Category Archive: Uncategorized

When is pCBN Tooling an Appropriate Choice?

Let’s Take a Look at The Options.

When it comes to machining hard materials, traditional tooling materials such as carbide can quickly wear out and fail to provide the necessary precision and accuracy. This is where polycrystalline cubic boron nitride (pCBN) tools comes into play. pCBN is an extremely hard material that is ideal for machining hard metals, ceramics, and other difficult-to-machine materials. In this blog, we’ll explore when PCBN tools are appropriate for a manufacturing process.

First, let’s briefly cover what PCBN tools are. PCBN is a composite material made by sintering cubic boron nitride particles together with a metallic binder. This results in a material that is extremely hard and wear-resistant, making it ideal for machining applications that involve hard materials. pCBN tooling is made by bonding pCBN inserts onto a carbide substrate, which is then mounted into a cutting tool holder.

Now, let’s look at the situations where PCBN tooling is appropriate:

  1. Machining Hardened Steel – pCBN tools are ideal for machining hardened steel, which is a notoriously difficult material to machine using traditional tooling. This is because pCBN is harder than carbide and can withstand the high temperatures and pressures that are involved in the machining of hardened steel. pCBN tools can provide superior surface finishes and higher speed and feed cuts than other carbide tooling when machining hardened steel.
  2. Machining Other Hard Materials – In addition to hardened steel, pCBN tooling is appropriate for machining other hard materials such as cast iron, super alloys, and ceramics. These materials can also be difficult to machine using traditional carbide tooling, but pCBN can provide the necessary precision and accuracy to achieve the desired results.
  3. High Production Runs – pCBN tools are appropriate for high production runs where tool life and consistency are critical. Because pCBN is extremely wear-resistant, it can last much longer than carbide or other tooling materials, resulting in fewer tool changes and increased productivity. Additionally, the consistent and precise results provided by pCBN tools can help to reduce scrap and rework, further increasing productivity and reducing costs.
  4. Precision Applications – pCBN tools are appropriate for precision applications where tight tolerances and surface finishes are required. pCBN can provide superior surface finishes and dimensional accuracy compared to traditional tooling materials, resulting in parts that meet the required specifications.

In conclusion, pCBN tooling is appropriate for a variety of manufacturing applications where traditional tooling materials are unable to provide the necessary accuracy and tool life. From machining hardened steel and other hard materials to high production runs and precision applications, pCBN tools can help to improve the quality and efficiency of the machining process. While pCBN tools can be more expensive than traditional tooling materials, the benefits provided by pCBN make it a smart investment in many situations.




Benefits of Variable Helix Angles in Thread Milling

Lets Analyze The Benefits

When it comes to thread milling, the helix angle of the tool can have a significant impact on the quality of the finished product. A variable helix angle, in particular, can offer a range of benefits that make it a popular choice among machinists. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the key advantages of using a variable helix angle when thread milling.

Firstly, an explanation of variable helix angles in milling tools. The helix angle of a milling tool refers to the angle formed between the cutting edge of the tool and a line perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the tool. Variable helix angles are a feature of milling tools that involve changing the angle of the helix along the length of the flutes of the tool. In traditional milling tools, the helix angle is constant throughout the length of the flutes. However, variable helix angles allow for the optimization of the cutting action of the tool in different parts of the milling process.

Lets analyze some of the benefits of variable helix angles:

  1. Reduced Vibration – A variable helix angle helps to reduce vibration during the milling process. Because the cutting forces are spread out over a larger area, there is less chance of the tool vibrating or chattering as it cuts through the workpiece. This can help to produce a more accurate thread with fewer errors or imperfections.
  2. Increased Tool Life – By reducing vibration and improving chip evacuation, a variable helix angle can also help to extend the life of the milling tool. Because there is less stress on the tool during the cutting process, it is less likely to become damaged or worn out over time. This can save money in the long run by reducing the need for frequent tool changes.
  3. More Versatility – Finally, a variable helix angle can make the milling process more versatile. By using a tool with a variable helix angle, it allows for the tool to be used in a multitude of different materials while still achieving fantastic results.

In conclusion, a variable helix angle can offer a range of benefits when it comes to thread milling. By improving chip evacuation, reducing vibration, increasing tool life, and adding versatility to the milling process, it can help machinists achieve higher-quality results with greater consistency and efficiency.


Solid Ring Gauges vs Split Ring Gauges

Lets Analyze The Benefits

When it comes to measuring external threads, one of the primary tools used is a thread ring gauge. These gauges are used to verify the pitch diameter and the functional size of threaded components. However, there are two types of thread ring gauges: solid and split ring gauges. While both can be effective for measuring threads, there are several advantages to using solid thread ring gauges.

