Author Archives: Jeremy Kirkpatrick

Introducing the New 1D and 2D Manual Height Gauges from INSIZE Plus

Introducing the New 1D and 2D Manual Height Gauges from INSIZE Plus

Since 1995, INSIZE has been supplying the worldwide market with premium measuring instruments designed to help you get the most out of your operations. With branches in over 75 countries, INSIZE can be relied on to meet your toughest challenges, no matter where your facility is located. For our Texas-based customers you can count on the reliability and durability of INSIZE products and services to be combined with the hometown attention you’ve come to expect from your M&M Sales & Equipment representative.

M&M Sales & Equipment is excited to roll out these new measuring tools from INSIZE Plus. Get to know the 1D Manual Height Gauges without Air Cushion and the 2D Manual Height Gauges with Air Cushions.

1D Manual Height Gauges without Air Cushion — Starting at $4,360.00

  • Set 9 reference points
  • Installing dial indicator for squareness measurement
  • Probe can be moved quickly by hand
  • Touch buttons
  • LED display with backlight
  • Built-in rechargeable battery- 40 hours working
  • Measurement results can be sent to Excel/Word equivalent to keyboard input

2D Manual Height Gauges with Air Cushion — Starting at $7,772.00

  • 1D and 2D measurements
  • Programmable for batch measurement
  • Installing dial indicator for squareness measurement
  • Probe can be moved quickly by hand
  • Built-in air cushion system for easy movement
  • Color touch screen that can display the graph
  • Data statistics and analysis
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • Measurement results can be sent to Excel/Word equivalent to keyboard input

Contact your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative to learn more about the new 1D and 2D manual height gauges from INSIZE Plus. If you have any questions, give us a call at your preferred branch location:

Introducing the RF 100 5-Speed End Mill from Guhring

New Product Alert: Introducing the RF 100 5-Speed End Mill from Guhring

For over a century, Guhring remains a world-class manufacturer of drills, end mills, taps, tool holders and other innovative cutting tools. Beyond their extensive experience, Guhring also produces their own carbide rod as the substrate material for all of their carbide end mills. It’s that commitment to excellence that makes M&M Sales & Equipment believe so strongly in their product lineup. It’s also why we jump at the chance to share their latest product releases with you.

We’re excited to announce the addition of a new product to the Guhring family of cutting tools. The RF 100 5-Speed end mill combines the versatility of a 4-flute tool with the feed rate benefits of a 5-flute tool. End mills are a versatile tool for making holes in workpieces and cutting materials in various directions. Now, Guhring takes process reliability to new levels. For high-performance roughing at high cutting depths as well as milling in a wide variety of tough materials, look no further than the RF 100 5-Speed.

The RF 100 solid carbide end mills from Guhring allow you to machine materials such as:

Guhring RF 100 5-Speed solid carbide end mills provide maximum feed rates for exceptional metal removal rates. They are constructed with:

  • 5 flutes for maximum metal removal
  • Large, wide flutes for outstanding chip evacuation
  • Stable cutting edge with corner radius and face correction providing double protection for longer tool life
  • 38° helix angle with unequal flute spacing for smooth cut and low-vibration machining
  • Nano-A™ wear-resistant coating for extended tool life
  • Dished center for efficient ramping and helical milling

No one knows better than Guhring that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all cutting tool. For that reason, they developed four different series of the RF 100 5-Speed to meet your most challenging machining applications.

Choose from a comprehensive selection of varying lengths and corner radii:

  1. Series 6985: Short length
  2. Series 6986: Standard length
  3. Series 6987: Long length
  4. Series 6988: XL length

Watch the RF 100 5-Speed in action! Plus get a sneak peek at the 7-Speed!

Looking for more evidence that the RF 100 5-Speed does what it says it will? Guhring reports that an arms manufacturer was looking to improve tool life in a high-speed milling operation. So, Guhring’s RF 100 5-Speed solid carbide end mill was brought in to test against their ¾” high-performance 4-flute carbide end mill.

Running at a very similar surface feet per minute (SFM) but at a heavier feed rate, the 5-Flute speed end mill from Guhring was able to complete twice as many parts as the previous 4-flute end mill before needing to be reconditioned. The 5-Speed was able to run at a 9% higher metal removal rate, resulting in a 32% savings in cost per part. How’s that for proof of concept?

For more information on the new RF 100 5-Speed end mill from Guhring, check out their interactive catalog.

If you have questions about selecting the right end mills or other cutting tools for your operation in West Texas, we’re here to help. Just ask your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative or call one of our locations for information on end mills in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, Ft. Worth and surrounding areas.

It’s no secret that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been widespread, affecting everything: manufacturing production and machining orders, lead times and sales, even the very process of doing business.

