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Northumbria researchers help tool manufacturer cut costs and increase product lifetime

SNA Europe is a leading provider of metal cutting tools. Its products are used around the world to cut the most difficult of materials. But some materials, such as ball bearing steel and titanium alloy are particularly challenging and will wear down cutting blades quickly. Researchers from Northumbria University have helped SNA Europe to reduce manufacturing costs and improve the lifetimes of its hacksaw and bandsaw blades by developing new coatings and optimised teeth shape and geometry.

A group of academic staff in Mechanical and Construction Engineering Department led by Prof Mohammed Sarwar investigated a novel application of high hardness and wear resistant aluminium titanium nitride (AlTiN) and titanium aluminium silicon nitride (TiAlSiN) coatings and found that these materials considerably improve blade performance. The researchers also studied effects of the kerf width, pitch, rake and clearance angles on performance of hacksaw and bandsaw blades and came up with optimised geometry and shape for the cutting teeth.

This research resulted in a reduction of manufacturing time of 10 per cent, a reduction of manufacturing costs of up to 12 per cent and an increase in lifetimes of up to nine per cent for the company’s hacksaw and bandsaw blades.

It also enabled the company to launch new products and to simply the manufacturing of prototypes because the researchers showed that it is possible to simulate the function and wear of a metal saw by testing a single tooth instead of the full saws.

Dr Martin Persson, Research Engineer, at SNA Europe said: “Investigations carried out at Northumbria University on improving the design, coatings and manufacture process of metal cutting tools was profoundly beneficial for the commercial activity of the company, increasing selling revenue and resulting in further strengthening the company’s position in the metal cutting tools market.”

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