Tool life tracking and Vericut
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    Exclamation Tool life tracking and Vericut

    Hi,

    We have a number of DMU 50/60 machines in our place and we do not monitor tool life for any of our tools, which can lead to breakages, not having available tools, inaccurate quotations for our customers etc.

    I'm trying to put together some methods to review tool life, predetermine tool/insert changes, spending etc.

    What methods are people currently utilising to monitor tool life data?

    Ultimately I would like to be able to be able to develop a spreadsheet for various tools, there expected (average) cutting time before needing changed. Then i can pair this with planning & stock data to ensure we always have stock of tools and therefore no downtime relating to tooling.

    We have Vericut, but cycle times tend to be inconsistent with actual manufacturing time.
    I can get the cycle time from the machine, but this isn't accurate as it doesnt detail the actual cutting time for a single tool - maybe there is a way??

    Any ideas are greatly appreciated!!

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    I track tool life with a simple macro statement to count parts and an if statement to set a max, then we you reach your max you can put a message on the screen to check the insert or drill etc. the problem comes when you run a bunch of different parts, where the tooling is used different for each job or different materials, I count by the part on most tools except for drills and I count inches on them, the macro counters are nice but with all the variables it did not get me where I wanted to be, the guys just set them low to be safe then we threw away a lot of tool life, so I have focused on training and created my own powerpoint with pictures showing inserts from new to failure , and teaching how to read the chips, and part finishes and load meter to predict insert failure which has made a big difference.

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    I find it hard to believe you can't set tool life in either number of uses or hours/minutes in the cut at your control.

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    Sounds like a good question for DMGM's apps dept.
    Any modern control will have standard and optional life management in spades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JerrySmith View Post
    Hi,
    I'm trying to put together some methods to review tool life, predetermine tool/insert changes, spending etc.
    ....
    Ultimately I would like to be able to be able to develop a spreadsheet for various tools, there expected (average) cutting time before needing changed. !
    I wish you luck. One can vary tool life by a bunch of methods.
    Part of my job has been to align tool changes to shift changes or shop break times or to align that all tools get changed at once or in some nice orderly fashion of two or ten of these to one of those or that sort of thing.

    The bad thing is when a tool pops up needing a change. Fifteen minutes later another one does. Six minutes later another.
    Tool changes are expensive. All the nifty in the machine control things do not think about that.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    The bad thing is when a tool pops up needing a change. Fifteen minutes later another one does. Six minutes later another.
    Tool changes are expensive. All the nifty in the machine control things do not think about that.
    Bob
    You're doing it wrong. Sister/replacement tools are your solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkd View Post
    You're doing it wrong. ......
    Not the first time I've been told that, I do what I can.

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    What controllers? Siemens? On an 840D you can just tab over to the offset page and turn on tool life counting in minutes. Set the life as 9999999 minutes (or whatever the max is), then check the time left when you have to change the tool. There's a bunch of parameters for how this behaves, but getting a basic time in cut is as easy as just activating it on the tool itself.

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    If you have the funds to support it, MachineMetrics.com is a great place to look. (I have no affiliation with them). They can offer predictive maintenance, tool life, and every other machine data you could possibly want to monitor machine spindle time, machine time, tool life, parts, etc. I would highly recommend looking into them if you don't have a controller that can offer the tool life data.

