Billet machining cuts time to market

With the support of Ceratizit UK & Ireland, Techni has dramatically cut the time to market for its compressor mount kits used in van-based refrigeration and compressed air applications.

Typically, Techni machines the kit’s compressor brackets from SG iron castings, as normal batch sizes make this the most cost-effective method. However, driven by a significant increase in home deliveries due to the Covid pandemic, customers have demanded faster turnaround, and volumes in much lower numbers but more diverse configurations.

“In order to compete we needed to review our production methods to reduce lead times by as much as possible, and billet machining was the logical step,” explains Ali Kerr Techni’s manufacturing engineer who worked on the project.

To help with the work holding, tooling and methodology, Techni turned to preferred tooling supplier Ceratizit UK & Ireland.

With the billet gripped, up to 90% of the machining, both roughing and finishing, is carried out using a WNT CircularLine end mill featuring Ceratizit’s extremely wear resistant Dragonskin DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coating. In the case of Techni, these 4 mm diameter five-flute cutters run at a conservative 450 m/min surface speed and 0.2 mm/tooth feed, with a 10-20% step over.

“The help we’ve received from Ceratizit on this project has been invaluable,” says Kerr. “We can now deliver finished machined parts to customers within a week if required, compared to four months for a new cast product. This gives us a valuable competitive edge with new customers. In future, with batch quantities up to 300, billet machining will offer a significant advantage, and we already have more parts lined up for billet machining.”

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