New precision cutting tools bolster mold and die making

The most important demands made by the mold and die making industry are stable component quality and surface quality as well as process reliability during production. Furthermore, the shorter product life cycles of the molds also require a permanent reduction of the reaction and processing times. The product launch time must be as short as possible.

LMT Kieninger is the competence center for mold and die making in the LMT Tools Group. In the past, the experts there have developed a complete and highly productive range of tools and are always searching for new, efficient solutions for users.

The innovations focus on cutting materials and cutting edge geometries in the macro and micro ranges as well as customized coatings from the in-house coating center, based on intensive knowledge sharing with users and the tool experts at LMT Fette. At the AMB trade fair, LMT will be underlining its leading position as a partner of the mold and die making industry.

New Nanomold Black coating – universal application range
High-performance coatings have a fundamental significance for difficult machining operations: The coating has the closest contact with the workpiece and is therefore primarily challenged by force and temperature influences. Coating systems thus have a substantial productivity potential. At the own coating center, experts repeatedly manage to create new coatings tailor-made for the respective application.

One innovative example is the new “Nanomold Black” coating, which will be presented for the first time at the AMB trade fair. It closes the application gap between the already established high-performance coatings “Nanomold Gold” and “Nanomold Red” (image 1). Whilst the gold coating is the first choice for roughing and semi-finishing materials in the lower hardness range and the red coating displays its true performance during the finishing of hardened materials up to 65 HRC, Nanomold Black covers a more universal application range. It is highly suitable for machining steel, cast steel and cast iron up to a hardness of 56 HRC.

Nanomold Black is for the various versions of WPR- and WPB- indexable inserts available and also on two different types of carbide: For LCPK15M for semi-finishing and finishing as well as for LCPK25M for roughing and semi-finishing, for both wet and dry machining.

CopyMax 2 copy milling insert – quadruple tool life

The CopyMax product range is a particularly important milestone in goal-oriented tool development. It treads new paths in the production of indexable inserts. Thanks to the high-quality sintering (HQS) process, even more stable cutting edges are achieved using a high press pressure and a special shape. The first product in this series is the CopyMax2, which is the forerunner of this new generation.

The coating of the newly developed CopyMax2 indexable insert from LMT Kieninger is Nanomold Gold, which is already an indication of top performance in mold and die making (image 1). But it doesn’t stop there. The copy milling plate itself has an entirely new construction design. It has improved cutting and material properties as well as a fully functional second cutting edge (image 2). When the first cutting edge is worn, the insert can be turned over and re-used with the same long tolmt-2Image-2ol life.

The challenge for the engineering experts was to integrate the second cutting edge into the tool geometry in such a way that the user would be able to mount the indexable insert accurately, securely and easily in the tool holder. The solution includes the new conical shaft and a specially designed clamping screw. The tool is available as an end mill cutter or screw-on milling cutter in the diameters 16, 20 and 25 mm.

The tool is particularly beneficial for the roughing and semi-finishing of large molds as well for removing residual material and ensures maximum process reliability during the machining of large workpiece surfaces.

During milling of a wave section made from cold work tool steel 1.2379, the ball nose copy endmill has already exceeded the expectations of the developers. The cutting speed was 240 m/min, the cutting depth was 1.5 mm and the radial depth of the cut was 0.5 mm. In a direct comparison with an existing copy milling insert, the CopyMax2 insert achieved more than double the tool life: approximately 470 minutes compared to 220 minutes with the same wear (100 µm maximum). But there is also the second cutting edge, which resulted in a tool life which is over four times higher (image 3). A significant leap in efficiency.

HSCline SuperFinish4 – copy milling in top quality

 The requirements with regard to finishing in die and mold making are process reliability, good surface quality and an extended tool life at high lmt-4cutting speeds. The new HSCline SuperFinish4 ball nose copy endmill from LMT Fette sets new standards in exactly these points (image 4). It has 4 cutting edges with a special S-cut. Compared with the already established
HSCline SuperFinish2 with 2 cutting edges, the processing time can thus be reduced even more whilst simultaneously increasing the tool life. This is particularly useful when machining larger components with a long production time.

Its high-precision cutting geometry with defined cutting edge preparation enables a productivity increase of up to 40%. The spiral angle of 30° and the carbide shaft reduce the tendency to vibrate. In addition, the high dimension accuracy enables a significant surface quality increase thanks to a narrow radius tolerance of +/- 5 µm. The tool can be used for the finishing of hardened steel up to 65 HRC and for the finishing and semi-finishing of high-strength steel.

The preferred area of application of the new HSCline SuperFinish4 lies in the mold and die making sector for creating free-form surfaces, for example, for injection molding and thermoforming tools as well as in general machining. A diameter range of 6-12 mm is available.

Tool technology outlook

lmtImage-5With regard to tool technology, more powerful milling tools will be
required due to the increasing use of high strength, annealed or hardened materials. To this end, the development of special geometries, cutting materials and coatings is intensively promoted.

The required process reliability should already be simulated in advance. This requires excellent information and data quality. The “Industry 4.0” initiative of the German industry makes a future-oriented contribution to this. In this context, the additive “3D printing” manufacturing method should also be mentioned. With the appropriate digitally linked equipment, not only models, prototypes and auxiliary tools can be produced at short notice. In addition, there are also new design options with new or improved functions for tool technology. For example, bores “around the corner” enable a more effective coolant supply directly at the cutting edge.

LMT Tools has already implemented various modules for “Industry 4.0” and has also invested in “3D printing” technology.