Thread Rolling is NOT that difficult. If you think it is, we’re here for you!

There used to be an old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” For too many years this saying could easily apply to thread rolling technology. For too many potential users it seemed too complicated, too difficult to understand. It was thought the tooling required could only be applied to multi spindle screw machines. The reality is it can be relatively simple to apply and even more appropriate to install on modern CNC equipment.

We have been involved in the application and development of thread rolling attachments for more than 50 years. Application knowledge and service have been the core strength of our organization servicing North America’s thread rolling users. We indeed cover North America and despite our location in the Eastern Time Zone, we service customers in the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones as their workdays unfold. Our application engineers routinely monitor their phones daily. Accepting calls from end users throughout North America as their time dictates. Precise knowledge and dedicated service make our organization the “go to” people for thread rolling technology. Certainly, we want to sell thread rolling products but more importantly we want to support your threading applications. Knowing your threading history and machine applications give us confidence in your repeat business and provide you with the confidence to expand your application. Contact us, we’re eager to provide you with contact names and phone numbers of our people that can be your mobile guide.

Save Time and Money Hollow Milling.

The critical costs involved in any manufacturing endeavor always include time, materials and overhead. Most frequently we strive to control material and tooling costs as our best solution to control product cost. Time is usually the highest cost involved in manufacturing any product. We like to believe we have focused on this aspect by using state of the art machines and tools. A real example is the use of modern CNC lathes and mills to turn and mill intricate metal parts. Single pointing with carbide inserts and computer control appear to maximize the efficiency of today’s machines.

An old but still very effective technology is hollow milling. This can be done on any CNC machine. Normal turning operations that utilize single point turning with multiple passes can be achieved with an indexable hollow mill using several inserts in one pass. Often much longer turned lengths can be achieved without dreaded push off.

How much return can be achieved with an operation that reduces several seconds of cycle time is an easy calculation. Have you run turning cycles over 10 times diameter unsupported?  WE HAVE. Furthermore, we have the modern indexable, cost effective tooling to achieve results that are driven directly to the bottom line. Threaded forgings probably represent a product with the highest return but virtually any machined product can benefit from hollow milling.

Let us review your product and suggest our approach at reducing your manufacturing cycle time. The results can be rewarding. The investment is minimal. We can share several cases where the application of hollow milling helped a customer land a manufacturing contract from their competition through inventive tooling applications.

Want to Thread Roll on a CNC Machine?

Fixturing a thread rolling head in a modern CNC machine can be enhanced with the addition of a fixturing flat on the shank of the tool. The present design of the modern EVO style Fette thread rolling tool can be effectively anchored by machining a flat anywhere on the 360-degree circumference of the tool. This is effective due to the ability of configuring the closing ring in to any position required.

The multitude of older tools that were designed with a fixed closing handle had to be carefully positioned to identify the accurate location of a fixturing flat. Without a fixturing flat on the shank, it was probable that the tool could spin if something went wrong with the process. This in turn could lead to a collision problem and probable tool breakage. Machining a flat from the manufacturer was not possible since it was unclear where and on what machine the tool would be installed.

We can help with strategies to fixture the tool accurately once we know the machine detail. Contact us for processing assistance.

How to Thread Roll on Your CNC Machine Unattended?

Thread rolling on CNC machines unattended requires a closing scheme to reset the head after each rolling cycle. This is accomplished with a program move that will cycle the closing handle past a fixed point within the machine that will wipe the handle closed. Typically, a program change to the parameters must restrict turret movement to one fixed direction.

Two alternatives exist permitting the tool to close. The first is with a coolant driven attachment. The second locks the tool in a closed position and uses a Roll-On Roll-Off™ strategy. The two attachments achieve the desired result with the coolant closer using elevated coolant pressure available on some although not all CNC machines. The locking attachment can operate on virtually any machine at a significantly lower cost. The two strategies allow the parameters of the machine to remain unchanged and frequently do not add additional cycle time to the process. We are always available to discuss the most practical and cost-effective solution to your application.

What is Roll-On Roll-Off™ Thread Rolling System?

Technology is constantly evolving. The Ford model T eventually evolved in to the F40 and beyond. Thread rolling likewise is a constantly evolving technology. The tools themselves have become more user friendly and the rolls have improved in performance over a wider range of materials.

