Accurate tool measurements are critical in precision machining, but where that measurement takes place is another story – one that has a significant impact on productivity. However, while offline presetting is typically a more cost and time-efficient process, many shops prefer in-machine measurement. Using all but the most expensive solutions, it slows shops down, but many feel it’s the only way to achieve the exceptional precision their parts require. In reality, clever solutions and good toolholding can ensure shops get the best of both accuracy and efficiency.
However, when shops investigate this problem for themselves, they often discover that their presetter and CNC disagree on measurements, and since the machine is measuring the tool in the exact same place it will be used, it’s not hard to tell which is more accurate. Laser-based systems can be much faster than touching off with a probe, but it tends to be an expensive option that puts it out of reach for many shops. As a result, manufacturers believe that slowing down to take in-machine measurements is a necessary evil in the name of accuracy and quality – and they’ve sidelined their presetters, only using them as a check in the tool room and relying on the CNC for the final, exact measurements.
But what if manufacturers could rely on their presetters instead? When set up correctly, a presetter saves shops money, keeping spindles making parts instead of measure Z-axis lengths. This requires somewhat more work on the front end than in-machine measurement, but by setting up references for each machine and adjusting those figures on a regular basis, accurate measurements are actually simple to achieve.
When REGO-FIX helps customers with this process, for example, our team usually takes a single master tool assembly reference, measuring it on every machine in the facility. Grind tolerance, tool fit, spindle wear and other factors mean the Z-axis measurement is slightly different in each machine. Simply using that difference to calculate Z-axis offsets for each machine makes the disagreement between in-machine and offline measurements disappear for the reference assembly, and those master values allow shops to have confidence in their presetters – and avoid wasting time double-checking each and every tool.
Naturally, high-quality toolholding is a requirement for maintaining this accuracy across a production facility, but with a system like powRgrip, presetting and repeatability is made even easier thanks to the built-in backup screw. Presetting the screw prior to assembly allows for easy compensation of any of the length variances on the cutting tools even before final holder assembly. The only remaining task following assembly is checking for exact length and tolerance with the presetter and the tool is ready to be used.
Furthermore, assuming all the holders are cleaned and maintained properly, that assembly takes about 10 seconds in total with the powRgrip system. This means that presetting can easily be performed alongside other tasks in the tool room, unlike with competing systems – after all, going back and forth between the induction machine or chiller to set up the next tool every three minutes or so takes up a surprising amount of time. And that’s before factoring in any of the savings from the tool life or productivity improvements enabled by powRgrip.
With this kind of fully optimized presetting and toolholding system in place, shops can focus on what’s important – making chips and shipping parts. There’s no more need for cumbersome, redundant measurement cycles. With powRgrip, you measure once and cut once. Find out more about how high-quality toolholding can make a difference in your shop at REGOUSA.com.