The installation of its fourth Walter Helitronic Power multi-axis tool grinder is regarded by P J Tooling as invaluable to the company’s ability to improve levels of support for increasing customer demand and new business for bespoke carbide and HSS production tooling.
According to managing director Mark Webb, the additional machine – which complements three existing Helitronic Power Production machines, including one with the Pallet Loading system that can accommodate 280 tools, and a Power Regrinder - has been purchased to ensure that the Warwick-based tool cutting tool specialist continues to meet the quick response times that are accompanying rising order levels.
A wide range of tools are supplied to OEMs and subcontractors across a number of industry sectors including instrumentation, hydraulics, pneumatics, marine and pharmaceutical, with an increasing presence in aerospace and automotive areas.
A key part of P J Tooling’s portfolio is port contour or ‘cartridge cavity’ tooling for companies manufacturing all types of hydraulic manifolds or associated components.
The Walter capacity, along with other key machinery, and the company’s expertise allows for the design and manufacture of all types of round shank milling, drilling and reaming tools in solid carbide, HSS and brazed carbide or PCD.
The company is proud of its diverse capability and still also manufactures flat form tools, profiled inserts and form blades with the Walter capacity also being utilised on these where possible.
“The tools are usually more complex than a simple radius or step requirement and are invariably required for prompt delivery,” says Mr Webb. “So, the additional machine, complementing our existing grinders but with up-to-date tool modelling software (Tool Studio), gives us an unrivalled level of flexibility in being able to meet both these demands.”
He continues: “When we bought our first CNC tool grinder, the Helitronic Power was the machine that gave us the best initial results on trials of both carbide milling tools and the larger diameter HSS drills and reamers.”
The company’s quartet of Helitronic Power tool grinders is complemented by a Walter Helicheck 3C CNC tool measuring machine which, adds Mr Webb, “really comes into its own on repeat batch work tools for which we already hold programs for or more difficult features such as extended ‘rads’ where checking radius integrity is a bit more challenging”.
He continues: “Whenever we’ve invested in our tool grinding capacity we’ve been reluctant to move away from the Walter machines; influenced by having complete compatibility across the machines for both toolholding and wheel packs, and of course, in terms of operator familiarity with the machines’ control/interface.”
Established in 1969 and today with 19 employees, P J Tooling has built its reputation on supporting a complete range of cutting tool applications - rather than completely focusing on round shank carbide – and on smaller batches of more complex tools, rather than simpler work, in volume, albeit these are also offered using the lights out facility on two of the Walters.
“Clients are continually striving to minimise tool inventory levels and the money tied up in non-productive tooling, so companies like us are having to be more flexible in what we offer and how fast we supply it, regardless of how complex the job may be and whether it’s a one–off or 30 pieces.
This additional CNC tool grinder reinforces our ability to do just that.”
With a working envelope of 460 mm by 320 mm by 660 mm in X, Y and Z axes for accommodating tools of 3 mm to 320 mm diameter and up to 350 mm long, and boasting linear and radial resolutions of 0.0001 mm and 0.0001 deg, respectively, the Walter Helitronic Power offers P J Tooling adequate machining capacity for all the tools being handled and, sitting alongside the other three Walter tool grinders, it means that potential production bottlenecks are eliminated.
“Importantly, too, the capabilities of the new machine’s Tool Studio CAD/CAM software suite for tool design, programming, simulation and production is also paying dividends in reducing our throughput times,” concludes Mr Webb. “And the machine’s ability to ‘spin’ (cylindrical) grind is proving useful in the preparation of all types of carbide bodies including PCD tools.”
SOURCE: Walter Ewag UK Ltd