- Start of sales: February 2012
What is the ultra-precision cutting tool BL-UPC?
The BL-UPC is a cutting tool with a high-precision, nanometer-precise cutting edge, which A.L.M.T. Corp. is best at. The BL-UPC can fulfill finer and more accurate cutting requirements by employing nano-polycrystalline diamond (SUMIDIA® Binderless)* for its cutting edge to realize high-precision machining of cemented carbide and other high-hardness materials, which cannot be cut by conventional tools. Mold materials of glass lenses with excellent optical and heat-resistant properties such as laser lenses are made of cemented carbide and other high-hardness materials in most cases. To respond to recent higher demand for downsizing and high precision, our BL-UPC is useful for improved mold precision. The BL-UPC can also be used for other machining applications such as glass lenses, large roll molds for prism sheets, large molds for light guide plates, and other high-hardness and brittle materials.
What are the features of high-precision cutting tool BL-UPC?
●Superior chipping and wear resistance to single/polycrystalline diamond
●Sharp and precise cutting edge equivalent to single-crystal diamond
●Freedom from uneven wear caused by crystal orientation due to no anisotropy
These features help realize high-precision cutting of cemented carbide and other high-hardness materials. This tool can reduce the number of current processes of grinding or die-sinking electrical discharge machining and the following manual polishing to one process in some cases. Streamlining the processing can lead to cost and lead time reduction, as well as machining accuracy below submicron level without skilled workers.
A. L. M. T. DIAMOND Corp.
How have customers responded since its release?
Employing nano-polycrystalline diamond with unprecedented properties for the tool’s cutting edge leads to improved chipping and wear resistance, resulting in some cases in 2 to 10 times longer tool life than conventional tools. Also, we are receiving more inquiries for the tool from customers wanting to micromachine molds made of hard, brittle materials such as cemented carbide, which cannot be cut using conventional single-crystal diamond cutting tools, to machine a large number of molds for plastic lenses, or to form large-area micropatterns. The tool receives good reception from one customer who previously had used several tools to machine a mold before BL-UPC came on the market and now uses only the one tool.
What new products are you focusing on now?
Using chemical vapor deposition (CVD) single-crystal diamond, Sumitomo Electric Hardmetal Corporation has developed a cutting tool for the mass market. CVD single-crystal diamond is a high-potential and unique material that the Sumitomo Electric Group is developing applications for. By finishing the cutting edge with superb sharpness, the tool enables mirror finishing and burr-free machining, and achieves 3 times longer tool life than physical vapor deposition (PCD) cutting tools. We can offer low-priced tools made of large CVD single-crystal diamond and now plan to promote mass market sales such as of aluminum parts for automobiles and resin lenses.
We have developed a cutting tool for grooving with the world’s narrowest cutting edge width of less than one micrometer as a single-crystal diamond cutting tool. This tool is commercialized with newly developed polishing machines and grinding methods that suppress vibrations that cause chipping of the cutting edge, and that control the polishing precision to several tens of nanometers. We plan to expand the tool’s application range, such as micromachining for biomedical and semiconductor-related products.