New strategies have evolved to reclose a thread rolling head following its popped open stature. Indexing the tool and striking its closing handle on a fixed obstruction was a widely used method. An air cylinder mounted as an actuator was another method. Cleverly configured tension spring devices also had merit. All these methods required limited investment and could exhibit modest failure occurrences.  More recently, a closing device attached to the tool and activated with high pressure coolant seemed to address the earlier issues. While it could only be affective on machines with the required coolant pressure, it too was susceptible to mechanical failure.

Lights out manufacturing can’t tolerate intermittent failure. In a goal to find a constant method to achieve lights out production on virtually every machine configuration, we developed a patent pending device to keep the head closed and utilize a Roll-On Roll-Off™off strategy. The desired result has had remarkable success. While nearly matching the cycle times prevalent with the older strategies the lack of moving parts has impacted on the physical life of the tool itself. Rotating the spindles during normal pop open operations generate wear on both the spindle and face plate. This resultant wear begins to exhibit itself as taper in the thread form. The new device allows for tool float and keeps the head closed negating wear on spindles and face plates.

Closing strategies and closing device cost are no longer a consideration. Closing failures are no longer a consideration in a “lights out” run time strategies.

Device development was internal to Turning Concepts, LLC. We are presently the single source for the patent pending tool attachment. Do you have an application that could benefit from our development?  Contact us directly for information on availability and cost.

Want To Improve Tool Life Dramatically?

It started with the wheel and later led to the telephone and electricity. Invention and discovery continue to change the face of our world as we know it. Thread rolling developed in the early twentieth century and has mostly remained constant since its invention. While difficult materials can be rolled, the life of the rolls themselves are limited when compared to mild steels. Nitriding was one means of improving roll life and reducing part cost but also had marginal benefit. Recently a new method has emerged that has shown the ability to improve tool life dramatically. It requires secondary processing of the basic thread roll that adds time to delivery as well as an increase in roll cost by 50% to 70% above the cost of the manufactured roll but the results can be staggering.

We presently have a customer running 17-4PH Stainless Steel that is achieving a 1000% increase in basic roll life. The cost benefit is dramatic, the downside for us is a 10-fold reduction in roll sales to this customer. We pride ourselves on our attention to technology and the goal of being the most valued supplier our customers do business with.

The new technology to improve wear resistance on thread rolls can probably be used on any part that sees friction wear as a failure mode. We can offset our thread roll sales loss by employing the technology into other tools not presently strong in our sales forecasts. Parts that fail due to friction, gears, wear plates, hobs, mold and die plates as well as a multitude of other components could well be strong candidates for improvement. Is friction a contributor to your tooling cost?  Contact us, we would like to offer a solution and allow you to speak with our end users that are on the cusp of dramatic change in threading cost.

New! Patent Pending Attachment

We recently introduced a Patent Pending attachment to convert a traditional pop open threading tool to a Roll-On Roll-Off™ device. When used on modern CNC machines a closing strategy had to be engineered specific to the individual machine. To ease the installation and use, we preset the tool with the correct thread size and installed the device, shipping to our customer ready to install and use.

While this plan yielded the result we wanted to achieve, our customers carried it to another level.  Since the device cannot yield unthreaded parts due to a closing action failure it has become a “lights out” device for some customers permitting them to run unattended.

When thread rolling, the tool controls the pitch diameter and the minor diameter. The major diameter is a function of the blank diameter controlled by the cutting tool within the machine. Even with a class 3 thread form the tolerance on the major diameter approaches .010. This generosity of tolerance permits longer tool life of the carbide turning inserts. When bidding for work in a typical job shop atmosphere cost per piece becomes the catalyst for winning the bid. Running unattended removes the direct and indirect labor cost associated with manned operation. The resultant cost reduction filters down directly to cost per piece and profit margin. This can often be the difference between winning or losing the contract bid. CNC machines contain canned programs that can be directly applied to the new threading strategy.

Roll threading is a single pass process that typically can produce a high-quality thread at a rate of 1 inch of thread per second of cycle time. Roll-On Roll-Off™ off doubles the average cycle time but frequently is accomplished within the same time frame as rolling on, popping open, rapiding off and reclosing the head for the next part. While we knew we had a device that was revolutionary, our customers are exhibiting even more profound application techniques. Using the “phantom” operator during off hours and continuing uninterrupted production while improving tool life has given added meaning to product improvement. Can this strategy improve your production process? Contact us and let us help with your application!

