ANCA’s Grinding Technology Offers India-based SST Cutting Tools a High-Precision Boost
Partnering with ANCA gave a boost of confidence to the Bengaluru-based company, which extensively uses ANCA machines to make precision cutting tools, prepare blanks, and regrind tools
From a conventional machine operator to the founder of a company that manufactures high-precision cutting tools that employs over 30 people. Sounds like an unbelievable success story? Well, this perfectly describes the journey of Kumar A., a passionate cutting toolmaker from Bengaluru, India. Kumar’s cutting tool manufacturing company, SST Cutting Tools, relies on high-end grinding machines from ANCA to manufacture customized tools for aerospace, defense, and automotive applications. Here’s how it all began…
Journey of growth with ANCA
Kumar started SST Cutting Tools in the middle of the global recession in 2008 with a single tool and cutter grinding machine. The company now has four ANCA machines and many delighted customers.
“I started with one conventional machine and used to regrind tools. My work was received well in the industry and soon I added more conventional machines and operators, but we were not able to speed up the process and procure orders that needed high precision. That’s when I thought of investing in a CNC grinding machine,” says Kumar.
“I had absolutely no idea about CNC grinding machines, as I had never operated one before. All I knew was that I wanted the best one. I evaluated several global brands and found ANCA to be best suited for my application. More than anything, I needed a user-friendly machine, as none of the team members, including me, had any experience with CNC grinding machines,” adds Kumar.
Enhanced output, efficiency, accuracy
SST Cutting Tools added an ANCA FX3 with linear scale technology, which can produce tools with an accuracy of three microns. “We were amazed by the machine’s output and speed. Our efficiency and accuracy went up. This provided a boost to our much-needed confidence and now we’re out in the market looking for precision cutting tools requirements,” says Kumar.
As orders increased, the company grew. A plot of land was purchased and construction of its factory began in 2016. “We were small players, but I always maintained one thing – never compromise on technology. Moving to the new factory in 2017, we added a Zoller tool inspection machine, which could measure any kind of tool profiles with the accuracy of one micron,” he explains.
The company started taking precision cutting tool orders, with many happy customers. “We received several repeat orders and a lot of new inquiries. We needed to enhance our efficiency further by reducing the setup time. I discussed this challenge with the ANCA team, and they suggested the ANCA FX5 fully automatic linear machine. I saw the demo, observed all the features, and opted for it in March 2018. It was the perfect match for my requirements. The machine is equipped with a 2-wheel changer that helps us reduce the number of setups,” informs Kumar. SST added one more advanced version of the ANCA FX5 in 2019. It is fully automatic and provides high accuracy and an in-process measuring camera.
It’s all about meeting requirements
One of the most important and challenging activities for cutting tool manufacturers is to prepare precision blanks with close tolerances. The right blank can define the overall cutting tool. “With time, customers have also become very demanding. They want a cost-effective and accurate product on time. However, in 2021, the volume of orders we had in our current setup needed an upgrade, especially for the preparation of blanks. I wanted to reduce the blank preparation time with 100% accuracy and decided to opt for the ANCA 4 Axes CPX blank preparation machine,” says Kumar.
The CPX Linear is capable of achieving a surface finish better than 0.2Ra with a run out of less than two microns. “With the addition of a CPX Linear, we can make tools in a few hours, thereby meeting urgent requirements,” he adds.
Focus on quality, accuracy for applications
Talking about his vision, Kumar says, “I want to be a world-class manufacturer of cutting tools and provide services to the customer’s speculated time with zero defects and a high degree of accuracy.”
The company specializes in customized cutting tools such as drills with sizes ranging from Ø1 to Ø25 with the L/D ratio of Ø X 12; endmills with sizes ranging from 0.8mm to 25mm and 2flutes to 12flutes; and reamers and holemills, with sizes ranging from 1mm to 25mm, within the tolerance of 0.002 mm. Additionally, the company works with threading tools, boring tools, ID and OD grooving tools, pico bars, and angle grooving tools.
Kumar comes from a very humble background. At the age when most children enjoy their school days, he worked part-time to make ends meet. At the age of 18, Kumar started working as a machine operator in one of the job shops in Bengaluru, the IT and manufacturing hub of India. Motivated to learn more, he took up a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering in the evenings.
“I wanted to learn the fundamentals of mechanical engineering, the functionality of the latest machines, and various advantages of grinding applications. I used to work for 10-12 hours during the day and attend classes in the evening,” he recalls.
SST Cutting Tools’ drive and versatility is also highlighted in their multiple #ANCATooloftheYear entries, showcasing their skill and creativity with ANCA software as well as an enthusiastic commitment to the community of cutting tool manufacturers.
Proudly highlighting one of his projects, Kumar says, “When COVID cases were at their peak, we did our small bit by helping the Indian government make ventilator parts quickly with the help of our ANCA machines. Since the project was related to medical equipment, the accuracy and surface finish needed were high and the turnaround time was short. We acted quickly, gathered all our technical staff and halted all our other projects. I am glad we were able to play a small role in the fight against Corona.”
More growth ahead at home and abroad
After close to 15 years of operations and many happy customers in India, the company is now eyeing exports, and expanding their infrastructure to accommodate more machines. “We are looking forward to adding more ANCA machines in the coming days,” says Kumar.
He adds, “We have big plans for the future. However, it is worth looking back at the journey and remembering all that has worked in our favor. Choosing ANCA was one of the best decisions in my career. ANCA has not only enhanced the efficiency and productivity of SST Cutting Tools, it has also given our confidence the much-needed boost.”
“The ANCA team is well-versed with the technical know-how and their service is nothing short of excellent. Whenever we faced any technical hurdles, the team would quickly respond. We never had to face any major delays in our projects thanks to their prompt support. In fact, there have been instances of executives from ANCA flying down to Bengaluru from Australia only to help us better understand the machine’s features. I am looking forward to working with ANCA; they are our growth partner and not just a vendor,” concludes Kumar.
Meet the Finalists: SST Cutting Tools (ANCA Tool of the Year 2022): https://youtu.be/6JYIraoq4jw
ANCA Tool of the Year 2022 finalist video: https://youtu.be/FiNfuXPyMgI