Financial rewards found in old tool

Feb. 17, 2006
Custom Carbide refurbishes tools on a Rollomatic GrindSmart 620XS grinder.

Custom Carbide refurbishes tools on a Rollomatic GrindSmart 620XS grinder.

The Tool Usage Program from Custom Carbide of Forest Park, Ohio, is designed to help reduce new tool purchases by as much as 50 percent by transforming cutters that otherwise would be scrapped into new tools at reconditioned prices. Custom Carbide's program also keeps customer tool cribs stocked to eliminate tool shortages during production.

Custom Carbide recycles or reclaims endmills and burrs by cutting off the ends and creating new tools or by resharpening them into different or the same tool. To accomplish this and keep pace with order fulfillment, it relies on tool and cutter grinders from Rollomatic Inc. (

The shop uses CNC600X and GrindSmart 620XS model grinders that have six axes for high-precision work.

Many types of manufacturing companies use Custom Carbide's program, including the General Electric Co.'s aircraft engine plant in Cincinnati and PCC Airfoils Inc. that produces jet-engine blades and vanes at plants in Cleveland, Douglas, Ga., and Merida, Mexico. Both GE and PCC Airfoils have custom purchasing schedules that reduce downtime caused by tooling shortages.

One third of GE Aircraft Engine's and PCC Airfoil's tooling inventories are delivered to Custom Carbide every two weeks. Simultaneously, Custom Carbide returns the tooling stock that it received earlier and re-made into new tools. This continuous turnover of used and new tools helps to eliminate the need for rushing special orders.

Custom Carbide develops such cycles to meet its customers' needs. The company says that the program has saved some of its customers as much as $85,000 every few months. And one customer, according to Steve Long, developer of the Tool Usage Program, has not had to invest in tools for six months since joining the program.