IMCO Carbide Tool

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IMCO Carbide Tool Inc.
Type Private (family owned)
Industry Cutting tools
Founded 1977
Headquarters Perrysburg, Ohio
Key people Perry Osburn, President & CEO
Matthew S. Osburn, VP
Steve Whitlow, VP
Products End mills, drills, burs
Revenue In excess of $12 Mil (2007 Sales)
Website www.imcousa.com

IMCO Carbide Tool is an American manufacturing company that researches, designs and manufactures high-performance cutting tools for a variety of applications in the aerospace, automotive, medical, petrochemical, and manufacturing industries. Founded in 1977 by Lawrence R. Osburn and headquartered in Perrysburg, Ohio, IMCO serves a diverse customer base of small job shops to large production operations around the world. The company is ISO 9001:2000 registered.

Timeline[edit]

1977 - Company founded by Lawrence R. Osburn, as a tool wholesaling company.

1984 - Perry Osburn named president.

1985 - Purchased A.C. Carbide Company of Rochester, Michigan to enter manufacturing business.

1998 - IMCO launches STREAKERS M2 end mills for machining in aluminum.

2000 - IMCO purchases Menlo Tool Company of Warren, Michigan to expand export business.

2000 - IMCO Launches M7 Omega-6 end mills with 6 flutes for high-grade finishing.

2002 - enDURO launch.

2005 - IMCO introduces POW-R-FEED M9 high-performance multipurpose end mills.

2011 - IMCO introduces second-generation of enDURO M525 end mill line for machining in stainless steels and titanium.

2012 - IMCO launches the POW-R-FEED M924, a second-generation version of the original with the new AlCrNX coating and reinforced cutting edges that remove several times the metal per tool as the original M904.

History[edit]

IMCO Carbide Tool is a family -owned and -operated company founded in 1977 by Lawrence R. Osburn. With his wife and two sons, Perry and Matthew, Osburn built his business in general-purpose end mills, burs, routers and drills for the automotive and manufacturing industries. The sons served as company vice presidents, learning the business from the ground up and across all disciplines.

Perry succeeded his father as President in 1984, with Matthew continuing as Vice President in charge of factory set-up, production processes, hiring, training, inventory management, supplier relations and quality oversight. As the machining industry was challenged by engineered materials with difficult-to-machine characteristics and more demanding specifications and tolerances, the brothers turned their focus on developing tools to meet those challenges.

IMCO began to research and develop end mills, working with customers to create tools capable of much higher performance with new and emerging high-speed machining technologies. Versatile tools dubbed STREAKERS M2 end mills were introduced in 1988.[1] STREAKERS were designed especially for working in aluminum. A notoriously "soft" metal, aluminum tends to meld in the intense heat of the cutting zone before the chips can be evacuated. This causes the chips to congeal in the cutting zone, requiring downtime to clear the blockage and, often, replace the tool. Tests with customer shops showed that STREAKERS end mills' two- and three-flute design eliminate this clogging problem.

IMCO's M7 Omega-6 end mills, introduced in 2000, were designed to resolve problems in achieving high surface finishes, especially in hard-to-machine materials. With these materials, from cast iron to titanium, the more balanced and frequent the contact between the cutting edges and the material, the smoother the finish. IMCO developed geometries that maximize contact while maintaining exceptional balance (breaking up harmonics). A heat-resistant coating helps deflect the intense heat generated by cutting tough metals with six ultra-hard carbide flutes. Customers use Omega-6 end mills for a wide range of machining applications, describing "performance they didn't think was possible."[2]

Soon thereafter, IMCO launched another new product called enDURO M5 end mills, developed especially for working in and finishing aerospace alloys (titanium, stainless steels) and high-silicon aluminum. This line includes three- and five-flute designs to accommodate varying needs for chipload, chip evacuation and finish quality. Advances in coating formulations add to the tools' productivity and extended life.

