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Carbide inserts cut bright future for Iscar.

Carbide inserts cut bright future for Iscar

Good cutting tools make good products. That conviction has been the guiding force behind the development of carbide cutting tools at Iscar Metals Ltd since its founding, more than 40 years ago, by chairman of the board, Stef Wertheimer.

Customers who visit Iscar's new headquarters and highly automated manufacturing complex at Tefen, Israel, see the latest in robotically operated carbide insert manufacturing. The pressing department and sintering operations are monitored via closed-circuit TV. AGVs transport material between departments.

"We pay people a full salary not to disturb the machines," says Stef Wertheimer a little wryly, noting that the employment level has not dropped since the automated facility went into production several years ago. The robots monitor the quality of their own output, adjusting the machines accordingly.

"We expect our employees to add value to our products through their innovation and creativity in solving the customer's problems," Mr Wertheimer explains. At Iscar, not surprisingly, R&D and design engineering work closely with and report to the marketing department.

Innovation in insert materials, geometry, and conceptual design has made the company into a strong global competitor in Europe, Japan, and the US. President and CEO Eitan Wertheimer and Jacob Harpaz, vice president-international marketing, have succeeded in making market inroads into eastern Europe and South America.

In Israel, where past conflicts and present threats seem to dominate most planning, Stef Wertheimer sees a future that is built upon Israeli exports of manufactured products. Such exports can mold Israel into a little Switzerland and give citizens of the whole region--Arabs and Jews--a common business basis for mutual cooperation, he believes.

A former member of the Knesset from 1977 to 1981 (in a small and unpopular party), he wrestled an agreement out of the government to donate land for 10 industrial parks throughout Israel. The Tefen Industrial Park is the prototype for two others that are being built to serve as incubators for Israeli exporting entrepreneurs. One such company at Tefen, MicroTools, has very successfully filled a niche in manufacturing small precision devices and ultra-fine machining of parts for companies like IBM.

An outspoken critic of US foreign aid to Israel, Mr Wertheimer believes that US aid should take the form of direct loan guarantees to businesses. Aid should not be doled out by the Israeli government because that empowers politicians and not business enterprises.

He is adamant in his belief that US machine-tool manufacturers must become more competitive through automation and by narrowing their lines to focus on what they do best. Improved service and lower prices wouldn't hurt, either, he says.

Iscar's success has been built on technical innovation. Recent and past developments continue to fuel growth which is more than 22% overall and 30% to 35% in the US. Here are some of them:

Jet-Cut insert, a member of the Self-Grip[TM] family, delivers coolant through blade and insert body directly to the cutting edge for grooving and parting operations. Tool life is doubled at low pressures and increased 400% at high pressures up to 16 atm when machining alloy tool steel, stainless, and Inconel compared with conventional top flushing, Iscar claims. Results are explained by the combination of better chip formation and chip flow, lower temperatures in the cutting zone, and the elimination of built-up edge, according to Iscar.

[Cut-Grip.sup.TM] system is ideally suited for precision machining--precision grooving, turning to the right and left, profile turning, face grooving and turning, internal grooving and turning, and even for parting. One example: machining grooved hydraulic shafts was accomplished with a single Cut-Grip insert in 24 seconds vs four standard ISO tools in 55 seconds with a high surface quality of 0.6 micron. Total savings for 100,000 pieces was $173,000.

Japanese machine-tool builders have been quick to recognize the versatility of the Cut-Grip system which means that machine tools can be designed with fewer tools and turrets--8 or 12 compared with 24 or more.

[Top-Grip.sup.TM] inserts are billed as more versatile and more economical, especially in aerospace applications, when compared with Cut-Grip because they cover a wider range of turning operations. Top-Grip inserts made of cermet function in finishing and semi-finishing operations at the high feeds which are generally used for roughing. Because of the flexibility designed into the tool, the resulting surface quality is so good that additional grinding is unnecessary, Iscar says.

The newest design entry to its line of Helimill end-mills with the spiral cutting edges is the SEKR insert which divides the distinctive helical cutting edge into three separate curved sections, each having a different angle. The configuration balances cutting forces as a function of cutting depth and provides a cooler cut because heat passes to the chips. Also it reduces vibration, and improves stability of operation for machining high-temperature alloys, Inconel, and other stainless steels even at high feedrates.

PHOTO : Jet-Cut delivers coolant to the cutting edge to dissipate normal temperature distribution as shown here.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Iscar Metals Ltd.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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