By: Ronald Portwine, District
With the introduction of the HY-PRO® AERO-F Tap, I have attacked many different applications and have found it to be a great tap for unique materials that are not listed in the work material application guide. With its cutting geometries and TiN coating, OSG’s AERO-F Tap has won over several accounts, from fastener manufacturers to job shops.
One of these accounts is a OE manufacturer for Ford, Honda, GM and Toyota, making automotive timing gears and sprockets, as well as aftermarket gears for most automotive manufacturers. The end user has two facilities in Arkansas, one of which makes camshaft drive gears for the GM V6 and V8 engines. These engines have dual overhead camshafts that are used in most light trucks and cars. They had recently signed a new contract to produce over 3 million gears for GM, so I decided to pay them a visit.
At the facility, the Machining Engineer, Keith Hann, and I discussed the GM camshaft gear they had in production. Running on a four-head Brothers CNC machine with a rotating table loaded by a robot and set up on a conveyor system, the camshafts were being manufactured from a powdered metal at around 24 – 28 HRC, after heat treatment. The hole they were tapping was 5 mm in diameter with a tolerance of +/- 0.12 mm for the M6x1 D5 thread.
Keith informed me that they were using a competitor tap and were getting 12,000 holes per tap on average. He did not believe there could be any improvement made on the current hole-count, but I was not swayed by his disbelief. I asked him for an opportunity to put the HY-PRO® AERO-F Tap on the spindle to prove otherwise.
Knowing they were running four tapping heads, I ordered four AERO-F taps (EDP number 1111500705, M6 x 1 D5) for testing. We loaded the four taps and zeroed the counter. After verifying that the thread gage was good, the finish was correct and the machine was functioning properly, we watched the taps produce about 1,000 holes, and then left the rest to the operators.
I contacted Keith after a couple of days to check on the performance of the AERO-F taps. He informed me that the hole-count was 30,000 plus…and still going! He was truly impressed and ready to make the switch, but his amazement didn’t end there.
Upon receiving a quote from his distributor, Keith questioned the cost. He thought maybe he was not given the correct price because each AERO-F Tap was only a couple dollars more than the competitor’s tap. I assured him that it was correct. Keith acknowledged that it was well worth the cost, and could easily justify a switch to the HY-PRO® AERO-F Tap.
When all was said and done with the test, it turns out the AERO-F taps actually got close to 40,000 holes and were only pulled because one of the four taps failed. With over double the tool life, Keith’s team was able to dramatically increase production and reduce down time.
The HY-PRO® AERO-F tap has become my favorite go-to tap because it has proven to be a low cost, high hole-count performer for my end users. Once the AERO-F tap has been placed on the spindle, it proves itself as the best tap for the job time and time again.