Processing of sintered industrial ceramics is conventionally performed by grinding with electroplated, brazed or vitrified bonded diamond tools. High tool wear, long processing times and the necessity of high-speed grinding spindles are the main challenges for this technology, when applied to geometries that require small diameter tools. Novel solid PCD milling tools are produced by ultrashort-pulsed laser ablation and evaluated by milling in sintered ZrO2. The tools show promising results for both roughing and finishing applications. Compared to high-performance grinding, similar tool life times and surface quality results are shown, in spite of the application of significantly smaller tool diameters. As the tools are used without coolant and lubricant and with low spindle speeds, a high level of processing efficiency with regards to energy and resource consumption is enabled. A paper on this subject was presented at the 7th HPC conference in Chemnitz, June 2016. The paper can be found in open access here.
A company, 6C Tools, was founded as an ETHZ spin-off in order to exploit the outstanding performances of laser-manufactured PCD tools when processing industrial ceramics. More information