As anybody who works in the machining or manufacturing industry knows, cutting tools are subjected to a lot of pressure, and they have a lot of opportunities to become worn down. Just look at the knives in your kitchen. Chances are they don’t cut as well today as they did the day that you bought them, unless you sharpen them regularly. And they’re just cutting vegetables, meats, and fruits. The cutting tools in the average manufacturing facility may have to cut through many different kinds of metals, plastic, or other extremely sturdy or dense materials. Not only that, but they have to do it over and over again, under extremely high pressure and often at very high temperatures. That can take a toll on any cutting edge.
So how does tool wear happen? Basically, a cutting tool does its job by removing material from whatever part it’s cutting, so that the finished product has the right shape, size, and surface finish. The better honed a tool is, the more accurately it can perform this function. But the friction that allows the tool to remove the necessary material also wears on the tool edge itself, and will eventually cause the tool to fail if it isn’t properly maintained. In short, as the cutting edge slices away the material on the part that it’s machining, a little bit of it is lost to the friction as well, which causes wear and can eventually lead to damage.
Tool wear comes in a variety of patterns and types, including crater wear, flank wear, notch wear, chipping, and fracturing. Crater wear typically forms parallel to the major cutting edge, and can reduce cutting force and weaken the strength of the edge. Flank wear usually results from the abrasive wearing of the cutting edge against the surface being machined, and happens steadily over time. Notch wear generally occurs adjacent to where the cutting edge intersects the working surface, and can be caused by machining materials with an abrasive outer skin or materials with work-hardening characteristics like stainless steel and heat-resistant nickel or chromium alloys. Chipping is when a particle (or chip) of the tool breaks off. This is especially common in tools that are not used under continuous cutting conditions, or tools with built-up edge formations. Fractures are similar to chipping, except that a distinct break appears in the cutting edge. This is often caused by imperfections in the material from which the tool is constructed, or from severe stresses or temperature fluctuations.
Regardless of the type of wear that a cutting tool undergoes, all cutting tools are subject to wear sooner or later, and almost all wear can be corrected, reduced, or prevented by the use of proper edge prep technology. That’s where we here at Mutschler Edge Technologies (MET) come in. We produce affordable edge-honing solutions for all your manufacturing needs.
Mutschler Edge Technologies (MET) produces cost-effective edge-honing machines that enable companies to apply standard or custom-edge preparations to a wide range of cutting tools. Contact MET for a solution tailored to your needs.