The art of plastics processing
The machining of plastics is one of the major fields of application for CNC machining.
An almost unlimited variety of materials is machined, each with its own specification, special properties and tool requirements.
In principle, however, all plastics have a significantly poorer thermal conductivity than metals, for example, so the heat generated during the machining process must be removed with the chips.
The following types can be distinguished:
Thermosets - Epoxy resins (EP), polyurethanes (PU), formaldehyde resins (PF, MF, MPF, UF) and silicone rubber (SI)
Thermoplastics - Polyolefins (PE, PP, PVC), Styrenics (PS, SAN, ABS, POM), Fluorine-based (PTFE, PVDF), Polyamides (PA), Polyester (PET, PPE, PEEK), Polysulfones, Polycondensates
Elastomers - rubber, latex, caoutchouc
Foams - soft and hard foams made of PE, PU, EPS
Fibre plastics - GFK, CFK, AFU
Fields of application for plastics
Plastics are processed in almost all industrial sectors. Typically, plastic parts are cast or drawn and then reworked. Machining (drilling, milling, reaming and thread cutting) is often used as the machining method.
In this case, cutting tools with extremely sharp cutting edges and extremely smooth surfaces are required so that the plastic can be separated and quickly transported away without great effort. The result is good surfaces on the workpiece and long tool life.
Special technical requirements must be observed when machining fibre plastics, composite materials and composites.
Type of fibre
Fiber structure and fiber shape (HT, IM, ...)
Fiber alignment (UD / MD,
Matrix (Tg: glass transition temperature)
Thickness (vibration, clamping)
Fillers (Honeycomb, Foams)
These are very different in the individual case. We will be happy to support you with technical advice on milling, drilling and thread cutting for your plastic application.
On request, we will analyse the requirements in your company and develop a suitable solution for you - with tools that are specially tailored to your machine and your application.
1. secure clamping
The plastic should be as stress-free as possible during clamping in order to obtain finished parts that are as stress-free as possible. In some cases, the workpieces are quite large, so that vacuum clamping is necessary.
2. Extremely sharp cutting edges
Tools for plastics processing should have a large cutting angle and be extremely sharp. Machining very soft plastics in particular is only possible with extremely sharp tools.
3. polished flutes and cutting edges
Polished flutes on the drill or milling cutter facilitate the fast and clean removal of the plastic chips. This prevents the still hot chips from compacting again and sticking to the tool.
4. Correct cutting values
Milling or drilling generates temperatures that melt the plastic or heat it to such an extent that its structure is damaged. Therefore, when machining plastics, high feed rates must be observed in comparison to the (relatively low) speed. The material is quickly cut and transported away, it takes the heat with it and there is no thermal damage.
Whether coolant can be used often depends on the production specifications of the end user and the plastic used. If coolant is permitted, the plastic can be cooled during machining to reduce heat generation. If a coolant is not permitted or possible, heat can be removed from the machining process with compressed air or cooled compressed air.
6. deburring afterwards
When processing plastic parts, sharp edges often occur. These must be removed before further use to avoid injury or damage. You will find the appropriate machine deburring solutions with our multifunctional tools.
At these milling cutters, the spiralization changes from left to right, which results in the axial cutting forces converging in the middle at one point, i.e. being compressed. The milling cutters are available in three lengths so that compression can take place in the middle of the workpiece to achieve optimum results. This allows delamination problems to be mastered much better. In addition, the milling cutters are equipped with chip breakers so that rapid chip removal is guaranteed and the process temperature remains low. HSC compression milling cutters are designed in particular for machining epoxy resin or polyester-based plastics with carbon or glass fibers and make it possible to produce surfaces in finishing quality (ra < 2 µm).
The HSC compression cutters are available with various diamond coatings to provide an optimum solution for the customer's particular working process. A smooth diamond coating with very high abrasion resistance is especially suitable for materials such as graphite, hard metal and ceramic green bodies. A nanocrystalline multilayer diamond layer with maximum abrasion resistance is used to ideally process materials with a tendency to stick or changing material properties such as carbon, carbon- and glass-fibre-reinforced plastics or composites. In addition to the diamond coatings mentioned above, extremely thin diamond near coatings with high wear resistance and extremely low coefficient of friction, especially for the processing of fibre plastics, are possible. This results in significantly less edge rounding on the tool
Do you have a specific question?
Do you have questions about our products, would you like to be advised on our tools or make an appointment? Then please contact the appropriate contact person directly with your request. We will be happy to help you.
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