Grinding Software Guides Global Tooling Biz

April 27, 2023
For TN Vaerktoejsslibning, programming and simulation is precise, but simple, and still versatile, allowing the Danish manufacturer to supply solid-carbide high-speed end mills, step drills and rotary cutters worldwide, with short delivery times.

A Danish manufacturer of precision tooling relies on programming technology an essential “tool” for its own strategy to supply specialty solid-carbide tools to the global market. From a 2,000-m2 shop near Copenhagen, TN Vaerktoejsslibning has established a global reputation for product quality and precision – handling every phase of manufacturing and tracking the movement of individual tools from initial order through to delivery, and exporting about 70% of its output.  

In business since 1987, TN Vaerktoejsslibning maintains a maintains a large inventory of high-quality “subnanograin carbide” materials in the form of rods with internal cooling channels and solid bars, ranging from 2 to 70 mm diameter. Using multiple CNC grinding machines, TN Vaerktoejsslibning produces a comprehensive range of standard “TN” brand high-speed end mills, step drills, and form cutters – the design and dimensions of which can be tailored to customers’ needs, “the right tool for the job.”

TN Vaerktoejsslibning also operates advanced in-house tool polishing and coating technology. Tools can be coated both before and after polishing, optionally, to extend service life and help to optimize chip evacuation. It also offers regrinding and recoating. Provided that a tool not physically damaged, it can often be returned to full service after regrinding and possibly recoating, for less than 50 percent of the cost of a new tool.

Every aspect of tool manufacturing at TN Vaerktoejsslibning is extensively automated. The main workshop has 15 five-axis CNC grinding centers, complemented by cylindrical grinding machines. Now, all of these machines are controlled by NUMROTO software and are networked together to help simplify production management and software maintenance. Each machine has a dedicated programming station, so part programs can be created while grinding is underway, and TN is in the process of expanding its multi-user programming facility, up from the present seven users.

An interesting aspect of TN Vaerktoejsslibning’s operational structure is a flat organization: there is no design department. Each CNC machine operator is responsible for programming, grinding the tools, and fully documenting the process.

According to founder, owner, and CEO Torben Nielsen: “We try to make work as interesting and satisfying as possible for people, and over the years we have built up a dynamic team of highly qualified and committed employees. Another important point is that by standardizing on NUMROTO for the bulk of our CNC machining operations, we benefit immensely from our employees sharing a common pool of expertise and knowledge about state-of-the-art tool production technologies and processes. Many of our more specialized tools are only required in small batch sizes – sometimes just two or three – and yet we aim to supply these to customers within the same, nine-day timeframe as our standard tools.

“To help meet this goal, our operators need fast, simple and unambiguous machine control facilities – which in turn demand very flexible, accurate and reliable software, with a modern user interface,” Nielsen added.

TN Vaerktoejsslibning regularly enhances its machining capabilities to meet customers’ changing needs for tools and functions. It started using NUMROTO software in 2002, when it purchased two Deckel S20 CNC grinding machines, which have since been followed by 10 more Deckel S22 machines. The current complement of NUMROTO-controlled CNC grinding machines consists of the 12 Deckel machines, plus a UWS SF40 cylindrical grinder and two Vollmer VGrind 340S machines.

The programming and machining of special tools, which constitute the majority of TN Vaerktoejsslibning’s production output, usually is carried out during the day by skilled operators. Larger standard tools are processed at nighttime, using robotic part loaders and unmanned machining centers for lights-out production, but with a high degree of feedback such as in-process measurement and run-out compensation to ensure consistent product quality.

All tools produced by TN Vaerktoejsslibning undergo thorough inspection prior to shipment. The company’s quality assurance facilities include an air-conditioned, positively pressurized measuring room, equipped with a five-axis CNC measuring machine and other precision optical measuring equipment.

“Our experience with NUMROTO has been fantastic,” Torben Nielsen offered. “The software is perfect for grinding both simple and highly complex tools and is extremely reliable. It is very easy to work with and the simulation is very precise. In a period of just over 21 years, there have been very few tools that we have been unable to create. Due to our very short delivery times, we rely on good support – and this has always been forthcoming from NUM.”