How Machine Shops in Texas Use Innovation to Adapt Operations in the Time of COVID-19

It’s no secret that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been widespread, affecting everything: manufacturing production and machining orders, lead times and sales, even the very process of doing business.

Today, the availability of increased virus and antibody testing is moving many states to kickstart their phased reopening plans. As the world of manufacturing begins the difficult task of getting back to “normal,” smaller machine shops in Texas are employing safeguards like social distancing to help curtail risk and mitigate further disruptions to operations.

Businesses are implementing health and safety practices that include:

  • Restriction of interactions between employees
  • Alternating shifts, with some companies placing a minimum of one hour between shifts to prevent overlap
  • Performing temperature checks
  • Providing hand sanitizer and antibacterial soaps
  • Implementing regular cleaning and sanitizing procedures on high touch surfaces
  • Installing high-efficiency air filters
  • Recommending stringent personal hygiene
  • Continuing to allow non-essential personnel the opportunity to work from home
  • Providing personal protective equipment
  • Offering zero contact ordering and delivery options

Related: COVID-19 Preparedness Tips: Does your facility pass the test?

These measures are allowing some businesses to operate in the short term while maintaining compliance with strict government guidelines. However, forward-thinking shops are considering innovations spurred by recent events for longer-term solutions.

If you would like assistance on ways to get your machine shop running at peak performance, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment rep or call 800-592-4516.

COVID-19: Innovation in Times of Crisis

The world of manufacturing is no stranger to innovating creative ways to solve problems. So, it should be no surprise that the challenges of the coronavirus paired with manufacturing ingenuity have led to advanced technologies and solutions for combating the virus.

These innovations have emerged to help industries of all kinds operate safely and in accordance with regulatory guidelines. Not only have many organizations switched gears to produce much needed equipment like respirators and face shields, but they are also using them to get back to business.

Here’s how machines shops can adapt to the many challenges of operating within the “new normal”:

Protective Shields have been designed to protect employees and guests from the spread of germs, especially in companies that conduct customer-facing activity. Meant to reduce the transmission of the virus, these shields can be used in a variety of ways and include freestanding and countertop options.

Temperature Check-In Stations have been developed that solve the need for regular temperature checks, as well as the required documentation of testing. Temperature stations can be configured to track employee check-ins and sound alarms when those who are above the temperature threshold or unauthorized personnel attempt to enter the facility.

No Contact Payment is a relatively new technology that combines computer vision and artificial intelligence. This enables retailers to bill customers as they leave the store. Additionally, many companies are employing curbside delivery options to reduce risk of exposure to both customers and staff.

In the midst of this crisis, company leaders have an opportunity to shape and mold their company’s culture. How employers react to a crisis can have a serious impact on not only your employees’ health and safety, but also their trust in the company.

Unfortunately, there is no roadmap on how to thrive during a pandemic, but we can offer a few examples on how businesses can build a stronger and more resilient team.

3 Ways to Help Employees Manage Coronavirus Stress

Mental health is as important as physical health for employees today. Here’s how managers are helping their teams:

  1. Maintain clear and honest communication
    Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, uncertainty has been the only constant — leaving many employees unsure about their future. Be sure to communicate company plans and encourage open discussions to help minimize miscommunication or rumors. Provide frontline supervisors with the information and data they need to answer commonly asked questions, both accurately and honestly.

  2. Focus on the needs of your staff
    It’s important to remember that everyone is struggling with various degrees of stress due to the coronavirus. Not only will employees need access to PPE, safety equipment and cleaning supplies, they may require additional flexibility in their schedules due to closed schools, limited childcare or other family responsibilities. Look into support programs that can alleviate the personal stressors faced by your team and offer leave packages, if possible.

  3. Boost morale and build goodwill
    What services could your company offer your local community? Talk to employees to uncover the most pressing needs of their communities and then work to get involved. Not only will local towns benefit from this action, but helping others builds morale and puts things into perspective, reminding us that tough times will not last forever.

M&M Sales & Equipment is here to help your business succeed with advice and suggestions on how you can improve operations, enhance worker satisfaction and increase your profitability. From cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid to safety and MRO supplies, we are your full-line distributor. If you have questions on how M&M Sales & Equipment can help you, please call one of our four Texas locations.

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CoroDrill 860-GM from Sandvik Coromant

Mid-Summer Promotion: Score Big Savings on CoroDrill 860-GM

The CoroDrill 860-GM was engineered to meet customer demands for better productivity, longer tool life and improved drilling capabilities for a variety of materials. The advanced geometry, hence the GM in its name, offers increased stability, core strength and reinforced corners for better process security and finish.

