Tooling Spotlight: Bevel Cutterheads

 

In our tooling spotlight, we break down what you need to know about our most effective tooling solutions. This MVP is the Leitz variable angle bevel cutters.

The Tool:

Leitz variable angle bevel cutters represent the next generation of flexible high-performance tooling solutions.  Featuring field-replaceable PCD tips or shear-set radial inserts, Leitz variable angle bevel cutters provide infinite angular cutting possibilities in natural woods and highly abrasive manmade materials.

What makes it better:

The Leitz bevel cutterhead system offers individual advantages for every potential application and thus helps to achieve a clear production and quality superiority. The system is not only flexible and sustainable but also improves production efficiency.

When to use it:

Leitz variable angle bevel cutters offer unmatched flexibility. Suitable for various materials from solid wood to wood-derived materials and plastics. They can be used on machines for manual feed, throughfeed machines, and CNC machining centers.

Turnblade knife system – Traditional standard straight-knife version for use in all applications.

HeliCut knife system – 4-sided, radius face inserts, shear-set with compression, provide particularly good cutting quality and excellent value in solid woods.

WhisperCut knife system – Replaceable (sharpen-able) shear-set PCD tips with compression provide excellent performance in abrasive materials.

 

The results:

Adjustable variable angle bevel cutters consolidate the need for various cutters set to exact angles.

Replaceable PCD or micro-grain inserts provide an economic solution for processing all material while maintaining exact tool tolerances.

Precisely adjustable cut angles ensure minimum machine downtime and first-piece perfection.

Up to a 40% time saving through newly designed adjustment mechanism.

Add this MVP to your line-up:

Download our Bevel Cutters brochure.

Contact Leitz at insidesales@leitz.org or (616) 431-4096, or fill out the form below, and we’ll get in touch.

How an Organization’s Growth Resulted in a Partnership for Continued Improvement

Technology plays an essential role in efficiency and productivity for today’s major manufacturers. Yet, when many manufacturers hit capacity, it’s assumed the only way to meet production schedules is to add extra equipment. The goal is to maximize current floorspace without having to add extra equipment or move to a larger, more expensive location until it’s necessary.

A growing, nationally recognized cabinet door and drawer box manufacturer was at production capacity and needed to make adjustments to meet their growing demand. In addition to adding two new CNC machines, they saw the opportunity to review their current machinery and technology and explore what could be done to optimize their entire operation. The manufacturer had been working with Leitz for tooling service and met with their representative to discuss what else they could be doing to get the most from their current machines.

A close look at MDF doors that have been cut with Leitz diamond tooling. These doors are ready to be sanded, glued, and have their foil pressed on.

Their Leitz representative recommended moving from an insert tooling system to the Leitz diamond routers and the Leitz ThermoGrip tool holding system. The newly implemented diamond routers system reduced machine downtime and increased tool life. Additionally, the ThermoGrip tool holders gave the customer a cleaner cut without the lines and imperfections they were experiencing with their other tool holding system, cutting down on multiple run-throughs and rework of the product.

With better quality cuts and increased tool life, the customer is not only saving money but has expanded their production capacity by approximately 50% on their current machines, more than doubling the number of truckloads of product they dispatch daily.

Additionally, the customer achieved a 30% improvement in tool life using the ThermoGrip system.

A comparison of the carbide insert tools the customer was using (left) and the Leitz diamond tooling in the ThermoGrip (right).

The solution from Leitz resulted in the highest level of production capacity without having to invest in more machinery or a bigger facility.  By looking beyond machinery, easy-to-implement changes in their tooling technology have made a huge impact for the Leitz partner customer.

Leitz is not only an industry leading manufacturer of advanced cutting technology but also a leading consultative technical provider. Leitz guidance is based on insight gathered from our multi-industry, worldwide perspective, and experience.  Our expert review, fueled by our belief that we can improve any cutting process, backed by our unconditional quality and performance guarantee, ensures our partner customers achieve the continuous improvement vital to their future.


Would a partnership for continuous improvement help you solve your next manufacturing challenge? Fill out the form below or call 800.253.6070 to get in touch with your Leitz representative today.

What You Need to Know for a Successful Transition to CNC-Based Manufacturing

Manufacturers commonly buy CNCs because these flexible machines promise to replace several manual machines and dramatically improve the capabilities and efficiency of the production shop. This transition is, of course, very achievable, but because of inaccurate tooling and application choices, many buyers are missing out on fully optimizing their CNC machine performance.

