Australian-designed and manufactured taps for the automotive components industry are making their presence known in global markets, according to Jeff Boyd, Key Markets Manager of Sutton Tools.
Since expanding overseas, we’ve been able to continue to manufacture high-end tools here in Australia because we have access to global markets. As a family business founded in 1917, that is important to us, as it is to our many local customers.
It also means we’re competing with global tool manufacturers on their own turf – so we need to hold our own and prove it as well. This is why we put extensive time and effort into testing our tools in our R&D Lab. To compete, our products must offer a technical advantage over their competitors: such as longer tool life, faster cutting speeds, smoother loads or another measure of value to manufacturers.
Proven performance in steel forgings
An example is our range of tapping solutions for automotive applications. Our taps for forming threads in steel forgings are used in components such as crank shafts, cam shafts, connecting rods, steering and suspension parts for both through and blind holes.
We have engineered these taps for high-volume thread production – so they need to have an exceptional tool life, without chips to deal with. In designing our thread-forming tap we optimised its lead-in to last longer. Its lobular profile was also expertly engineered and protected with a TICN PVC coating with the substrate HSS-grade powder metallurgy, offering higher hardness and extra toughness.
The result is the creation of stronger threads in steel forgings with a smoother thread surface finish. The taps’ engineering enables them to be driven at higher speeds for shorter cycle times, and without the complication of chips or swarf.
The proof was in the pudding – because on testing a M14 x 1.5 at a cutting speed Vc (m/min) of 13 to a depth of 40mm, it was able to achieve 1,000 holes and threads compared to just 800 by one competitor and only 300 by another.
Comprehensive choice and customisation
We bring our engineering design and technologies to other tapping applications in automotive component production. Every material, machine and component design has its own special characteristics, so requires special additions to our existing or traditional type taps. As every application is different, we can also customise our tools for our customers’ precise requirements, and can supply them with or without coolant ducts.
Some designs we have innovated bring significant productivity benefits. Our HSSE forming taps for low-carbon pressed steel are specifically designed for vehicle oil filters, and offer 65% more tool life than a comparable product. Meanwhile, our carbide forming taps for aluminium alloy components such as engine blocks and gearboxes have been designed to minimise lubrication to maximise results.
In addition to tapping, Sutton Tools also has high performance solutions for drilling and milling applications, notably for aerospace materials.
Visit suttontools.com to learn more about our tapping tools for automotive manufacturing, or download our latest brochure.