SBIR Phase I: Micro-quantity Internal Cooling (MQuIC) of Cutting Tools for Increased Productivity via Micro-ducts
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop cutting tools with micro-geometric features to provide direct, localized and evenly distributed cooling of the tool-chip contact zone. This project includes new micro-quantity internal cooling (MQuIC) features as well as a commercial production process for high-volume manufacture of cutting inserts exhibiting MQuIC. Mechanical machining processes are used in the manufacture of many products. Modern cutting tool materials, including diamond and cubic-boron-nitride, are the hardest known and are becoming routinely used. However, they are very expensive compared to tungsten carbide, the performance of which can be enhanced with alloying and coatings to reduce its tendency to chemically dissolve into the chip and work piece at high temperatures. Unfortunately, all these substrate materials and modern coatings are already very advanced and will offer little more than incremental improvements in the near future. This project addresses the productivity (cutting speed) limitation imposed by thermally induced wear, by concentrating a cooling medium close to the process heat source. The broader (commercial) impact of manufacturing MQuIC inserts would be large given the U.S. market for inserts being about $1.3B, including $900MM in carbide inserts (only about $217MM are made in the U.S. (2002 data)). "Difficult to machine" materials are seen most in automotive and tool/die manufacturing (hard steel) and aircraft manufacturing (titanium and nickel-based alloys). Cutting tool expenditures for these industries in 2004 were about $370MM and $55MM, respectively. Capturing only 10% of engine machining, and 40% of the others, revenues would be $95MM.
Small Business Information at Submission:
1402 East Sharon Avenue Houghton, MI 49931
Number of Employees: