Many countries are moving to end the sales of fossil-fuelled cars, and auto manufacturers are experimenting with electric vehicle technology to meet these requirements. The trends may have an impact on cutting tool sales, according to a new post by ANCA, a manufacturer of cutting tools.
According to ANCA’s post, in 2017, 11.8% of cutting tool consumption was for automotive manufacturing. Machining time for pure electric vehicles (EVs) is estimated to reduce by 50-75% compared to traditional internal combustion engines, resulting in overall cutting tool consumption decline as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles’ production ceases.
According to the post, electric vehicle production provides many opportunities for skiving cutters, especially in the area of gear production for vehicle transmission. The high engine speed of up to 20,000 rpm means a higher gear ratio is required to reduce the speed for efficiency. The planetary gear system is more prevalent in the new transmission design. In a planetary gear set, the external gears need to be ground, which the current production process of hobbing and then grinding can easily cater to. The problem is with the internal ring gear. Traditionally, the internal gears are produced with shaping or broaching; shaping is slow, while broaching relies on cumbersome tooling, the story said.
Gears for EV require greater precision and higher performance. The quality needs to increase from DIN 10 to DIN 6 for the internal gears; the gear industry sees hard skiving as the revolutionary process to produce the millions of internal ring gears needed for EV.
To meet the greater requirements, ANCA released in 2019, its GCX Linear that the company says provides a complete solution for manufacturing DIN AA quality solid carbide skiving cutters.
More recently, the company released a new software package to sharpen skiving cutters and shaper cutters. Customers with ANCA’s MX and TX machines only need to purchase a software update and replace the standard probe with a ruby probe tip.
The software to improve sharpening is important because of the design of these cutters. Skiving cutters are classified as a pinion cutter, consisting of the flank and rake face. After the flanks are produced, sharpening only grind back the rake face. These tools are expensive and designed to have a long tool life, typically 6mm to 10mm of resharpenable depth. During resharpening, the rake face is ground back by 0.3mm to 0.5mm each time, depending on the level of damage. There can be as many as 30 to 50 resharpenings during the lifetime of a tool. Following the growing trend of EV, there could be a need for hundreds of thousands of skiving cutters by 2024, which will equate to over a million sharpenings.
The resharpening package is available for MX and TX machines. With minimal hardware change, the MX can accommodate for tool diameters up to 105mm. The TX is even more capable, with a larger working envelope and more robust build, to fit a tool diameter up to 240mm. The hub type and disk type cutters can be mounted onto the collet with a fixture. The shank type cutters can be clamped directly in the collet or with an adaptor for morse taper.
In the ToolRoom software package, the new purchase option ‘Pinion type cutter sharpening’ contains operations for digitising and sharpening of the two rake face styles: stepped rake face and conical rake face.
For more information, read the post on ANCA’s webpage.