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Procedia CIRP 7 (2013) 288 293

Forty Sixth CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems 2013

Improvement of drilling possibilities for machining powder metallurgy materials

Mikls Czampaa*, Sndor Markosa, Tibor Szalaya
Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Egry J. Street 1., H-1111 Budapest, Hungary * Corresponding author. Tel.: +36-1-463-1875; fax: +36-1-463-3176. E-mail address:

Abstract This research paper aims to investigate the drilling capabilities of the sintered powder metallurgy parts. Due to their special Exploiting said properties enables us to create selfproperties, these materials lubricant bushing as well as special alloys. In order to evaluate the investigated parameters, comparative experiments were conducted. Both the tool materials and the application of cooling varied in the experiments, in the framework of which cutting force, drilling torque and tool wear were measured. The hole geometry (diameter accuracy and circularity) was also checked. Owing to the environmentally friendly machining conditions, the experiments can be carried out by means of dry machining, air cooling and minimal quantity lubrication. According to our results, it was the cutting force and the tool wear that the cooling of the tool had the greatest effect on in the case of powder metallurgy materials. 2013 2013The TheAuthors. Authors. Published Elsevier B.V. Published by by Elsevier B.V. Selectionand and/or peer-review responsibility of Professor Pedro do Carmo Cunha Selection peer-review underunder responsibility of Professor Pedro Filipe doFilipe Carmo Cunha
Keywords: Drilling tests, dry machining, air cooling, MQL, powder metallurgy, sintered metals

1. Introduction The process of drilling is commonly used in modern manufacturing, as most of the produced parts contain bore holes or threads. When drilling conventional steel materials, a number of recommendations [8, 9, 10, 11] can be found regarding tool geometry and cutting parameters, both of which play an important role in improving this process. Nevertheless, in the case of difficult-to-machine materials, such as sintered ironbased powder metallurgy steels, the drilling process is still part of a less researched area of manufacturing science. It is all despite the fact that these materials are becoming increasingly common due to their favorable properties. Usually, the aforementioned technology is used for creating self-lubricant bushing or bearing but it also allows us to prepare a new kind of alloys something that could not be realized by means of the conventional alloying process. The behavior of this material and the essence of the machining process are completely different from machining conventional counterparts. Some of the

special characteristics that have to be considered during the machining of powder metallurgy steels are: Due to the porous structure of such materials, an interrupted cutting condition occurs during machining, which causes considerable tool wear. Always well-broken, small chip particle forms, which can get stuck in the flute of the twist drill. Application of cutting fluids is not recommended because they remain in the surface pore system of the machined material and thus cause considerable corrosion. For the sake of improving the above-mentioned, disadvantageous features of the materials, the machinability properties need to be investigated in depth. In literature, there exist only a limited number of investigations dealing with this topic. Many of the available journal references deal with Green-machining in powder metallurgy, which may be a good solution for the problems of machinability, since the cutting force is low and only a moderate level of tool wear occurs during machining [1]. However, after the sintering process, the resulting changes in shape and dimensions usually damage the quality of the drilled

2212-8271 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Professor Pedro Filipe do Carmo Cunha doi:10.1016/j.procir.2013.05.049

