EWAG LASER LINE ULTRA Simplifies Micro Cutting Tool Production
MIAMISBURG, Ohio, February 10, 2020 – As products grow thinner and lighter to meet the needs of the electronics, medical and micromechanics industries, UNITED GRINDING and EWAG have developed the LASER LINE ULTRA for machining the incredibly precise microtools required for these applications. Specializing in the laser fabrication of cutting tools made of hard and ultrahard materials such as tungsten carbide (WC), polycrystalline diamond (PCD), chemical vapor deposition diamond (CVD-D) and cubic boron nitride (CBN), the LASER LINE ULTRA uses an 8-axis configuration and picosecond lasers to machine complex micro geometries in cutting tools regardless of the material’s hardness and with negligible heat-affected zones.
To ensure homogenous hole quality with micro-sized drill bits, wear-resistance of the tools is of utmost importance and can only be achieved by micro-cutting tools made out of ultrahard materials. By using ultrashort laser pulses and the EWAG Drill Module, the LASER LINE ULTRA enables diameter-to-length ratios up to 1:20. This technology allows manufacturers to produce tip thinning or chamfers, and unlike conventional techniques, the force-free process eliminates waste from tool breakage.
Laser processing ordinarily removes material according to thermal-based mechanisms. However, by using ultrashort laser pulses and correct laser parameters, the pulse is so short that significant heat has no time to be conducted into the cutting tool, creating little, if any, heat-affected zones. For example, carbide drill bits fabricated with the LASER LINE ULTRA can accept the same processing chain and recipe for physical vapor deposition (PVD) coatings as ground cutting tools.
Applications of micro end mills include profiling printed circuit boards (PCBs), milling of enclosures such as mobile phone cases and for the fabrication of molds and dies. By using the EWAG Mill Module, the LASER LINE ULTRA is able to fabricate 4-flute PCD end mills from cylindrical blanks with primary and secondary clearance faces fabricated both at the tip and circumference as well as a smooth, uninterrupted interface between PCD and WC – a crucial factor in the quality and chip evacuation performance of spiral tools. As a result, the surface quality of lasered WC surfaces is 20% better than the equivalent ground drill bit.
In general, lasered spiral tool surfaces, regardless of material, exhibit surface roughness values for Ra and Rz of <0.25 µm and <1.5 µm respectively. Additionally, cutting edge radii are typically ≤5 µm and are symmetric with a K-factor typically equal to 1±0.2. In terms of diameter stability, a tolerance of ±0.005 mm can be achieved given a production run of 12 hours in a climate-controlled facility.
The EWAG Drill and Mill Module are software options which enable users of the LASER LINE ULTRA to fabricate spiral tools made of WC or PCD between 0.4 mm to 3 mm in diameter. Like the HELITRONIC TOOL STUDIO from WALTER, parametric programming and automatic recommendations for laser processing parameters contribute to the module’s ease of use.
About UNITED GRINDING North America, Inc.
With nearly 200 employees across the U.S., Canada and Mexico and a new 110,000-sq.-ft. headquarters in Miamisburg, Ohio, UNITED GRINDING North America, Inc., strives to increase its customers' competitiveness through grinding and ultra-precision finishing solutions for the manufacturing industry, backed by single-source customer care. The company's surface and profile, cylindrical and tool grinding technology groups cultivate a partnership-based relationship throughout the region, selling, automating, rebuilding and supporting precision machines for grinding, eroding, laser ablation, combination machining and measuring under the MÄGERLE, BLOHM, JUNG, STUDER, SCHAUDT, MIKROSA, WALTER and EWAG brands. A subsidiary of the UNITED GRINDING GROUP, the company holds ISO 9001 certification to assure quality in development, production, shipping and support operations. UNITED GRINDING North America, Inc., also holds International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Registration. Learn more at grinding.com.
About UNITED GRINDING Group
With a turnover of around 700 million euros, the UNITED GRINDING Group is one of the world's leading manufacturers of precision machines for grinding, eroding, lasering, measuring and combination machining. With its eight company brands MÄGERLE, BLOHM, JUNG, STUDER, SCHAUDT, MIKROSA, WALTER and EWAG, UNITED GRINDING offers a broad application knowledge, an extensive product portfolio and a complete array of services on the international market. The Group employs a workforce of around 2500 employees and more than 20 production, service and sales locations and agencies throughout the world.