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 Zhuzhou Huaxin uses ANCA technology to cement its position as a top manufacturer of cemented carbide cutting tools

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 The Chinese company invested in an ANCA machine every year to keep up with tremendous growth
Cemented carbide, which is made of tungsten, is widely used in industrial sectors because of its ultra-high hardness and excellent wear resistance. As the largest cemented carbide production base in Asia, the city of Zhuzhou had a cemented carbide output value amounting to RMB38.5 billion yuan in 2021, accounting for 42.1% of China’s gross output value. 
Statistics have shown that at present, the advanced hard material industry in Zhuzhou is the industrial cluster with the largest production and distribution scale, strongest innovation capacity and highest brand awareness in China. There are 279 cemented carbide enterprises in the industrial cluster, accounting for more than one third of the total number of cemented carbide enterprises in the whole industry in China.
Zhuzhou Huaxin Carbide Tools Co., Ltd. (“Zhuzhou Huaxin”) is one of the companies in the region who has successfully cemented its position in the non-standard cemented carbide tool industry.
Restructuring with purpose
Zhuzhou Huaxin was jointly established by Zhuzhou Cemented Carbide Group Co., Ltd and China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC) in 1986. The company specializes in the manufacture of standard and non-standard cemented carbide cutting tools, and produced the first carbide cutting tool in China – a carbide spiral milling cutter.
“At the time, the cemented carbide industry was not as prosperous as it is now. The establishment of the joint venture aimed to combine the capabilities of both companies – that is, using the cemented carbide materials of Zhuzhou Cemented Carbide Group Co., Ltd and the manufacturing advantages of CSGC to produce tools for the aviation industry,” Mr. Wen Wuneng, chairman of Zhuzhou Huaxin, recalled.
In 2006, Zhuzhou Huaxin was restructured into a subsidiary controlled by Zhuzhou Cemented Carbide Group Co., Ltd, and then into a private joint-stock enterprise in 2009.
“Change creates new opportunities,” said Mr. Wen Wuneng. “Prior to the restructuring, it was already obvious that our manufacturing equipment could not keep up with our development. We observed cutting-edge grinding technologies in our search for a grinder that specializes in machining non-standard carbide tools.”
It was then that Mr. Wen Wuneng learnt about ANCA’s solutions for non-standard carbide cutting tools.
From one to 22: Zhuzhou Huaxin’s growth saw them invest in ANCA each year
In 2009, Zhuzhou Huaxin received an order for manufacturing cemented carbide cutting tools for the aviation industry. “CNC machine tools had emerged at that time, but we were still using traditional approaches with unsatisfactory rake and clearance angles, and product appearance. The milling cutters and drills we manufacture for the aviation industry are more than Φ20 in diameter and 120-150mm in length – and sometimes extra-long 180mm drills.” There was a pressing need to upgrade the equipment.
After contacting an ANCA representative at an exhibition in Beijing, Zhuzhou Huaxin purchased a TX7 Linear – the company’s first ANCA grinder. The machine successfully manufactured milling cutters with diameters of Φ18 and Φ20 for Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group and AVIC Guizhou Aircraft Co., Ltd. A ceremony was held to celebrate the first official production. “We still have the blade of the first carbide cutting tool produced!”
Zhuzhou Huaxin sent the tools manufactured on the TX7 Linear to their customers, and received unanimous commendation: “We were told, ‘You should have bought this machine much earlier!’ AVIC Guizhou Aircraft Co., Ltd. immediately placed more orders after observing the improvements in our capabilities.”
“Our order volume continued to rise. In less than two years, we received orders from companies in the hydraulic industry, the compressor industry and many others. It was obvious that we would be unable to rise to the challenges by relying on only one ANCA machine to operate 24 hours a day,” Mr. Wen Wuneng recalled. So the company began to invest in ANCA machines on a yearly basis.
In 2017, as the company began to expand into tool manufacturing for the 3C industry, Zhuzhou Huaxin purchased more than 10 ANCA machines in one go. “So far, we have a total of 22 ANCA machines – they are used almost exclusively in our company.”
The rapid growth of the 3C industry gave ANCA the opportunity to quickly enter the Chinese market. According to Denny Zheng, ANCA China General Manager, “After 2012, we noticed the growing significance that Chinese customers attached to the gradual improvement of tool quality. The 3C industry was off to a good start through the upgrade of the Apple iPhone 3 to 4, where the plastic casing was replaced with an aluminum alloy frame and back cover. The demand and requirements for cutting tools across the market increased dramatically.”
Under those circumstances, ANCA developed the FX Linear which remains the best-selling machine range for large-scale tool manufacturing in the 3C industry.

ANCA software takes just a week to learn
Mr. Wen Wuneng states that the excellent performance of ANCA machines lies in many aspects, including capabilities for non-standard tools, easy-to-use software, support services, and prompt response to customer requests. ANCA machines are suitable for manufacturing complex non-standard cutting tools in the fields of aviation, air conditioning, compressors and hydraulic parts, and has the flexibility to provide solutions for any manufacturing challenge.
“We have over 30 years’ experience in the cutting tool manufacturing industry, producing a wide variety of ‘bizarre-looking’ tools. ANCA’s software is flexible and easy to operate, and is widely accepted by our operators.”
According to Mr. Wen Wuneng, a novice operator studying both ANCA and another software brand at the same time, will be able to get started in just a week with ANCA, while it may take a month with the latter. ANCA’s operating software allows operators to easily cope with variations and operate flexibly, particularly for simulation of non-standard tools and other tool types.
As one of the few machine tool manufacturers that independently develops its own CNC control systems, ANCA can respond to the customized programming needs of local Chinese customers. ANCA established its China office in 2004, with application engineers and service professionals making up over 60% of its current team members.
The standard cutting tool market provides new opportunities
Zhuzhou Huaxin continues to provide tools for the aviation, weapons, compressors, hydraulics, railways and 3C industries, with over 90% of orders comprising of non-standard tools. After seeing growth in annual sales income of non-standard carbide cutting tools from RMB10 million yuan before restructuring to RMB80 million yuan at present, the company has ambitious plans to expand the current facility and extend its business to standard tools.
"We have hit the ceiling in our current volume in non-standard cutting tools, and the only way we can achieve further development is to step into the manufacturing of standard cutting tools," said Mr. Wen Wuneng.
From non-standard to standard cemented carbide cutting tools, Zhuzhou Huaxin looks forward to working with ANCA to provide high-quality solutions.

11 May 2023