Our expectations for the new “WSX445” face milling cutter.

Our expectations for the new “WSX445” face milling cutter.

The double-sided high performance insert developed to encapsulate the passion of a craftsman.

The new double-sided insert-type face milling cutter WSX445 was officially launched in October 2014. Merely by looking at the tool, one can spot the difference. It combines higher cutting performance that exceeds conventional double-sided inserts, while guaranteeing a stable long tool life. Its secret lies in the unique shape of the insert design. We have asked four of our engineers to share their experiences on the development of WSX445.

Q. What can you tell us about the development of the WSX445?

Suzuki: Manufacturers are continuously improving products and processes aiming to reduce costs. Taking machining as an example, the face milling cutter is amongst the most widely used tools. In recent years, the conventional single-sided insert-type face milling cutter was replaced by the economically superior double-sided insert-type, which has twice as many cutting edges. This led to the assumption that it would dominate the cutting tool market, however, for various reasons this did not happen. The main issue with double-sided inserts is the reduction of the rake angle, which has detrimental effects on the cutting action, causing an increased requirement in power and rigidity and reduced tool life. For these highlighted reasons, I always wanted to develop a new innovative double-sided insert for those customers who had previously rejected the existing double-sided cutters currently available - after all, the tool should completely meet their needs.

Imai: The design of the WSX445 was "a double-sided type that could provide an equivalent cutting ability as a single- sided type having a stable, longer lifespan."

Q. What sort of issues did you encounter during the product development?

Suzuki: An important point was the insert shape. Comparing the WSX445 to conventional double-sided types, you can see that it has a very complex shape. Developing this shape was a long and arduous process.

Imai: The conventional double-sided insert originated from the existing traditional shape and had performance flaws when mounted to a cutter body. Therefore, we abandoned the existing insert design and started from scratch to develop this new insert. The result was a deeply carved, unique shape.

Suzuki: Producing this shape in large numbers was extremely challenging. However, the development of such a complex shape revitalized the passion and creativity of our team.

Q. What obstacles did you have to overcome to achieve the cutting ability of a single-sided type with a stable, long lifespan?

Meguro: We firstly had to design the mold for the unique shape of this insert. As you know, cemented carbide is being sintered, so the more complex the design, the harder it is to make the shape match the design. We had to work closely with the production technology department to solve this problem. For me, as a new staff member, this was a valuable experience.

Miyata: The insert was not our only problem; we had issues with the cutter body design as well. Having a shape that can securely clamp the deeply carved insert was extremely unusual in conventional designs.

Suzuki: After carrying out in-house tests, we asked our customers all over the world to test and evaluate the tool in real manufacturing environments. Most of our customers obtained good results but some of them weren't completely satisfied. By making direct modifications and repeating the test, we were able to create an outstanding, highly reliable product.

Q. What would you say to customers interested in buying the WSX445?

The double-sided high performance insert developed to encapsulate the passion of a craftsman.

Suzuki: We have always been striving to provide our customers with highest quality products. We have been creating products with specific functionalities, tailor made to the needs of the industry, capturing the latest technology trends. We continuously try to maximize product durability focusing on different application areas.
The WSX445 is designed to match specifications and fulfil the requirements of even the most demanding customers. We invite you to test it, in order to convince yourself and get inspired by its performance. There are already product expansion plans with regard to insert materials and cutter body shapes that many of our customers have already requested. We strongly believe that you will be satisfied.

Imai: It is our desire to create outstanding products for our customers. This desire is taking shape with the creation of products such as the WSX445. I hope that many of our customers will soon realize its unique look and feel as well as its performance superiority and include it amongst their preferences.

Miyata: Mitsubishi Materials Tsukuba Plant took the lead on the WSX445 project collaborating with Gifu Plant as well as with team members from other departments. All those involved in the product development, including R&D, production and sales teams, have put their "craftsman" heart and soul into the project. We invite you to try out the tool for yourself.

Meguro: The machining environment and tool requirements are different for every customer, with tool applications varying widely. Listening to the voice of our customers, we plan regular customer visits to discuss their specific requirements and identify possible deficiencies and improvement needs. Our target is to get closer to our customers, create even more desirable products and become a valuable partner to them.