A 1,000-Percent Tool Life Improvement

A simple tool swap provided especially dramatic benefits for this Houston-area shop.


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Modern Machine Shop has built its reputation, in large part, on in-depth application stories that expose ways in which technology can fundamentally transform how manufacturers do business. Of course, more incremental improvements are also worth covering. Sometimes swapping a tool, changing a fixture or making some other relatively simple process adjustment can not only lead to dramatic gains for a shop, but also provide a valuable lesson for others struggling with similar problems or challenges.
Those types of articles typically find their way to our case study section, which we call “Better Production.” Consider the case of R-Cubed Precision Machining, a small, Houston-area job shop. As described in this article, swapping a previous drill for the Gen3Sys XT from Allied Machine and Engineering provided a tool life improvement of nearly 1,000 percent in a troublesome application in 4140 steel. That’s three zeros, not two, and nothing in the application changed but the tool. Moreover, that tool life improvement followed near-1,000-percent increases in speeds and feeds.

The shop’s experience proves that improving efficiency and productivity doesn’t always take a massive process revamp. Sometimes, it’s all about simply having the right tool for the job.