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The Havant division of Eaton makes industrial hydraulic control valves utilising multi-functional T-Clamp cutting tools from Taegutec.

It makes more than 400,000 NG6 valve components each year, as well as additional corresponding hydraulic parts to be incorporated into assemblies.

Eaton has 43 CNC machining centres and a host of CNC turning centres manufacturing a combined total of more than four million components a year.

Three years ago, Eaton introduced Taegutec’s multi-functional T-Clamp cutting tools to Takisawa and Traub turning centres.

The T-Clamp design enables the end users to conduct facing, grooving and parting-off with a single tool.

This results in reduced tool changes and increases the capacity and capability of the tooling carousel.

The T-Clamp immediately saved 62 per cent of tool cost.

Working at the same machining parameters as the previous insert, the T-Clamp cutter with the TT8125 insert grade takes 2mm deep cuts on sleeve components.

It machines 60 parts compared with the 25 of the previous insert.

The cutting time per edge was increased from 150 to 600 minutes.

The T-Clamp geometry also improved swarf removal and surface finish on the 59mm diameter part.

These factors have meant staff can now change the inserts every four to five days as opposed to twice daily.

This led to the T-Clamp being introduced to the Traub turning centre that produces spool components.

The T-Clamp improved tool life on the 35mm diameter part, with a cutting time per edge of 300 minutes, compared with the previous 75 minutes.

The tool cost saving of 82 per cent was a combination of the extended tool life and parts produced per insert.

The T-Clamp TT9030 was also introduced to a 24mm spool on the Traub, where it machined 600 parts per insert compared with 150 parts.

The 84 per cent tool cost saving, combined with the savings on the previous parts, ensured Taegutec had further opportunities throughout the plant.

For example, cast iron hydraulic valve bodies vary in complexity and hardness and often have intermittent machining that makes machining more difficult.

One particular valve body was milled with a 125mm diameter face mill with 16 inserts.

With a 3mm depth of cut, Eaton was achieving 300 complete parts a day with its inserts prior to an insert change through edge wear.

With a hardness level of 245HB, Eaton installed a 125mm diameter Z-mill cutter with 16 inserts to improve performance.

Running at the same parameters as its predecessor, the high feed Z-Mill cutter had an insert life of 600 minutes per edge compared with 300 minutes per edge with the previous tool.

The Z-Mill doubled tool life and with 12 edges per insert, the Z-Mill has three times more edges than its predecessor.

The change from the four-edge insert to the 12 edge Z-Mill has reduced tooling costs by 85 per cent and given Eaton a saving of GBP37 per day on the batch of 300 parts.

The additional problem with the face mill cutters previously used was that the insert seats would crack and bend and only last for up to 15 insert changes before needing to be replaced.

The Z-Mill eradicated all of these issues and has delivered stable performance.

Success with the Z-Mill led to the introduction of the 63mm diameter Mini Z-Mill to a series of valves on another machining centre.

The previous tooling supplier noted deteriorating tool life caused by small inserts on a smaller diameter cutter.

The reduced insert size has a profound affect on strength and durability when high-feed cutting.

Initially using the TT6030 grade inserts in the five-tooth Mini Z-Mill, the performance was improved as the Taegutec inserts have a double flank design as opposed to the previous single flank set-up that generated increased wear.

To improve upon its own results, Taegutec later removed the five-insert Mini Z-Mill and replaced it with a newly designed eight-insert Mini Z-Mill with a new TT6290 grade.

The improved grade and coating was better suited to cast iron machining than the previous tool and the increased number of teeth allowed Eaton to more than double the table feed to 2.7m/min with a 3mm depth of cut.

The combination of the TT6290 grade and new Mini Z-Mill delivered a 90 per cent productivity improvement and 76 per cent cost reduction.

Eaton is now consolidating its tooling vendors, with Taegutec emerging as a primary supplier.

The high performance of Taegutec’s tools may lead to them being used in many of Eaton’s 22 global fluid power division factories.

Taegutec has also trialled turning tools on Eaton’s sliding head turning centres.

Machining spool parts, the Taegutec TT9030 insert can complete 1500 parts per insert, compared with the previous 320 parts.

Running at identical machining parameters to the previous tool, the Taegutec insert has reduced tooling costs by 82 per cent on this process for Eaton.

The machines can run unmanned overnight, allowing Eaton to further increase production.

Two other spool components have noted 90 and 92 per cent tooling cost reductions and increased capacity through lights-out machining since upgrading to Taegutec inserts.

Eaton is currently installing a CTMS Tool Management System.

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