Low-Cost Machining Without Cutting FluidsEPA Contract Number: 68D03042
Title: Low-Cost Machining Without Cutting Fluids
Investigators: Rozzi, Jay C.
Small Business: Creare Incorporated
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: May 1, 2003 through April 30, 2005
Project Amount: $224,865
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2002) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , SBIR - Nanotechnology , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Cutting fluids have been used in machining processes for many years to decrease the temperature during machining by spraying the coolant into the machining zone, directly on the cutting tool and the part. This has the effect of decreasing the tool temperature, which increases tool life and improves the part quality. These benefits come with significant drawbacks. Cutting fluids are environmentally unfriendly, costly, and potentially toxic. The recent shift to dry cutting has not completely solved the problem. This option increases energy costs, increases per part costs, and requires a capital investment that is too large for most machine shops.
Creare, Inc.'s solution is the Creare Cutting Tool-Cooling System (CUTS), which eliminates the use of cutting fluids by indirectly cooling the cutting tool. CUTS is a prevention-oriented solution to the environmental and occupational health problems posed by cutting fluids. The Phase I research project clearly demonstrated the technical and economic feasibility of CUTS. When compared to dry cutting and jet cooling with a synthetic coolant, it was demonstrated that CUTS: (1) reduces the environmental cost of the machining process by a factor of two for jet cooling with a synthetic coolant, and by 21 percent for dry machining; (2) increases the tool life by 700 percent at low cutting speeds, and by 50 percent at high cutting speeds; (3) decreases part production costs by at least 20 percent; and (4) improves the final part quality while maintaining a high degree of dimensional accuracy.
As a result of this work, the U.S. Army Armament Research and Development Center, one of the largest manufacturing centers in the country, will provide federal non-SBIR funding to support development and onsite testing during Phase II, with the goal of eliminating the use of machining coolants in its Prototype Manufacturing Center. In Phase II, Creare, Inc., will optimize the design and the performance of CUTS for commercial production. During the Phase II Option, CUTS will be modified to enable the operator to rapidly and easily accommodate different insert geometries. At the end of the Phase II work, CUTS will be well positioned to penetrate potential markets in environmentally conscious machining, the machining of advanced materials, ultra-accurate machining, and vision-based control of machining.