A world leader in the metalworking industry since it was founded 73 years ago by metallurgist Philip M. McKenna in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Kennametal has turned its attention — and considerable expertise — to the challenges faced by gear manufacturers, launching a line of gashers, hobs, and solid carbide end mills specifically designed to meet their needs.
“We began marketing these new cutting tools to our customers throughout Europe and Asia about two years ago,” says Dennis McNamara, global indexible milling product manager, “and we’ve been concentrating on North America for the past year. But we spent a significant period of time designing the tooling prior to that. As a market leader in manufacturing crankshaft tooling, we’ve been able to leverage that knowledge to the benefit of our gear-manufacturing products, inserts, and cutter designs.”
The tools, which can be used to produce gear-gashing modules six through 40, were developed under the guidance of a specialized team of engineers in Europe. The company also employed a gear milling expert to help maintain the focus. Klaus Wichmann is Kennametal’s gear milling manager with global responsibility, and he continues to oversee the company’s new emphasis on gear manufacturing. The first area of focus involved roughing and finishing gashers for both internal and external gears, which are designed to offer single, dual, and triple configurations, allowing for multiple teeth to be cut in one pass. Featuring up to eight cutting edges per insert, a carbide substrate and coating ensure long tool life, the increase productivity and decrease production cycles. “And all of our gear gashers are customized to meet the end user’s exact specifications,” McNamara says, “which is also true of our hobs and end mills used for manufacturing gears.”
Kennametal hobs incorporate a modular concept, with precision cutting segments mounted to a pickup arbor and positioned to provide extremely high cutting speeds and uniform chip removal. The inserts can be replaced on a fully assembled tool, with no disassembly required, and the hobs can also be used on a five-axis CNC machine, making them truly universal. Solid carbide end mills are available for both roughing and finishing, and in standard shank diameters of 16, 20, and 25mm. Among their many uses are milling radial face serrations and face gear machining on CNC centers.
A global entity employing some 11,000 people doing business in more than 60 countries, Kennametal is a leading manufacturer and supplier of tooling, engineered components, and advanced materials consumed in production processes. Its business is comprised of two operating segments: Industrial, serving the aerospace, defense, and transportation industries, among others; and Infrastructure, which supports the earthworks and energy end markets. The company’s 700 highly trained research scientists, designers, and engineers average 40 U.S. patents each year. This spirit of innovation is also evident in its involvement as an “eXperience partner” in the inaugural imX event in Las Vegas this September (see Q&A in this issue). Billed as “The Interactive Manufacturing Experience”—and sponsored by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association (AMTDA)—the show will focus on education and knowledge transfer, with Kennametal making two presentations in the event’s Learning Labs. The first, “Delivering Productivity from Art to Part,” will examine the entire production chain, encouraging manufactures to meld traditional metal-cutting techniques with new technologies from other areas to decrease downtime and increase productivity. The second presentation, “From Megatrends to Solutions: Turning Change into Opportunity,” will explore the integration of process knowledge with economic and geopolitical trends in strategic planning.
As for future plans, Kennametal will continue to introduce itself to gear milling manufacturers throughout the world with a local focus on North America, improving customers’ performance and becoming a valued partner rather than a vendor alone. “We take the team approach in working with our customers, because once you’ve helped them succeed they want to work with you again,” according to Gretchen Jezerc, vice president of global product management. “And we’re here to build working relationships for the future, not just to make a sale.”
MORE INFO Call 724-539-5000 or go online to www.kennametal.com and search using “gear production tools.”