Solid carbide routers for carbon-based materials
- Published: December 18, 2011
Kennametal has introduced a new line of solid carbide routers for carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) parts.
Because of their high strength-to-weight ratio, CFRP parts are appearing more often in aerospace applications and are emerging in such fields as auto racing and sporting equipment (longboards and rowing shells).
But the properties that make such parts so useful make them very difficult to machine. The resins are light, but break and snap, rather than shear off in chips like metals and alloys. The carbon-fiber reinforcements are extremely strong, which can dull cutting tools quickly. They also can be layered in different directions, causing these layers to delaminate when drilling holes.
Kennametal's Beyond routers are designed to cut such materials. The company has developed for router styles:
- A ball-nose router dedicated for pocketing and profiling
- A down-cut style with left-hand flutes that compress fibers as it cuts
- A compression-style router with left-hand flutes on the shaft and right-hand flutes at the bottom, which also compresses fibers into the material
- A burr-style router with many thin flutes for increased productive cutting
Each have unique geometries geared to working in CFRP, but all possess a solid-carbide substrate and HP diamond coating for higher speed capabilities and longer tool life.
"Many industries are trending toward lighter, stronger, and recyclable materials, and many different kinds of composites are being developed for them,” says Oliver Sax, senior global product manager, Solid End Mills at Kennametal. "These routers have the geometries and the sharp cutting edges for high-quality machined surfaces and improved tool life when working in CFRPs.”