Selecting the Right Tool
for the Job
by Kenan Smith

he correct tooling makes all the difference in the world for production performance. High-quality, precision tooling is designed to withstand demanding tasks and helps increase production and efficiency. The correct tooling ensures quality and extends the life of your equipment.

The right tooling or the best tooling?
The right, or best tooling option depends on your application and needs. For instance, if you’re going to be producing a long run and are using a tool that runs 24/7, longevity and finish quality would be most important to you. If you’re running a short run, or using an expensive material for a high-end product, then you would want a tool that is designed to offer the best finish quality, even though it may not last as long.

A number of factors should be considered when determining which tooling is right or best for you and your application — and it’s not something that should be taken lightly.

Close view of CNC swivel unit from BENZ drilling a plastic part
Drill hole for a plastic part with a CNC swivel unit from BENZ.
Considerations when selecting tooling
Universal tooling standards vary for each industry, company and individual. When it comes to selecting a tool(s), it’s important to meet with your production team. Discuss your current and future production plans and meet with a tooling expert to determine the best tooling options that will meet your needs. Depending on the desired applications, you may need a variety of tooling in a variety of sizes.

Another conversation that will need to take place is whether you’ll need carbide-tooling or diamond-tipped tooling. While diamond tooling will cost more, its performance life cycle is much longer.

Diamond tooling offers longevity, which translates into cost savings from not having to purchase or service the tools as often. Diamond tooling will also reduce production slowdowns due to infrequent servicing of the machine. In comparison, if you choose less expensive tooling, you’ll have to purchase or service your tooling more often, which will likely lead to more costly downtime.

“High-quality, precision tooling is designed to withstand demanding tasks and helps increase production and efficiency. The correct tooling ensures quality and extends the life of your equipment.”
How to make the most out of your tooling
The most effective way to make the most out of your tooling sounds like a contradiction: Don’t run your tooling for too long. When you run a tool beyond its intended life, it will begin to dull and its performance will fall dramatically, which you’ll notice in the finish of your material. Additional power is required to force a dull tool through material. If you continue to run that dull tool on your machine, it will become damaged and break, or worse, you can damage the machine’s spindle. For that reason, removing a tool before it becomes dull and having it properly serviced will maximize the life of your tooling investment.
Synthetic materials and plastics
Plastics are versatile materials and, depending on the type of performance plastic, exhibit different characteristics. The varieties of plastics differ in hardness, elasticity, malleability and break resistance. Consult a qualified vendor to determine the right tooling for your needs.
Kenan Smith is a product manager for BENZ. For more information, contact the BENZ business unit of Stiles Machinery Inc. at 3965 44th Street Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49512-3941 USA; phone (616) 698-7500, fax (616) 698-9441, ksmith@stilesmachinery.com or www.stilesmachinery.com.