BY SUE ROBERTS
Choice is the name of the game when it comes to machining. A choice of equipment capabilities. A choice of coolants. A
choice of tooling. Actually, many choices of
As equipment has gained capabilities and
speed, tooling manufacturers have kept pace
with advances by offering more choices in
every category from the actual cutters to
holders to arbors to extensions. But thumbing through catalogues or scrolling through
thousands of tooling choices to find the best
combination of components for an application
can take precious time.
The process of building these tooling assemblies begins with the one thing that offers
little to no choice: the component features.
Tooling manufacturers are again stepping
in, developing software that allows easy and
quick identification of optimal tooling components based on the feature specifications and
incorporating tooling strategies gleaned from
years of experience. This wealth of digital
information can be accessible without leaving
the CAD program.
The time savings from these software packages for choosing tooling fits with overall
goals of increasing project efficiency, but the
tribal information embedded in these programs goes well beyond choosing what inserts
fit with what toolholder.
Here two tooling manufacturers discuss
their insert-to-machine software designed to
make managing these choices and incorporating expert application knowledge much easier.
The software from both companies is available for free download.
NOVO FROM KENNAMETAL
Mitch Benko, director of virtual machining at
Kennametal, talked about NOVO™.
“With NOVO, the online catalogue is just a
little sliver of information available in the
software. In building this software, we’ve
made use of our classification data, all the
characteristics used to describe the tools
physically or through product families, and
our engineering knowledge. Some engineering information may be available in the hard
catalogue as technical pages, but the software
includes additional data like calculators and
algorithms that the company hasn’t exposed.
“The designer can find tooling in a way that
suits his experience and current needs. If he’s
been on the shop floor, he might just use the
program as a filter to get to the tooling selection quickly. A novice can go in and say I have
A search for a specific part using NOVO also provides associated inserts, adapters,
and spare parts. Photo courtesy of Kennametal.
BEGIN WITH AN INSERT
AND BUILD AN ASSEMBLY—
WHILE INSIDE CAD
Tooling software sifts through tooling options, offers applications
intelligence, manages tooling, and interfaces with other programs