An Education that’s Worth the Trip

Cutting tool manufacturer Ingersoll recently dedicated a day and a half of classroom instruction and demonstrations solely to our corner of the industry.

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Ingersoll’s annual Die & Mold Seminar was well-attended this year. (Photo courtesy of Ingersoll Cutting Tools).

A few weeks ago, I dropped by Ingersoll Cutting Tools’ campus in Rockford, Illinois for its annual Die & Mold Seminar. During one presentation, die mold product manager William Fiorenza briefly commented on why making molds requires a different mindset than running production parts. Molds, he noted, aren’t high-quantity items, and they certainly don’t offer the luxury of pilot runs. The process has to be right the first time. Compared to other segments of the industry, this makes it even more critical to understand precisely how every element of machining, from the CAM system to the CNC to the spindle and cutting tool, works in concert to deliver a quality part.

In my view, that makes it particularly important for moldmakers to look beyond their own four walls to keep knowledge current. Even if it’s hard to justify a day or two away from the shop, supplier open houses and seminars are a great way to do that, particularly when they’re focused solely on our corner of the industry.

The Die & Mold Seminar didn’t disappoint. This wasn’t just a platform to showcase the company’s latest cutters. From the very outset, attendees were bombarded with general, need-to-know information, including how tool lengths and diameters affect deflection; the physics of chip formation; how tangential, radial and axial forces interact during machining; the difference between advance per tooth and feed per tooth; and far more—all geared specifically toward moldmaking operations.

In the same vein, a chief advantage of industry events is the opportunity to network, and that advantage is compounded at an event with a laser focus on die/mold manufacturers. After all, what better place to talk shop with others who face the exact same problems and competitive pressures on a daily basis? (Notably, attendees also got a first-hand look at the company's PVD coating process, which illuminated why this coating method is eclipsing CVD for milling applications).

If you missed it this year, keep in mind this is an annual event, and you can always come back in 2015. In the meantime, stop by Ingersoll’s IMTS booth W-1822, where the company will showcase a variety of products that attracted lots of attention at the seminar. These include the Hi-Quad F, a tool designed for demanding high feed cutting operations with robust, positive-geometry inserts; the Hi-Quad XXX, a good option for older machines or CNCs with limited lookahead capability; the FormMaster R, which is available with round inserts or serrated inserts for extended reach applications and improved chip management; and the Hi Feed Midi, which offers similar advantages as the High Feed Mini at deeper cutting depths.

Another notable offering was the Typhoon HSM Jet Spindle. Available through Ingersoll and manufactured by Colibri Spindles, this auxiliary spindle uses coolant pressure to increase machine tools’ rpm capabilities. Click here to learn more.

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