Show us your cutters
Working on aluminium is a complex topic – with the new ALUMASTER generation, PFERD presents safe and cost-effective solutions.
“Working on aluminium is not a simple task,” explains PFERD product manager Thomas Plömacher. “The functional and safety requirements are complex, and fulfilling them usually takes a lot of effort.” He adds that the fact alone that aluminium dust might lead to dust combustion or explosions shows how high the hazard potential of applications of this kind is.
The Berufsgenossenschaft (BG; German institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention) has therefore introduced BG rule 109 on “Grinding, brushing and polishing aluminium – preventing dust combustion and explosions”. “To sum it up, this BG rule says that, if possible, the wet method should be used to work on workpieces, all ignition sources need to be removed from the working environment, processing sparking materials at the same time is to be avoided, suitable protective clothing must be worn and firefighting equipment must be provided close by.“
According to this rule, as part of the risk assessment, the company has to identify and assess combustion and explosion risks and take necessary protective measures. And it needs to ensure that any aluminium dust arising during an application is collected where it arises and safely removed. “We know these kinds of problems from experience. In the end, they make working processes complicated and extremely costly and time-consuming,” says Plömacher, who is familiar with this unfortunate situation.
He adds that by developing and introducing ALUMASTER, PFERD has taken a different approach to working on aluminium, an approach which simplifies applications, increases the cost-effectiveness of these processes considerably and minimizes risks. “ALUMASTER tools are not grinding tools, but milling tools. That is why they do not generate explosive or respirable dust, but chips, which can be sorted and recycled.”
ALUMASTER – completely new tool design
ALUMASTER tools consist of specially developed tungsten carbide cutting inserts, which are fixed to the High Speed Disc. With the HSD-F type, which has established itself since 2016, they are at the outside edge and face the underside. This makes HSD-F suitable for milling out, chamfering and for working on weld seams, fillet welds, edges and surfaces. With the new HSD-R series, the cutting segments are mounted on the radius of the High Speed Disc, i. e. around the perimeter. That is why the HSD-R type can also be used for milling out root welds and for peripheral milling. ALUMASTER tools cannot only be used for working on aluminium alloys, but also for brass, copper and zinc. The HICOAT cutting inserts are suitable for working on particularly demanding materials, such as harder aluminium alloys with a high Si content, bronze or fibre-reinforced plastics (GRP and CRP). ALUMASTER is most often used in ship and yacht, wagon, silo and container as well as vehicle construction.
After the successful introduction of ALUMASTER HSD-F, PFERD now presents the R type, which can be used both for face milling and for peripheral milling. “The R version can do everything that the F version can do,” confirms the PFERD product manager.
He adds that it is above all used for opening root welds. Up to now, grinding wheels or other grinding tools have been used for this task, which inevitably leads to the well-known problems: risk of explosion, respirability and all the safety measures needed because of this. “We have even seen people use circular saw blades on angle grinders,” says Plömacher, “which is dangerous in any respect!”
The new ALUMASTER HSD-R High Speed Disc is available in two diameters, 115 mm for use on angle grinders and 50 mm for use on straight grinders, flexible shaft systems or small angle grinders. “The 50 mm version is suitable for working on hard-to-reach areas in particular.” Thomas Plömacher explains that you do not even need a guard for the 50 mm version. Although the tool is called “50 mm”, it only has a diameter of 49 mm, which means that a guard is not obligatory.
“All ALUMASTER tools are available with two different cutting inserts: For adhering cast aluminium alloys with a silicon content of 5–10 %, abrasive cast aluminium alloys with a silicon content of over 15 % and other abrasive materials or non-ferrous metals, PFERD also offers the cutting inserts with a premiumquality HICOAT coating. This prevents tool clogging and abrasive wear, even in use on these particularly demanding materials.”
According to the product manager, ALUMASTER tools are much more efficient than conventional grinding tools. “The stock removal rates are much higher, which results in high cost-effectiveness.” Tools from the ALUMASTER series stand out because of their PFERDVALUE characteristics, too: They generate very little dust, allow energy-saving work with the best possible control over the process and a high degree of working comfort, save energy and time and avoid unnecessary waste.
“Our application technicians have successfully carried out many product tests in our customers’ manufacturing facilities and established ALUMASTER tools as a safe and cost-effective alternative for manufacturing and maintenance processes,” says Thomas Plömacher, offering expert advice.