VPO-DC-MT cutting tap reduces tapping cycle time and increases tool life in steel bracket code production for corn heads
In tapping applications, most machining troubles are usually caused by unstable chip evacuation. The saving of time in machining and downtime caused by the lack of chip control can significantly reduce manufacturing cost even in small lot production. The elimination of cutting chip problems in its robotic production systems is one of the key objectives of Olimac s.r.l., a world leader in the design and manufacturing of corn heads used for harvesting.
Olimac’s plant is located in Margarita, a province of Cuneo in the Piedmont region of Italy.
Founded in 1950, Olimac is a leading solution provider for the agriculture industry with innovative corn heads engineered for higher efficiency in corn cultivation. Today, Olimac exports more than 98 percent of its production all over the globe. Employing approximately 200 staff, Olimac is headquartered in Margarita, a province of Cuneo in the Piedmont region of Italy, with a production area of over 45,000-square-meter. Olimac’s manufacturing plant is equipped with numerous CNC machining centers, with capabilities to optimize work cycles for various lot sizes in different materials, such as alloy steels, cast iron and carbon steel.
Inside Olimac’s manufacturing plant in Margarita, Cuneo, Italy. Olimac’s production facility is completely automated with integrated robotic production systems to control all components with superior quality.
Olimac’s production facility is completely automated with integrated robotic production systems to control all components with superior quality. Advanced CAD-CAM tools are used in Olimac’s research and design division, where production processes are transmitted to the machine tools with every working phase being traceable and monitored. In the corn head manufacturing sector, Olimac prides itself as the only company with capabilities to completely design and build all components of the corn head inside its own plant. As a forward-thinking company that is attentive to new technologies, Olimac continuously seeks process optimization to facilitate further growth.
Olimac’s manufacturing plant is equipped with numerous CNC machining centers, with capabilities to optimize work cycles for various lot sizes in different materials, such as alloy steels, cast iron and carbon steel.
Recently, Olimac was looking to improve tool performance on its fixed bracket code production made of C40 steel (JIS S40C) for corn heads. The company has been manufacturing bracket codes since 2015 in various shapes and quantity. For this part, the current annual production volume is estimated to be around 25,000 pieces. Each bracket code requires the threading of two M14 x 2 holes at a depth of 36 mm. The pre-hole is drilled with a 12 mm diameter carbide drill at a depth of 39 mm. The parts are machined using a Mazak HCN-5000 horizontal machining center.
Fixed bracket codes made of C40 steel (JIS S40C) for corn heads. Olimac has been manufacturing bracket codes since 2015 in various shapes and quantity.
Originally, Olimac was using a competitor tap for the application and experienced chip control problems and poor tool life. In search of improvement, Olimac Production Manager Alessandro Martini contacted OSG to optimize cycle time, increase tool life and enhance chip control that has been causing enormous downtime problems in Olimac’s robotic production systems.
Shortly after, OSG Italia Engineering Manager Andrea Severi and OSG Italia Piedmont Area Salesman Riccardo Costamagna visited Olimac’s production facility to evaluate the application. After analyzing the cutting condition, the dual recommended using the M14 x 2 VPO-DC-MT form E cutting tap with center-through coolant (EDP#: 48038191) mounted on a synchronized tap holder with ER16 collet.
OSG’s VPO-DC-MT form E cutting tap with center-through coolant mounted on a synchronized tap holder.
The VPO-DC-MT is a powder metal straight fluted tap engineered to excel in cast iron and cast aluminum applications. The high rigidity geometry of this tool combined with OSG’s V coating and the highly wear resistant powder metal substrate guarantee high-performance process stability.
For the machining, the competitor tap was used at a cutting speed of 15 m/min (340 rpm) and averaged 4,800 holes. The VPO-DC-MT tap, on the other hand, was tested at a cutting speed of 18 m/min (410 rpm) and averaged 8,200 holes. Comparing the cutting parameter and result against the competitor, the VPO-DC-MT demonstrated a time saving in the tapping process of 20 percent and also boosted tool life by 70 percent.
Thanks to its unique cutting geometry, the VPO-DC-MT tap enables the generation of short and compact cutting chips even in alloy steels, pre-hardened steels, and medium-carbon steels such as C40. The VPO-DC-MT offers an excellent solution to controlling cutting chips when it is not possible to utilize a forming tap.
From left, OSG Italia Engineering Manager Andrea Severi, Olimac Production Manager Alessandro Martini and OSG Italia Piedmont Area Salesman Riccardo Costamagna pose for a photograph at Olimac’s manufacturing facility in Margarita, Cuneo, Italy.
For Olimac, the VPO-DC-MT tap has successfully eliminated cutting chip problems correlated to machine downtime, enabling greater production efficiency while also decreasing processing costs, which led to a very significant economic saving for the company.