Industry 4.0 link, specialized production features, new materials and coatings, high-quality tool holders, and high-pressure coolant will benefit from lights-out applications.

As stores look to rising capacity, they slowly resort to lights-out machining instead of adding equipment, workers, or shifts. Shops can get more production from their existing machines by utilizing the overnight and weekend hours for manufacturing components without an operator. Still, unattended machining can be risky—if a computer or cutting tool breaks with no one around to cope immediately with the problem, the consequences may be expensive.

Cutting tools must be dependable, with a predictable, long tool life appropriate for lights-out machining; there are no supervisors available to verify if cutting tools are broken and, if necessary, repair them. Shops can resolve this need by installing a tool management system and new cutting-edge technologies when building an unattended machining process. In addition, lights-out applications will benefit from the industry 4.0 link, specialized production features, high-quality tool holders, new materials and coatings, and high-pressure coolant.

The following five-tool features reflect developments and crucial concerns for shops as they step toward lights-out machining.

Self-Adjusting Cutting Tools

Self-adjusting cutting tools have maximum process security. In addition, these instruments employ data from in-process measuring devices (for example, touch probes, in-process bore gages, and off-line measurement systems) to dynamically change the instrument's cutting edge and ensure that the components stay intolerant without user interference.

Cutting Tool Design Features Enhance Stability, Boost Chip Evacuation

Certain design elements can also enhance the stability and life of cutting instruments. For example, insert thickness and embedding can minimize chatter and increase strength. At the same time, chip breakers can help separate chips and heat from the cutting tool, which can help improve process security.

Tool Cutting Fabrics and Coatings

Speaking of unattended machining, shops must also consider the materials and coatings of the cutting tools. Cutting tools with materials and coatings tailored for workpiece material can tolerate improved heat and wear, improving tool life.

Toolholder

Shops can also look at their tool holders in the lights-out machining process. Toolholders may significantly affect tool life by reducing chatter and run-off and preserving equilibrium.

High-Pressure Coolant

High-pressure coolant may also be utilized for light-out machining processes. It can also support boost tool life by cooling the cutting zone and flushing the chips out of the cut.