Receive a 35% discount off list price when you order today!

From now until July 17th, 2020, enjoy special discount pricing on the high-performance drilling solution ideal for steel, cast iron, stainless steel and hardened materials for general engineering and automotive applications. CoroDrill 860-GM is also competitive in non-ferrous materials like copper and aluminum. The CoroDrill 860-GM offers robust process security, high hole quality, exceptional tool life and better chip evacuation for improved productivity. Talk to your M&M Sales & Equipment representative today for details. 

Experience the CoroDrill 860-GM Difference

CoroDrill® 860 with GM geometry is a high-performance drilling solution for short holes, primarily in steel, stainless steel, cast iron and hardened materials.

  • Standard diameter range 3–16 mm (0.118–0.629 inch)
  • Drill depth 3–8 × drill diameter
  • Single- and two-diameter tools as standard
  • Body tolerance m7
  • Achievable hole tolerance H8–H9

Optimized multi-material drilling solution

CoroDrill 860-GM can be used for drilling a wide range of materials and applications across all industry sectors. Plus, it’s suitable for applications where hole quality is critical like aerospace and the oil and gas industries. Use the CoroDrill 860-GM in these applications:

  • Conventional drilling
  • Inclined entry
  • Inclined exit
  • Cross holes
  • Convex/concave surfaces
  • Chamfered holes

*Typical components are valve bodies, blocks, casings, flanges and manifolds

Check out the advanced geometry features in the CoroDrill 860-GM:

  • Corner reinforcement for increased corner strength and reduction in exit burring
  • Optimized double margin for increased stability and improved hole quality
  • New point-thinning type for reduced cutting forces and excellent hole accuracy
  • New point geometry results in refined clearance angles, improved surface quality and stable wear progression
  • Edge preparation for increased cutting edge strength and removal of micro defects

The CoroDrill 860 with GM geometry offers high performance in the most challenging operations. See it in action: 

If you have questions about selecting the right drills or other cutting tools for your operation in West Texas, we’re here to help. Just ask your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative or call one of our locations for information on end mills in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, Ft. Worth and surrounding areas.

7 Tips for Choosing the Right End Mill for the Job

M&M Sales and Equipment is a cutting tool specialist, offering end mills and other cutting tools and accessories from Sandvik, Guhring, Drillco and other leading brands in West Texas, including Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth. Here’s a guide on end mills, and how to choose the right ones for the job:

It’s no secret that machinists tend to speak their own language — even in something as simple as basic math. The rest of the world starts counting at the number 1. But ask a machinist to explain how they measure, and they’ll tell you that it all begins at one-thousandth of an inch (0.001”).

When we talk about cutting tools, it’s very much the same thing. Machining terminology is not the same to a layman. To the outside world, the terms drill bit and end mill are often used interchangeably, but that can create confusion when referring to the specific tooling required in CNC machines. Industrial CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machines use rotational cutting tools called end mills to remove material.

What are end mills and how do they differ from drill bits? Drill bits plunge vertically into material to create holes while end mills typically cut horizontally and laterally, but most mills can actually cut vertically as well.

Here’s a good visual that shows the difference between a regular drill bit and an end mill:

(Source: Make: Magazine)

Choosing the Right End Mill for Your Job

End mills are designed with purpose and each tip shape offers a unique clearing path for various applications. Deciphering what end mill to choose is largely based on the project, what kind of material needs to be cut and the desired surface finish. Choosing the wrong cutting tool can quickly damage a work piece, causing you to scrap an entire batch. Not only is that a huge waste of time, but also a significant cost to your organization.

Related post: 5 Ways to Reduce Scrap in Your Metal Cutting Operations

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right end mill for your CNC operation. We’ve pared down a few important tips from Machining News to help you select the right end mill:

  1. End Mill Length
    First, decide the depth your end mill must cut. Choose the shortest length end mill that can still make the cut. The reason? Choosing the shortest length greatly increases the stability of the tool. This will allow for more aggressive feeds and speeds, while reducing the tendency for the tool to chatter.

  2. End Mill Materials
    Two of the most common materials used in the manufacturing of end mills are high speed steel (HSS) and carbide. HSS is useful in older, slower, or less rigid machines as well as one off or very short run production. It will run slower, but is less expensive, less brittle and more forgiving of unstable conditions. Carbide is preferred in CNC machine tools where higher speeds, fewer tooling changes and increased productivity are required. In these applications, the higher cost is easily justified by longer tool life and shorter cycle times.

