Edge-Prepping Industrial Equipment: Benefits and FAQ

factory worker sparks flying

In any business, it’s important to maximize the longevity and efficiency of all necessary equipment. Office jobs must invest in long-lasting computers; hospitals need durable, functional medical equipment. In fields that require industrial equipment, however, it’s even more vital to invest in durable tools to prevent unnecessary expenses and wasted time.

Edge-prepping is one way to increase the industrial tools’ lifetime. Not only will this reduce the cost of repairing and replacing the equipment, but it also will prevent broken tools from disrupting business processes. After all, a loss of production means a loss of income.

To maximize your tools’ lifetimes, incorporate edge-prepping as part of your maintenance process. Also known as “honing,” edge-prepping has a number of benefits:

• Longer tool life
• Cleaner surface finish
• Less spindle load
• Lower manufacturing cost overall

By keeping your products functioning correctly for a longer period of time, you ultimately increase your bottom line. Consider making cutting tool edge preparation a part of your regular equipment maintenance routine.

Choosing the Right Honing Equipment

The benefits of honing have been known for hundreds of years. The process has evolved over time, and today, edge-cutting is down to a science.
Thanks to honing machines, the process is much simpler and more accurate. These machines offer both versatility and control. A wide range of tools can be honed, from carbide to H.S.S., and the filament brush does not become less effective over time. Because the nylon is co-extruded, new filaments surface as the brush wears down.

The brush filaments are flexible, which allows the edge of a tool to be evenly filed. While the brush is wiping and wrapping along the tool’s edge, two principal factors are at work: the cut left by the filaments and the force of the filaments on the tool surface. These factors are influenced by brushing direction, speed, centerline placement and cycle time, all of which can be controlled using an edge-cutting machine.

There Are Several Options for Nylon Abrasive Brushes

The ideal nylon abrasive brush for your business depends on the tools being honed and the desired results. There are two things to consider when choosing the brush design:

• Abrasive grain. Abrasives can be made from a variety of materials, including aluminum oxide, ceramic, silicon carbide and diamond.
• Filaments. These can be crimped or straight, rectangular or round. They are available in different diameters, as well.

There’s an ideal brush available for almost every tool, so if you’re shopping around for honing machines, make sure the abrasive and filaments in the brush complement your needs.

Benefits of Edge-Preparation

Most businesses that purchase honing equipment to sharpen tool edges are surprised by how many benefits it offers. For example, honing leaves a smooth finish on almost any metal surface, so if you coat your tools with a protective layer, the smooth surface will prevent the coat from chipping. If you don’t use coating, the finish is still more attractive.

Sharper tools means shorter cycle times. This opens up more time for workers to complete different tasks.
Edge prep case studies show that the lifetime of a cutting tool can be increased by up to 300 percent. Ultimately, these benefits increase productivity, reduce tool expenses and reduce labor expenses. Purchasing the right edge-cutting machine, therefore, can increase a company’s bottom line.


What Type of Tools Benefit From a Honed Edge?

Edge-preparation is useful for several types of tools, including:

• End mills
• Drills
• Reamers
• Taps
• Gear shaper cutters
• Rock drills
• Saw blades
• Spiral bevel stick blades
• Carbide inserts

How Much Longer Will My Cutting Tool Last?

With edge-prepping, tools can last up to three times longer. It can also increase the lifetime of the protective coating.
How Do I Determine the Type of Hone That My Tools Need?

There can be a significant difference between one honed edge and another. The recommended approach is to use a larger hone for harder materials. For more specific outcomes, consider using waterfall or reverse waterfall radii.

About the Author: Dave Greene publishes a blog on new industrial equipment.