First, let’s briefly cover what solid and split ring gauges are. Solid thread ring gauges are a one-piece design that is made from a solid piece of steel. The thread profile is machined into the gauge and there are no moving parts. In contrast, split ring gauges are made up of one piece and has split down the middle on one side. The two halves can be adjusted to fit a range of thread sizes and are held together by a locking mechanism. (typically, a screw)

Now, let’s look at the advantages of using solid thread ring gauges:

  1. Accuracy – Solid thread ring gauges are more accurate than split ring gauges. Because they are machined from a single piece of steel, there is less chance of distortion or misalignment. In contrast, split ring gauges can be prone to misalignment and distortion due to the two separate halves.
  2. Durability – Solid thread ring gauges are more durable than split ring gauges. Because they are made from a single piece of steel, there are no moving parts to wear out or break. Split ring gauges, on the other hand, are more prone to wear and tear due to the locking mechanism and two separate halves.
  3. Checking Time – Solid thread ring gauges are faster to use than split ring gauges. With a solid thread ring gauge, there is no need to adjust the gauge to fit the thread size. This can save time and make the measuring process more efficient.
  4. Cost – While solid thread ring gauges can be more expensive than split ring gauges, they are often a better long-term investment. Because they are more accurate and durable, they can provide more consistent and reliable results over time. This can help to reduce the need for frequent gauge replacements and save money in the long run.

In conclusion, solid thread ring gauges are a better choice for measuring threads than split ring gauges. From increased accuracy and durability to faster measuring times and better long-term value, solid thread ring gauges offer a range of benefits that make them a smart investment for any manufacturing process. While split ring gauges may be appropriate in certain situations, solid thread ring gauges are a more reliable and consistent choice for most measuring applications.


Benefits of Using Threading Dies over Single Point Threading

Threading Die Uses in Modern Manufacturing Applications

When it comes to creating threads in a workpiece, there are two primary methods: single point threading and thread cutting dies. While both methods have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, there are situations where thread cutting dies are more beneficial to a manufacturing process than single point threading. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the advantages of using thread cutting dies and when they might be a better choice for your application.

First, let’s briefly cover what thread cutting dies are. Thread cutting dies are cylindrical tools with teeth that are designed to cut a thread into an O.D. of a  workpiece. The teeth of the die match the thread profile that is desired, resulting in a precise and accurate thread.

Now, let’s look at the benefits of using thread cutting dies:

  1. Increased Efficiency – One of the primary advantages of using thread cutting dies is increased efficiency. Because the dies cut the thread in one pass, the process is faster and requires less time and labor than single point threading. This is especially true for larger diameter threads, which can be more difficult to create using single point threading.
  2. Better Thread Quality – Thread cutting dies can produce threads with better quality and accuracy than single point threading. This is because the dies are designed to match the thread profile exactly, resulting in a precise and consistent thread every time. This can be especially important in applications where thread quality is critical, such as in the aerospace or medical industries.
  3. Reduced Wear and Tear on Your Machines – Single point threading can put a lot of wear and tear on the lathe or milling machine being used to create the thread. In contrast, thread cutting dies put less stress on the machine, reducing the risk of damage or breakdown. This can result in longer machine life and lower maintenance costs over time.

In conclusion, thread cutting dies offer a range of benefits over single point threading in certain manufacturing applications. From increased efficiency and better thread quality to versatility and reduced wear and tear on machinery, thread cutting dies can help to streamline the manufacturing process and improve overall performance. While there are certainly situations where single point threading may be more appropriate, thread cutting dies are a smart choice in many cases and can help to improve the quality, efficiency, and consistency of the thread cutting process.


Benefits of Laser Cut PCD vs EDM Cut… How Are They Manufacturing Your PCD Tooling?

What is the difference and what does that mean for your tooling?

In the world of manufacturing, cutting tools are a critical component in the production process. When it comes to cutting tools made of polycrystalline diamond (PCD), there are two primary methods of fabrication: laser cutting and electrical discharge machining (EDM). Both methods have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, but in this blog, we’ll focus on the benefits of laser cut PCD cutting tools over EDM cut.

First, let’s briefly cover what PCD cutting tools are. PCD cutting tools are made by bonding diamond particles onto a carbide substrate. The resulting material is extremely hard and wear-resistant, making it ideal for cutting applications in various industries.

