Substrates, coatings, geometries and other aspects of cutting tools keep on getting better. How much time do you spend on evaluating new tools?
In this article, a Boeing plant describes how finding an alternative to its “standard” roughing tool led to a seven-fold improvement in roughing metal removal rate.
In another article, a die shop describes how just keeping current with the improvements in new tools allows the shop to steadily do more work with high speed milling as an alternative to EDM.
There is a trade-off, of course. You need your capacity for today’s jobs—and many of those jobs require the tools you already know well. However, if you don’t evaluate new tools now, then tomorrow’s jobs won’t benefit from what you discover.
What is your shop’s philosophy on experimenting with new cutting tools? How often do you do this? What kind of process improvements have you made by discovering the latest and best tool for your process?