W&WP September 2001

Tooling Innovation Improves Dust Collection Efficiency

By Greg Landgraf

Among the more memorable product introductions at the Ligna-Plus machinery fair in Hannover, Germany, this May was the i-System, a diamond cutting tool and dust hood combination that its manufacturers say improves chip collection from 50% to 95%.

The i-System is the result of a partnership between equipment manufacturer Homag, cutting tool makers Leitz and Leuco, and the Technical University of Dresden.

"There was a need to provide better dust extraction on some machines," says Tim Keveney, product specialist of the Homag Group for Stiles Machinery Inc. Homag also wanted to make it possible to use lower extraction volumes and air velocities, he says

"Normally the tool is used in cutting PVC edgebanding, which can get electrostatically charged and stick to the panel or to the cutting tool aggregate," says John Michel, director of technical services for Leuco Tool. More efficient collection of those chips reduces the possibility of part damage because those chips will not be pressed into the panel by the machine or when the panels are stacked.

Harry G++nsche, engineering manager for Leitz, says that having less dust on parts improves machining precision because tracing wheels follow the parts exactly, rather than bouncing up and down when they roll over chips.

G++nsche notes that efficient dust collection also improves the lifespan of the cutting tool. In traditional systems, he says, "The cutting edges will touch different chips, which will dull the cutting edge." The i-System uses the chip's own kinetic energy to direct it to the inside of the tool and to the air flow for the dust collection, rather than allowing chips to scatter.

All in the Airflow

The i-System consists of the collet design and a specialized tapered dust hood, manufactured by Homag, in addition to the tooling. "Generally any tool will operate better if it's operating with a specialized dust hood," Keveney says. "The i-System dust shroud is designed to work with the airflow that the tool creates as well as the airflow from the dust collection."

"When the chip is cut, it's directed to the inside of the tool," explains Michel. The chip's own kinetic energy directs it toward the dust extraction. That cuts the amount of suction needed for dust extraction by up to 70%, which in turn reduces the power needed and the noise level.

Coming to America

Keveney says that Homag is currently marketing the i-System in Europe more than the United States. "It's primarily used on a specialized profile end trimming station developed by Homag that's used more commonly in Europe than the United States," he notes.

Michel says that Leuco plans to show the tooling at the Midwest Industrial Woodworking Expo this November in Grand Rapids, as well as the International Woodworking Machinery and Furniture Supply Fair in 2002.

While edgeband trimming is the primary use for the i-System so far, the companies involved have developed other applications as well. Michel says that Leuco offers a jointing cutterhead that trims the panel edge before edgebanding as well as straight and radius cutterheads for rough and fine trimming. G++nsche says Leitz offers sawblades and hoggers using the i-System principle. Keveney says a panel grooving tool is also available.

The i-System requires the HSK 25 tool interface for edgebanders. Keveney says HSK 25 is used by Homag and IMA machines.

 

Both Leitz and Leuco offer their own i-System tooling designed to work in conjunction with a special dust shroud from Homag. Photos courtesy of Leuco (left) and Leitz (right).

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