SAWING OF NICKEL-BASED ALLOYS AND DIFFICULT-TO-CUT SPECIAL MATERIALS
Successfully mastering difficult cutting tasks in industrial applications with high-performance band saw blades
The high-performance band saw blades from WIKUS increased the cutting performance at the French steel supplier Comptoir Général des Métaux (CGM) significantly and ensured successful sawing processes for materials with special properties. For the common goal of increasing efficiency, WIKUS shared its expertise with CGM and provided the company with ongoing technical support.
CGM was founded in 1957 and is based in Argenteuil/ France. Over the years, the company has become a specialist in many fields with several sites in Normandy and Toulouse. Today, CGM stores and distributes ferrous and non-ferrous products in various forms such as bars, sheet metals, pipes and plates, as well as engineering plastics. All of their products are marketed according to the customer’s specifications and custom-made. In addition, CGM is involved in the distribution of semi-finished products for high-tech industries such as aerospace and automotive. In steel trading, the company operates two plants in Normandy (Rouen and Le Havre), employing 17 people (as of 2021).
Challenges & requirements
The primary goal was to surpass the previously used solutions in terms of blade-life by using WIKUS band saw blades. In a second step, the cutting performance should be increased even further by adjusting the cutting parameters as well as the cooling lubricant.
Since the processing of many materials can be very demanding and challenging, the selection and use of the right band saw blades is elementary. In a specific project, the nickel-based alloy Inconel 718 was to be processed, which is characterized by good aging resistance as well as high tensile, thermal and fracture strength at temperatures up to 700 °C and was used for part production. Nickel-based alloys in particular are very difficult to process, partly because of the high material stress, as is the case with Inconel 718. Since this material was processed for the first time, there were no reference values. To ensure the most efficient cutting possible when using the WIKUS band saw blades, potential challenges such as deviations or material breaks in the sawing process as well as any sticking of the band saw blade in the material had to be reduced to a minimum or avoided. Another difficult-to-cut special material is aluminum bronze, which was also CGM’s focus.
High-tech band saw blades for higher cutting performance
In the case of the nickel-based alloy Inconel 718, the focus was on the newly acquired and deployed carbide band saw blade FUTURA® 718 from WIKUS, which was used to cut diameters from 350 to 470 mm on the Everising H-560 HA machine. The use of the high-performance band saw blade from WIKUS mastered the aforementioned challenges and – accompanied by the recommendations and comprehensive technical support of the WIKUS experts – ultimately led to success (Figs. 1, 2, 3).
The special property of the FUTURA® 718 carbide band saw blade made it possible, among other things, to transfer the cutting force to the material in an ideal manner when processing Inconel 718. The results were consistently positive: Although CGM processed the material for the first time and hence, no comparison was possible, FUTURA® 718 proved to be very efficient. In the end, it also surpassed the blade-life of the previously used band saw blades.
In addition, the cut and surface quality met all expectations. WIKUS also supported CGM with optimized cutting parameters and recommendations – such as for improved breaking-in or the ideal lubricant concentration – and thus further increased the cutting performance.