Matt Danford

Matt joined the MMS team in 2006 after graduating from Ohio University (Bobcats, not Buckeyes!) with a B.S. degree in Journalism. Over the years, his duties at MMS have included editing product releases, managing the case study section and writing short technical pieces. As of early 2013, he’s been fully focused on feature writing. Matt enjoys traveling the country—and the world—to see manufacturing technology in action and to learn as much as possible from those who design and use it.

Posted by: Matt Danford 26. June 2013

Komet Expands Service Network

Personnel from Tri-State Tool Grinding and Komet USA pose for a photo during a recent ceremony, barbecue and plant tour to celebrate Tri-State Tool Grinding’s inclusion in the Komet Service network.

Tri-State Tool Grinding’s own logo isn’t the only name on the new version of the company’s business cards—they now sport the Komet Service brand as well. The additional name reflects the cutting tool manufacturer’s recent signing of Tri-State as a licensed service partner, a role in which the Cincinnati, Ohio-based shop will provide tool refurbishment services as well as Komet-brand standard and made-to-order solid carbide tools for customers within a roughly 150-mile radius.

Given Tri-State’s close proximity to Modern Machine Shop’s Cincinnati-area office, the tool grinding specialist’s June 20 celebration in honor of this achievement proved a convenient occasion to learn more about the program and both companies. The event included a ceremony and plant tour, and barbecue from Montgomery Inn—a local staple—seemed perfect fare given that a prime goal of the service network is to provide services on a regional basis. For customers, this is a better alternative than shipping tools to the company’s Schaumburg, Illinois location or even to its headquarters in Germany, the company says. It adds that access to Komet drawings enables Komet Service Partners like Tri-State to provide reground tools that retain their original geometry and coating characteristics, as opposed to becoming mere commodities. This model reportedly works well in Europe, where 17 partners have been established thus far, and the company hopes to duplicate that success here by adding 26 different regional partners by 2015. Tri-State Tool Grinding is the third partner to be signed, and the company expects to announce 5 more by year’s end.

To ensure quality service, Komet requires partners to meet strict requirements prior to being signed. These include sufficiently sophisticated equipment (particularly for measurement), in-depth technical expertise, and ISO 9001 certification. Five of Tri-State's technicians also went through a rigorous training and are now certified by Komet to regrind tools and manufacture special tools. 

A brief plant tour revealed plans to install a new Genius universal tool measuring machine from Zoller (Ann Arbor, Michigan), and the company also recently purchased a new Walter Helitronic Vision tool grinder from United Grinding (Miamisburg, Ohio).

Tri-State’s most recent equipment purchase, a Walter Helitronic Vision tool grinder, is equipped with a 13-position wheel changer that reduces setup time and eases grinding of specially shaped flutes and other features that require multiple wheels.


Jim Dinkelacker, co-owner of the family-owned tool grinding shop, says joining the service network will bring in more business that will accelerate the company’s already significant growth (it is currently considering a move to a new, larger facility). Other benefits of the new agreement include marketing and technical support from Komet.  

Posted by: Matt Danford 24. June 2013

Exchangeable-Tip Drills Explained

This diagram depicts the tip interface of one of the more recently unveiled exchangeable-tip drills: Sandvik Coromant’s Corodrill 870. A webcast produced by the company provides an overview of some of the product’s most notable features.


The exchangeable-tip drill has earned its place as one of the top three drill types recommended for most common hole-making applications. However, as a relatively recent entry to the field that fills a middle, sometimes overlapping ground between the other two models, this design could potentially be underutilized. This article provides a basic overview of where exchangeable tips fit in vis-a-vis their solid carbide and indexable insert cousins.  

Posted by: Matt Danford 19. June 2013

Event Highlights Growing, Diverse Tool Supplier

My trip to Tubingen included a guided tour of Horn’s entire manufacturing operation, which, among other processes, employs injection molding and extrusion to shape indexable inserts. Click here for highlights of what I saw.


