Ian Melin-Jones

Ian Melin-Jones

Tuesday, 18 December 2018 19:32

Aluminum Grinding Re-Imagined: Aluminator T27

Rex-Cut Abrasives Introduces New Aluminum Grinding Wheel to Market

Rex-Cut Abrasives, a premium abrasive product manufacturer, announces the Aluminator, a new solution to Aluminum Grinding that prevents clogging and loading.

Typically when grinding aluminum, bonded wheels overheat the metal causing chips of aluminum to embed right into the grinding wheel, this is commonly referred to as clogging or loading. Eventually there will be no grit exposed, only deposits of aluminum on the face of the wheel. Normally a wax or grinding aid would be necessary to prevent this issue, but that is no longer the case.

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Rex-Cut’s new Aluminator T27 Cotton Fiber Grinding Wheel grinds aluminum without any clogging or loading. Cotton Fiber Wheels naturally break down as heat is generated, resulting in constant sharp grit being exposed to the aluminum work piece. This eliminates loading, costly downtime, and the need and expense for wax or grinding aids. The Aluminator offers increased grinding action, greatly improved surface finishing, smooth operator control, and long life. With less noise, less vibration, and safer operating conditions; the Aluminator T27 Cotton Fiber Grinding Wheel is assured to make your Aluminum grinding experience smooth.

“One complaint we hear from fabricators working with aluminum is the need to take extra time to thoroughly clean lubricant residue from work surfaces after grinding. This happens from either grinding aids added to structure of the abrasive product, or waxes used in conjunction with grinding wheels,” states Jon Blake, R&D Manager. “When we designed this wheel, we kept in mind the need for an aluminum grinding wheel that will grind fast and consistent while being 100% lubricant free. This allows fabricators to grind and move on to the next step without stopping to clean their work piece.”

The Aluminator is now available in 4.5”, 5”, and 7” diameters, in 36 grit.

About Rex-Cut

Rex-Cut Abrasives provides the Metalworking industry with high performance, non-woven cotton fiber and other premium abrasive products, improving the daily grind for a worldwide customer network. Rex-Cut products are specialized for use on Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Mild Steel, and Exotic Metals. A 100% employee-owned organization, Rex-Cut offers many other specialty products for use on a variety of grinding, deburring, blending, and finishing applications.

Hillfoot, the leading UK supplier of engineering steel, is delighted to announce that it has further strengthened its buying team with the appointment of Peter Morris to the newly-created role of Purchasing Director.

Peter has more than 20 years of purchasing experience within the industry, including a previous spell with Hillfoot.

He returns to the business with enhanced knowledge of metals sector supply chains and an extensive network of relationships with steel producers around the world, having spent the past six years as Managing Director of Energy Alloys and Director of Blencathra Industries.

2019 01 18 095016Craig James, Hillfoot’s Managing Director, said that Peter was a key appointment for the company’s plans to further improve its service levels in 2019.

“We’re thrilled that Peter has agreed to return to Hillfoot, as we strongly believe he is the best person in the industry to lead our purchasing operation through what promise to be challenging market conditions next year,” said Craig.

“Our primary focus is on ensuring continuity of material supply to our customer base, at a time of increased global demand for engineering steel and the best quality mills look to remain on  extended lead times for many commonly-used carbon and alloy grades.

“Peter’s experience of developing supply chains and establishing new supply routes for certified materials will be crucial in supporting the demands of our customers and making certain they have the steel they require for their manufacturing process when they need it.”

Peter added: “I’m delighted to rejoin Hillfoot to work with an already industry leading purchasing team and to have the opportunity to further develop the operation to ensure it continues to meet the changing needs of our customer base in the manufacturing sector.

“It’s an exciting time for Hillfoot, with investment being made in new equipment and expanding the team, and I’m looking forward to helping the purchasing function make a significant contribution to the company’s growth targets over the next 12 months.”

Hillfoot is a leading supplier of engineering steel to the UK manufacturing sector, and offers a wide range of certified engineering bar along with value added services such as processing, testing, supply-chain management and metallurgical advice.

It also has an established export operation and supplies materials to customers in 38 countries, spread across Europe, Africa, Asia and North America.

Hillfoot, established in Sheffield in 1923, is now a division of the Murray Metals Ltd group, a leading supplier of steel plate, long products, general steels, engineering bar, aluminium and processing services to customers around the world.

