The global medical manufacturing industry is one of the world's fastest growing industrial sectors, accounting for more than 10% of the gross volume of metalworking activities recorded in 2015. The medical industry continues to demand ever smaller, more intricate and more accurate parts, often manufactured from difficult-to-machine materials.

When referring to medical industry machining, the term encompasses all machining related to surgical implants, orthopaedic devices and medical instruments. The expression also includes small-scale machining and micromachining, as today’s implanted devices often consist of or include minute components. Among other difficult to machine advanced materials, titanium is often used in medical devices, due to its non-reactivity characteristics associated with the human body.

Small metalworking shops wishing to compete in the challenge of producing medical parts must develop a range of advanced capabilities to meet the specialised demands of the medical industry, especially when involved in small batches and prototype work.

Mindful of the specific requirements of this challenging sector, the creative work and exhaustive field trials undertaken by Iscar’s advanced R&D department have resulted in the significant expansion of the company’s range of cutting tools associated with the medical industry. In addition to innovative new products, Iscar’s R&D team has applied a series of ingenious modifications to existing popular tools to enable the efficient and economical machining of smaller parts.

Iscar’s expanded range of optimum machining solutions for highly efficient, small-scale cutting tools has been made possible by technical progress in several important areas:

  • The use of the most suitable base materials.
  • The application of advanced metallurgical coatings.
  • The development of unique tool geometries.
  • The upgrading of ultra-secure clamping systems.

Iscar’s new GEHSR/L-SL tool family, designed for Swiss-type and screw machines, are an improved version of the previous, popular GEHSR/L screw-clamped tools. The newly developed, user-friendly insert clamping system enables the secure fastening of inserts by the use of a key from either side of the tool. Following the rapid clamping procedure, the torx screw can be used from either side of the tool, while a specially designed plastic screw blocks the opposite side of the tool, preventing chip entry. If indexing is required from the opposite side, the screw can be switched to the opposite side of the tool.

The GEHSR/L-SL tools are now available in 10, 12 and 16 mm shank sizes, which house GEPI and GEMI inserts bearing different chipformer geometries. The inserts range between 2.2 to 3.2mm widths.

When turning small parts, light cutting parameters are applied. Rather than making use of large inserts, small-sized economical inserts are much more appropriate for this kind of machining. The shorter head design of GEHSR\L tools provides higher rigidity and improved machining stability, which enables the application of higher cutting conditions and by doing so, assures enhanced surface finish results.