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Case study: Advanced CNC simulation for twist drills

CNC multi-axis grinding machines using NUM’s NUMROTOplus 3D simulation and control software are helping Miller Präzisionswerkzeuge GmbH in Germany to manufacture a new series of high-performance MAPAL-brand solid carbide twist drills.

The new drill tools employ complex optimised profiles to accelerate cutting speeds.

The NUMROTOplus software allowed Miller Präzisionswerkzeuge to visualise and optimise the complex machining process required to produce the new drills in 3D, before putting the new drill range into volume production.

“The NUMROTO features helped during the development of our latest MAPAL drill products, and we made extensive use of the advanced 3D simulation capabilities of NUMROTOplus software, including its tool collision monitoring procedures, to optimise our manufacturing process,” said Miller Präzisionswerkzeuge technical director, Ulrich Krenzer.

“We have used NUM’s CNC software for a number of years, and are now in the processing of running it out across all our machines. By effectively standardising on this one package, with a consistent user interface, we will reduce our personnel training costs and help maximise productivity, while maintaining the product quality for which we are renowned.”

To cope with demand, Miller Präzisionswerkzeuge recently doubled the size of its R&D and manufacturing operations at Altenstadt in Germany, culminating in the opening of a new 7000m2 production facility in November 2008.

The facility contains more than 40 CNC grinding machines equipped with the NUMROTOplus software — which operate for three shifts per day, 365 days of the year — making it one of the most modern solid carbide tool and drill production plants in the world.

It is widely acknowledged that more than 30 per cent of productive machine time is nowadays taken up by drilling operations. Typically, these include pilot drilling and pre-centring, drilling, reaming, countersinking, boring out, de-burring and thread cutting.

By combining some of these operations in a single step, it is possible to decrease machine time significantly, but only if the drilling tools feature task-optimised profile geometries — factors such as chip removal, heat dissipation and tool stability are critical.

The new MAPAL ‘Mega Speed Drill’ is designed for high speed drilling of steel and iron. It features an asymmetric tip, with reinforced cutting edges.

[Steve Moore is NTC Manager, NUM (UK) Ltd.]

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