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Producing sailboat keels is a breeze with milling cutter.

RydVerken is an engineering company deep in the forests of southern Sweden. It was founded in 1970 and now has 34 employees and a complete CAD/CAM department with three Tebis stations. The company produces a number of high-tech products, such as parts for nuclear fusion power stations, parts for the Ariane space rocket, aero engine parts for Volvo Aero AB, and so on. Other products include shearing and pressing tools for Volvo, Alfa Laval, and others; impellers and guide vanes; and a very advanced component for a nuclear fusion reactor for Osterby Foundry.

It also produced the keel, rudder, and bulb for the Swedish sailing boats in the Victory Challenge Team entered for the America's Cup.

Sailing boat components such as the keel and rudder are typically relatively simple to produce for leisure ships. But when it comes to producing parts for highly sophisticated ocean racers, such as those entered in the Americas Cup, these parts are much more complicated. Above all, confidentiality is a very important element. And quality and tolerances must conform to very high standards. So the operation employed must meet all of these requirements.

In this particular case, the material used for the keel was Weldox 700 high-strength steel. SSAB, the maker of this grade of steel, says that Weldox structural sheet steel has been developed to provide good weldability in conjunction with high strength and toughness, which are properties demanded of a modern structural steel.

The forming of the keel is similar to a copy milling operation. The Seco R217.21 high-feed milling cutter has proved to perform very well for efficient machining of this type of material. Because of the geometry of the R217.21 cutter, it absorbs the forces axially, i.e. up toward the spindle, thus reducing the risk of vibrations and maximizing process stability, in spite of the relatively large overhang.

RydVerken is using Seco R217.21-1632. RE-R125.3A cutters in the production of the keels for the Swedish boats in the Victory Challenge Team. The cutters are fitted with Seco 218.19-125T-T3-M03 inserts of grade F40M and running at 6000mm/min table feed, and a cutting speed of 160m/min with a 0.8mm depth of cut and cutting width of 25mm. The inserts are engaged for 60min.

"This cutter is working so well we could use the insert in engagement for a further hour," declares Joakim Nilsson, project leader at RydVerken. Compared with a different make of milling cutter used in the past, the machining time has been reduced by 50 percent.

RydVerken is now working on modifying the existing keels for the Orn and Orm boats (in the Victory Challenge Team) to conform to the new rules that will come into force for the Americas Cup that will be held along the Spanish coast this year. RydVerken also makes the keels for sailing boats in the Volvo Ocean Race class. These keels are made of stainless steel. Seco Tools,
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Title Annotation:cutting tool technologies
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Apr 1, 2007
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