Cryogenic Machining Increases Material Removal Rates and/or Tool Life in Hard-to-Machine Materials
MAG demonstrates its Minimum Quantity Cryogenics (MQC) machining technology and explains the technology’s capabilities and advantages in a Learning Lab conducted throughout every day of the show in Booth S-8519.
Modern Machine Shop, Peter Zelinski,
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The MQC technology improves machining performance by sending a slight flow rate of cryogenic fluid through the tool. MAG is demonstrating the technology both on a new machine and retrofit to a customer’s existing machine.
MAG demonstrates its Minimum Quantity Cryogenics (MQC) machining technology and explains the technology’s capabilities and advantages in a Learning Lab conducted throughout every day of the show in Booth S-8519. Sessions start on the hour and run for 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes Q&A, every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. George Georgiou, MAG cryogenics engineering and product manager, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the cutting tool and machine tool industries, is the lead presenter.
The cryogenic capability is being demonstrated on two machines. One is a new MAG five-axis HMC 1600, and the other is a customer’s VMC that was retrofitted with this capability. The demonstrations apply MQC to various difficult-to-machine metal and composite parts. Recently approved by the U.S. government for roughing titanium components for the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, the technology is now available both as an option on new MAG machines and in retrofit kits for existing MAG machines.
The key to MQC’s effectiveness is plumbing liquid nitrogen through the insert to create a heat-sink effect as an alternative to relying on traditional wet coolants for chip zone cooling. That heat-sink effect facilitates increased process speeds, lower cutting forces, longer tool life and reduced heat. MAG points out that it is also eco-friendly, yielding dry chips without releasing coolant mist or greenhouse gases.
“Cryogenic machining has never been done this efficiently before, with liquid nitrogen passed through the spindle and through the insert,” says Michael Judge, MAG VP of cryogenic business development. “Through-tool cooling provides the most efficient heat transfer model and consumes the least amount of liquid nitrogen, with flow rates as low as 0.08 liters per minute per cutting edge.”
According to Georgiou, testing with MQC has demonstrated a 60-percent increase in speed while milling CGI with carbide and up to four times increase using PCD tooling. “This technology dramatically improves the lifecycle cost for cutting difficult-to-machine materials,” he says. “It does this by reducing the required number of machines and associated plant infrastructure, or by increasing tool life beyond anything thought possible today.”
Georgiou points out that the technology becomes even more cost-competitive when its environmental benefits are factored in. “There is no coolant mist collection, filtration, wet chips, contaminated workpieces or disposal cost, and certainly less energy consumption without all the pumps, fans and drives that go into handling coolant,” he says.
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