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Process extends cutting tool life two to six times.

Cutting tool manufacturers and distributors probably will want to read the testimonials about the ability of an electrolytic chemical process, called Electroedge, to substantially extend the life of cutting tools.

Garrett Automotive, Torrance, CA, credits the process with extending cutting tool life by 400% to 600% for tools used in turning, drilling, and tapping turbine housings for turbochargers.

Bob Walton, manager of manufacturing engineering, says that savings of $350,000 out of a total budget of $800,000 are projected through quality and productivity improvements, and reduc- tion in grinding time required.

Garrett worked closely with the developer of the ElectroEdge process, Norm Hozer, president of Nor-Beck Co, Louisville, KY, using a prototype bench-top unit. Once the process had proved itself in the hands of shop floor personnel, Garrett installed a production-sized carousel unit now in operation in its tool crib.

The ElectroEdge process is applied to the cutting tools to relieve stress after regrind sharpening. The process reverses the fatigue condition of the metal edge by removing surface particles that cause fatigue.

The surface produced is smooth and free of cracks, grind burrs, and softening. Sharpness, tensile strength, and tough edge elasticity are increased. These improvements help resist abrasion wear by retarding the beginning stages of chipping and spalling and by debutting and honing cutting surfaces without leaving a radius that can dull the cutting edge, explains Mr Hozer.

The secret of the process is the proprietary solution that is used in the electrolytic process. Treatment is done in what is essentially standard plating equipment. Alltool materials that conduct electricity can be treated including HSS materials, cobait grades, tungsten carbide, and stainless steel (see table for examples of how the process improves cutting tool performance).

The ElectroEdge process is a replacement for hard coatings used to increase the surface hardness of cutting tools, or it can be used in conjunction with them, applied after grinding, but before coating. Mr Hozer says that it works' by attacking the three major causes of wear found in grind sharpening: stress, roughness, and fatigue wear. Here's how:

Stress creates a brittle, strained edge condition that reduces cutting tool life and is present to some degree on all grind sharpened surfaces.

Roughness is caused by grinding patterns that leave uneven edges off the cutting surface. This condition further increases heat and metal fatigue during machine cutting and hinders tool performance.

Fatigue wear is the side effect of grind sharpening caused by friction heat and the rhythmic, repetitious grinding motion. It produces thermo stress cracks resulting in surface loss that reduces a tool's usable life even before it is put into service.

ElectroEdge is said to compare very favorably with PVD TiN coatings and CVD coatings, as well as magnetic flux and cryogenic cold processing, which can produce extended tool life, varying from 200% to 400% in the case of PVD and-CVD coatings to somewhat less for magnetic flux (25% to 100%) and cryogenic cold processing (25% to 200%).

ElectroEdge gains its performance edge by increasing feed and speed at which the cutting tool runs, ease of in-plant usage vs expensive third party processing (except in the case of magnetic flux), and disposal in the environment.

The process is avery simple oneto use, requiring little training. Treatments are applied in-house in from 30 to 90 seconds of immersion in the processing equipment.

There are no limitations on the number or size of tools per run cycle. The' treatment can be used on surfaces that have been milled or machined, polished or lapped, nitride, EDM or shave cut, or contain rust. Its unique chemistry composition removes all of these conditions in the normal process cycle.

ElectroEdge equipment is available in a bench-top model, two console models, and an automatic carousel model. Licensing fee is paid monthly based on minimum hourly usage per machine model. TABULAR DATA OMITTED
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:electrolytic chemical process called ElectroEdge
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:May 1, 1992
Words:641
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