OSG Corporation, regarded as a global leader in the manufacture of round cutting tools and a company that is listed on the Tokyo stock exchange, has continued with its investment plan at its South African manufacturing partner Somta Tools.
“Last year OSG Corporation announced a R60 million investment in our factory in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, which we began implementing in June 2019. The investment in equipment included the introduction of a number of new machines and quality and measurement solutions into Somta’s manufacturing plant,” said Allan Conolly, Managing Director of Somta Tools.
The new TGT Accudress wheel truing and profiling machine complete with a camera system
“The equipment installed was a new DMG MORI NLX 1500 universal CNC mill turn machine to prepare a variety of blanks in our blanking preparation department. The DMG MORI combines two operations that previously would have needed to be done on two different machines.”
“Additionally in the blanking preparation department we installed a Haas VF2 SS CNC milling machine. The Haas has been equipped with a trunnion table that will allow us to do 5-axis milling. This means it can combine up to five operations that previously would have needed to be done on up to five different machines making it ideal for its primary purpose, which is to produce blanks for fringe items.”
“An ANCA MX 7 Linear versatile CNC tool grinder was installed in our carbide factory. The machine is equipped with a Fanuc LR Mate 200iD robot that acts as a feeder for the machine and allows for seamless transition from raw stock to finished component without human interference.”
“On the quality side we installed a Zoller Smart Check 420, a 3-axis CNC universal measuring machine that is designed to measure cutting tools, enabling efficient checking before and after the sharpening process to ensure absolute precision and documented results in our carbide department. In the high-speed steel (HSS) factory a new Zoller Genius 3, a measurement machine that fully automates the measurement of tools for in-process and final inspection, was installed.”
Somta Tools have installed two 5-axis TGT V2 Advance Maxima CNC tool and cutter grinders that will be used to manufacture HSS tooling
“Our Goniometer was upgraded to include cameras and digital readout for in-line measurement of tools and solid-state controllers have been installed in the heat treatment furnaces to replace the manual contactors. This saves on costs and reduces power usage, a more environmentally friendly solution.”
“These investments were additional to the 2018 investments when we installed OSG designed and manufactured CNC equipment in both the HSS and tungsten carbide factories to improve the finish and geometry on the tools and to reduce setup and cycle times.”
Further 2019 equipment installations
“Further installations have now taken place in our HSS factory at the end of 2019. These include a TGT Accudress wheel truing and profiling machine complete with a camera system and two 5-axis TGT V2 Advance Maxima CNC tool and cutter grinders that will be used to manufacture HSS tooling.”
“Another addition in the HSS factory is a Micromatic SM40 CNC Cylindrical Grinder. This machine is suitable for grinding medium size components in mass or batch production volumes. It offers a great degree of flexibility and versatility in grinding applications. For example, shaft type components having single or multiple diameters can be ground in one setting or plunge grinding application where profiles have diameters, shoulders and radii all ground in one setting. The grinding wheel approach can be straight or angular, as per the requirement of the grinding process.”
Another addition in the Somta Tools HSS factory is a Micromatic SM40 CNC Cylindrical Grinder. This machine is suitable for grinding medium size components in mass or batch production volumes
“We have also completed the installation of new microscopic equipment, including software, in our heat treatment laboratory. This will take our analysis of HSS and carbide materials to another level.”
Taking coating seriously
“During the past 10 years, requirements for cutting tools have changed dramatically due to the development of tougher materials and improved capabilities of modern machining centers. The performance of modern cutting tools depends mainly on geometry, carbide grades, edge preparation and coating,” explained Conolly.
“Generally tool makers control geometry and material. Coating-wise, they depend on standard broad-band coatings, which do not provide them with the opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Improved application-specific solutions can be achieved by the optimised combination of coating composition (structure, morphology, and thickness) and surface finish together, with proper edge preparation.”
On the metrology side Somta Tools have purchased a Nikon Eclipse MA100N, a compact inverted microscope designated for bright ﬁeld and simple polarising observations
“We have taken our coating seriously and chosen to differentiate the Somta brand by integrating coatings and edge preparation into our production process.”
“We have invested in a USA-designed and manufactured PerformCoat PfC540 PVD coating machine. The machine has been developed in conjunction with OSG Japan and it will now allow us to implement coating layers with adjustable properties for toughness, hot hardness, wear resistance, oxidation resistance and colour. These include mono, multi, nano and gradient coating structure,” added Conolly.
“This high-performance and innovative thin film coating technology will optimise tooling for machining applications of turning, deep-hole drilling, tapping, hard milling, hobbing and shaping of aluminium components (soft and with up to 12%Si) and machining of titanium and stainless steel.”
“We have complemented our new high-tech developments in our coating by purchasing a PerformDrag PfD550 polishing and honing machine. Referred to as drag finishing, this process increases the tool life and component finish quality by up to 80% – real impactful development.”
Conolly went on to say: “In addition to coating our own tooling, Somta coats gear cutting tools, piercing punches, moulds, dies, dental inserts, broaching blades and inserts of all different sizes for customers, in line with our guiding principles of ‘to make manufacturing better in the South African market’. Coating these items can improve their life span by 200% to 300% and when used in certain applications, can increase speeds and feeds by as much as 50%. But it is not just this that entices clients from a broad spectrum of industry and end-users. The aesthetic appeal has resulted in clients approaching us to coat motorbike shocks and more recently, two boat propellers. The success of coating customer components other than our own products provided more reason to install a second coating plant.”
Somta Tools have invested in a USA-designed and manufactured PerformCoat PfC540 PVD coating machine. The machine has been developed in conjunction with OSG Japan and it will now allow Somta Tools to implement coating layers with adjustable properties for toughness, hot hardness, wear resistance, oxidation resistance and colour. These include mono, multi, nano and gradient coating structure
External promotional development
“Another development at Somta Tools is that we have designed and manufactured a trailer that can be transported throughout the country. The trailer is suitably Somta Tools branded and carries numerous samples of our tooling.”
“The initiative of the Somta Trailer is to have a vehicle that enhances our external promotional activities whereby we can readily set up our ‘stand’ at the numerous shows and exhibitions that we participate in. Additionally, we are now able to take it on site at customers and our sales representatives are able to easily educate clients the value and performance of our tools.”
“OSG Corporation acquired a majority shareholding in Somta Tools in 2016. These substantial investments in equipment and processes at the local manufacturing facility shows that they are committed to the company, the country and its people.”
For further details contact Somta Tools on TEL: 011 390 8700 or visit www.somta.co.za