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ISCAR Tools for Machining Composite Materials

ISCAR, the largest metalworking company in the IMC group (owned by Berkshire Hathaway), produces unique, innovative cutting tools for most machining applications. ISCAR is recognized as a world leader in the field of indexable and solid carbide cutting tools for the major metalworking industries, such as automotive and aerospace. In machining composite materials, intensive abrasion of a cutting tool is a major challenge because abrasive wear can lead to dramatic deterioration of cutting tool geometry and, as a result, to performance problems.
As a consequence of this wear issue, delamination can also occur during drilling and milling operations. In order to significantly improve the cutting tools’ performance during machining of composite materials, ISCAR R&D department developed a new range of tools, both indexable and solid carbide, totally dedicated to this class of materials.


ISCAR has developed a drilling solution based on interchangeable heads, based on its famous SUMOCHAM product line. The new ICF drilling heads geometry has been especially designed for drilling composite materials (fig. A).
It provides low axial forces for smooth penetration during the cutting process without splintering phenomenon. The new heads are based on a new carbide submicron substrate and diamond coating for prolonged and predictable tool life. SUMOCHAM for composites is suitable for use on any type of machine-tools such as CNC machines, robots and even powered feed machines (ADU) for which special thread connectors are available.
The fast head replacement and high positioning repeatability provide minimum machine downtime. Relatively small indexable drilling heads with diamond coating provide a real price advantage, compared to long full solid carbide drills, as well as easy stock management. The SUMOCHAM range for composite materials covers today a diameter range from 6.35 to 12.7 mm.

ISCAR also offers a range of solid carbide drills, starting from 3.0 mm.
The tool geometry of the CFD family has been designed with a stepped point and with two working sections (fig. B). This considerably improves surface finish and allows a smooth cut on very difficult-to-machine composites, like RTM or thermoplastic materials.


The design shown in fig. C relates to ISCAR’s versatile MULTI-MASTER tool systems with interchangeable heads, featuring a carbide head with brazed PCD tips.
Due to this innovative design, a machined composite workpiece experiences less loading and swarf evacuation is improved as well as the surface finish.
The main applications for this range of tools are: orbital milling, edging and ramping down.

Another milling family, EPX, is intended mostly for machining carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP).
This family of compression endmills (fig. D) feature opposite cutting edge directions – a combination of right and left helix along one flute. Such progressive cutting edge geometry reduces delamination and improves tool performance when milling CFRP. This technology is especially recommended for fast feed machining.

ISCAR also developed the EPN-F – a family of solid carbide endmills (fig. E).
Its key feature is that the mill teeth are divided into sections. This design results in better distribution of load on the endmill and machined workpiece, and thus provides increased tool life and improved surface finish.
The EPN-F tool shows impressive results in machining carbon fiber and honeycomb composites.

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With those product lines, ISCAR can answer today to most of the machining requirements
for composite materials, while their R&D department keeps working on new improved
cutting technologies.
Also, ISCAR’s engineering department is able to design specially tailored geometries
in order to optimize its solutions for each type of composites .

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