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hole. In the case of accuracy-sensitive production, machining remains the only feasible option to continue with after the sintering process. From an economical point of view, exploring and understanding the burr formation method is also essential, [2] since its elimination reduces the costs of post-processing. It is known that the temperature of the cutting edge has a huge effect on the tool wear mechanism, which can be further influenced by modifying the cutting parameters or by using different coatings on the cutting edge [3]. Furthermore, machinability and the temperature of the cutting edge are also affected by the applied drilling cycle. [4, 5]. In addition, as evidenced by references [6] and [7], using a coolant has a similarly substantial impact on the cutting forces and the drilling torques. However, up until now, we have not encountered any research papers discussing the drilling conditions of powder metallurgy steels with an approach similar to ours. During our experiments, we drilled sintered ironbased powder metallurgy steels using different kind of twist drills. Subsequently, throughout the machining process, we measured the cutting forces and the drilling torques. Besides dry machining, we observed the different outcomes when using other kind of coolant types: it can be concluded that they are useful when wanting to increase productivity and simultaneously reduce tool wears, ultimately rendering the manufacturing process more cost-effective [12]. 2. Experimental setup and cutting conditions For drilling purposes, the test specimens were made of a low-alloyed steel powder mix, called PMX Original. From the chosen powder mix, 82x41x22 blocks were compacted. The compact density of the specimens was 6,8 [g/cm3]; the sintering time was 30 minutes, while the sintering temperature was 1120 [C]. The mechanical properties of the resulted parts: Hardness: 62 [HV30]; Tensile strength: >500 [MPa]. We made several, 8x11 holes through the 22 [mm] deep test specimen in order to study the wearing process and its consequences. As indirect indicators of tool wear, we measured the cutting force components, the drilling torque, and the geometry of the drilled holes. Both the cutting parameters and the drilling cycles were kept constant until the damage of the tool. For our examinations, we used three different kinds of twist drills with a diameter of 3 [mm] (see Table 1). Cheap HSS twist drills, good quality HSS twist drills and carbide twist drills equipped with internal coolant holes were used for the tests. To have a basis for comparison, we carried out experiments, in the course of which we drilled C45 conventional steels using the same cutting conditions. Hardness: 180 [HV30]; Tensile strength: 700 [Mpa].

Table 1. The used twist drills The used twist drills ANDRILL HSS HARTNER HSS Sumitomo Sumidrill Price [Euro] 0,3 3,5 17,35 Material HSS HSS Carbide

As the machining conditions were the same throughout our research, we can compare the results of the tool wear and the productivity values, too. While with the HSS drills, we used the same cutting parameters, they were then altered when working with carbide drills (see Table 2).
Table 2. The adjusted cutting parameters Cutting parameters ANDRILL HSS HARTNER HSS Sumitomo Sumidrill Spindle speed [rpm] 1600 1600 4500 Feed rate [mm/rev] 0,04 0,04 0,08

Since iron powder metallurgy parts are highly corrosive, it is not recommended to use any cutting fluid with them. Therefore, in addition to the dry machining technique, we tested other coolant methods: coolant with cold air and, in the case of the carbide drills, internal cooling with minimum quantity lubrications. Based on our goal to find the optimal conditions with regard to productivity, tool wear and the quality of the holes, it was necessary to compare the effects in the different cases of lubrication as well. Figure 1 shows the 3-axis KONDIA milling center that we used for machining the holes.

Fig. 1. The used KONDIA milling center

The drilling cycle we had programmed went through the following steps: after drilling each plus 1 [mm]


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length using the adjusted feed rate, the drill was pulled out of the hole with rapid traverse so that the chip could be removed from the hole with ease. The cycle was repeated until the through hole was completed. Our preliminary machining experiments have proven that using longer step length in the drilling cycle quickly breaks the tool. Although using this cycle keeps the productivity of the drilling procedure at a very low level, this is the only cost-effective way of drilling iron-based powder metallurgy materials. 3. The test results In the first stages of our investigation, mostly dry drilling operations were carried out. In the case of the HSS tools, both the resulting cutting forces and the drilling torques were at relatively high levels, along with a significant degree of tool wear. Figure 2 illustrates the tool wear of the ANDRILL HSS twist drill after 16 through holes, and one can see that the quality of the hole itself is quite poor as well.

In the case of the carbide twist drills, we increased the cutting parameters in order to take advantage of the tool material characteristics. As expected, despite the higher cutting speed, the tool life was in fact very good, offsetting the tool damage occurring during machining without cooling. Moreover, the cutting forces and drilling torques, too, remained at moderate levels. Figure 4 shows the quality of a hole and the tool itself after having used the Sumitomo Sumidrill twist drill for a relatively long period of time.