Now, let’s look at the benefits of laser cut PCD cutting tools:

  1. Improved Surface Finish Laser cutting produces a much finer and more precise edge compared to EDM. This results in an improved surface finish on the PCD cutting tool, which translates to a better finish on the workpiece. In many applications, a smoother surface finish can result in improved performance and longer tool life.
  2. Higher Precision Laser cutting is a highly precise process that can cut extremely small features with tight tolerances. This precision is especially important for PCD cutting tools, which require a high degree of accuracy to ensure that they are cutting the workpiece as efficiently as possible. Laser cutting can produce tools with extremely tight tolerances, resulting in more precise cuts and better performance.
  3. Reduced Material Waste EDM cutting generates a lot of heat and can result in material waste due to melting and erosion. In contrast, laser cutting is a non-contact process that produces minimal heat, resulting in less material waste and reduced production costs. Laser cutting also allows for intricate shapes to be cut out of the PCD material, resulting in more efficient use of the material.
  4. Faster Production Time Laser cutting is a much faster process compared to EDM, which can take hours to complete. This means that PCD cutting tools can be produced more quickly, reducing lead times and increasing overall production efficiency.
  5. Better Consistency Because laser cutting is a highly automated process, the resulting PCD cutting tools are much more consistent than those produced using EDM. This means that each tool will have the same shape, size, and performance characteristics, resulting in more consistent results when cutting workpieces.

In conclusion, laser cut PCD cutting tools offer a range of benefits over those produced using EDM. From improved surface finish and higher precision to reduced material waste, faster production time, and better consistency, laser cut PCD cutting tools are a smart choice for a variety of cutting applications. While there are certainly situations where EDM cut PCD cutting tools may be more appropriate, laser cutting is often the preferred method due to its superior performance and cost-effectiveness.


Advantages of Left-Hand Spiral / Right-Hand Cutting Thread Mills

What are the benefits of utilizing a Left-Hand Spiral / Right-Hand Cutting Thread Mill?

When it comes to creating threads in a variety of materials, the type of cutting tool you use can make all the difference. One popular option is left-hand spiral/right-hand cutting thread milling, a cutting tool that offers several benefits over other types of thread milling tools. One of the main advantages of left-hand spiral/right-hand cutting thread milling is improved chip evacuation. Because the tool has a left-hand spiral, it helps to lift chips out of the hole as it cuts.

Left-hand spiral / right-hand cutting thread milling can also lead to an enhanced tool life. The combination of the left-hand spiral and right-hand cutting action can help to reduce the overall wear and tear on the tool, leading to a longer lifespan and more efficient cutting performance. This means that you can use the tool for a longer period of time, reducing the need for frequent tool changes. In addition, left-hand spiral/right-hand cutting thread milling can offer more precise and accurate thread quality. The left-hand spiral helps to keep the tool centered and aligned during the cutting process, resulting in more precise and accurate threads. This means that you can create threads that are more uniform and consistent, with fewer errors or defects.


Finally, left-hand spiral/right-hand cutting thread milling tools are versatile and can be used in a wide variety of applications and materials. Whether you’re creating threads in metal, plastic, wood, or other materials, this type of cutting tool can provide efficient and effective results.

In summary, left-hand spiral/right-hand cutting thread milling is a cutting tool that offers a number of benefits, including improved chip evacuation, reduced chatter, enhanced tool life, more precise thread quality, and increased versatility. Whether you’re working in a machine shop or a manufacturing facility, this type of tool can help you to create threads quickly and efficiently, with high-quality results.

Which Reverse Counterboring System to Use?

How to Determine the Most Cost Effective Way To Reverse Machine A Workpiece

There are 3 main reverse counterboring systems available to the marketplace at the moment. There is automatic back counterboring (often times referred to as a “flip-open” style tool), manual back counterboring tools and offset entry style back counterboring tools. Each system offers it’s own set of pros and cons which will help you, the end user of the tooling, determine which will work the best for your specific application.

When we spec out a specific tooling system for a potential customer, we focus on two different areas. These areas are Technical Feasibility and the Business Objectives trying to be met. Once we determine what is technically possible to design, manufacture and be reliable in the application while cutting, we can then be sure that we are meeting the required timelines, budget and safety requirements.

Technical Feasibility is typically going to be determined by your thru-bore to your machined feature diameter ratio, the length you have to reach through your workpiece, your workpiece material and the type of machine you will be running your workpiece on.

Business Objectives
are usually a little more complicated to figure out. This is where you’ll start trying to determine things like cycle time savings vs cost of the tooling, possible safety concerns for your machine operators vs cost of tooling and the possible elimination of a secondary operation all together.

