AWC Frac Valve Catches a Break with New Insert

Retooling a heavy-duty OD turning and facing job triples material removal rates and more than doubles tool life

AWC Frac Valve in Conroe, Tex., manufactures very large valves for the oil-and-gas industry -- and generates chips the size of cornflakes in the process. By retooling a heavy-duty OD turning and facing job in 4130 steel (a material described memorably as "gummy"), the shop tripled the material removal rate and more than doubled tool life. Moreover, it completely eliminated the sudden edge failures that had interrupted production before and forced a lot of re-working.

“Previously we had to keep two back-up tools in the turret just to keep things going when one tool popped,” recalled Jim Beaver, assistant production manager. “Often the tool would rupture midway through the first piece.”

The new tool is the CNMX Gold Duty indexable coated-carbide insert, developed by Ingersoll Cutting Tools. With an aggressive top-face geometry, in an advanced seat pocket scheme, it is a generation ahead of the field in large-scale turning, according to Ed Woksa, Ingersoll national turning product manager. AWS is one of the first users of the new insert, he added.

Now the big chips peel off in easily controlled “sixes and nines,” reducing a 480-lb. billet of 4130 steel to a 250-lb. valve bonnet in about 45 minutes on a Doosan 400LM turning center. The job used to take up to two hours to complete – and usually shattered one tool per part.

Read the full report here.

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