  3. Flute Count
    Flutes are the helical grooves that wrap around the sides of an end mill. A smaller number of flutes (2-3 flute tools) will offer more flute space for long chipping materials such as aluminum.   A larger number of flutes reduces the flute space, but can offer increased productivity in shorter chipping materials such as medium to high carbon steel and iron. For steel, stainless steel, high temp alloys and iron, a four flute endmill is preferred for slotting applications and can be a great general-purpose tool. Higher flute counts should be reserved for applications with a low radial depth of cut to allow for chip evacuation.

    Note: Proper chip evacuation is important because re-cutting chips will lead to significantly reduced tool life

  4. End Geometry
    Choosing the right end mill geometry is critical to the tool’s success. Paying close attention to the materials that the manufacturer recommends for a given tool can help to ensure your success. Of equal importance are the speeds and feeds the manufacturer recommends for that material.

     
  5. End Mill Coatings
    Coatings are helpful in reducing friction and protecting the carbide from the heat that is generated in cutting. Some coatings are more suitable for certain materials. Once again, paying attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations is the easiest way to make sure you are using the correct coating.

  6. Tool Life
    Cheaper isn’t better. If you have high production and heavy workloads, it’s critical to invest in the right tooling that can keep up with the volume of work. Choosing inexpensive or inadequate tooling costs time and money on wasted material, scrap, wasted tool spend and added wear and tear on your CNC machines.

Whatever the job, we are proud to carry a wide range of Guhring end mills designed to give you an edge over the competition. If you have questions about selecting the right end mills or other cutting tools for your operation in West Texas, we’re here to help. Just ask your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative or call one of our locations for information on end mills in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, Ft. Worth and surrounding areas.

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How Machine Shops Can Save Money: Is it Time to Recondition Your Tools?

Machine Tool Reconditioning: When It’s Right for Your Shop

If you’re looking to reduce costs and improve efficiency in your facility, machine tool reconditioning may be the cost-effective solution you’ve been looking for. To help you decide if tool reconditioning is right for you, we talked to our friends over at Guhring for more details on the tool reconditioning program available for M&M Sales & Equipment customers. 

What is Machine Tool Reconditioning?

Tool reconditioning and re-sharpening is a process of rejuvenating existing tooling such as carbide drills, reamers, end mills and milling cutters and returning them to a factory cutting edge. As you know, good quality cutting tools are not cheap and tend to wear down over time. The cost of replacing them is often steep, especially for smaller machine shops with tight budgets.

For many high-performance cutting tools, re-sharpening is a viable option for extending tooling life — often at a fraction of the cost associated with buying brand new.

How Does Machine Tool Reconditioning Work?

Manufacturers like Guhring offer reconditioning services on drills, step drills, carbide end mills and reamers on both Guhring tools and competitor tooling. These reconditioning services can bring your cutting tools back to factory quality, condition and performance. Examples of tool modifications that are possible include reconditioning of chamfer, radius, neck relief, shank flats and more.

How does it work?

Your M&M Sales & Equipment representative arrives on-site to assess both your standard and special Carbide and PCD tooling and can identify areas of potential savings. You’ll then discuss whether or not it is more cost-effective to recondition your tools or purchase new ones. Once you decide on your course of action, your sales rep takes care of the rest; including building a quote, sending out your tooling for service, monitoring lead time and ensuring quality upon delivery.

What Should You Look for in a Machine Tool Reconditioning Service?

The truth is, the better the original quality of the tooling, the better the result you’ll achieve from re-sharpening and reconditioning services. Companies hoping to cut costs are surprised when lower quality tools end up costing them much more down the road when they go to recondition or re-sharpen them.  There are often more errors in the original manufacturing of lower quality tooling that make it difficult to recondition them. Far too often, the result is a shorter tool life and higher reconditioning costs.

The solution?

Purchase quality cutting tools from a manufacturer that also offers reconditioning and re-sharpening capability, saving you time and money.

Guhring not only manufacturers cutting tools, but they design and build the equipment that creates them. That means when you send in your tool for servicing, you’re not just sharpening the tool, you’re getting the original point, proper geometries, edge preps, honing and the original coating for a complete reconditioning back to factory specs.

Another thing to consider when reconditioning your cutting tools is traceability. An added benefit of having your tools reconditioned with Guhring is the batch number that is etched on to every order. If you ever encounter a problem with a particular tool, you can trace its origins the same way that you would with a brand-new tool. This helps to not only troubleshoot existing operational defects, but also identify potentially expensive problems in the future.

Related: 4 Ways to Save Money, Extend Tooling Life and Get More from Your Tools

How Do I Know It’s Time to Recondition My Tools?

