The push to get products to market as quickly as possible, along with an increasingly global and competitive manufacturing sector, continues to drive the development of machine tool spindles that can keep pace with customer demand. Today, high-speed spindles and high-speed machining have become common across numerous industries, from medical device and aerospace manufacturers working with exotic materials to automotive and contract manufacturers who need extremely fast part turnarounds. But as speeds have increased, so too have the toolholding challenges.
Much like a race track, as speeds increase in a machine tool’s work envelope, so too does the potential for serious problems. For instance, with high-speed machining, any chance of tool vibration quickly becomes reality and is actually magnified as tools rotate increasingly faster. At best, the resulting chatter will mar the part in a way that simply requires more benchwork, but the risk of unexpected tool breakage or a scrapped workpiece grows with the speed of the operation. For many of the shops utilizing high-speed machining operations, high material costs coupled with value added through previous production processes make any risk of scrapping a part too high.
In addition to vibration damping, high-speed machining requires toolholders capable of extreme clamping forces. A tight hold is essential for small-diameter tools often used in the production of complex parts, and the challenge grows as the toolpath becomes more complex. Any lack of repeatability in the clamping process will impact machining accuracy, and for shops utilizing high-speed machines for the complex, contoured parts required by modern industry, accuracy is key.
When examining the toolholding needs of high-speed machining shops, it can be easy to allow the incredibly quick, state-of-the-art spindles to distract you from the more ordinary issues that can be found outside the short cycle times. After spending considerable effort on reducing required cycle times, many manufacturers have begun to shift their focus to setup time reduction, which can offer significant savings. Toolholding has historically been a time-consuming part of the machining process, and when your high-speed machining processes have cut cycle times down to mere minutes or seconds, the time spent wrestling with toolholders quickly becomes the bottleneck, especially when a skilled operator has to spend time with holders and tools instead of machining.
To meet these needs, manufacturers turn to REGO-FIX, whose powRgrip toolholding collet system boasts 10-second tool changes and total indicated runout of less than three microns at depths of cut up to three times the tool’s diameter. And it keeps this performance up after 20,000 tool changes for exceptional longevity. And with product lines that include the micRun System, which maintains powRgrip-level performance even with the smallest tools, REGO-FIX has a range of solutions that enable it to serve high-speed machinists throughout the broad manufacturing industry.