Advancements in CNC tooling
As CNC tooling becomes more precise, fabricators must continuously educate themselves on how to use them and what new products exist
The day fabricators could use just one saw blade or one core bit is mostly over. Because of the expansion of new and different materials to the market, CNC tooling companies and suppliers have to continuously update their tools. “When Laminam came out in different thicknesses, we had to adjust the blades we made for that,” said Mindy Wessel, general manager of Alpha Tools. “This is the same as the tooling we make, as different materials enter the market we need to make changes to them so they can cut all these materials.”
Not only do blades and tooling need to change, due to material market changes, but because of the technology increase in recent years, the tools themselves are producing more. “The tooling has become more precision oriented,” said Mike Downey, head of CNC sales for GranQuartz. “ADI has continued to engineer the highest quality precision profile wheels on the market. As customers have started to become more precise with measuring devices, the tooling is running at increased feed rates in cases almost doubling production over tooling parameters of a year ago.” Due to the precision of these tools, ADI recommends that profile tooling is to be dressed and refreshed every 500 to 700 linear feet. “The Advant-edge offline dressing machine sold exclusively by GranQuartz is one of the two steps that will help to ensure the best quality edges,” said Downey. “The second step is the Zoller offline presetter.”
Besides Alpha and ADI, the tooling market is full of different companies including but not limited to, Terminator, Diamut, Black Panther and Zenesis. “Over the past years CNC sales have grown tremendously,” said Matt Maples, Braxton-Bragg product manager. “Because CNC drastically increases work capacity and efficiencies.”
The importance of education
At Stone Industry Education seminars, or Stone Fabricator Alliance workshops, the question of best tooling to use is asked. As well as how many steps are truly necessary when doing a polish or edge. Continuously educating yourself is one of the most important things a fabricator can do and there are loads of options our there for the fabricator. “Both Braxton-Bragg and Diamut offer Youtube videos, participate in Natural Stone Institute education seminars, exhibit at trade shows, host private fabricator events and Diamut regularly holds special training seminars at its North American Headquarters in Charlotte, NC,” said Maples. “Diamut is very proud of its new Manufacturing and Redressing Facility in Charlotte, NC. The company continues to better meet the demands of its growing North American market, while helping customers increase their return on investment.”
Alpha Tools has a tech academy where it trains people on its tools and blades. “We work with our dealers in person to make sure they are trained for when they come to the fabricator’s shop with our tools,” said Wessel. “We also offer training videos, and we do things on YouTube and Facebook. We try to get as much information out there as possible.”
Some companies, including GranQuartz, do on-site visits for fabricators. “GranQuartz has five full-time educators or technicians that travel every week to work with our customers to provide on-site education,” said Downey.
As more materials come out and technology changes, make sure to contact your representative for whatever tooling company you use to make sure your tools are not only in top shape, but also are being used correctly and are giving maximum production for your shop.