Taking productivity to the next level with OSG Phoenix indexable drill series
Kelly Zago | OSG Canada
Success in hole-making is dependent on various factors, such as the machine tool, coolant, workholding, toolholder and the cutting tool itself. Furthermore, the ability to identify the best cutting parameters based on each and every unique work environment is vital to performance. Excessive small feed rates may increase wear on the cutting edge, which can reduce tool life. On the other hand, large feed rates mean more material is being removed, which can increase torque and thrust. Higher than necessary feed rates may lead to higher heat generation, which can result in premature tool failure. Heat generation control is a key factor in the drilling of any material because it can significantly influence tool life. Speeds and feeds must be adjusted accordingly based on the condition of the work material.
In large-size hole-making, where holes are generally larger than one inch in diameter, an indexable drill is generally a more economical choice due to its high speed steel body with carbide inserts design. At Metalium’s Sainte-Julie plant in Canada, over 25,000 metric tons of drilled parts are shipped annually, with hole sizes ranging from 0.625 inch to 2.5 inch in diameter that are processed by indexable drills. A single part can require up to three weeks to manufacture, according to Metalium Production Manager Nelson Albert. Metalium’s Sainte-Julie office employs 124 staff and has approximately 60,000-square-feet of production floor space. In the summer of 2019, Metalium plans to expand its facility to 200,000-square-feet.
Metalium is a Canadian distributor of structural steel components, supplying large structural steel parts to rail, bridge and building developments. Founded in 1978 as Rimousky Metal, then renamed to Rapid Metal and to its current name in 2003, Metalium has over 200 employees in eastern Canada. Metalium operates eight regional offices and 10 warehouses across Québec and the Atlantic provinces. Some of the services offered by Metalium include plasma or fire cutting, saw cutting, complete aluminum and steel inventory, inventoried plates, shot-blasting machine, and more.
In early 2018, Metalium’s regional plant in Sainte-Julie, Québec, Canada, was seeking a more cost-effective method to produce approximately one million holes annually, in various diameters and depths. The most common materials of these components are steel in grades 44W, 50W, 50AT and 50WT. The challenge to their objective was limited horsepower equipment and unstable drilling conditions.
Before OSG, the drilling business at Metalium was split between two major cutting tool providers. Metalium was experiencing extended downtime for tool changeover with one of the competitors’ modular drills, resulting in expensive delays to production. The insert screw of the second competitor’s exchangeable-tip drill would often heat to the point of melting, resulting in severe damages to the expensive drill bodies.
Upon a detailed evaluation of the application, OSG Canada’s Sales Engineer Patrick Lafontaine recommended the following; the PXD exchangeable head drill in 3xD and 5xD in diameter sizes of 0.625 inch to 1.25 inch, with the XP3425 grade exchangeable head for steel applications. Lafontaine also recommended the PD indexable drill 3xD and 4xD in sizes of 16 mm to 60 mm, with the XP9020 grade insert, ideal for steel and stainless steel applications.
The PXD exchangeable head drill is engineered for high efficiency large-diameter drilling. This series features OSG’s proprietary mounting system to allow the exchangeable head to be securely mounted without screws. The PD indexable drill features a unique flute design with high precision finish and integrated chip breaker. This series is engineered for efficient and stable hole-making up to 5xD. The PD indexable drill series offers a broad insert lineup to accommodate a wide range of work materials, such as steels, stainless steels, cast irons, aluminum alloys and non-ferrous metals. Both the PXD exchangeable head drill and PD indexable drill are a part of OSG’s original indexable tool brand – OSG Phoenix, backed with years of experience and expertise cultivated during the development of round shank tools since 1938.
Lafontaine worked diligently with Metalium to identify the optimum cutting conditions of the OSG drills using the Sainte-Julie plant’s unique equipment and setup on three different machining centers by Voortman, Sector and Machitech. He found that reducing the heat (rpm) and increasing the chip load benefited the tool life of the PXD exchangeable head drill; while the opposite was true on the larger diameter PD indexable drills, where he increased the rpm and reduced the chip load. This fine tuning gave Metalium the tool life and surface finish they required, but without the changeover downtime and damaged body issues of the competition. With the perfect combination of reliable tooling and proper cutting parameters, Metalium is able to take its productivity to the next level in performance and quality.