By 2004, the demand for titanium and stainless steel increased; the medical instruments/equipment industry expanded and many planes in commercial and military fleets were "aging-out" of service. By 2005, IMCO had introduced the POW-R-FEED M9 series, a group of high-performance end mills effective in milling, pocketing, slotting and finishing in titanium and stainless steel and other very hard metals.[3]

This demand for machining in engineered metals also prompted a return to the M5 enDURO M505 end mill for redesign. In 2011, the second generation enDURO M525 was launched with refined geometries for even stronger, more chip-resistant cutting edges and higher metal removal rates. Repeated testing showed enDURO tools were effective in titanium and other hard metals even using low-horsepower machining centers. This not only enabled smaller job shops to share in the titanium work, it also allowed shops of all sizes to keep its older/low horsepower equipment running if higher horsepower centers were needed for another project, maximizing capacity and resources.

With 2012 came the launch of the second generation of the original 4-flute POW-R-FEED with the introduction of the POW-R-FEED M924. This line expansion also marked the appearance of a new engineered coating - aluminum-chromium-nitride or AlCrNX - with improved heat protection. IMCO refined the tool's rake and relief angles and reinforced its cutting edges, which afforded users higher metal removal rates and shorter cycle times. Better chip resistance along the cutting edges offered the longer tool life shops need to reduce overall tool costs. IMCO distinguished between the POW-R-FEED lines, recommending the M924 for higher-volume operations and the original M904 for shop environments where short runs and a variety of materials are common.

Products[edit]

IMCO tools are designed, tested, sourced and manufactured in the U.S. for machining in a wide range of materials, such as aluminum, carbon and stainless steel, tool steels, titanium, cast iron, high-temperature alloys, copper and magnesium alloys, brass, bronze, composites, plastics, and graphite. IMCO tool categories include high-performance and general-purpose end mills, burs, drills, countersinks, rougher/finishers, reamers, routers, die trimmers and custom-made, special purpose precision tools for industrial applications. The company also performs custom modifications to off-the-shelf cutting tools.

IMCO Carbide Tool products begin with "blanks," or rods of micrograin carbide or ultra-fine micrograin carbide, because of its extreme hardness and favorable heat resistance.

IMCO specializes in high-performance end mills designed with variable fluting. Varying flute geometries break up the harmonics, or multiple mechanical frequencies that develop as tools spin and can cause tool instability and failure. Variable fluting breaks up harmonics and keeps the tool balanced as it turns for optimum tool stability. This, in turn, enables the tool to cut with greater precision.[3]

IMCO high-performance tools frequently include an engineered coating that deflects heat away from the tool. Typical coatings in the industry include titanium nitride (TiN), aluminum titanium nitride (AlTiN) and titanium aluminum nitride (TiAlN), although IMCO, like many tool makers, fine-tunes these engineered coatings for better heat protection and longer tool use. IMCO added another coating - an aluminum-chromium-nitride (AlCrNX) formula - with the POW-R-FEED M924 end mill introduced in 2012. This AlCrNX coating was shown in research to provide heightened heat protection and exponentially longer tool life.

Because extreme temperatures are generated in the cutting zone, where the cutting edges shear through the material at very high speeds, coatings are added to deflect the heat away from the tool. Coatings offer varying degrees of heat protection, or hot hardness, as well as other unique performance characteristics, depending on their formulation. Tools coated with each formulation will work well in some materials and poorly in others. Coatings also provide a degree of lubricity that helps evacuate metal cuttings or chips, from the cutting zone. This prevents clogs and removes chips before they can melt and bond with the tool's cutting edges, which ruins the tool.

Tool geometries, or cutting and fluting angles, are essential to the tool's performance. A minute change in angle or cutting radius can make a significant difference in the tool's balance, chiploads and other performance characteristics. IMCO and other tool manufacturers conduct extensive research to fine-tune these geometries, especially for use in heat-treated alloy steels, Inconel, Hastelloy and other engineered metals. Through research and testing, IMCO has developed a range of "unique combinations using multiple coating formulas and substrates."[2]

Competitors[edit]

  • ISCAR
  • Kennametal/WIDIA
  • OSG Tool & Die
  • Sandvik
  • SGS Tools

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cutter cuts time and saves money". MetlFax (Gale Group). 2000-09-01. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  2. ^ a b Today's Medical Developments. Richfield, Ohio: GIE Media Inc. 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Modern Machine Shop. Cincinnati, Ohio: Gardner Publications. 2007. 

Coordinates: 41°35′54″N 83°32′44″W / 41.59833°N 83.54556°W / 41.59833; -83.54556

External links[edit]