When key machining principals such as proper part fixturing, achieving ideal cutting velocity and chip load are overlooked it can significantly affect process efficiency and ROI. Developing strong relationships with your router supplier and qualified tooling experts will prevent catastrophic errors and expedite the integration and optimization of this critical machine technology.

Utilizing existing hand routers and shaper tools

Many first-time CNC buyers will continue to use their inexpensive carbide-tipped tools on their new high-tech machine. These brazed carbide tools may “work,” but are generally not rigid, precise, balanced or durable enough to provide ideal CNC performance. Brazed carbide tools are, by necessity, much softer and less wear resistant than solid carbide or carbide insert tools. Tools designed around the CNC’s operational specifications and your output will yield more efficient and higher quality results.

Solid carbide router options

Solid carbide tools are also available in a range of hardness and durability levels that cannot be differentiated by eye. Carbide is essentially tungsten particles held together with a cobalt binder. Softer, less expensive routers are formed with 10% cobalt glue; harder more durable carbides generally have 3% cobalt concentration and may also include trace elements which resist thermal or mechanical dulling.

CNC operators may inadvertently settle for “softer/less durable” solid carbide tools because they’ve broken harder versions. Understanding why these higher quality tools broke (vibration, part movement, improper chip load, etc.) and addressing the issue will help you extend tool service-life and lower annualized tooling expenses.

Coated carbide tooling

Carbide coating options that improve surface lubricity, heat deflection, or increased cutting-edge hardness offer the next level of enhanced performance. These coatings are relatively inexpensive and generally provide much greater value to the user. Depending on how the tool must be sharpened, these coatings can sometimes provide extended performance over multiple service cycles.

Diamond tooling

Polycrystalline Diamond (PCD) routing tools can provide the lowest tooling cost per unit of production, but the higher initial tool cost and risk of damage can be intimidating. We recommend transitioning to diamond tools only after you are comfortable with the operation of your CNC and are enjoying problem-free routing with solid carbide tools. We also recommend forming a partnership with a PCD tooling supplier who can guide you through the proper utilization and care of these delicate yet durable tools. The baseline cost comparison for PCD vs. solid carbide routing tools is generally less than 7:1, but the average performance comparison should exceed 15:1. Used correctly, PCD tooling will dramatically reduce tooling inventory and required tool changes, while maximizing machine uptime and process efficiency.

Tool holding

Tool holding generally drives most CNC processing issues. Machine tooling start-up kits generally include basic collet chucks in one of three common collet versions (ER32, ER40 or SYOZ25/RDO35). Collets provide dimensional flexibility, allowing an operator to hold cutting tools with 1/8” to 1” diameter shanks in the same chuck body. Collets are, however, the first weak-link in an otherwise very rigid and precise machining process. The multi-directional torque applied to the collet when tightening or releasing tools can push the tools out of concentricity, and slight rotation or slipping of the tool will create internal damage which compounds tool run-out. Even the premium SYOZ25 collet system, which due to its 52mm grip length and 2.5-degree taper is the most precise option, can induce tool eccentricity and allow tool deflection. Collet systems also require significant maintenance and wear out over time, but issues which lead to poor tool performance are not always easy to visualize.

Eliminating collets

There are several collet-free chucking options available, but the easiest and most effective is Leitz ThermoGrip heat-shrink chucking system. ThermoGrip uses the thermo-mechanical properties of steel to grip tool shanks under tremendous pressure, effectively yielding a one-piece chuck and tool. Leitz ThermoGrip CNC chucking system provides the most rigid and precise CNC tool holding possible, optimizing cut quality, throughput and safety, while conservatively yielding $15,000 in annualized savings per machine shift. ThermoGrip ensures perfect tool concentricity under working loads, resulting in greater than 25% increase in tool life and at least 10% improvement in machine throughput at optimal finish quality.leitz, thermogrip, tooling, woodworking tools

We challenge customers to test their existing top running router bit style with the ThermoGrip. Once installed, their operator will immediately report:

  • Much quieter cutting
  • Outstanding cut quality
  • The ability to increase feed speed, without degrading the quality
  • Significantly longer tool life

 

Ultimately, this test is eye-opening for most customers, and a major step in optimizing the efficiency of their routing processes.

