The global carbide tooling manufacturer faces a great deal of competition from the United States, Europe and Asia. With newer technologies becoming increasingly available to anyone, anywhere, the need for high quality cutting tools has never been greater.
The aerospace sector, tool and die manufacturers, and plastic injection mold making companies all use high speed machining as an part of their tool making strategy. This growing demand for high quality, high performance cutters is a real opportunity for companies to gain a share of the market. The woodworking industry also uses carbide router bits to produce the many wood products we all enjoy.
The recent development of the indexable end mill is a good example. Not so long ago there were no such end mills available. Nobody had succeeded in making a cutter with a true 90 degree shoulder. Personally, I recall some attempts that were less than satisfactory. The inserts were fragile and the results were never as good as the tool show exhibits.
The Valenite V590 Square Shoulder Free Cutting End Mill is a good example of this newer type of cutter that can replace the conventional solid carbide end mill. Another good one is the Iscar Helimill indexable end mill. Both of these are relatively inexpensive and can do the work of many solid cutters and are very easy to index.
Sandvik makes the CoroMill 490, which offers outstanding performance. It gives lower tool costs, is very flexible, leaves a great surface finish and cuts to close tolerances. The insert geometry enables the user to select an appropriate insert for light, medium or heavy machining. Another great feature is that it leaves no mismatch and has an almost ground finish quality.
The Ingersoll company makes a heavy duty cutter called the Power Quad. These feature from 12 to 34 inserts per piece and are capable of a depth of cut of over 6 in. These cutters can really remove some serious stock and are very well designed. They come as a 90 degree, or 0 degree side angle and leave a semi-finished surface.
Kennametal manufactures a line of indexable end mills that are of the highest quality. The KSWM KenFEED line covers a very broad range of cutters from under 1in, and on up. All of their inserts have a great reputation in the metal working industry for high performance and pricing.
There are many other quality companies world-wide, such as Accupro, Widia, Hanita, OSG, SGS and Morse. A good company will provide you with all the technical information you need in order to make an educated decision before buying your tooling. This seems obvious, but many people are in a rush and do not take the necessary time to learn the various facets.
It is also a good idea to test various cutters in your own shop, on your own machines before buying. Nearly every company will gladly let you use their tools for sample cuts. Things might look great at a tool show and somehow not quite do as well at home.