Machining components with metals can be expensive. The cost of materials to be used is a major factor, but there are lots of other things to consider, such as machining cost and utilization rates, tool consumption, and stoppages – whether planned or unplanned.
However, there are a few things that can be done to save you both time and money, such as choosing your materials wisely so that they are the best fit for the components you need to make. Here are five elements to consider when choosing your next machining material.
1. Use the most appropriate initial material
Nickel-based alloys are difficult to work with due to their high content of nickel, chromium and molybdenum. These workability challenges become obvious when making hollow components such as flanges, valves, discs, fittings, couplings, and seals.
Select an initial material that best fits your needs to achieve the required component shape.
2. Know your material costs
Cost per weight is commonly used as the price parameter so make sure you choose wisely. Due to the more expensive manufacturing methods and alloys used, nickel alloys are in general three times more expensive than austenitic materials – or twice the cost of duplex materials.
Avoid using a material grade that’s too high or low in quality – because that can have costly consequences.
3. Maximizing machine times
Maximizing the utilization of component machinery can be a challenge in workshop flows. For example, it is common for machine utilization to be as low as 25% in some workshops.
For nickel alloys, machining parameters are very low and cannot be increased as these generate heat, which these materials are developed to withstand. The machining time for a component made from a nickel alloy is approximately six times greater than the time for an austenitic grade, and almost three times longer for super duplex materials.
It’s important to have a good understanding of machining times when considering the total timescale for component manufacture.
4. Tool consumption
When it comes to component machining, nickel alloys consume a lot of cutting tools due to their heavy wear. In fact, you may well get through eight times more cutting edges when machining nickel alloys compared to austenitics, and three times more than for duplex materials. It is important to factor in tool consumption and maintenance as part of overall machining costs when considering the most appropriate start material for your components.
5. ‘Hidden’ costs
Lastly, be sure to consider possible ‘hidden’ costs – from machine downtime, planned stoppages to change or index cutting tools and inserts, to stops for chip removal and recycling, handling and administration. It is therefore important to focus on the cost of component materials as the most effective way to save you money.
A new solution – Sanicro® 825
Sandvik’s latest addition to its growing Sanicro® range of nickel alloys and austenitic stainless steels, Sanicro® 825 is our first-ever nickel-iron-chrome alloy in both bar and hollow bar for tough acidic and seawater conditions.
With a minimum 40% nickel content, Sanicro® 825 offers a cost-efficient alternative to superalloys like 625 and 718, with far better corrosion resistance than 316L or 904L.
But, most importantly for component manufacture, using the hollow bar version of Sanicro® 825 instead of solid bar could cut machining costs by at least 50%. This is thanks to the reduced need for drilling, boring and other fabrication steps.
Whether it’s a flange, valve, or fitting, Sanicro® 825 allows you to achieve net shape a lot faster.
We can then provide recommendations for optimal cutting tools and speeds through Sandvik Coromant, one part of our world-leading machining business area.
Discover more benefits of Sanicro® 825 here.
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