In conclusion

In order to optimize your CNC-based manufacturing process, you must be aware of available cutting tool related technologies and understand how to properly implement and utilize the technology. Tooling is the single machine accessory which can either limit or optimize your manufacturing efficiency and success. Having a knowledgeable tooling partner, with a worldwide perspective, will greatly enhance your ability to continuously improve your internal processes and keep your company at the forefront of the industry. How can Leitz help you?

Talk to your Leitz Representative about a partnership for continuous improvement. Fill out the form below or call us at 800.253.6070.

How Jefferson Millwork & Design Inc. Optimized Their Production Process with Expert Tooling

While it’s easy to put the majority of focus on the machine, your tooling has a major impact on your production efficiency. It creates a vicious cycle when tooling needs to be constantly serviced or replaced. Tools going out the door for frequent service results in an unnecessarily large tooling inventory just to keep machines running.  Additionally, tooling that wears out quickly forces manufacturers to buy new tooling more often.

When Tom Jewell with Jefferson Millwork & Design Inc, a nationally recognized, award-winning architectural and cabinet woodworking manufacturer, contacted Leitz for information on new router bits, their Leitz representative went beyond only providing pricing. After hearing Tom’s issues with dust collection and how quickly they were running through router bits, their Leitz representative offered to come to their location, review their application, and develop a plan to resolve the problems that were slowing down and adding cost to the manufacturing process.

Jefferson Millwork & Design Inc implemented Leitz Diamaster Pro diamond router bits and the Leitz ThermoGrip chuck. They are now experiencing a 6-7x improvement in the life of the tool. The longer tool life has helped them cut costs and reduce the downtime required to replace the bit while improving product quality. The Leitz ThermoGrip tool holding system uses an inductive heating concept to provide stronger, more concentric tool clamping. This leads to increased tool life, better surface finishes, and improved cost efficiency.

Inefficient dust collection was also plaguing Jefferson Millwork & Design Inc’s manufacturing process. To clear dust, the machine had to be shut-down and the dust manually blown off of the table. Adding an extra step and completely stopping production each time dust collection was required was a costly inefficiency that slowed output. Leitz installed a turbine to help with dust collection and eliminate the extra step and production shutdown.

By working hands-on with Tom and the team at Jefferson Millwork & Design, their Leitz representative was able to identify key areas to optimize the overall production process. Because of Leitz’ commitment to partnering with customers to ensure they are as profitable and successful as possible, the customer is saving time, saving money and has an improved cut quality. Jefferson Millwork is so pleased with the results, they are implementing an additional three set-ups and running the Leitz solution on all their applications.

Form a partnership for continuous improvement with Leitz. 

Get in touch with your Leitz representative by calling 800.253.6070or filling out the form below.

Technical Partnerships for Continuous Improvement

Continuous process improvement is a commitment which may require external input

In order to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive and complex global market, manufacturers must commit to continuously improving their products and processes.  However, companies must also understand that continuous improvement involves both internal optimization of their existing processes and an eye toward new technologies which can further enhance these processes.  This can be extremely difficult to achieve since it requires a fresh and unbiased review of internal processes and keeping up with the world of rapidly changing technology.  Even if the continuous improvement team can review internal operations in an unbiased manner, they may miss important application details which are engrained in previous procedures or simply misunderstood.  Similarly, applicable new technologies are often difficult to conceptualize and integrate, because “we don’t know what we don’t know”.

Once new technology becomes available, companies frequently have difficulty rationalizing the benefits of the investment or choose to invest in less expensive technology which may not provide the same value.  Even when the ideal technology is implemented, failure to completely understand proper integration and use can limit the return. Technology and machining will only go so far to ensure efficiency and product quality. A fully optimized manufacturing process strategy must include consultative support and education from vendor partners.

The value of consultative support

In all cases, consultative technical partners can provide critical support and guidance to the continuous improvement team.  Much like paid consultants, and often used by consultants for the same purpose, advisory technology providers have vast experience within their area of expertise.  An experienced partner will take the time to educate and guide manufacturers to proven improvements and solutions–even if they fall outside of their product lines.  A great consultative technical provider understands that a strong partnership, based on the value of their technical advice, will often lead the customer to logical decisions to purchase their products whenever possible, ultimately putting finding the right solution before making a sale.