Although Horn initially built its reputation on grooving and part-off technology, pigeonholing the tooling manufacturer as a specialist in those areas alone would be a huge disservice to the company and any potential customers. Moreover, a broader product line isn’t the only factor in Horn’s becoming a bigger contender during the past few decades. The company itself has grown steadily as well, a trend that management expects to continue throughout 2013 and beyond. 

These were two major takeaways from “Technology Days,” a biennial event at the company’s headquarters in picturesque Tubingen, Germany. Along with more than 2,000 customers and dealers from around the world—a reportedly larger crowd than in previous years—press members including me and Chris Koepfer, editor-and-chief of MMS sister publication Production Machining, enjoyed a busy three days of demonstrations, tours and technical presentations.

Although Horn’s grooving expertise was evident from the get-go, demos and placards also showcased products that ran the gamut from milling and turning to broaching, reaming and thread-whirling. Notably, not all of these offerings were selections from the company’s 20,000-strong line of standard tools. Many were custom-designed models—which represent more than 50 percent of the company’s total annual turnover. The merits of custom tooling was also the topic of a particularly interesting technical presentation, while others focused on high-feed-rate machining, cutting with ultra-hard diamond and CBN materials, and performing broaching on CNC machines. (Watch for in-depth coverage of these topics in upcoming issues of both MMS and PM.)

In the United States, standard and custom tools alike are manufactured at Horn USA’s facility in Franklin, Tennessee. The U.S. market’s strength and growth potential has spurred plans to more than double the size of that facility beginning this year.  The overall company is growing, too. With annual turnover expected to rise by € 5 million this year over the € 220 million reported in 2012, the company is constructing a new building at the Tubingen campus for additional capacity. That project is slated for completion in 2015.

These expansions follow close on the heels of the 2012 completion of another new facility in Tubingen: a 16,000-square-meter factory for Horn Hartstoffe, the company’s carbide manufacturing operation. Here, powdered carbide mixes are shaped into “green” inserts via three different processes: axial pressing, and, perhaps more notably, extrusion and injection molding. This aspect of Horn’s manufacturing process, as well as the custom machines it uses to grind inserts after sintering, were among the most fascinating aspects of my trip. Click here for a brief virtual tour.  

Posted by: Matt Danford 11. June 2013

Spindle Maintenance for Smaller Shops

Although they don’t provide the full analysis capability of a data collector with dedicated software, vibration pens provide an affordable and effective means of trending spindle performance.


Vibration monitoring is a key tool in the arsenal of any professional spindle service provider, but the means to bring this task in-house are more accessible than many shops may realize. Rick Thompson, senior spindle product engineer at Gilman Precision, says vibration pens can provide an economical way for small and medium operations without the resources for more advanced equipment to adopt a proactive approach to spindle maintenance. This can help avoid scrapped parts, machine crashes, unexpected downtime and worse. Click here to learn more about these products, as well as some simple steps shops can take to keep spindles spinning.  

Posted by: Matt Danford 3. June 2013

Probe Enables Finish Measurement on CMMs

Along with the option for straight or cranked stylus configurations (the latter is shown here), the SFP1’s passive C axis and the infinite positioning of the Revo head enable users to orient the diamond-tipped stylus to virtually any angle.


Although moving parts requires additional labor and introduces potential for error, many aerospace and automotive manufacturers have no other option for verifying surface finish. The CMMs these manufacturers often employ for dimensional measurement would require additional axes of motion and increased resolution to employ a pointed stylus small enough to measure peaks and valleys measured by the nanometer.

Renishaw says the SFP1 probe option for its Revo measuring head alleviates both issues, thereby enabling manufacturers to avoid relying on dedicated machinery or hand-held gages for finish measurements. The five-axis Revo interfaces with an additional, passive axis on the probe itself to facilitate the necessary motion, while laser tip-sensing technology provides the required level of precision.

Two videos produced by the company showcase each of these capabilities, and this article explores the technology behind the Revo and SFP1 probe in more detail.

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