    If you can capture the tool life usage, you could potentially match that data up with Vericut and your part numbers to be able to predict how many of what tools you need for each part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkd View Post
    You're doing it wrong. Sister/replacement tools are your solution.
    That is easier said than done. What if a tools break or wears badly in the middle of an overnight run? At what point does the sister tool take over? After a given time, or after a laser check? Just randomly throwing in a new tool when you "think" yours is worn out in the middle of a run, is usually a disaster, at least in my world. It depends on the work you do I suppose. In moldmaking, overnite runs with sister tools on multiple presets has always been a battle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5 axis Fidia guy View Post
    That is easier said than done. What if a tools break or wears badly in the middle of an overnight run? At what point does the sister tool take over? After a given time, or after a laser check? Just randomly throwing in a new tool when you "think" yours is worn out in the middle of a run, is usually a disaster, at least in my world. It depends on the work you do I suppose. In moldmaking, overnite runs with sister tools on multiple presets has always been a battle.
    I would imagine most newer machines have multiple ways to measure tool life. Even Haas has load monitoring and tool life in the cut time. I think the *secret* is getting to where you know what the expected life is, THEN plug that into machine to tell it when to change to the new tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    I would imagine most newer machines have multiple ways to measure tool life. Even Haas has load monitoring and tool life in the cut time. I think the *secret* is getting to where you know what the expected life is, THEN plug that into machine to tell it when to change to the new tool.
    That's easy when your average run is 5K parts, and you do that every day.

    Not so easy for you guys who have to make 2 of something.

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    Run to breakage and back off 20% is one method but a poor one.

    One fair method is to loop eyeball the wear land and note at intervals to make note of the findings. . For many precision need cutters .015 may be the limit. At a creating certain (getting too much) wear-land, pressure and heat acceleration make the wear curve go way up.

    Some cutting tools may break/fail at the very start, but getting past the being broken-in (perhaps a .002 wear land they/it might last for a very long time (perhaps to that .015 wear land). Then after a certain wear-land, the tool begins to heat and wear very fast and may only give 10% more parts before breaking. If taken out and resharpened at the proper time might give 20 uses of the cutting tool and so save a ton of money, scrap parts, and broken fixtures. Yes for some cutting tools the acceptable wear land may be more than.015. Some heavy carbide mill roughing bore cutters may have a 1/16 wear land and still be producing good parts and causing no damage to the cutter body.

    For some cutting tools, a break-in time program variance may extend tool life, A program might be such at to make 5 or 10 parts at a slower feed rate and then run at normal. Perhaps only lower the feed rate for a specific tool that has a histioery of breaking early in a part run.

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    Doesn't Vericut have a whole system in place to do exactly this? You should also consider using the Force module upgrade if you haven't already. It will adapt feed rates to maintain chip load and increase tool life in some cases 30%+ according to Vericut's own studies.

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    Tool life tracking is specific to the particular tool and operation. You might have a 1/2" carbide too that makes 7,000 holes and another operation using that same drill that makes only 250 holes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeachMePlease View Post
    That's easy when your average run is 5K parts, and you do that every day.

    Not so easy for you guys who have to make 2 of something.
    ?? Why would I need tool life for a few parts? Make to print and on to next job. But ya, we rarely make more than 50 of something so tool life isn't an issue, especially in aluminum and brass....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    ?? Why would I need tool life for a few parts? Make to print and on to next job. But ya, we rarely make more than 50 of something so tool life isn't an issue, especially in aluminum and brass....

    Because you can still establish "This tool runs for approximately XX hours in mild steel, replace at XX-2 hours for reliability" type standards.

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    When I worked in a shop we used Makino's MAS-A5 system and would set tool life for tools. If we thought the part would require more time with that tool, we would place duplicate tools in machines, sometimes 5 of the same tool. Then when the tool was "finished" in that it met or exceeded it's life time we would inspect the tool under a microscope. If it was still good and they consistently had more life in them, we would increase the tool life in the MAS system. If it was worn but not terrible we would leave it, and if it was heavily chipped we would set the tool life to be less.

    When we started working with harder metals such as titanium and inconel we also added a stop in the machine at a certain load capacity. We determined what load the machine was under during normal machining and then set a max so if it went above so much it would stop the machine immediately before mangling the part or tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeachMePlease View Post
    Because you can still establish "This tool runs for approximately XX hours in mild steel, replace at XX-2 hours for reliability" type standards.
    Mild steel? What's that???

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeachMePlease View Post
    That's easy when your average run is 5K parts, and you do that every day.

    Not so easy for you guys who have to make 2 of something.
    when you're making 2 of something, you dont run it overnight unattended...

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