Conduction-Based Thermally Assisted Micromilling Process for Cutting Difficult-to-Machine Materials

Platt, T.1, a; Meijer, A.1, b; Biermann, D.1, c

Institute of Machining Technology, TU Dortmund University, Baroper Str. 303, D-44227 Dortmund, Germany

a); b); c)


The increasing demand for complex and wear-resistant forming tools made of difficult-to-machine materials requires efficient manufacturing processes. In terms of high-strength materials; highly suitable processes such as micromilling are limited in their potential due to the increased tool loads and the resulting tool wear. This promotes hybrid manufacturing processes that offer approaches to increase the performance. In this paper; conduction-based thermally assisted micromilling using a prototype device to homogeneously heat the entire workpiece is investigated. By varying the workpiece temperature by 20 °C < TW < 500 °C; a highly durable high-speed steel (HSS) AISI M3:2 (63 HRC) and a hot-work steel (HWS) AISI H11 (53 HRC) were machined using PVD-TiAlN coated micro-end milling tools (d = 1 mm). The influence of the workpiece temperature on central process conditions; such as tool wear and achievable surface quality; are determined. As expected; the temporary thermal softening of the materials leads to a reduction in the cutting forces and; thus; in the resulting tool wear for specific configurations of the thermal assistance. While only minor effects are detected regarding the surface topography; a significant reduction in the burr height is achieved.

Abb.: Graphical abstract


micromilling; difficult-to-machine materials; hybrid processes; thermally assisted; heat conduction


Journal of Manufacturing Processes, 4 (2020) 2, p. 34, doi: 10.3390/jmmp4020034