After nearly 40 years of serving medical and semiconductor customers, Connecticut-based Raym-Co was ready for the leap into state-of-the-art equipment. But, after spending heavily to upgrade from 30-year-old manual machines to about 60 pieces of CNC equipment, the results were underwhelming.
“We saw an increase in the ability to hold tolerances and a decrease in cycle time,” says Brandon Artibani, Raym-Co’s vice president. “But not as much as we had hoped.”
That’s when Jim Roberts, sales engineer at tool distributor Lindco Springfield, suggested the 37,000ft2 job shop try Haimer shrink-fit tool holders. Roberts provided some sample tool holders to test in the new CNC machines and Raym-Co almost immediately noticed the difference in rigidity.
Mike O’Connor, regional sales manager at Haimer, then recommended the Haimer Power Clamp Economic Plus NG with adjustable coil and 15 tool holders to start.
Raym-Co machinists instantly noticed the difference between the shrink-fit holders and their old, low-quality tool holders. With the old equipment, cutting aluminum averaged 60ipm to 100ipm – with the new tool holders, cutting averaged 1,000ipm.
Artibani explains that, “Fifty percent of that increase was due to the new CNC machines; the other 50% was because of the shrink-fit system. Without the holders, we can’t do that.”
With Haimer tool holders, holding tolerances is effortless. Raym-Co now runs at ±0.005mm on location and hole size.
“A lot of that has to do with the fact that the holder runs so true that everything falls in right away,” Artibani says.
Roughing to finishing
After investing in the Haimer shrink-fit system, Raym-Co initially planned to use it for roughing. Engineers were using only one Haimer Power Shrink Chuck for each roughing job, however, they soon started to run tighter tolerances and required more standard shrink-fit holders.
“We found that the tolerances were holding in place and tool life was significantly increased,” Artibani explains.
Shrink-fit holders are the fastest, most consistent method of cutting tool clamping. Cutting tool changeover takes 5 seconds to 10 seconds, and results are repeatable from operator to operator. This leads to consistent setup and translates to consistent part production and reliable tool life. On average, Raym-Co’s tool life increased 40% with some jobs achieving a 200% to 300% increase.
“Now it’s our main tool holder,” Artibani says. “From roughing to finishing, as long as it’s an endmill, it goes into shrink-fit.”
Eliminating runout checks
The Haimer Power Clamp Economic Plus NG can shrink solid carbide and HSS end mills from 3mm to 32mm diameters. Normally, it comes with one base holder, but the company purchased an additional base to have one tool holder heating while another one was cooling.
The high-performance coil, contact cooling, and additional base guarantee rapid, simultaneous shrinking and cooling. Heating a tool holder takes 10 seconds while cooling takes 30 seconds to 60 seconds. Raym-Co noticed that it took 10 extra seconds to use the shrink-fit system compared to inserting the tool into a collet chuck.
“We gain the time back because we don’t have to check the runout and play around with the tool trying to get it to run true every time,” Artibani explains.
Artibani has convinced several machinists to invest in Haimer shrink-fit technology.
“The amount of time taken off every job and the ability to trust the Haimer equipment at the levels I can now, it’s worth every penny,” Artibani says.
In addition to shrink-fit, Raym-Co acquired a new balancing machine from Haimer in March 2020. However, due to COVID-19, the company has not been able to use it to its full potential.
“I can’t wait to see what kind of benefits this brings as well,” Antibani says.