Other than the clear-cut signs of dulling cutting edges, there are a few things machinists can look for to help them identify when their tooling may be due for reconditioning. Pay attention to these factors:

  • Diminished cutting ability
  • Excessive tool wear
  • Higher machine and spindle loads
  • Equipment run time
  • Signs of different chip formation
  • Longer chip sizes
  • Bird nesting on the drill

When Is Tooling Not Worth Reconditioning?

There are no definitive answers on when tooling isn’t worth reconditioning. Instead, there are several factors to consider including the cost of the tool, the number of tools to be reconditioned, freight charges and more. Ask your sales rep to run a quote on the costs associated with reconditioning your tooling and ask for specific quantity breaks. A good rule of thumb is when you send in more of the same type and brand of tool for reconditioning, it is more cost-effective than sending in just one or two.

Looking for more ways to save?

We have almost 60 years of experience serving the industrial supply needs of machine shops, oil companies and manufacturing facilities throughout Texas. We understand the challenges associated with operating during a difficult economy. That’s why we offer several different services that can help you operate for higher profits and lower costs.

These are just a few of our services that can help you save: 

  1. Recondition and Re-Sharpen Tools
    Revive existing tooling and restore them to original factory quality condition and performance with reconditioning and re-sharpening services available through M&M Sales & Equipment.
  2. Perform a Tool Evaluation
    Spec out the right tools and supplies to minimize scrap and reduce excessive wear on your machines with an onsite tool evaluation.
  3. Perform a Process Evaluation
    Assess your manufacturing processes, identify inefficiencies and areas of waste with an onsite process evaluation.
  4. Assess Operational Costs
    Assess your cost per hour to run equipment, identify output rate per part and approximate your scrap rate to lower your operations costs.

Right now, you’re trying to get the most out of every dollar you spend. We can help. Contact M&M Sales & Equipment to learn more about how we can help you improve operations and increase your profitability. Call one of our four Texas locations today.

Speeds and Feeds: Identifying the Best Ways to Run Your Cutting Tools

Speeds and Feeds: Identifying the Best Ways to Run Your Cutting Tools

Running your CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines to make a profit takes some serious consideration on the materials, the cutting tools and the approach you use when running your equipment. Not running your cutting tools in the recommended performance ranges can lead to poor performance and downtime, making it impossible to run at high levels of productivity. Finding the right combination that works for your machine shop’s needs can be challenging.

Fortunately, M&M Sales & Equipment is here to help with four convenient Texas locations in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Fort Worth. Need answers right now? Call us directly at 800-592-4516 or browse product offerings here.

Related: Best Practices for West Texas Machine Shops: Machine Parts Right the First Time

What Speed Should I Run My Cutting Tools?

Faster is not always better. Neither is running your cutting tool too slow. In fact, it’s a dance that depends on several variables if you want to get good results like extended tool life, optimum machining time and excellent surface finish. Running a cutting tool too fast can result in tool breakage. Too slow, and it can result in excessive heat and premature cutting edge failure. Other effects that can occur when operating outside of recommended ranges can include build-up edge, cratering, edge wear, chipping, and inferior surface finish.

So how do you calculate your feeds and speeds?

We came across a survey performed by CNC Cookbook that asked readers, “How do you calculate your feeds and speeds?” These were the top responses:

  • Feeds & Speeds Calculator
  • Standard Cuts or Rule of Thumb
  • Tooling Catalog
  • By Sound or Feel
  • CAM Software
  • Spreadsheet
  • Machinery Handbook

For the most accurate answers to your cutting tool’s capabilities, your best bet is to check with the manufacturer’s recommendations. There you can learn more about the proper feeds and speeds to run cutting tools like milling cutters. To help you on your way, we’ve gathered the following best practices from a great article over at Modern Machine Shop:

Tips on Determining the Best Cutting Speeds for Your Machine’s Performance

Materials
First and foremost, you need to identify and understand the material to be cut, otherwise known as your workpiece. Steel, cast iron, aluminum, stainless steel, titanium and high temperature alloys all have different properties which impact the efficiency and accuracy of the cutting tools you use. These are referred to as machinability ratings and are expressed by a percentage as defined by the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Cutting Tools
Choosing the right cutting tool is dependent on knowing the material of the workpiece. With regards to milling cutters, face mills, end mills, drills and other cutting tools they all have certain criteria they must follow to ensure optimum performance. The tool’s diameter, the arrangement of cutting inserts, the material removal rate, and the depth and width of the required cut all play a major role in how well your workpiece is machined.

Cutting Speed
Speed rates are also called surface speeds and are measured in Surface Feet per Minute (sfm). This measures how fast a tooth, otherwise known as a flute, will move as it cuts through material. Cutting speeds is the speed difference between the cutting tool and the surface of the workpiece it is cutting. Smaller diameter cutters generally require higher revolutions per minute (rpm) and larger cutters need less rpm to propel the cutting edges at their desired sfm.

