Developing fresh answers to aircraft machining challenges Jose Ucar | 2nd April 2019 If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it… It can often seem simpler to keep a product exactly as it is, especially when it receives a consistently positive response from the industry. But because leading precision cutting tool manufacturer KYOCERA SGS recognise the value of constantly upgrading products, they have recently launched the latest versions of their Advance Productivity Rougher (APR) cutting tool, the APR 3 (three-flute) and the APR 4 (four-flute). For KYOCERA SGS, this is not simply about creating a new product to enhance their portfolio but offering a fresh way to address current and emerging aircraft machining challenges. Designed for maximum removal rates on aluminium structures, the original APR tool was first developed to support a customer project and helped to revolutionise metal removal rates. Its design has now been updated to make it even easier for the APR 3 and APR 4 to address specific machining challenges. So, how do you improve on what is already recognised as an exceptional product? The updated APR tools are likely to prove great news for companies under increasing pressure to streamline and simplify their processes, thanks to a significant reduction in cycle times and other key advantages. The APR 3 is the next evolution of the original product while the APR 4 provides ultimate metal removal rates on maximum power machines but will also suit other applications. Available at the same price, both products offer an even wider choice of tooling for manufacturers. Antony Theaker, UK Sales Manager for KYOCERA SGS, explains more: “We looked both at current machining challenges and at issues likely to emerge in the future. Then we identified the different ways in which the design of the APR 3 and 4 could resolve the concerns that all companies have about reducing cycle times and costs and increasing performance. By doing this, we were able to design efficiency into every aspect of an already highly effective part.” This meant addressing significant multiple machining problems all in one: supporting suppliers under pressure to provide time savings year-on-year, thanks to a significant improvement in metal removal rates on aluminium parts. The new tools also resolve issues such as vibration, with a three- or four-flute variable pitch geometry for reducing vibration and load at a metal removal rate of between 10 and 12 litres. However, the aim for the APR 3 and 4 wasn’t only to enhance performance but to extend the life of the tools themselves, thanks to a Tinamite-B coating which provides up to double the length of the original tool. As with the first APR, the new versions are suitable to run with MQL and coolant, so no additional work is required on them. For manufacturing processes where wear and noise are a concern, the APR 4 provides an incredibly low level of sound with less resonance and less wear. With industry challenges constantly evolving, it is imperative that cutting tools keep up. KYOCERA SGS’s goal for the latest versions of their APR tool is not simply to expand their own products’ capabilities but their clients’ capabilities too. This approach involves constantly listening to customers, watching the market closely and identifying new ways to make high quality products even better. Because creating effective cutting tools isn’t a one-off action. It’s an ongoing process.