​For further details of Hillfoot's steel supply and services business, please visit www.hillfoot.com

Hermle machining centre C 22 UP with pallet changer in tool making Automated die machining boosts manufacturing capacity

With its standardisation strategy and the C 22 UP machining centre from Hermle, the tool and mould making division of the WMF Group has managed to streamline die and tool production processes, thereby creating the scope for services for external customers.

The WMF Group, which was founded in 1853 as Metallwarenfabrik Straub & Schweizer and has been part of the French SEB Group since 2016, represents the best in cooking, drinking and dining. More than 2,200 employees at the Geislingen headquarters and the nearby Hayingen plant alone are engaged in the development and production of high-quality cookware and cooking knives.

machine operator Günter Schulz in front of the Hermle C 22 UP 5-axis machining centre in the tool and mould making division of WMF Group GmbHmachine operator Günter Schulz in front of the Hermle C 22 UP 5-axis machining centre in the tool and mould making division of WMF Group GmbH

Many of these products are still manufactured through the primary and secondary forming of sheet metal blanks. The WMF Group manufactures most of the required tools in-house at its own tool shop in Geislingen. “For about 30 different knife models alone, we use between 100 and 150 die tools, each consisting of an upper and a lower tool made of hardened hot-forming steel," explains Hans Brühl, Part Production and Tooling Technician at WMF. To guarantee consistent high product quality, the mould makers have to rework the tools after roughly 3,000 strokes. This involves precisely milling and removing approximately 0.5 mm of material, a process that is possible up to fifteen times with the dies. “In the past, we performed all these milling and finishing operations on an HSC milling machine. However, this machine could only accommodate two dies at a time, which then had to be processed successively and in several time-consuming setups. As knife production in Hayingen increased, more dies were obviously needed and this led to capacity shortages,” says Brühl when explaining the situation at the time.

Demands: Best surfaces in the shortest time

An evaluation process, which included a series of tests to assess contour accuracy, precision and surface quality and to determine whether the specification of significantly reducing machining time for refinishing had been accomplished, saw the 5-axis machining centre C 22 UP from Hermle come out on top. A machining process developed together with Hermle led to some extraordinary results: Not only was the desired reproducibility of contour accuracy and surface quality achieved, the machining time was also reduced considerably. Thanks to the equipment of the C 22 UP machining centre, featuring an 11-fold PW 150 pallet changer, it is now also possible to rework the dies automatically, in other words during the night and at weekends. This means additional capacity is now available for processing internal and external orders.

the working area of the C 22 UP machining centre with the swivelling rotary table measuring 320 mm in diameter (axes A and C) for 5-axis complete/simultaneous machining of tool components in a single setupThe working area of the C 22 UP machining centre with the swivelling rotary table measuring 320 mm in diameter (axes A and C) for 5-axis complete/simultaneous machining of tool components in a single setup

Proven: Twice as fast

The fact that the WMF Group’s tool and mould making division was able to achieve new levels of productivity is due, on the one hand, to standardisation of the dies. On the other hand, a self-developed pallet and workpiece clamping system with 4-fold bolting directly to the pallet and the automation provided by the PW 150 pallet changer have allowed machining to become significantly more efficient. Axel Spadinger, Head of Tool Engineering & Making at WMF Group GmbH, says in summary: “We were able to reduce the machining time by 50 percent and more when refinishing the dies. Since this work is generally carried out at night and over the weekend, we can therefore use the C 22 UP machining centre very flexibly during the day for all other machining operations. Combined with our know-how in tool and mould making, we are thus in a position to meet external customer needs on time.”


Hermle AG is a well-known company with a leading position in national and international markets. Continuous innovations have made Hermle a leading manufacturer of machining centres. More than 25000 users throughout the world trust Hermle machining centres. A close-knit sales and service network guarantees a reliable partner on-site in all important countries of the world. Hermle machines are produced in Southwestern Germany in a region which has been the home of precision mechanics and machine tools for many generations. Hermle's machining centres are used for efficient machining of tools, moulds and series-produced parts. Owing to their quality and high precision, they are used in numerous production areas, including in particular highly demanding sectors such as medical technology, machine construction, the optical industry, aviation, the automotive and car racing industries and their subcontractors.

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