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Iscar has finally introduced a new line of Endmills as the use of Solid Ceramic End Mills is on the rise following the steady demand in processing of nickel-based high temperature superalloys (HTSA), such as various grades of Inconel, Haynes etc. in the aerospace industry, and the demand to decrease production cost (CPU). The increased use of very hard materials accounts for part of the reason why the use of ceramic end mills is increasing.
Nickel-based high temperature alloys such as Inconel were formerly used only for a narrow range of aerospace-related parts. Now, the range of these components in aerospace is increasing and can be used in other industries. The increased availability of high-torque machines with high spindle speed for processing this work is another factor enabling ceramic’s advance. Another factor is the improved tool manufacturing. These endmills can be implemented to productive roughing of cast iron and graphite. Solid Ceramic End Mills are easy-to-use than carbide end mills as the Machine shops don’t need to make any special adjustments.
The new tools have improved the cutting speed by up to 50 times when compared to carbide tools, thereby remarkably saving machining hours and reducing production costs. All the tool really need is speed as they employ heat as part of their cutting mechanism - the heat that comes from fast, dry cutting, the same heat that might be destructive to other tools. The best performance with a ceramic end mill generally occurs in a dry machining application in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 sfm. The new endmills can also be successfully applied to productive roughing of cast iron and graphite.
These tools are expensive in the market which requires applications in which a dramatic productivity gain over carbide easily justifies the cost differences. Here’s a video of how the productivity looks like:
The ceramics wears much more slowly than carbide in hard materials, it does wear. Indeed, the ceramic tool wears gradually, doing so all the while it is cutting, so that the cutting edge is slowly and constantly changing. The end of the ceramic tool’s life comes only when the edge has entirely eroded away. As a result, ceramic tools are roughing tools. Ultimately, carbide cutting edges still must perform the final finishing cuts. They do so after the ceramic end mill has delivered high productivity by quickly removing away most of the material.
- 6 to 20 mm diameters
- There are 2 configurations:
E3 – with 3 flutes for shouldering applications
E7 – with 7 flutes, feed mill style for rough applications
- The endmills are produced from two ceramic grades: IS6, designed specifically for machining HTSA IS35, intended for cutting mainly cast iron and graphite.
- Reduction in progress times on nickel-based superalloys such as Inconel, as well as Cast Iron and graphite.
- Available in 6 to 20mm diameters
- Relieved neck diameter behind the effective cutting edge for machining next to shoulders.
- Recommended cutting speed up to 1000/min
- Average tool life on superalloys is 15-25 minutes.