Fig. 4. The hole and the Sumitomo Sumidrill twist drill after 192 holes; mist lubrication

Fig. 2. The hole and the ANDRILL HSS twist drill after 16 throughholes, dry machining

Feed force [N]

The carbide twist drill also broke after 9 holes when we used it without cooling and lubrication. In light of such experiences, we could conclude that as both the thermal conduction and thermal expansion of these materials were very poor, cooling or cooling and lubrication would be highly advised. Turning on the cold air coolant (-10C), changed all the previously obtained values, resulting in moderate tool wears, relatively small cutting forces and drilling torques as well as in higherquality holes. (see Figure 3)

Figures 5 and 6 depict the average feed force and drilling torque values we measured. As the cutting conditions were constant, the observed values directly show the effects of applying cooling. Whenever we used coolant during the machining process, the cutting force values were almost half of their dry machining equivalents (see figure 5). What we can deduce from these experiments is that the application of coolant greatly increases the life of the twist drills, while simultaneously reducing the power requirement for machining. Ultimately, the combination of these two favorable changes can also result in realizing considerable economies.
Feed force values during the drilling process
1000 800 600 400 200 0 0 5 10 15

Number of the drilled through holes [db]

ANDRILL HSS - Dry machining HARTNER HSS - Dry machining ANDRILL HSS - Cold air coolant HARTNER HSS - Cold air coolant

Fig. 5. Feed force values during the drilling test

Fig. 3. The hole and the HARTNER HSS twist drill after 16 holes, cold air coolant

By checking the drilling torque diagram, a similar phenomenon can be observed (see Figure 6), namely that the coolant notably reduces the torque values. The

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patterns created by the changes in torque data show that these values are more sensitive to the tool wear and to the chip flow in the flutes. Since the increase in the feed force follows the tool wear figures more accurately, it is also more suitable for determining the damage of the drill. In previous publications, there were several suggestions as to how the force signal should be used for diagnosing and monitoring tool wear in drilling [13, 14]. It is not a goal of this paper to develop tool wear monitoring methods for drilling powder metallurgy materials, however, the previously described experiences and measurements may be of help in case someone decides to conduct research in that particular area.
Drilling torque values during the drilling process
3,5 3 2,5 2 1,5 1 0,5 0 0 5 10 15

Sumitomo Sumidrill with mist lubrication

Drilling torque [Nm]
3 2,5 2 1,5 1 0,5 0 0 50 100 150 200

Number of the drilled holes [db]

Fig. 8. Drilling torque values during the drilling test using carbide twist drills and mist lubrication

Drilling torque [Nm]

On the exit side of the test specimens, a nonnegligible amount of crown burrs could be found, as shown by Figure 9. Based on our experimental observations, such burr formation is neither influenced by the cutting parameters nor by the coolant mode.

Number of the drilled through holes [db] ANDRILL HSS - Dry machining HARTNER HSS - Dry machining ANDRILL HSS - Cold air coolant HARTNER HSS - Cold air coolant

Fig. 6. Drilling torque values during the drilling test

After switching to the coolant, the Sumitomo twist drills operated at a much higher efficiency level, as evidenced by the fact that this way, we managed to create 10 times as many holes as what we machined using the HSS drills. Figures 7 and 8 display the feed force and drill torque data. The characteristics of the two diagrams reveal a pattern similar to the ones we realized in the cases of drilling with HSS tools.
Sumitomo Sumidrill with mist lubrication
700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 0 50 100 150 200

Fig. 9. The formed crown burrs on the exit side

Feed force [N]

The form and measure accuracy of the drilled holes depends on the tool wear. In case of dry machining, both the hole geometry and the accuracy are greatly lessened. As soon as we turned on the cold air-cooling system, these figures showed an unequivocal improvement. Figure 10 highlights the differences in the effects of tool wear, comparing the results of using the cold air-cooling and dry machining method, respectively.

Number of the drilled through holes [db]

Fig. 7. Feed force values during the drilling test using carbide twist drills and mist lubrication


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Andrill HSS twist drill, C45 material

800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 0 5 10 15 20

Feed force [N]

Number of the drilled through holes [db] Dry machining Cold air coolant

Fig. 11. Drilling tests with C45 reference material

Fig. 10. Differences between the cooling conditions, in the case of ANDRILL HSS twist drills

