The (R)evolution – Laser melting as an additive manufacturing process
The range of milling cutters on offer from the KOMET GROUP continues to grow.
The completely newly designed PCD milling cutters with cutting edge holders that are manufactured using a generative process are revolutionary. A maximised number of teeth and HPC-optimised cutting edge geometry mean that these ensure a huge increase in productivity, achieving feed rates that are up to 50% higher in applications. KOMET® is also utilising the structural flexibility provided by the additive manufacturing process to create a perfect design for the course of the coolant channels inside these milling cutters. Curved channel routes are positioned precisely, in such a way that ensures every cutting edge is optimally supplied with coolant from a separate channel. The innovative generative production process – because it is not restricted by conventional production rules – is also resulting in new design freedom for innovative tool solutions.
When manufacturing 3D-printed tools using selective laser melting technology, the choice of laser processing strategy is crucial. The combination of technological expertise in 3D printing and decades of knowledge and experience in manufacturing high-precision tools is revolutionising the future of tool design. Dr. Reinhard Durst, Head of research and development for solid carbide tools at KOMET GROUP , explains: „The ability to freely design the internal and external tool geometry alone means that excluding this generative process from our future plans would be inconceivable. This process increases tool performance and productivity to such a great extent that it creates considerable added value for our customers.“
The 3D-printed tools process
The 3D printing process favoured by the KOMET GROUP is selective laser melting in an argon inert atmosphere. The areas that will produce the component are precisely smelted in an extremely thin bed of metal powder using a high-performance ytterbium fibre laser and then solidified on cooling. This process is repeated with a new layer of metal powder each time until the part is finished. The layers are generally between 20 and 60 μm thick. The thinner the layer, the greater the accuracy and surface quality.
The key benefits of 3D printing
- Greater productivity thanks to HPC-optimised cutting edge geometry and the number of cutting edges
- Reduced component weight – material is only used where necessary for optimum component functionality
- Special tools can be delivered in a short space of time
- Cooling channels in the tool can be optimised to suit the machining process
- Greater design freedom – 3D printing is not restricted by conventional manufacturing rules. Innovative tool
- solutions thanks to new design freedom