Pro Tip: Our friends over at Sandvik Coromant have a great Cutting Speed Calculator that can help you specify the cutting speeds and feeds for your application. Check out the Cutting Speed Calculator here!

Feed Rates
Feed rates are the relative velocity at which the cutter is advanced along the workpiece. In other words, it is the rate the cutter enters into the workpiece. Chip loads are an impact factor to consider here because the better chip removal, the less wear on the cutter and the better result on the workpiece. For example, face mills can often take heavier chip loads than end mills in the same application.

Insert Arrangement
Along with choosing the cutter that can provide optimum feed rates, you should consider how the cutting inserts are arranged. How many effective inserts are in the cutter? How are they arranged? The way these inserts are arranged can have a tremendous impact on feed rates, the required horsepower, and material removal rates.

Remember these are just guidelines; refer to the cutting tool manufacturer for specific formulas and calculations. Often it comes down to trial and error and simply getting to know your machine, your material, and your desired result. However, by following some best practices and becoming more familiar with your cutting tools, you can start seeing better results and better profits.

M&M Sales & Equipment is your cutting tool specialist and has been since 1962. If you need help finding the right cutting tools like milling cutters, end mills, and inserts, we have you covered. Or, if you’re looking for shop supplies, safety equipment, or other tooling needs, we’ve got that, too. Reach us at 800-592-4516 or stop into one of our four convenient Texas locations.

How do you calculate the speeds you need to run your cutting tools? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts or reach out to us directly.

4 Ways to Save Money, Extend Tooling Life and Get More from Your Tools

4 Ways to Save Money, Extend Tooling Life and Get More from Your Tools

Machine shops around the country are competing to take your business. So, what can you do to gain a competitive edge?

Your company’s profitability is directly related to its level of productivity and efficiency. While much of that is dependent on the efficacy of your employees and your processes, it’s important to remember that in the world of manufacturing, a worker is only as good as his or her tools. An idle machine becomes overhead when tooling components must be changed out due to early wear and tear or damage to the equipment itself.

Whether the tools of the trade include power tools, lathes or CNC machines, their effectiveness depends on proper usage and regular maintenance of cutting tools such as end mills, annular cutters and saw blades. If you’re experiencing premature tool failure, we have some tips on how you can save money by getting the most out of your tooling and machinery.

Related: The Guide to Choosing the Right Saw Blades for Optimum Productivity.

1. Maintain Your Tools and Equipment Regularly

Don’t wait until your tools require servicing to make repairs. Similarly, don’t rely on your advanced tooling to remind you to perform routine maintenance. Doing so leads to unnecessary downtime that can cost your company thousands, and oftentimes the servicing is performed too late. Instead, create a maintenance schedule that outlines change-out schedules, lubrication schedules or replacement timelines. Be sure to document these activities so that all employees, regardless of shift, know exactly where each tool or machine is on their maintenance schedule requirements. Additionally, these documents can identify recurrent machine failures or needs, helping you improve future machine and tooling reliability.
Check out these tips from industry leading cutting tools suppliers on getting more out of your cutting tools.

a. Stop band saw blade breakage
New band saw blades have razor sharp tooth tips. To withstand the cutting pressures used in band sawing and avoid microscopic damage, the tooth tip must be honed to a micro-fine radius. To avoid blade failure and get the most out of your new band saw blade, follow these blade break-in tips from Lenox Tools:

  • Choose the proper band speed for material to be cut
  • Reduce the feed rate/force control to 20-50% of normal cutting rate
  • Begin the first cut, and once teeth form a chip you can slightly increase feed rate
  • Make gradual increases in feed rate/force until normal cutting rate is established
  • If chatter or vibration occur, make slight adjustments
  • Once blade is broken in, feel free to use recommended band speed

b. Use tool reconditioning services
For getting more life out of your standard and special Carbide and PCD tooling, Guhring has an entire Reconditioning Division committed to bringing your cutting tools back to factory quality, condition and performance. They offer reconditioning services for drills, step drills, carbide end mills and reamers on both Guhring tools and competitor tooling.

c. Take advantage of cutter remanufacturer programs
The Slugger Cutter Remanufacturing Program through FEIN allows annular cutters to be sharpened up to 6 times (excludes Carbide cutters). Getting reground on the same CNC machines they were manufactured on ensures they are just as true and just as sharp as the day they were made. They also offer recoating services at an additional cost.

If you’re interested in saving money and want information on programs like these, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment rep or call 800-592-4516.

2. Get Organized

One of the fastest ways to damage or lose frequently used tools and tooling components is by failing to return them to their proper place when not in use. How often have you heard the complaint, “I can’t find the grinding wheels” or “Has anyone ordered new drill bits? I’m all out.