Technical education is key

Oftentimes, inefficiency is a product of misunderstood application parameters or complacency regarding alternative solutions and improved technology.  Taking the time to educate customers on critical cutting parameters such as tool rim speed, chip load, proper part holding, proper tool holding, dust evacuation, and heat management can dramatically affect processing efficiency. Education is important for every person involved with the manufacturing process, from management to the team on the shop floor, and can be delivered in a classroom setting or as a practical application on the shop floor.

Developing, rationalizing and introducing customers to new processing technologies fills in the “what we didn’t know” gap.  The experience gained by working with many industry manufacturing partners provides insight as to which technologies truly work, and an understanding of how to optimize each.  Each step helps reduce the customer’s perceived investment risk and ensures favorable ROI from the technology.

The Leitz approach

Leitz is not only an industry leading manufacturer of advanced cutting technology but also a leading consultative technical provider. Leitz guidance is based on insight gathered from our multi-industry, worldwide perspective, and experience.  Our expert review, fueled by our belief that we can improve any cutting process, backed by our unconditional quality and performance guarantee, ensures our partner customers achieve the continuous improvement essential to their future.

Are you the top producer in your industry segment?  Are your manufacturing processes optimized?  Do you have the capacity to regularly conduct an unbiased review and improve these processes? Leitz does.  How can we help you continuously optimize manufacturing efficiency and profitability?

Form a partnership for continuous improvement with Leitz.

Tooling and Integrating Your First CNC

Congratulations, you’ve just bought your first CNC!  The price tag was a bit overwhelming, but breaking the price down into monthly and weekly costs makes the expense easier to rationalize.  The manufacturer has assured you that this machine will replace the majority of your current manual equipment and perform the same tasks much more efficiently.  Builds which would take weeks can now be accomplished in hours with greater accuracy and quality.

You’ve configured the machine footprint on your shop-floor, contracted an electrician to install the proper disconnect, and a dust collection company to install an external collector and piping.  The machine will arrive tomorrow, and the riggers will be here in the morning to off-load and set the machine.  A service tech from the manufacturer will arrive the following day to complete installation and begin training your operators.

Ready, set, WAIT… Tooling! You’ve completely forgotten about the tooling!  Unfortunately, this scenario is all too frequent.  Manufacturers focus on the machine, not realizing the machine is simply a big tool holder.  They don’t consider the importance of proper tooling when the tooling actually controls the efficiency, productivity, and ROI of the machine!  Make the wrong choices regarding tooling, or run tools at the wrong parameters, and your new production battleship becomes a tugboat.

Take for instance a Midwest cabinet manufacturer, who contacted us to urgently tool up their first CNC.  Thankfully basic collet chucks, solid carbide routing tools, and boring bits were stock items, but there are critical considerations when deciding which tools to utilize.

Tool holding is one of the most important considerations because this is the first point at which a weak link can be introduced to an otherwise rigid and precise machine.  Collet chucks may suffice for start-up purposes, or when running seldom used tools, but flexible collets allow for significant tool deflection and run-out.  Thankfully the customer was aware of and understood the value of the Leitz ThermoGrip heat-shrink chucks.  This collet-free chucking system extends the machine spindle rigidity and precision through the cutting tool.  By maintaining the perfect tool centerline, cutting pressure and workload are equally divided, providing excellent cut quality while yielding upwards of 25% longer tool life and allowing significantly higher processing speeds.  Thanks to the ThermoGrip chucking system, the customer believed in and is now realizing more than $16,000 in annualized operational savings (based on current single-shift production levels).

leitz, thermogrip, tooling, woodworking toolsThe customer inquired about the value of the Leitz solid carbide router bits offered, stating they could by the “same style” compression bit at a slightly lower cost from another source.  As always, we suggested the customer test both tools and track differences in longevity.  Solid carbide routers may look alike but can be made from dramatically different grades of carbide.  Carbide is essentially powdered tungsten (cutting element), held together with a cobalt binder and some trace performance elements.  The differences cannot be seen visually, but a hard carbide composition with 3% cobalt concentration will generally far outlast a softer carbide with 10% cobalt concentration.  Add to this a protective coating, and the slightly more expensive tool may outlast the lesser tool by a factor of 2 or 3 times.  The customer completed their testing and chose to use the Leitz tool for this reason.

This company also wanted to convert their old shaper profiling tools for use on the new CNC.

While It may be possible to convert certain shaper tools for use on a CNC, that may not the best choice. Your new CNC will process material at a much faster rate, and more than twice the RPMs, generally using lighter, more compact tools.  Beyond size and weight issues, the CNC will hold much tighter tolerances, but only if you equip it with precision tooling.