Thread Rolling Generates Cost Advantage

For too many years rolling threads on metal parts was considered a “black art.”  And, indeed, depending on the individual circumstances, it was. Bump rolling was a popular method used on a variety of screw machines. It required precise knowledge of the application and careful design to achieve success. It was indeed a “black art” used exclusively by knowledgeable screw machine set up people. A broad variety of attachments began to appear on the scene dedicated to screw machine use. Ease of set up varied by manufacturer but none were simple. All required careful attention to set up requirements.

More recently screw machines have begun to give way to CNC machining. While threading can be accomplished on a CNC machine much easier than previous set up intensive screw machines, roll threading can be an even greater value to a CNC application.  Thread strength improves dramatically, and cycle time decreases dramatically. Frequently roll threading will impact so greatly on part cost that the shop utilizing rolling will have a significant cost advantage over a competitor. In a job shop atmosphere this can make the difference in winning versus losing a bid. Tool design has improved to make installation of some tools far easier than previous designs. Design continues to evolve, and applications continue to become easier to install and use. We strive to supply our customers with simple, easy to apply, instructions. Tooling is typically supplied with instruction well beyond that of the manufacturer.  Our advice and support provided with every sale minimizes the potential for mistakes. Our primary goal is to make every thread rolling customer a knowledgeable confident user.

If Thread Rolling Doesn’t Excite Manufacturers, What Will?

For many CNC applications thread rolling is the best choice for creating higher quality external threads in one pass without chips. The technology has spanned years on multi spindle machines, engine lathes and dedicated thread rolling machines. CNC machines can particularly benefit from rolling technology in dramatically reduced cycle times with equally dramatic thread quality improvement. Single point threading on a CNC machine has an advantage when parts production volume is small. This advantage disappears when volume increases. Frequently even in low volume production, rolled threads are specified by the end user due to the quality issue of the threaded part.

Aviation and military parts are frequently specified as a rolled thread regardless of lot size. The technical advantages of a rolled thread are dramatic. Since rolling is a cold forging process it yields no chips and typically requires 90% less cycle time to produce a thread. The rolling process creates much higher yield strength in the material as well as far improved surface finish. These characteristics have made the process important in today’s automotive plants. Rolled threads exhibit higher strength, greater wear resistance, greater corrosion resistance and greater galling resistance. Qualities desired by automakers to minimize warranty failure. Valve stems are an excellent example of a threaded part that benefits from corrosion resistance. A rolled thread maintains better accuracy from part to part than a cut thread simply by removing the wear aspect of a cutting tool that allows cut dimensions to drift. Consider an automotive application that uses a single point machine cut thread in a blazing 4.8 seconds of cycle time. We can all agree this machine time is impressive but let’s roll the thread with a radial head in 0.2 seconds.

Can 4.6 seconds per piece in cycle improvement impact cost over 5 million parts?

Can better part quality with lower recall potential excite a manufacturer?

Most external threads regardless of description can be rolled. Most materials, even the difficult to machine, can be rolled with ease and efficiency. Unlike cutting, tool changes decrease dramatically with rolling. This adds yet another dimension to cost savings by reducing time for insert indexing. While you currently are not building space stations, supersonic aircraft or nuclear submarines if your rolling threads your sharing their technology.

It Started with the Wheel and Later Led to the Telephone and Electricity

It started with the wheel and later led to the telephone and electricity. Invention and discovery continue to change the face of our world as we know it. Thread rolling developed in the early twentieth century and has mostly remained constant since its invention. While difficult materials can be rolled the life of the rolls themselves are limited when compared to mild steels. Nitriding was one means of improving roll life and reducing part cost but also had marginal benefit. Recently a new method has emerged that has shown the ability to improve tool life dramatically. It requires secondary processing of the basic thread roll that adds time to delivery as well as an increase in roll cost by 50% to 70% above the cost of the manufactured roll but the results can be staggering.

We presently have a customer running 17-4PH Stainless Steel that is achieving a 1,000% increase in basic thread roll life. The cost benefit is dramatic, the downside for us is a 10-fold reduction in roll sales to this customer. We pride ourselves on our attention to technology and the goal of being the most valued supplier our customers do business with.

The new technology to improve wear resistance on thread rolls can probably be used on any part that sees friction wear as a failure mode. We can offset our thread roll sales loss by employing the technology into other tools not presently strong in our sales forecasts. Parts that fail due to friction, gears, wear plates, hobs, mold and die plates as well as a multitude of other components could well be strong candidates for improvement. Is friction a contributor to your tooling cost?  Contact us, we would like to offer a solution and allow you to speak with our end users that are on the cusp of dramatic change in threading cost.