Pioneers in Machining Technology
A new range of high-precision, abrasive deburring brushes made from heavy duty aluminium oxide (alumina) fibres has been introduced for use on static platforms such as machining centres, mills, drilling machines and special-purpose machine tools, but are equally suitable for mounting on industrial robots. Versions are also available for hand-held power tools.
Available in the UK through NCMT, the Japanese-made tools from Xebec Technology comprise blue rods consisting of 500 alumina fibre filaments measuring 25 microns in diameter. The self-sharpening cutting action is on the tip only, there being no abrasive effect on the sides of the rods.
The thicker blue fibres have been added to the existing range of white, red and pink fibres. White previously provided the highest deburring and finishing action, with their one thousand 15-micron filaments. Machining performance using the blue variety is much higher, with double the abrasive power allowing burrs of 1 mm to be tackled, such as those produced during hobbing or pressworking. On flat surfaces, processing performance is said to be four times higher.
Dozens or hundreds of parallel rods, depending on tool size, go to make up a hollow, cylindrical tool rather like an elongated cup. The rods are prevented from unduly splaying under centrifugal force by a metal sleeve whose ID is approximately the same as the OD of the tool. Only a short length of the fibre rods protrudes at any given time from the end of the sleeve, which is retracted by hand occasionally to compensate for rod wear. Periodic offsets also have to be entered into the machine tool control.
The product design bears out Xebec’s assertion that theirs are precision deburring, deflashing, finishing and polishing tools, more akin to an end mill than a wire brush, which is relatively crude in its application. Moreover, the manufacturer claims that its method of growing the fibre filaments ensures that the alumina content is very high at 70 per cent by weight, compared with just 30 per cent in conventional, abrasive-impregnated nylon wires.
Tools may be from six to 100 mm in diameter. Despite their high metal removal rate, the tools wear slowly due to their high alumina content and also as a result of their resistance to high temperatures as well as to water- and oil-based coolants. The tools are equally capable of cutting dry.