In the picture, hole geometries created by different kind of cooling methods can be observed. The left column demonstrates the holes produced under dry machining conditions after 1, 8 and 16 through holes, respectively, while the right column shows the holes that were made by means of using the cold air-cooling method and the same number of the through holes. We can see that cold air-cooling improves the geometry of the hole and thus it can be inferred that the air-cooling method positively contributes to the preservation of the tool. We did not measure the tool wear directly, we merely made an estimate based on the number of the machined through holes, the geometry of the holes as well as the measured force and torque signals. In order to compare our results with the dimensions of other commonly used materials, we decided to examine the cutting behavior of the C45 conventional steel, using the same cutting conditions, drilling cycles, cutting parameters and twist drills. In the followings, the measurements derived earlier from the operation of the Andrill HSS twist drills are shown as example. Figure 10 illustrates the feed forces machining with and without cold air-cooling.

As pointed out in Figure 11, in the case of the cold air-coolant method, the cutting forces that occurred were higher than those in the case of dry machining. Nevertheless, in order to explain this phenomenon that is in contradiction with the results stemming from our experiments with powder metallurgy materials, further research needs to be conducted. Though with the amount of data we currently possess, we can make a basic assumption and declare that the primary reason for this behavior is that the C45 steel has better thermal properties than the powder metallurgy materials, especially when it comes to the issue of thermal conductivity. Also, the C45 material near the chip zone cannot be softened by the heat generated during the process of machining. It is important to note that the machining of the C45 steel using a better quality twist drill would result in moderate cutting forces and tool wears. Figure 12 summarizes the types of HSS twist drills that were used in the case of dry machining. It clearly shows the differences in cutting forces when every other factor is left unchanged. The values on this diagram prove that the machining of a powder metallurgy material requires almost two times as much power as the machining of conventional steel. The fact that the HV30 hardness of the powder metallurgy materials is only a third of the hardness value is very interesting and it reveals a lot about the machinability of powder metallurgy materials.
Comparison of the twist drills, dry machining

Feed force [N]

1000 800 600 400 200 0 0 5 10 15 20

Number of the drilled through holes [db]

Andrill twist drill, PMX HARTNER twist drill, PMX Andrill twist drill, C45 HARTNER twist drill, C45

Fig. 12. The comparison of the investigated twist drills

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It is also important to note that because of the different behavior of the powder metallurgy materials, we must neither apply machining conditions nor conclude decisions e.g. regarding the tool wear that are similar to the general practices used in the case of conventional steel materials. However, there is an exception to the rule: as it was previously mentioned, for monitoring purposes as well as for determining the tool life, we may use methods similar to what we usually apply when investigating the drilling or other cutting processes. 4. Conclusion In this paper, we conducted an experimental research on the drilling of iron-based powder metallurgy materials. Based on our results, we can conclude that using any kind of coolant improves the drilling conditions, increases tool life and preserves the geometry accuracy of the machined hole. Formerly, using a conventional (water emulsion based) coolant was ill advised in industrial practice because of the corrosion effect and therefore, the application of cooling was mostly avoided. In our research, however, the application of cold air-cooling resulted in considerable improvements and economical advantages. Despite the fact that carbide drills are quite expensive, using them is still an option worth considering due to their high productivity levels as well as their excellent hole quality that we have observed. For the purpose of machining with a cold air-coolant, opting for the use of carbide tools can yield particularly positive results. One of our most intriguing findings was that the machining behavior of the sintered iron-based powder metallurgy parts is similar partly to that of the cast iron and partly to that of the stainless steel, all despite their obvious differences. As it has already been established, sintered iron-based materials had a complex behaviour, and inherited the negative machining properties of the aforementioned materials poor thermal conductivity or machinability. In order to optimize the machinability of sintered iron powder metallurgy materials, further theoretical and experimental investigations are needed. Only then can the appropriate composition, the processing parameters as well as the applicable cutting conditions of said materials be determined. 5. Acknowledgements The work presented in this paper was developed in in the scientific workshops of BME" project. This project is supported by the grant TMOP-4.2.2.B-10/1--

2010-0009. This research is partly supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund, the project number is OTKA 101703. The research results are used in the -sensors based intelligent tool condition monitoring in mechanical microject number is TT_10-1-20110233. The authors would also like to acknowledge the support provided by the CEEPUS III HR 0108 project. References
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