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Decatur Diamond

Case Studies

Ceramic Case Study #1

A major manufacturer of ceramic components for the semiconductor industry faced challenges making a gas diffusion furnace component with 24 slots cut at an angle through the full depth of the parts. Machining this part with uncoated 3/8” carbide end mills typically required 10 tools to complete one part.

While the entire milling operation - about 1-1/2 hours – ran on CNC equipment, the operator had to watch continuously for the onset of chipping as the tool wore out, since chipping or cracking would scrap the part. This was an expensive process if the part were scrapped – especially if the part was almost fully machined.

With DIAbide coated tools, one tool easily completed 5 parts for a gain of 50 times tool life. The extended tool life allows the parts to be machined unattended. In this particular application, the speeds were increased 10-20%, and the feeds were almost doubled. The coated tools provided increases in productivity in many aspects.

Ceramic Case Study #2

A manufacturer of precision ceramic parts for semiconductor, electronics, and medical device production utilizes DIAbide coated tools to reduce tool change downtime.

Carbide inserts were used for turning alumina billets, then uncoated carbide end mills and drills were employed for machining fine detail to tolerances within 0.005”. For a typical job using a 0.200” diameter end mill, two parts can be machined with carbide versus 800 parts with a DIAbide diamond tool. Savings in downtime for tool resharpening or replacement in this and other operations has allowed parts to be made that would have been unprofitable with carbide tools. In this application the DIAbide coated tools were run at speeds and feeds about 15% higher than carbide.

Graphite Case Study #1

A plastic injection molding company serving the electronics and medical device industries had difficulties making a mold for a component with a complicated contoured parting line. The double cavity mold involved four parting line burns, two for the cavity and two for the core. Each area required four electrodes.

The large electrode size required machining graphite blocks of EDM 200 material measuring 9” x 9” x 14”. Using carbide ball end mills at 40 in/min required a 13-hour tool path. Cutters wore out before the end of the cut necessitating three tool passes with a new cutter installed for each pass for a total cut time of 39 hours. The required accuracy of +/-.001” was never fully achieved.

Changing the tool to a 3/8” Dapra-style milling style DIAbide coated insert, and cutting at the same speed, each electrode was machined complete in one pass with no tool changes, saving 26 hours of machine time per electrode. In total, 416 machine hours were saved while completing the mold order. Additionally, the required tolerance of +/-.001” was effectively maintained.

Graphite Case Study #2

A leading supplier of molded plastics products for the microelectronics industry utilizes DIAbide coated end mills to machine sinker EDM electrodes used for making injection molds. The electrodes are made from various grades of graphite which include EDM 200, Poco 2, and Poco 3.

The supplier previously used uncoated carbide end mills at spindle speeds from 12,000-14,000 rpm and feed rates between 120-160 ipm. Tool life averaged 4 hours per tool. With DIAbide coated 4-flute ball and square end mills in diameters from 1/8” to 3/8”, and operating with the same cutting parameters, the tool life jumped to 60 hours. An improvement of 15 times over carbide tools. This allows for long-term unattended machining, yielding savings in machining and labor costs.

In addition to increasing productivity, the slower wear rate of the DIAbide coated tools provided a platform for improved machining accuracy and consistency while maintaining tight tolerances of +/-.0005” which are routinely required in the electrode industry. Again, this offers a savings by reducing the amount of adjustments required by the machine operator.