Above: Silent Tools Plus now makes it pos-sible for operators to see what is going on during machining, without having to slow down or stop the process.
A LOOK INSIDE
The digital way to make internal turning more efficient and minimise waste
Some manufacturers of large and expensive components, such as those used in the aerospace or oil and gas sectors, have had occasion to slow down their internal turning processes in order to protect the parts that are being worked on. Mistakes can be extremely costly but one way of preventing errors, while speeding up machining times, would be to carry out regular checks on what is taking place within a closed machine tool. Knowing what is happening inside a component can generate significant efficiencies and keep waste to a minimum, especially when machining slender components.
Working closely with customers across the globe, Sandvik Coromant has developed a connected solution that enables manufacturers to speed up the machining of high-value components, confident that anything untoward (that is, anything that moves beyond strictly set parameters) can be identified.
While Silent ToolsTM technology from Sandvik Coromant is around 50 years old, the quantum leap comes from a new development that involves embedding sensors into the turning adaptors, making it much easier to fathom what is going on deep into a component being worked on behind a machine tool’s closed doors. This major advance in technology enables accurate information to be extracted from the machining process and share precisely what is happening with an operator – in realtime, while cutting is taking place – via easily understandable and intuitive graphical displays.
Increased machining efficiency
The new development – Silent ToolsTM Plus – features a damped adapter with embedded connectivity, delivering infor mation such as vibration levels or temperature in the damping system. By arming opera-tors with this data, Silent ToolsTM Plus offers a significant range of benefits to the manufacturer; most notably, optimising process security and machining efficiency while avoiding damage to the machine tool and component, including surface damage.
This means less downtime through tool breakages and provides the ability to machine extremely costly materials and complex components at faster speeds, confident that the process is running satisfactorily.
Improved decision making
By displaying data such as vibration levels on an easy-to-understand dashboard, the system enables the operator to obtain an instant picture of what is happening and to get a tangible sense of the machining process, as it is progressing. With the aim of improving decision making at the machine face, other data provided by Silent ToolsTM Plus includes a history of what takes place during a cut, which is crucial when working on projects for manufacturers operating in such demanding industries as oil and gas or aerospace.
If there is any incident taking place outside set parameters – such as excess shaking or increased harmonics – the operator will be alerted on the graphical display instantly, and will be able to take appro-priate action, to stop or adjust the machining process, avoiding damage to the component.
Increased process security and better utilization of equipment
The goal is to make the machining process significantly more secure and to reduce the scrap rate to a bare minimum; zero, if possible. As mentioned, this aim is particularly important when the parts being worked on – such as aircraft landing gear or subsea components – can be extremely costly in terms of the materials alone. Being able to prevent high-value components from being scrapped or reworked means that the investment in this type of technology has the capability of paying for itself over a very short timeframe.
Better utilization of equipment can be achieved by reducing the amount of time that a machine is running without the tool in cut. Optimized machine utilization is also available through the quick-change interface between adapter and cutting head, which makes for easy handling and accurate changing.
In addition, because the centre height setting functionality provided by Silent ToolsTM Plus displays the level of the cutting edge, operators can quickly and easily set the height of the insert to the correct level before machining begins. This results in significantly better machining performance and longer insert tool life. Because data provided also covers such essential issues as surface finish quality, the operator is able to adjust the settings with the aim of optimizing the process parameters.
Examples of indicators, then, that are included in the standard offering of Silent ToolsTM Plus relate to vibration, surface roughness, in-cut, temperature and the centre height setting. The engineered solution that is also available offers additional features that cover load and deflection
The standard offering from Sandvik Coromant is now suitable for adaptor diameters of 60 mm, 80 mm or 100 mm with overhang up to 10 x diameter, while the engineered solution enables manufacturers to work up to almost 18 x diameter overhang and diameters above 100 mm. Just three years ago, it was only possible to work on a maximum overhang of 14 x diameter. These limits have been extended through the acquisition over many decades of cutting tool knowledge, which has led to this latest devel-opment in boundary-breaking technology.
Essentially, this new functionality represents the eyes and ears within a component when internal turning is being carried out and the tool is simply not visible. Now that the operator is able to ascertain exactly what is going on in the cutting operation inside the component – in particular, whether there are any variations in the process, compared with agreed parameters – the key value that results is being able to make informed decisions, based on actual and accurate data from the cutting process, in order to increase machining security and productivity.
Being able to run operations faster while maintaining process security are major advantages for manu-facturers who are looking to minimise waste for reasons of costs, delays and increased customer satis-faction.
With the move towards digital machining, Silent ToolsTM Plus is one of several products that belong to the CoroPlus® offer from Sandvik Coromant, which contains connected solutions made ready for Industry 4.0. By delivering such powerful connectivity, the aim is to provide maximum support to manufacturers throughout their digital journey. More information on the availability of this offer for selected markets can be found at www. sandvik.coromant.com.
Part of global industrial engineering group Sandvik, Sandvik Coromant is at the forefront of manufacturing tools, machining solutions and knowledge that drive industry standards and innovations demanded by the metalworking industry now and into the next industrial era. Educational support, extensive R&D investment and strong customer partnerships ensure the development of machining technologies that change, lead and drive the future of manufacturing. Sandvik Coromant owns over 3100 patents world-wide, employs over 7900 staff and is represented in 150 countries.
For more information visit www.sandvik.coromant.com or join the conversation on social media.