Approached by Mayr Faserverbundtechnik to help optimise milling operations on a ­composite component, Mapal, a supplier of cutting tools for precision machining, developed a solution that quadrupled tool life, significantly reduced machining time and eliminated a need for manual reworking and finishing.

For the components used in the new design of an operating table, CFRP composite was the ideal choice of material as it’s exceptionally strong, lightweight and transparent to X-rays. However, machining this material presents significant challenges, including difficulties in obtaining good tool life and in combining a high machining rate with a quality finish.

These were the challenges faced by Mayr Faserverbundtechnik in the production of a tongue-shaped composite component that plays a key role in the new operating table. This requires two milling operations, which are carried out in two clamping positions on a machining centre with an SK40 spindle. The first operation trims the periphery of the component, while the second mills two guide slots.

Before it approached Mapal, Mayr Faserverbund­technik was using two milling tools – a solid carbide router for roughing and a PCD end mill for finishing. The tool life was just 45 components and the surface quality obtained was so poor that ­additional manual reworking and finishing was needed, and the machining time per component was more than seven minutes.

The new machining process from Mapal uses an OptiMill-Composite-Speed ­diamond-coated solid carbide end mill with eight cutting edges, which allows all milling operations on the component to be completed in a single machining step. The novel geometry of the tool and serrations in the cutting edges ensure optimal chip removal and, therefore, permit high machining rates to be achieved.

Tool life has been increased from 45 to 200 parts, while machining time has been reduced by 32 per cent.


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