Ceramic Tooling Is Revolutionizing Machining

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Ceramic cutting is not a new Concept, it is believed its Origins were part of the Industrial Revolution but then at its peak in the 30s, but has a newer interest since the evolution and major advancements of the CNC Machine tools and designs.

What was started in popularity the early 1980s and was limited in application, has now gained respect and popularity in the 21st Century.

With the ongoing race to efficiency and Aero/Space Machining of exotic materials like 718 Inco.  Ceramics has played a unique role in getting to MRR effectiveness.

In the 80s, insert geometry was limited to material grades and style, making use for forms of roughing in Cast Iron only. Still the same bottom line rang true then as it does today, MACHINE TIME IS MONEY.

The fastest way to remove the most amount of material opens up machine time,…. and thus profits.

However, the execution of this style of machining in the late 80s was dismal at best. Many complications and an enormous learning curve in the use of such brittle tooling resulted in many manufacturers tossing the concept. It was often times quite dangerous as insert breakage usually led to a mechanical failure to machine tools and tooling.

But now as stated above with the help of more precise machines, ceramics have evolved with  more desirable and calculable results as well as have come a long way in predictability and efficiency.

This is namely due to new grades of ceramic materials and insert structures like whiskers, design of edge prep and geometries of the holder and of the insert itself which has created a more forgiving environment and consistency with the final results and use of the modern Ceramic Applications.


The introduction of CAM Programming has also created newer revolutionized Tool Path that creates a systematic and Time tested approach, where the calculating of the time in cut and advanced methods of lead-in and out and Chip Thinning,  maximizes the use and life of the Ceramic insert, creating more accurate quote times and lead time predictions and ultimately a super accurate Stream Line process.

What did we learn in the evolution of Ceramics?

Since evolving with new machine tools and abilities to more precision machining applications the Ceramic tool is no longer limited to Turning with a blunt type insert.

These new tool processes and material types and structures have led way to producing new and accurate molds for endmill and end-milling applications as well as Grooving and Face-milling.

Every season seems to see advancements in Ceramics that even can now machine aluminum.

The new materials in Ceramics and abilities to keep a sharp edge for machining non-ferrous material.

This is revolutionary in the fact that not only can the machine manufacturer up their MRR but they can also decrease their Tool consumption and tool replacement for regrinding.


The bottom line is this

With the advancements to tools into the Ceramic arena and the abilities to control the tool path with advanced techniques in CAM the Machine tool manufacturers are going to need to make FASTER machines. The faster, more accurate they can accomplish this, the higher the MRR shop rate will go, and the faster we advance technically in the race in an AI world.


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