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Drawing on its special purpose machine tool design and build expertise combined with its subcontract capability, Inca geometric has won a series of orders from a leading automotive group to supply a redesign of existing tool change magazine for its extensive installation base of vertical machining centres.

According to Managing Director Mike Cain: “The project started with Inca being requested to refurbish several 50 taper 12 tool and 40 taper 24 tool carousel format tool magazines. The mechanisms were fast becoming a focal point for maintenance at the company following around-the-clock machining over a number of years, a growing experience of damage from malfunctions in the tool change system and the occasional collision situation.”

Due to the different remedies required from unit to unit, for instance, which at times required major rectification due distortion of the tool drum and a significant number of damaged parts being replaced, this meant each mechanism had to be individually assessed for repair. This led to Inca’s design team at its headquarters in Chartham, near Canterbury, to put forward a complete redesign to the customer using aluminium in place of stainless steel which cost less than two-thirds the price of a replacement system, as supplied from the original machine tool builder.

Now produced in batches of five, Inca manufactures and assembles the complete units ready for the customer’s maintenance engineers to refit as a package to the machine. Each assembly comprises the tool disc, a centre spider and top plate and all the clamping elements such as fingers, plungers, hinges and stop pins.

The most complex and critical central spider was tooled for production by Inca’s tooling partner Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal, with its tooling engineer working closely with Inca’s setter operators on a bridge-type CNC borer and CNC horizontal borer. Key in providing the complete tooling package was Sumitomo’s latest range of low-friction diamond-like-carbon coated milling cutter inserts and general purpose SumiDrill Power Series SDP type drills.

The SDP drills are able to provide extended tool life from the highly lubricious PCX 70 coating. This coating has hard, yet tough multi-layers that prevent swarf adhesion and counter the onset of built-up edge. The drills also have the latest curved cutting edge design to the top of the tool with a positive geometry and an obtuse 140 deg point angle that requires lower cutting forces. The periphery of the drill is also relieved to create more than one margin on each land of the leading edge and heel of the tool that reduces its contact area.

The Sumitomo milling cutters were also specified having the company’s latest diamond-like carbon coated inserts which have a high hardness with an ultra-low co-efficient of function (0.05 to 0.2), a lubricated cutting surfaced that enables chips to be precisely controlled and any potential for built-up edge is supressed. This combination, enables a significant increase in tool life and improvement in surfaced finish to be maintained.

Said Works Manager Tony Clifford: “We involve Sumitomo on complex or different to normal production in order to optimise the process and match their most effective tools to the power and torque values of the machine and component features. This not only saves compromise and ‘making do’ on an important component, but also we have found it creates a significant overall cost and lead time advantage.”

The central spider of both magazines is produced from plough ground square aluminium tool plate which, in the case of the 12 pocket magazine, was 1,200 mm by 800 mm by 20 mm thick. As part of the process the periphery was machined from solid and a reduced outer area milled to accept the tool holder body. A radially milled annulus was created around the main body of the disc and five large bores interpolated. A major section of the profile was then milled away and the tool positions scalloped with a series of key holes machined and six different hole sizes, drilled through, and counterbored in various positions.
The central spider and end plates were then sub assembled and a series of radial positioned plunger bores drilled and counterbored on the horizontal borer. The complete unit was then finally assembled ready for shipment.
< back Date Posted:12/3/2013

Inca Geometric - a precision engineering capability and resource matched by quality of service and a competitive pricing structure

Manufacturing Capability
CNC turning
CNC milling
CNC drilling
Gear cutting
Horizontal boring
Cylindrical grinding
Surface grinding
Vertical boring
10 tonne cranage
Jig boring & grinding
CMM inspection