Below, we will go through the 3 most common types of reverse machining tools and quickly outline where they rank up in terms of technical feasibility and typical business objectives.

Automatic Reverse Machining

The Autofacer® is an ideal option for higher production run jobs where reliability is of the utmost importance. The majority of Autofacers are custom made tools that can range from Ø.250″ pilot diameter to upwards of Ø7.00″ pilot diameter while cutting Ø11.00″ spotfaces. This is a U.S. manufactured product which offers a variety of clutch designs to mechanically open and close the tooling. A built in rotary pilot supports the tooling while in the cut. This allows the Autofacer to reach impressive length to diameter ratios due to the tooling being supported at the point of cut. Though the majority of Autofacers are custom made per application, a new stock standard line of Autofacers in .5mm (.020″) counterbore diameter increments has been introduced for quick turn-around deliveries when needed.

Manual Reverse Machining

Manual reverse counterboring tools are one of the oldest back counterboring systems around. This system requires that you feed an arbor through your workpiece, stop your machine spindle and then manually connect a HSS or brazed carbide back counterboring head on the backside of your part. The obvious downsides to this type of system is that it is inherently slower than an automatic system and there will always be more risk involved when a machine operator is reaching inside a machine and physically locking on the cutting head. The upsides to these type of tools is that they are generally a more price conscience option compared to the automatic tools and they are stocked in U.S. in 1mm increments from Ø10mm (.394″) to Ø76mm (2.992″) in HSS. Brazed carbide cutters are available in Germany and typically require no more than a week delivery. Because these tools are 4-flute and piloted you can also reach long length to diameter ratios.

Offset Entry Back Counterboring
The offset entry back boring bars are typically a good option when you do not need to reach very far through your part (as these tools are not supported while cutting) and when you are dealing with shorter lengths of cut. These specific tools are made from a heat treated tool steel and utilize indexable inserts or are manufactured from solid round carbide for smaller diameters. Multiple sizes of these tools from Ø6.5mm (.256″) to Ø50mm (1.969″) are being stocked here in the U.S. with multiple carbide grades available. Customs are available for quotation upon request.

I was once told by someone I trust, “There is no such thing as a bad tool… Some tools just fit a specific situation better than others”. I think that by adopting this mentality when trying to determine how best to approach a manufacturing process while putting thought towards your business objectives, setting up a successful process is a very logical step. Don’t forget to reach out to a trusted specialist when the time comes to determine which is the best direction to go. That’s what we’re here for!

Steiner Technologies Stocking Manual Back Counterbore Tools

Fairport, NY: Steiner Technologies partners with German manufacturer, Hermann Bilz to fill the void left by the discontinuation of the main provider of manual back counterbore tools in North America

Steiner Technologies is stocking HSS manual back counterboring heads from 10mm-76mm

⇒ Offset entry back counterboring tools are also being stocked in solid carbide and indexable insert options in a wide variety of metric sizes

⇒ Modular piloted front counterboring tools available in standard metric sizes in HSS, brazed carbide, and indexable insert options

⇒ Stock items can be shipped same day as ordered up until 3 PM (EST)

⇒ The Hermann Bilz line is being offered in conjunction with the fully automatic Autofacer which is designed and built per specific application in our Fairport, NY facility

Are Capital Expenditures on The Rise in Manufacturing?

A few months ago, a friend of mine in plastics manufacturing shared that his firm was experiencing a substantial uptick in production. He went on to mention that to handle the surge in productivity, his company was investing into a custom tool that would automate portions of the production process.

Earlier in the year, I also remember a former colleague (who now owns a construction equipment resale business) saying that after several years of slumped sales, business was finally picking up. He said that prior to this year, corporations simply were not making long-term investments in equipment — but that all seemed to be turning around for 2017.

These personal observations had us wondering: are these scenarios a coincidence? Or indicative of a larger trend? Are capital expenditures truly on the rise? To answer that, we decided to do a little digging. Here’s a look at what we found.

Spending Lags in Some Countries But Global Averages Are On the Rise

According to research from international accounting and consultancy network UHY, it appears that capital spending is indeed on the rise – and not just in the United States. According to UHY, the U.S. has raised capital investments, on average, by 33 percent in five years.

In that same period, China has continued to lead the trend with an explosive capex increase of 73 percent. Additionally, though some European economies are still lagging in capital spending, UHY reports an overall increase in the world average by 21.1 percent.