Organizational problems like these are so common in industrial facilities that an entire lean management strategy has been developed to cut down on the time employees spend searching for items. 5S is a lean management process that increases productivity and transforms workplaces from one of disorder and clutter to one that is organized and efficient. The 5S methodology includes Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Set in Order is one of the 5S’s designated for organization. Some methods of Set in Order are simple and straightforward like labeling bins, shadow boards and peg boards for power tools, cutting tools, and accessories like grinding wheels and drill bits.

Other methods require a more strategic approach, such as industrial vending machines. Whatever method you choose, you can greatly reduce lost production time due to lost, missing or damaged tools. Another advantage to better organization is that you can keep a closer eye on the replacement parts you need to repair or service your tools and equipment.

3. Train Employees Regularly

Every facility has its own unique roadmap to optimum production, one that is guided by the CNC machinery and tooling needed to do the job. Cycle time, metal removal rates and material costs are just a few of the considerations that vary from one shop to another. That’s why it’s critical to train both new hires and veteran workers on your machines and your policies. Pay attention to areas that employees are struggling with, as well as recurrent tooling issues. Then, devise specialized training on those procedures. By educating your staff on the processes specific to your shop, you can help them do their jobs safer and more efficiently, while cutting down on unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment.

4. Say Goodbye to Outdated Tools and Machinery

As difficult as it may feel, retiring old and inefficient tooling and equipment is essential to your productivity and profitability. Regularly assess the performance and reliability of your equipment and tooling. Old or obsolete equipment should be swapped out for advanced versions that are more accurate, faster and more reliable, ultimately providing faster payback on your investment.

Related: What’s Machine Downtime Really Costing You?

By following these tips, you can not only get more life out of your tooling and equipment, but also increase production. According to an article in American Machinist, businesses spend about 80% of their time reacting to maintenance issues instead of preventing them. Consistently monitoring tooling and equipment usage, as well as keeping regular maintenance schedules can reduce unplanned downtime and lead to longer tool life. Which, as we all know, means bigger profit and less wasteful spending.

We’re always on the lookout for ways you can improve operations and increase your profitability. From cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid to safety and MRO supplies, we are your full line distributor. If you have questions on how M&M Sales & Equipment can help you, please call one of our four Texas locations.

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8 Steps to Prepare Your Sump for a Temporary Shutdown

8 Steps to Prepare Your Sump for a Temporary Shutdown

During challenging times like these, we are committed to bringing you helpful advice and solutions that not only protect your business, but your investments, as well.

We know that shutdowns are a real possibility. Inadequate preparation of pumps and sumps can lead to major catastrophes when left unchecked. Machine operators should be mindful of three factors that can have an impact on sump health: coolant concentration, pH and reserve alkalinity. But it doesn’t stop there. Take a look at these expert tips from Master Fluid Solutions on how to prepare your sump for a temporary shutdown for a quick and smooth re-opening.

Download Preparing your Sump for a Temporary Shutdown

Step 1: It’s critical that the systems be in as good shape as possible when they are shut down. Concentration, pH, reserve alkalinity and other factors should be in the specified range.

Step 2: Remove the tramp oil from the sump. Tramp oil is both food and shelter for bacteria, which is the main cause of the rancid smell that can come from the coolant.

Step 3: Clean out chips and sludge from the sump. Chips and sludge are also food and shelter for bacteria. A Sump Sucker will make this job quick and easy.

Step 4: Bump up the concentration. This adds a little more pH buffering to the sump, which helps to prevent bacteria. Our recommendation is to bump up the concentration to the maximum recommended operating range for the product being used. If adds are needed for alkalinity, pH, or other factors, add them a day or so before the system is shut down.

Step 5: Make arrangements for whatever sampling you want to be completed and communicate the results before the shutdown occurs.

Step 6: If possible, recirculate the coolant in the sump during the shutdown. In many cases, maintenance staff may be present. Have them turn on the coolant pumps to recirculate the volume of the sump several times over.

Step 7: If you are going to run a centrifuge over the shutdown, make sure you have sufficient tramp oil and waste capacity.

Step 8: Make sure you have an adequate supply of coolant as well as cleaners such as Master STAGES™ Whamex XT™ and Master STAGES™ Task2™ GF to help keep your systems running smoothly and to prevent any issues when you resume normal operation.

M&M Sales & Equipment has the Master Fluid Solution products you need to keep your operations running smoothly. For other questions on how you can improve operations and increase profitability in your business, please call one of our four Texas locations.

M&M Sales & Equipment is your full line distributor for cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid, as well as safety and other MRO supplies in West Texas.

