FIELD NOTES: Thinbit grooving insert
Several years ago, MCI Solutions in Fort St. John, BC, developed an intricate seal face made from 316L stainless steel that required a groove machined at right angles to a tapered bore face.
“The idea was sound, but we could not get tooling to accomplish this,” says Jim Morrison, production manager at MCI Solutions.
The company tried stock inserts from two other suppliers, but they fell short on performance. “We had to always compromise and try and come up with non-stock seals to create the seal we needed.”
The company even outsourced the work to other shops to machine the grooves, but the shops and the tooling simply didn’t work. So MCI Solutions brought the work back inhouse and began the search for a grooving insert that could meet the company’s needs.
“While looking through a magazine, we came across an advertisement from Kaiser offering a product that looked like it had potential.”
Morrison called Kaiser and after speaking with an engineer at the company and providing a drawing for the part, Kaiser provided a tool the next day.
Morrison ordered the tool and 10 grooving inserts. That was back in mid November 2017 and since then, the tooling has surpassed Morrison’s expectations.
“The tool is still working great. We have cut thousands of grooves with the Thinbit insert. If a tool like this does not have the perfect relief, it will not last. Kaiser calculated and ground all the clearances. Kaiser seems to be the only tooling group that specializes in custom items.Bottom line is, if you have a really tough groove machining situation, try the Kaiser Thinbit.”
MCI Solutions designs, engineers and manufactures chemical injection pumps, solar/electric skid packages and processes accessories for the oil and gas industry. The company has two shops, a 929 sq m (10,000 sq ft) site with multi-axis milling, turning, plasma cutting, MIG and TIG welding, and assembly operations, and a second, 185 sq m (2,000 sq ft) shop that focuses on R&D and 3D printing. SMT