The customers’ existing three-wing, carbide-tipped tools may have “worked” on their shaper, but workpieces required significant manual repair and sanding.  Wanting to eliminate this expensive off-line processing, the customer was interested in higher quality profiling tools.  They found this quality in Leitz ProfilCut Q profile insert system, a light-weight and highly precise profiled insert system which provides almost perfect knife-to-knife precision.  Not only did these tools fit within the machine spindle weight and collision diameter specifications, but they also cut extremely quiet and provided a cut quality which did not require post-machine sanding.  The customer also appreciated the fact that they could manufacture various profiles through simple knife changes, and that these coated knives provided exceptional service life.

Even more critical than tool design is ensuring the operator understands how to optimize performance through proper operational parameters.  Even the best tools can be quickly destroyed by part movement, overheating, or excessive cutting pressure.  The Leitz consultant took the time to educate the operators about essential variables such as rim speed, chip-load, mass removal and part fixturing.  Above all, operators must ensure workpieces are securely held in place, vibration is eliminated, cutting pressure is regulated, and friction heat is removed from the cutting process via the wood chips.   Understanding how to apply these relatively simple machining parameters is the key to maximizing CNC process efficiency and profitability.

How can we help your production team maximize their process efficiency?

Leitz is the trusted tooling partner for today’s manufacturing leaders. For over 140 years, Leitz has set the standard for tooling development, innovation, application expertise, and service. We empower our customers with the right solutions to optimize their entire manufacturing process to meet their business goals.

Form a partnership for continuous improvement with Leitz. Fill out the form below or contact us at 800.253.6070 to talk about solutions.

Leitz Tooling Systems Canada Ready to Grow

Leitz CEO Jürgen Köppel and Lesley Morris, Leitz Canada’s new managing director, at the company’s new Canadian headquarters in Vaughan, Ont. (Photo: Woodworking)

Leitz Canada has moved its Canadian headquarters to Vaughan, Ont. just north of Toronto, expanding the sales and service center from 35,000 to about 80,000 square feet and adding new, state-of-the-art machine technology.

Read the full story >

 

Optimize CNC Machinery and Ensure a Superior Finished Product with High-Quality Tooling

Speed, higher production rates, and accuracy are just a few of the benefits of CNC machining. Yet, despite the implementation of a new CNC machine, a specialized wood product manufacturer was experiencing inferior finish quality on their solid wood boards, including fuzzing in the cut and poor staining consistency.

The unsatisfactory cut quality forced the manufacturer to invest in additional labor, which added costs, produced extra scrap and slowed down the production process. The cut quality was unacceptable and overall, the manufacturer was extremely disappointed in the output.

The manufacturer and the Leitz representative discussed the issues the competitor’s tooling solution created. After addressing the manufacturer’s concerns and reviewing a sample workpiece from the customer, their Leitz representative identified undulations in the cut surface from inaccurate tooling and determined the customer needed a more concentric tool to maximize efficiency. The Leitz ProfilCut Q program was recommended to the customer.

ProfilCut Q is a technologically advanced insert system with precision shank rigidity and concentricity. The uniform clamping system utilizes profile knives and standard turnblade inserts to get the job done economically with the best finish quality. The unique clamping system places zero stress on the tool body, allowing for the use of aluminum alloy and round-bodied designs to reduce weight, noise, and vibration while optimizing balance, dust flow and finish quality. Clamping elements are protected from dust and resin build-up for quick and easy knife changes— without setting gauges or other measuring equipment. Repeatability is guaranteed.

After implementing the Leitz ProfilCut Q system, the customer achieved a virtually perfect output from the first run on their CNC machine. The customer was astonished by the cut quality the Leitz tooling solution provided and is beyond pleased with the results. The customer has now realized that sanding pieces coming off the CNC is unnecessary, and has since eliminated this very costly process step.  This manufacturer is now able to move parts to the finishing line directly from the CNC.

The finished product using the Leitz ProfilCut Q tooling system.

Leitz understands that two of the biggest areas for manufacturing companies to hemorrhage cash are inefficiency in labor and excess scrap. By taking an innovative and service-oriented approach to tooling solutions, Leitz helps organizations achieve operational efficiency without compromising the quality of the finished product.

Learn how the ProfilCut Q tooling system can optimize your manufacturing process. Fill out the form below or view the brochure here.