Seco aids growth at Mecaprec

French precision machining company Mecaprec has found that working closely with Seco has helped it to grow tenfold in a decade while supplying parts to the world’s biggest aerospace companies.

Company CEO Jean-Marc Gomez acquired the company in 2008 when it employed 12 people and had annual sales of €780,000. Shortly after, when Mecaprec invested in a series of Makino machining centres, it brought Seco Tools to the company’s attention.

“They had the tools we needed for a big contract that we landed in 2011 for Aubert & Duval, a world leader in upscale metallurgy,” says Gomez. “The distributor was too expensive, so we were happy to work directly with Seco, and the rest is history.”

Since then, the two companies have worked together closely, adopting new tools as they have been developed, which has helped Mecaprec to further expand its product range while reducing unit costs. Seco is now the company’s biggest supplier of cutting tools.

Today, Mecaprec employs 75 people and has annual sales of €10.5m, providing parts for customers such as Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, Embraer and Airbus Helicopter, along with tier-one suppliers like Figeac Aero, Aubert & Duval, PCC France, Artus and Mecachrome. Some 98% of Mecaprec’s work is in the aerospace industry, working mainly in titanium, Inconel and stainless steel. The company mills parts in dimensions ranging from 10 x 10 mm up to 1500 x 1500 mm, producing some 80,000 components every year.

“We want cutting tool specialists who will bring us their new technologies, supply us seamlessly, train our people, listen to our needs and keep us at the cutting edge – in Seco’s case, literally,” says Gomez. “We have a great relationship with Seco, and we look forward to that continuing long into the future.”

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Precise and efficient machining

The manufacturing and internal machining of small parts requires precise quality tools, such as Kyocera’s EZ Bar series, which now includes a new item: the EZBF is able to undertake a one-shot boring process including a 90° step.

According to Kyocera, the EZ Bar series is suitable for high-quality products due to its minimal deviation, longer tool life and advanced machining efficiency when compared with conventional tools. Especially with its proprietary EZ adjust function, high-precision indexing is said to be easier than ever: a wide variety of ID processes is possible – boring, back turning, grooving, facing and even threading – just by changing one tool. The latest addition to the line-up even allows for hole bottom face-finishing processes.

For an even better finish, the EZ Bar can combine with the new PR1725, a PVD-coated carbide grade. This original development of Kyocera – named MegaCoat Nano Plus – tackles several customer challenges at once: producing a better surface finish; providing a cost-effective solution with a long tool life; and integrating tools for steel and stainless steel. With its wear and adhesion resistance, the tool also results in reduced cracking while machining.

To give customers more and better machining possibilities, the EZ Bar line-up is constantly expanding. For instance, EZ Bar 45° Chamfering and EZ Bar Copying types are in the pipeline for release this summer to help address an even wider variety of applications.

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Optimise cutting with scientific data

Any engineer knows the consequences of cutting tool vibration, which is why MSC Industrial Supply is making this effect a thing of the past with the new and exclusive MSC MillMax service.

For generations, machine operators have tentatively followed the prescribed cutting speeds and feeds based on manufacturer recommendations, having to later reduce cutting parameters and productivity rates based upon excessive tool vibration and deflection. This tool chatter can be caused by a seemingly endless number of factors that emanate – individually or collectively – from the machine spindle, tool holding configuration and cutting tool. Every machine tool and its respective tooling configuration operates at a unique frequency.

An often challenging puzzle to solve, engineers can only hope for a satisfactory result by relying upon experience, best practice and in some cases luck to attain the best possible outcome. Now, MSC surpasses this perceived ‘best possible outcome’ by applying a scientific approach. The new MSC MillMax service analyses and records frequencies and interprets the data to provide the customer with optimal machining parameters, replacing guesswork with exact scientific data that MSC Industrial says delivers unparalleled results.

MSC MillMax involves undertaking a simple ‘tap test’ that analyses and records the frequencies of the tool in a matter of minutes. Experts from MSC can interpret information from the system and provide the end user with a new set of optimised machining parameters.

Already proving successful in the USA, MSC MillMax is recording a 170% average improvement in material removal rates with a 40% decrease in cycle times.

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Compression geometry boosts CFRP machining

The latest solid-carbide cutter from Ceratizit features patent-pending geometry that delivers fibre compression across the entire length of MonsterMill FRP CR mills when producing parts from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). Thanks to this maximum utilisation of the cutting edge, Ceratizit says that tooling costs and programming times reduce, while tool life increases.

When machining CFRPs, cutting tools must withstand high levels of abrasion and deliver optimum quality. In comparison with conventional routers featuring a fixed compression zone, the left- and right-hand helix on each cutting edge of the MonsterMill FRP CR form criss-cross pattern cuts that eliminate any pulling up or pushing down of the component when under cut.

Regular left and right-hand cuts on each cutting edge, and the accompanying fibre compression across the entire cutting length, result in the clean removal of fibres in all directions without damaging the component, reports Ceratizit, which greatly reduces delamination and projecting fibres. Also, depending on component thickness and the fixture, it is possible to use MonsterMill FRP CR multiple times as fibre compression is present across the entire cutting length, thus maximising the tool’s full flute length. This capability gives the customer the opportunity to lower costs.

Other benefits of MonsterMill FRP CR include reduced time and effort spent on programming for shaped components. When compared with a conventional router featuring a fixed compression zone, no zone on the component aligns with the MonsterMill FRP CR for the milling and profiling of shaped parts.

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14-fold productivity advantage

By optimising a roughing process when recessing 42CrMo4 steel (1.7225) hardened to 1000 N/mm2, German subcontractor Jörg Bamann CNC Dreh- und Frästeile in Geretsried has been able to save just under 100 minutes per component thanks to the use of DAH high-feed milling cutters manufactured by Paul Horn GmbH.

The subcontractor’s second-generation managing director Jörg Bamann has been using tools from this manufacturer in his production facility for 20 years, but it was only 10 years ago that the DAH high-feed face-milling system was launched. Due to low vibration tendency, the tools can reliably absorb high loads at the usual feed per tooth of fz = 1 mm, at cutting depths of up to 1.2 mm.

The large radius on the main cutting edge of the indexable inserts results in a soft cut, ensuring even distribution of the cutting forces and consequently extending tool life. On the inside, a smaller cutting edge radius makes for quick and easy ramping, while the wedge angle gives excellent cutter stability, reports the company.

It was a conversation with a Horn application engineer at EMO 2019 that led Bamann to swap from a toroidal milling cutter to Horn’s DAH high-feed system when machining a core part of a hydraulic rotator for excavator attachments.

With the former tool, which had five indexable inserts, it took over 100 minutes to rough the recess in the rotator parts, and it was able to machine 30 before the inserts needed indexing. In contrast, the time for machining the recess with the Horn DAH system is now just seven minutes per component – more than 14 times quicker than before – and the life of the triple-edged indexable inserts has increased three-fold to 90 components per edge.

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