Save Money With Indexable End Mills

Every year your machine shop’s profit margins seem to get tighter while production demand increases. You need good quality tungsten carbide tools, but eighty percent of the world’s tungsten is controlled by China and the price is on the rise? Given that tungsten is a rare element in nature, there seems little hope the price will drop. Little, if any, tungsten is mined in the United States. How can your business save money with and ever increasing tool budget? How can your business decrease its dependency on tungsten carbide?

One answer is Indexable End Mills. Indexable tools are constructed with a steel body machined with features to accurately position carbide inserts; therefore only the inserts are made of tungsten carbide – less carbide, less cost.

A Great Variety.

Indexable insert cutters are now available in cutters of all sorts such as turning cutters, profiling cutters, and slotting cutters. Indexable End Mills are also available in drills, reamers, spot-facers, cut-off tools, plunging end mills, facing mills, broaches, ball end mills, and deep hole drills. There are many choices and the variety is growing.

Cost Savings.

Another cost savings involves sharpening. Before carbide inserts, solid cutting tools had to be removed from machines for sharpening. But with indexable tools the cutting edge can be sharpened without removing the tool from production, according to Chris Tate of Cutting Tool Engineering. Now that is a money saver.

Less Likely to be Damaged.

On CNC machines with possible alignment issues, an indexable drill is less likely to be damaged. The savings in tool and production cost is not negligible.

True there are some minor draw backs with inserts. They are made under high pressure using powdered carbide with a binding material. The result is an edge that is not quite as sharp as a ground cutting tool. But the cost savings more than outweighs this minor drawback. It is certain that the technology will continue to advance and more cost saving will be forthcoming.

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