Specialist cutting tool manufacturer CARB-I-TOOL recently invested in an ANCA MX7 Linear CNC tool grinder to meet growing demand for tools for machining plastics and composites.

CARB-I-TOOL is a premier Australian cutting tool manufacturer specialising in the production of engineering and woodworking tools for the Australian, Asian and European markets. Operating for more than 40 years, CARB-I-TOOL’s headquarters in Moorabbin, Victoria consists of a large factory, showroom and storage facility. Its tools are used in a wide range of industries including automotive, aerospace, marine and general engineering.

Over the last few years, CARB-I-TOOL has seen an increase in demand for tools for the machining of plastic and composite materials. To keep pace with this demand, the company has purchased an ANCA MX7 Linear CNC tool grinder to focus on producing its range of compression routers (single and multi-flute) and other solid carbide tooling for materials such as MDF, plastic, carbon fibre, aluminium composite material, as well special tooling for exotic materials.

The acquisition of the MX7 Linear complements CARB-I-TOOL’s existing MX7 machine and enables the company to make a first-hand comparison between the two different types of machines and drive systems. The MX7 Linear is driven by linear motors on the X- and Y-axis, while the MX7 is driven by ballscrews.

When viewing the tools ground on the MX7 Linear, it is evident that the surface finish on all surfaces of the tool is to a very high quality. The finish on the flute is highly polished. According to Ross Storay, CARB-I-TOOL Production Manager, “When grinding tools on the MX7 Linear we achieve a mirror finish on the flute without a spark out pass or using a fine grit wheel.”

As well as being pleasing to the eye, it is recognised that highly polished flutes and gash surfaces improve chip evacuation and aid tool performance during machining. Polished flutes have a smoother surface and the swarf (or chips) can exit more freely from the flute.

“I have received feedback from our customers advising me that tool life is increased and performance is better from tools ground on the MX7 Linear,” says CARB-I-TOOL Sales Manager Mark Hamilton. “This can only increase customer loyalty, as our customers know that when they buy a tool from us they can be confident the tool will perform to a high standard.”

Storay adds that, when comparing tools ground on the MX7 Linear to the MX7 ballscrew machine, there are significant cycle time benefits. “As well as seeing an improved surface finish, we have achieved a reduction in cycle time of up to 10% when grinding tools on the MX7 Linear.”

Storay also found that the force of the MX7 Linear machine is better than the MX7 and can push the machine harder when fluting. Overall Storay found that he was very satisfied with the performance of the MX7 Linear and anticipates that further improvements can be made on their range of tools.

LaserPlus – the right tool every time

CARB-I-TOOL is a company that is continually investing in the best equipment. As part of its investment strategy, it purchased the LaserPlus measurement system on the MX7 Linear. Using the LaserPlus, the operator can perform accurate in-process measuring without removing tools from the machine. The laser measurement process is fully automated and requires no operator intervention. It can measure and maintain an accuracy ± 0.002mm or less over a large batch of tools.

The LaserPlus is excellent for maintaining tight tolerances on the outside diameter, according to Storay. “Customers are always demanding tighter tolerances on the tool diameter. With the LaserPlus, we measure the diameter on every tool to ensure the tool is correct first time.”

CARB-I-TOOLS can also be secure in the knowledge that the LaserPlus will compensate for any minor variations from the nominal tolerance due to the accuracy and repeatability of the laser.

“Since using the laser we have virtually eliminated scrap tools,” Storay concludes.