So why this global rise in production and spending? UHY cites one reasons as, “higher capital investment levels are an indicator that businesses are positioning themselves to expand capacity, to improve productivity, or to move into new markets by opening new sites.”

Zooming In On The Homefront

Optimism in global markets may be contributing to steady growth in production and domestic spending as well. In the past 12 months, many sectors of manufacturing have taken a huge leap from where they were a year ago, citing that they’ve seen noticeable “increased business confidence.” This in turn results in a greater willingness to purchase new machinery and equipment that will support both current and forecasted production levels.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “business investment has risen, a sign companies are spending to increase productivity. In the first quarter, investment in plants climbed a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14.8%, the highest since early 2014. Investment in equipment climbed 8.8% in the second quarter, the highest in almost two years.”1

Lower Corporate Taxes May Spur Spending

Another factor that may be prompting more manufacturing companies to make capital investments is the recent proposal for corporate tax reform. This tax provision, which aims to reduce the corporate tax rate from the current rate of 35 percent down to 20 percent, would put money back into manufacturing business’s bottom lines, potentially freeing up funds for them to invest in the tools, equipment and automated processes that improve productivity and efficiency. (See how the Autofacer does this for a variety of applications.)

Whatever reasons were behind the recent successes of my friends — whether global optimism or the promise of domestic corporate tax cuts – it seems that their scenarios are not isolated. Research suggests that many more firms are, indeed, noticing a recent rise in capital spending. And while not every manufacturing sector may be feeling the impact of this change, the fact that more businesses are taking noticeable measures to invest in the future is welcome news for everyone.


Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are common in manufacturing – in fact, according to OSHA, they are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. MSDs, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, epicondylitis and several other types of muscle strains account for 33% of reported worker injury and illness cases. Is your workplace doing its part to ensure the prevention of such injuries? Here are four ways you can help ensure a more ergonomic manufacturing workplace.

1: Know The Risk Factors

The first step is having an awareness of the risk factors that lead to MSD injuries. Here’s a look at some processes that are among the most problematic:

  • Excessive force – lifting, moving or pulling heavy objects
  • Repetitive tasks – performing the same motion over and over again
  • Prolonged/awkward postures – working in positions that place stress on the body (kneeling, leaning, squatting, reaching inside a machine, etc.)
  • Cold temperatures – working in a chilled environment
  • Exposure to vibrations – either whole-body or hand-arm vibrations

2: Perform a Job Hazard Analysis

What are potential problems in your work environment that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders? A good first step is to perform a job site assessment, which evaluates the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment. Also be sure to review your firm’s accident history. Then observe and identify the above processes that are known to be problematic, starting with jobs that have the highest potential for injury. Check out this comprehensive guide from OSHA on more specific steps you can take.

3: Include Both Workers and Managers in Solution Development

Implementing ergonomic processes not only ensures good morale, but contributes to your manufacturing firm’s productivity. That means it’s in everyone’s best interest to develop solutions that reduce the chance of injuries and keep things running smoothly. These solutions should not come from the top-down – in fact, just the opposite. Employees are the ones who are likely to have the best insights on specific machines, tasks and the processes that surround them. Be sure to do the following in your approach:

  • Invite workers to participate in your worksite assessment, and encourage them to develop, implement and measure the effectiveness of solutions.
  • Discuss the risk factors for MSDs and welcome employees to voice their concerns and offer ideas for reducing risk factors.
  • Offer regular training on new ergonomic techniques, and be sure workers have resources in place for early reporting of injuries, so early symptoms don’t turn into lost-time claims.

4: Implement Ergonomics Solutions to Control Hazards

Of course, for every industry, every manufacturing floor, there comes a unique set of tasks and processes that may require custom solutions that help reduce MSD injuries. In some cases, this could mean modifying or upgrading existing equipment; while in others, it’s a matter of making changes in methods (such as more frequent staff rotations).

Another solution might be purchasing new tools or devices to assist in production. Reverse machining tools from Steiner Technologies, for example, minimize the need to break down and re-fixture a part, instead allowing machinists to reach through the part to machine the opposite side of it. Automating processes often reduces the risk of injuries as well: the Autofacer®, for instance, helps workers avoid awkward movements; it prevents the need for entering a machine to affix a cutter head that will perform a reverse counter bore. Watch the Autofacer in action right here.

Learn more now about ergonomic solutions and controls for MSD hazards, along with manufacturing success stories (segmented by industry) from the U.S. Department of Labor Or, for additional tips that will help your manufacturing firm adopt more ergonomic solutions, don’t miss our recent blog, Approaching Change Management in Manufacturing