What You Need to Know About Retoolling

By Melissa Vesser

While many labs have the same equipment and process similar materials, each lab can have its own challenges when it comes to re-tooling. Finding dependable suppliers, consistent quality, fair pricing of your diamond tooling, and inventory management/stock reduction programs (IMSRP) can all be different. But labs have options. Below are some helpful solutions many labs have implemented with great success.

 

PCD Milling cutters – 6, 8 12 Tooth

These items can range from $1200 to $3800 each. Ouch. Once used, many labs replace it with another new cutter. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Labs can reduce their costs by regrinding or reblading these items. Labs can save over 60 to 70 percent on relapping, and over 50 percent on new tooling using the PCD reblade program. Multiply this by the number of tools you use each year, not to mention reduction in tool scrap, and you are well on your way to some serious savings. It is important to mention it is not an easy process or one that most can do correctly and effectively. It takes the proper equipment, quality diamonds, and balancing. You need your tooling reworked while keeping the specs you require, without compromising surface finish on your lenses. Over the years, we have corrected previously reworked cutters; bringing them back to life and onto your production floor. You should expect a reworked cutter to be consistently close to or meet the quality of a new cutter. We recommend labs implement a relapping/regrinding program into their IMSRP if they don’t already have one in place.

“By implementing our new IMSRP, we have saved significant money without compromising quality. Our six-tooth reblades are running at 100,000 cuts; just like a new cutter. We value the ease-of-install and use on these products, the pleasantly predictable results, and the consistency and predictability. This is what we needed,” said Chad Schlosser, director of maintenance, DBL Lab.

 

Carbide & PCD Diamond V Cutters-6E/7E Machines

Both types of v-cutters have their purpose. Finding your application niche for either type without taking out a small loan to purchase the Diamond style is not as difficult as it seems. Labs don’t have to spend over $200 for a high-quality diamond v-cutter, or over $10 for a premiere carbide v-cutter. We have seen many labs struggle with lack of consistency on their cutters. This creates additional cost in their production, coupled with empty promises of number of cuts that can be expected. When shopping around, look for a dual-polish on the carbide and expect a clean, consistent lens edge every time. We have labs that have reduced their calibration time from 15 minutes down to four using both PCD Diamond and Carbide blades.

“Here again, we have consistent blades. This has cut down on our calibration time. Our operators know what to expect,” said Schlosser. “Tolerances are maintained for a perfect blade every time. My operators know they’re a good fit every time.”

 

2mm Turning Tools.

The natural diamond market has pricing all over the map that can make your head spin. There is no need to compromise quality for price. Shop around and keep your eyes open. It is not necessary to spend over $700 for a good tool. Again, consistent quality and a trusted, innovative supplier are key. Are the tools you are getting perhaps previously used? What shape diamond do you need to avoid down time? Are you taking advantage of the 95 percent savings you’ll get with relapping them? You should get more than a few relaps pertool. Are you doing any free-form? Using natural or synthetic diamond turning tools? Both have their advantages, with new developments coming out in June of 2013. This new development is generating extensive life over existing turning tools. Stay tuned.

“We have learned that we can expect more than a few relaps per turning tool. This is a mandatory component of our IMSRP.

 

Bottom Line

What is your bottom line? Take a look around. Check your desk drawers and tool cabinets. Did you find some PCD milling cutters collecting dust bunnies? Shake those bunnies off and send them in for rework. By reworking your old tools you will now have back-ups waiting in the cabinet ready to re-turn to service.

Melissa Veeser is the president of Jeanie Premium Products. Call 952-426-3237 or visit their Web site at www.JeanieDiamondTooling.com


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August/September LabTalk 2017