Complex cutting tools can have many different geometrical features – hook, helix, clearance angles – within the same tools. That variety is why California Tool and Cutter Grind has remained outside the catalog market.
“We’re not trying to compete with catalog companies,” says California Tool Manufacturing Manager Jordan Armitage. “We are trying to diversify and operate as a high-end, high-performance house that can grind anything.”
An area of particular interest to the company is diamond- coated cutting tools, due to their longevity, repeatability, and predictability. Diamond-coated tools are essential to the aerospace industry because they are used to cut carbon fiber.
“There’s a specific grade of carbide required to make the diamond-coated tools, and we stock all that in-house to enable us to move quickly on our customer enquiries,” Armitage says. “We manufacture cutting tools to specification and send them out for diamond coating.”
Technologies enhance capabilities
California Tool uses a robotic loader equipped with ANCA software that manages tools with various diameters and collet sizes, reducing the need for individual steps in the manufacturing process. The technology enables California Tool to manufacture diamond-coated tools with diameters to the millionths of an inch and cutting geometries to ±1°.
“The ANCA machines have everything that a grinding house needs,” Armitage says. “RoboMate software, for example, allows you to incorporate different diameters and collet sizes. It makes it easy to set up jobs.”
California Tool also uses tool pre-setting and measurement systems from Zoller Inc. – specifically the Zoller Genius universal measuring machine.
“A lot of the cutting tools that are coming in nowadays are very complex,” Armitage says. “The Zoller Genius and the whole team at Zoller have helped us as a business to be more repetitive and to be more competitive in the marketplace.”
The technology provided by ANCA and Zoller gives California Tool the grinding capability to create solutions for various markets. Although the main market that California Tool targets is aerospace, the company also offers cutting tools for the automotive and medical industries.