide series is said to improve surface finishes inside cavities while delivering long tool life.

On boat hull moulds produced from the difficult-to-machine high-density Styrofoam, the ITC range of long series tooling operates at speeds of 20000rev/min with feed rates of 10m/min while wooden moulds are machined at 10000 rev/min with a feed rate of 3m/min.

For general machining processes, the university uses ITC’s range of 2001 Cyber Series two-flute end mills.

The 20mm diameter 2001 Cyber Series with a 3mm radius has proven to be a commonly used cutter with good tool life, despite being used on a range of materials.

For enhanced rigidity that improves surface finishes, the university uses the 2081 Cyber Series of reduced shank tools, to which ITC has added various radii to suit the exact requirements of specific components.

Brand added that another reason behind its selection of ITC as tooling supplier was its ability to modify standard tools as well as make complete specials to the university’s specifications with a short lead time.

In addition, ITC’s ability to provide a regrind service and next-day delivery on a range of tooling has proven to be of value to the university.

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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