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Alberta cutting tool manufacturer increases versatility by investing in new grinding technology

Purchasing capital equipment can be a daunting task, but Taylor Toolworks, Calgary, found that with the right research and understanding of its business needs, the benefits offered by new technology can be a game-changer.

Taylor Toolworks manufactures and services cutting tools for the North American metalworking and woodworking industries. It is the biggest part of its business. The company is run by President Jesse Taylor and his sister Kristyn Pixley, who has worked there for more than 15 years.

With state-of-the-art 5-axis CNC grinding, combined with the use of good-quality micrograin carbide products, Taylor Toolworks maintains the highest tooling tolerances and creates mirror finishes needed for high-performance tooling.

Jesse Taylor, president of Taylor Toolworks, Calgary, stands in front of his company’s new ANCA MX7 Linear tool grinding machine.

Adding Machine Capability

Recently the company purchased an ANCA CNC MX7 Linear tool grinding machine because it met its demand of high-output, high-precision manufacturing.

The machine generates 51 HP of peak spindle power, has linear scales on its X and Y axes, and includes a standard six-station wheel changer that stores and changes up to six wheel packs. In addition, the machine uses ANCA’s LinX linear motors for X and Y axis motion, has an integrated wheel dresser, and is automated.

“The ANCA linear motors provide a superior surface finish with an accurate and smooth movement for the part being ground. These linear motors are tubular in their design, which creates no friction or heat, compared to traditional flat linear motors. You also have the maintenance aspect of reliability and consistently accurate movement versus ball screws, which were used in the past by many machine tool builders, including ANCA,” said Russell Riddiford, president of ANCA Americas.

The machine can handle varied batch sizes with minimal setup time and is suitable for high-volume production for tools up to 1 in. dia. The new cylindrical linear motor design increases reliability and ensures a superior surface finish.

Production Manager Glen Taylor works inside the company’s newest tool grinder.
“Grinding carbide these days is particularly challenging because of all the different grades being used for specific applications,” explained Taylor. “We grind many different carbide grades containing between 3 and 10 per cent cobalt content. Using our new ANCA MX7 machine equipped with more than 50 HP and high-pressure coolant makes fluting operations much easier.”

End mills produced at the shop have superpolished flutes, special-grade carbides, and special coating for maximum performance. Custom tooling also is made to a customer’s specifications for both the woodworking and metal industry. These include micrograin carbide inserts, custom-profile tools, and step drills.

The company offers a reconditioning service, which involves tool regrinding, tool recutting, and tool recoating. It also has an in-house PVD-coating Centre.

Taylor said that the new tool grinding machine has allowed his company to have greater versatility in its manufacturing.

“One of the reasons we gravitated to ANCA was the ability to automate our grinding wheel changes. We can utilize up to six different wheel packs without any manual intervention,” said Taylor. “We produce complex tools requiring many styles of grinding wheels for the same tool. This is something that is key to our success. The accuracy and high-speed movements of this machine have also helped us produce complex tools faster than previous generations of machines.”

Being versatile enables Taylor Toolworks to react quickly to changing business conditions.

“The pandemic definitely has confirmed the need to be a diverse manufacturer. We produce tools for all types of manufacturers, including aerospace, transportation, energy, wood, and plastic,” said Taylor. “When the pandemic first hit, we were called upon to make tooling required to produce life-saving ventilators. We were able to produce multifunctional profile tools that enabled part manufacturers to produce ventilators faster than ever before.”

Another factor that influenced the purchasing decision was ANCA’s tool simulation software.

“This allows us to program tools [virtually] on a desktop before they are processed on the actual machine. This saves valuable machine time,” said Taylor.

One of the products that Taylor Toolworks creates are these solid-carbide end mills.
“Offline simulation offers ANCA users the ability to design a tool away from the machine (on a desktop PC), not consuming valuable machine time,” said Riddiford. “The ability to look at a finished tool without having made it on the machine and risk making a potentially scrapped piece or finding an incorrect program movement is key. You also can obtain cycle times from the simulation that can assist you in quoting a job.”

According to Taylor, the tools produced on this machine include complex profile tools as well as step drills, through-coolant drills, and form tools. Applications for these tools are found in the aerospace, woodworking, general machining, and even plastics cutting.

The company also uses ANCA’s ToolRoom software, which provides specific applications for each tool produced at Taylor Toolworks, such as a step tool editor or a profile tool editor.

Being in the industry for more than 20 years, Taylor saw ANCA machines at various tradeshows. When he was ready to make a machine purchase, he talked to several people at shows, including  ANCA application specialists. This made him take a closer look at the machines and he saw that they were suitable for his needs.

Besides the new MX7 Linear machine, the company has three other ANCA machines, including the Fastgrind system for resharpening tools.
Solid-carbide ball-end milling cutters for aerospace applications require tight tolerances and fine finishes.

Republished with permission from Canadian Metalworking:

19 March 2021