Creating a new cutting tool - concept to spindle (part 2)


New cutting tools are continuously being added into the market, but what is the process to get a product from concept through to the spindle? Our product management and development department is tasked with creating new tools every year. A member of the team is product and development engineer Jan Bittner.

In January 2015, Jan joined Dormer Pramet and became part of the project to develop an assortment of high feed milling tools. Almost three years later, a new range of SBN10 cutters and BNGX inserts were launched into the global market. This is part 2 of Jan’s story.

“By the second quarter of 2016, we were able to start the testing stage. This included several on-site tests with customers as this is the best way to check how good a product really is.

“We were confident it was a good product, but no amount of in-house testing can match trying it out in the real world. We learned so much from these tests which allowed us to identify areas of further improvement.

“A test we did with a customer in France involved machining a titanium-bearing, austenitic, chromium-nickel, stainless steel. It is an extremely tough and ductile material. It requires a powerful machine, capable of heavy feeds and slow spindle speeds. We put it up against a competitor’s high feed milling tool with similar features to our SBN10.

“After machining three-parts the cutting edge of the competitor’s insert was worn, forcing the operator to index the cutting edge to proceed production. After machining eight parts with the SBN10 cutter and BNGX inserts, the cutting edge showed minor flank wear and was still in a good condition to continue cutting.

“In addition to significant longer tool life, the metal removal rate was 20 per cent higher. The customer was so impressed, he immediately bought one cutter and pre-ordered seven more by early 2018. 

“We did more than 20 tests with customers around the globe. Altogether, five of these tests did not match our expectations, so it allowed us to go back and look at what needed improving. This is an important process and can only help improve product performance and reduce limitations.

“The crucial part is to react quickly during the testing process, speed is crucial. Any issues need to be eliminated and the design of the tool improved as soon as possible, before putting it back in for more tests.

“We realized at this stage, we were ready to launch the product into the market. We had further discussions with Intellectual Property (IP) to make sure our patent was in place and everything was prepared.”

Launching product to market

We launched our range of BNGX inserts and SBN10 cutters in November 2017, almost three years after the initial design brief was prepared. 

This year we will manufacture more than 30,000 BNGX inserts, comprising of different sizes and chip breakers, alongside 450 cutters, in three different variants; end mills with threaded shank, end mills with parallel shank and shell mills.

Jan added: “Product development is very much a team effort. There are many people from around the world involved in the creation of new cutting tools. From product management to design, to the technology team, production, testing, through to sales and marketing.

“Each department is not independent from the rest. We are all connected and one area cannot be successful without the support of the rest. They all must work together to get a product to market.”

Related links:

High feed milling SBN10 and BNGX range launched

Creating a new cutting tool - concept to spindle (part 1)