MAG Plans Cryogenic Machining Demo for imX


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At the inaugural imX (interactive manufacturing experience) show, MAG will demonstrate a new through-spindle, through-tool cooling system that employs liquid nitrogen. Scheduled for September 12-14 in Las Vegas, imX aims to depart from the traditional tradeshow model and deliver a more interactive educational experience.
Via efficient cooling of the cutting edge, the cooling system is said to enable higher cutting speeds for increased metal removal, longer tool life, or both. At temperatures of -321°F, the it can be combined with minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) to reduce tool friction and adhesion, the company says. Suitable applications involve aggressive material removal in hard materials such as titanium, nickel-based alloys, and nodular or compacted-graphite iron (CGI).
“Early results indicate this technology could dramatically improve the lifecycle cost model for machining in a ‘hard-metal’ environment by reducing the required number of machines and associated plant infrastructure, or possibly increasing tool life beyond anything thought possible today,” says George Georgiou, MAG Cryogenics Product Manager.  He adds that the technology is environmentally friendly because it involves no coolant mist collection, filtration, wet chips, contaminated workpieces or disposal cost. Additionally, energy consumption is less because it does not involve pumps, fans, drives and other such components typically used in coolant systems.
He says the key to the new system's efficiency is its ability to concentrate the cooling effect in the body of the cutting insert by directing the liquid nitrogen through the spindle and into the insert. Development thus far shows that consumption is approximately 0.04 liters per minute per cutting edge in milling and boring, and the company expects drilling and tapping to consume even less.
Mr. Georgiou adds that tests by MAG have shown the range of capabilities for diamond tooling can be expanded significantly with cryogenic cooling, for example extending the heat limit in CGI by 3 to 4 times. Carbide tooling, which is more affected by abrasive wear, responds best when MQL is combined with cryogenic cooling.
The through spindle cryogenic cooling system is suitable for motorized, belt-driven or geared spindles.