The Solution for a Discerning Market
Spanish companies see themselves exposed to an ever more discerning market with ever-increasing competition. Customers are therefore demanding shorter delivery times with lower costs and unchanged quality of parts. The company Metalúrgicas ARNAL from Moncada, Valencia, Spain, was also confronted with this situation, as Juan Arnal explains: “As competition became increasingly more difficult both nationally and internationally, we have been forced to look for a completely new solution, which we have finally found in the form of TOOLOX steel from the Swedish company SSAB.”
Metalúrgicas ARNAL has specialised in the manufacture of equipment and tools for internal use for the high-speed rotation of turned and deep drawn parts. The finished parts are intended both for the lighting sector (lamp accessories) and also for the supply industry.
Although Metalúrgicas ARNAL realises most of its sales domestically, the company also exports to EU member states such as Germany, France and Italy, as well as to other countries not belonging to the EU. The company has more than 30 employees and has several high-speed manual lathes with numerical control. These lathes shape such different materials as soft steel, stainless steel, copper, brass and aluminium with thicknesses between 0.5 and 1.5 mm.
The solution came with TOOLOX 44, which the company has been using for half a year. TOOLOX 44 is supplied with a hardness of 45 HRC and high ductility.
Before TOOLOX the company used 1.2379 steel for the moulds, which was hardened to 60 HRC. The processing time for pre-machining and subsequent machining was approximately 12 hours, while in between the two processes the moulds had to be hardened. This was associated with a waiting time of about one week. As well as the long waiting time, this solution generated high manufacturing costs, not to mention the possible risks due to heat treatment. For this reason, the company also use other materials such as nitrided F-127 or bronze (400 HB) hardened to 60 HRC, alternatives with considerably lower durability than 1.2379. These three solutions mentioned above (1.2379, F-127, bronze) also produced points on the mould due to surface fatigue, which were transferred to the finished parts.
TOOLOX 44 is supplied with a hardness of 45 HRC combined with high mechanical strength and resistance to cracking, and furthermore avoids the risk of cold welding (adhesion) thanks to its outstanding suitability for polishing. SSAB, the manufacturer of TOOLOX, checks every plate individually so that the customer can rely absolutely on the quality of the plate being processed.
“As TOOLOX requires no heat treatment, the time required for manufacturing a mould has been reduced to only 8 hours, namely to the time for mechanical processing,” explains Ramón Arnal.
On the other hand, Antonio López (the person responsible for automatic turning) says that “in the meantime, we have been working with TOOLOX moulds for more than half a year and they are still exactly the same as on the first day.” The official TOOLOX dealer, SERMETAL VALENCIA (www.sermetal.com), has cold cutting machines (saws) for shaping into square and rectangular parts as well as flame cutting machines for discs, flanges or other parts, which are neither square nor rectangular, as TOOLOX can also be flame cut.