We would like to share a couple of true stories told to us by customers who learned quickly that Safety First is paramount. Here are examples of near-misses that could happen to you! When it comes to cutting tools, a very important aspect of tooling…Tool Maintenance should never be overlooked.
Tool Maintenance may seem like an over-rated, menial task. However, we hope anyone who works around cutting tools will see the value of maintenance and take these examples to heart after reading this. To protect their anonymity, we will call them customer “A” and “B”.
As Customer “A” tells it: It was a typical Friday at the shop. We had a short moulding profile run to do on the 5-axis with our CNC Corrugated Knife Head adapter. The machine operator took the specific profile knives off the shelf, mounted them in the head, loaded them onto the tool rack and selected the program. As the tool was moving in its first pass at 10,000 rpm, we were startled by a loud BANG! One of the corrugated knives, thick in size and heavy in weight, was ejected from the cutter body and literally turned into the equivalent of a projectile missile!
We were very lucky that the “missile” flew in the direction away from where employees were standing. Following the path of the knife, we saw that it initially hit the concrete floor five feet away and broke a golf ball sized chunk out of the cement. Then it ricocheted off the concrete, and pierced through a chain link machine fence before coming to a stop. If an employee had been standing on that side of the machine, the outcome could have been very serious if not catastrophic.
As the investigation into this incident revealed, when the machine operator took the knives off the shelf and mounted them into the cutter body, he didn’t follow procedure and bother to clean them, and remove any dust that had settled into the corrugations, nor did he blow out the cutter to remove dust and grime in the corresponding corrugations. As a result, it was impossible for the corrugations to lock down in the head accurately and be tightened securely and safely. Moral of the story is: Take your time and do it right! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Customer “B” tells another harrowing tale: Someone in his shop walked past a setup table, bumping into it and accidentally knocking an insert cutter off the table. Worried he would get in trouble, he immediately picked it up, placed it back on the table and said nothing. Meanwhile, the machine operator, who had just set up the tool to run and had taken a quick break returned to his station, mounted the tool, and within seconds, a piece of carbide went flying past him, hitting and getting lodged in a wall behind him. When the tool fell on the concrete floor, the carbide shattered and since the operator had no idea of the interim damage that had occurred to the insert knife from the fall, he was oblivious to the fact that he was about to have a close call with shrapnel. Needless to say, after viewing the security cameras on site the individual who dropped the cutter was fired….not for accidentally knocking it off the table, but for concealing the fact it had happened and putting his colleague in danger!