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ITC takes the high road

Along the coast from Inverness in Banff, Addison Electrical Ltd is a well established subcontractor with over 20 years experience in the production of electrical control panels and associated components. However, its expertise and experience has seen the company diversify into the design, engraving and sign-making industries.

To support its diversification and enhance productivity capabilities and capacity, Addison Electrical acquired a Sabre 408 CNC Router in 2007. The experienced engineer that commissioned the machine for Addison suggested the Scottish company implement cutting tools from ITC of Tamworth to fully maximise the potential of the machine.

It wasn't until Addison Electrical's Director, Mr Kenneth Addison installed the first cutting tools from ITC, that he realised how much of a difference high quality cutting tools could make. Machining anything from aluminium, plastic, traffolyte and brass through to stainless steel, the company now utilises ITC cutting tools for all machining processes on its CNC router.

ITC cutter engraving into metal.

As Mr Addison recalls: "We previously used a single flute cutter that left the edges of our plastic parts with a dull white colouring after machining. This resulted in a secondary process of sanding the edges prior to flame polishing. Sanding the edges could take up to 15 minutes per job and when we are producing over 25 to 30 plastic parts per month, this time is quite considerable.

"The ITC ClearCut works at increased speeds and feeds and gives us an outstanding surface finish. This eradicates all hand polishing and gives a surface finish close to the flame polished finish we achieve. Now we only flame polish parts that demand a visually impeccable finish. The 6mm diameter ClearCut from ITC has saved us a lot of time with secondary operations whilst improving surface quality."

As well as implementing the 6mm ClearCut, Addison has also employed a 5mm diameter cutter for stainless steel machining, as Mr Addison continues: "The stainless steel cutters are remarkably hard and resilient. We've been machining stainless for many years and we've never achieved anything like the tool life the ITC cutters provide. The exceptionally clean surface finishes now dispose of secondary deburring operations on most parts."

The company also utilises ITC's single flute routing tools to great effect. Machining traffolyte, aluminium and particularly plastic, the routing tools generate a smooth surface finish and deliver a tool life that the subcontractor is fully satisfied with.

With regards to special tooling Mr Addison states: "ITC has a really diverse range of products available off-the-shelf with an extremely wide range of specials available on short lead times. This diversity is way beyond anything any of our previous suppliers could achieve.

"One special we use is a 6mm diameter cutter with a 0.75mm flat for engraving. We have trialled many engraving tools and ITC's cutter has been the best by far. It is used on stainless steel electrical control panels and circuit boards to engrave letters and numbers. The tool has excellent swarf evacuation that clears out the engraved letters really well. With a longer flat, the ITC cutter has extended tool life way beyond anything we previously used. Cutter breakages used to be an issue for us but since we've used the ITC engraving tools, breakages have been eliminated."

The company has also employed an ITC 6mm diameter folding tool for machining its di-bond and stainless steel frame components. Using previous cutters, Addison had to make a number of passes prior to folding parts and even then achieving a high quality fold could prove difficult. "Since introducing the ITC folding tool, our cutters take less passes and this results in improved productivity. Added to this is the improved accuracy. The ITC tools guarantee we achieve a 90 degree fold that mates the two fold line surfaces impeccably. This new tool saves us at least 10 minutes per part in cycle time. On top of this is an improved cycle time for secondary assembly processes, as the fold lines are extremely accurate and our staff can assemble parts more efficiently," concludes Mr Addison.

For further information contact ITC on 01827 304500 or visit www.itc-ltd.co.uk

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