Sandvik Coromant Spotlight: How to Get the Best Machining Result with Milling Cutters and Tools

Sandvik Coromant Spotlight: How to Get the Best Machining Result with Milling Cutters and Tools

Everything these days seems to be moving at lightning speed, with many folks thinking the quicker the better. From procurement to delivery, we want it done, and we want it done yesterday. However, when it comes to machining applications, these speed and feed rates can make or break the reliability of your milling cutters and cause damage to your expensive machines. Some of the top things to consider in tough and demanding milling operations are heat, vibration, stability, functionality and adequate metal and chip removal rates, as well as good process security.

That’s why it’s critical that you understand the fundamentals of the cutting tools and equipment you use daily. Without the right milling cutters, cutter bodies and cutting tool technology, those high speeds can not only slow or stop your shop’s productivity, but also eat away at your profits.

Fortunately, our partnership with the industry’s most innovative manufacturer in tooling technology, Sandvik Coromant, has provided us with helpful advice and tips to help you get the most out of your machining operation. Need answers right now? Call us directly at 800-592-4516.

Let’s begin by explaining the 7 basic features of your milling cutters:

The Shank is the cylindrical shaped part of the tool that is used to hold and locate it in the tool holder. It can be round and held by friction or held in place with a set screw.

The Flute of a milling bit are the deep helical grooves running up the cutter.

The Tooth is the sharp blade along the edge of the flute that cuts the material. The flute, with the help of the rotation of the cutter itself, helps to expel the material up and away from the cutting surface.

The Helix Angle describes the flutes of a milling cutter. Usually flutes are helical to allow gradual entry into the workpiece. If flutes were straight, they would enter the workpiece at the same time, causing vibration and potential damage. Tighter helix angles with higher rake angles often provide a better finish.

The Milling Cutter Materials are often high-speed steel (HSS) or carbide. As a rule of thumb, softer materials can be machined with HSS and harder materials require carbide. But note that while HSS is less expensive than carbide, it does wear out faster, requiring more frequent changeouts.

Coatings are helpful in improving the hardness of a cutting edge and to reduce friction on materials that have low thermal conductivity, or are unable to control heat-build up on both the milling cutter and the work piece.

The Tool Life of your milling cutter is critical. If you have high production and heavy workloads, it’s critical to invest in the right tooling that can keep up with the volume of work. Choosing inexpensive or inadequate tooling costs time and money on wasted material, scrap, wasted tool spend and added wear and tear on your machines.

It’s not enough to just choose the right milling cutter for the job. You also need to understand how the milling cutter, the workpiece, and the machine all work together to get the best machining results.

Understanding the ABCs of Milling Cutters and Milling Operations

The following is from Sandvik Coromant:

A. The Milling Cutter
Milling isn’t a one-size-fits-all operation. Milling cutters cover a wide range of traditional operations that remove metal from workpieces, but milling cutters can be also be used in alternative ways to produce holes, threads, cavities or pocketing. The features to be milled require careful consideration as milling cutters come in many shapes, sizes, coatings and cutting surfaces. Does the milling depth require extended tooling or does the feature to be milled contain interruptions or inclusions? These are common questions you should ask yourself.

B. The Workpiece
Consider the workpiece and its machinability. The size part to be milled is limited by the machine’s capabilities and depth of cut required. Additionally, the material’s characteristics will determine the overall functionality. Characteristics like hardness, thickness, rigidity, chemical resistance, heat treatability and thermal stability all play a critical role, so special attention must be paid to choosing dedicated tooling and milling strategies.

C. The Machine
The milling method you choose will impact the type of machine you need. Typically, there are two configurations, vertical milling machines and horizontal milling machines. There are multitasking machines (MTM) that can handle a variety of operations including milling and lathing, but there are limitations. Choosing the right machine for the job will save you money on equipment repair and replacement, as well as saving on scrap costs.

Related: Improve Your Machine Shop’s Burden Rate

We’ve been partnering with Sandvik Coromant in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Fort Worth, Texas, for years. M&M Sales & Equipment proudly offers the entire line of Sandvik Coromant Milling Tools, including: 

  • Shoulder Milling Tools
  • End Milling Tools
  • Face Milling Tools
  • Profile Milling Tools
  • Disc Milling Tools
  • Groove Milling Tools
  • Thread Milling Tools
  • Chamfer Milling Tools

M&M Sales & Equipment is your cutting tool specialist and we’re proud to be a Gold Tier Sandvik Coromant distributor. For more information on these and other milling cutters, tools and accessories available through M&M Sales & Equipment, stop into one of our four convenient Texas locations or give us a call at 800-592-4516.


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