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New cutting tools are combining ecology and economy


XChange, the world's first modular threading tap, is not only
environmentally friendly, it also drastically reduces manufacturing costs.


The challenge

Today, economy and ecology are still widely viewed as contradictory and that one excludes the other. However, at LMT TOOLS, tool development specialists are working to combine both requirements. On the one hand, high performance tools serve to increase user productivity. They must reduce manufacturing costs, but also maintain high quality and ensure process safety. On the other hand, the protection of valuable resources is a priority, such as electrical operating power, oil and the amount of cutting material used in general, especially the raw materials tungsten and cobalt.

The case study of the development of the threading tap is intended to demonstrate the implementation of this aim for other tools by way of example.

The initial situation

Threading taps currently used in industrial production are all one-piece. That is, the cutting part and the shank are made of one piece. This means once the tool life of the cutting part has been reached, the complete tool has to be disposed of. The development engineers therefore sought a solution by which only the actually worn part of the threading tap is unusable; the far greater part of the tool remains suitable for use. At the same time it was also necessary to ensure that the performance of the tools should not be reduced. On the contrary, the cutting speed, feed rate and tool life should be increased significantly.

The solution

Threading taps are nowadays mostly made of high-speed steel (HSS). This is because only this material has the required toughness and can thus prevent cutting edge breakage, especially during reverse motion of the tool. The price for this, however, is lower cutting and feed speeds. Higher cutting values can only be achieved with carbide tools, but with the disadvantage of lower toughness and, as a result, diminished process safety.
In response to this, the development engineers separated the function of the tool and also the entire tool at the same time. The cutting part was made of carbide and detachably connected to a high-speed steel shank. This marked the development of the "XChange", the world's first modular threading tap, which combines two advantages: the wear resistance of carbide with the toughness of high-speed steel.

Dry machining should, of course, also be possible as an option in order to avoid both harmful emissions of oil and to save costs. The new high performance coating "Polaris" has been specially developed for this purpose. Its color perfectly reflects the idea of Blue Competence: namely blue.

The sustainable strengths

Users in particular benefit from the advantages of this new tool, which includes: The reduction of the tool consumption by a considerably higher tool life by up to 500% compared to one-piece HSS threading taps, and by more than 30% compared to solid carbide threading taps. The reduction of the electrical operating power of the machine tool for machining by 50% by suitably reduced process times and the saving of coolant supply. This also reduces the oil consumption for machining by 100%. The reduction of the consumption of carbide and the raw materials tungsten and cobalt compared to one-piece carbide tools by 85%.

The combination of these factors has a significant impact on manufacturing costs. The tool costs for each thread created alone are reduced by 50% compared to HSS and by 20% compared to solid carbide.

The inventors

The modular threading tap XChange has been developed by a team of LMT TOOLS R&D specialists from LMT Fette, in cooperation with project partners from industry and institutions of higher aducation.

Brief profile of the company

Name: LMT Fette Werkzeugtechnik GmbH & Co. KG
Headquarters: Schwarzenbek, Germany
Year established: 1908
Employees: 450
Solutions: Tool systems and services for metal removal and forming of steel, non-ferrous material and plastics for all relevant branches of industry.
Internationality: 24 Sites and distribution partners abroad