You’ve may have heard the joke about the person who is not the sharpest tool in the shed. This illustrates the quandary of someone who is unprepared or simply not up to the task. For those in the manufacturing industry, it’s easy to see the connection. A tool that’s not kept well-maintained, sharp and functional is a liability and could even be dangerous.

Prioritizing Maintenance

Therefore, smart manufacturers make it a priority to keep manufacturing parts in good condition. This includes making it a priority to maintain well-honed, sharp and functional parts. The importance of a well-honed edge is a constant truth dating back to the earliest use of tools by our ancestors. Without the use of technology or even a particularly large brain, these individuals intuitively understood a sharp cutting tool performs better. Dull tools require more effort and can be needlessly dangerous to those who are trying to use them.

Fast-forward many, many years, and the need for sharp tools remains just as important. Some might argue it’s more important than ever. In an age of automation and technology, precision is incredibly important. Manufacturers know this first-hand as they look for superior performance from tools such as carbide inserts, drills, endmills, gundrills, taps, reamers, shaper cutters, hob cutters, saw blades, spiral bevel stick blades and rock drills. Just reading that list demonstrates the importance of quality-maintained tools across the plant floor.

Edge Honing Process

Honing is a reliable process that uses an abrasive tool to remove excess material to smooth the interior of a surface. More technically, it’s defined as “the creation of a controlled radius and the improvement of surface finish.” No matter how you look at it, edge honing allows cutting with less friction. Continually refining and improving on the benefits of the edge honing process remains critical to the work Mutschler Edge Tech (MET) does each day.

By removing the burrs occurring around a cutting implement and material, manufacturers can create better chip evacuation and reduce clogging. The dry process uses a specialized nylon filament brush to create an abrasive surface. The abrasive grain can vary depending on the edge that requires honing. MET offers abrasive brushes in ceramic, diamond, aluminum oxide and silicon carbide.

After choosing the appropriate abrasive medium, the brush is applied to the edge requiring honing. The filaments sharpen or hone with each pass or rotation. Although a seemingly simple process, honing can include controls that allow for type of abrasive filament, angle of the brush, cycle time, depth of honing, centerline placement and the speed/rate of the brush rotation.

Keeping an Edge

With things moving faster than ever before, it’s important for manufacturers to establish and maintain consistent edge prep honing processes. Such a commitment will extend the life of equipment used to cut or bore that sees repetitive action.