This article originally appeared in decomagazine March 2013 entitled "Real Thread Whirling"
“Thread Whirling” has become a popular process for Swiss machines, especially among bone screw manufactur- ers. Although most Swiss machine engineers agree that thread whirling delivers outstanding productivity with the highest efficiency vs conventional single point threading, not all engineers know the “Real Thread Whirling” process.
Bone screws are attached directly into human or animal bones for medical repair applications. The screw is not expected to be loosened at all once it is fixed in place. The characteristics of bone screws are: larger pitch size and larger screw depth and length as their key function is to be tightened into bones rigidly and as quick as possible.
As a result of this uniqueness, inspection of screw forms has become extremely difficult. Due to the larger helix angle to make a high pitch thread form, you cannot visually see the cross section at all with a common optical comparator. What you can check with an optical comparator is only the peripheral or bottom diameter of the thread.
As you may understand, if you change the helix angle or pitch size, thread form itself could be totally out of print specifications.
Why does this happen? One factor comes from the uniqueness of bone screw: There is no female thread. That is, if the thread form is made close enough to the print, the screw can perform its function to be tightened rigidly to a bone since there is no mating surface (female thread). The other comes from difficulty in designing thread whirling inserts due to complexity of thread form itself.
Conventional, single point threading inserts are designed with exactly the same thread form as the thread itself because it always machines with regards to the center of the bar stock. On the other hand, thread whirling inserts cannot be designed with the same concept because the actual machining point always varies on the upper or lower side of the bar stock. However, there are some competitor’s thread whirling inserts designed with the identical methodology as single point threading. With this incor- rectly designed thread whirling inserts, bone screw manufactures are frequently required to re-make the inserts, in some cases, not one time butseveral times. Or, they are forced to make inappro- priate manual adjustment on the helix angle or pitch size to obtain the thread form which looks closer to the prints specification.
NTK thread whirling does not require such guesswork process manipulation. Thanks to the design capabil- ity of our inserts we can obtain perfect threads right from the start. This process designing technology is now patented.
As you can imagine, single pass machining of the double lead bone screw is the best solution to improve productivity. To enable single pass machining of double lead screw, both inserts must have a different geometry ground on 1st and 2nd threads. This is simply because thread whirling machining is calculated with regards to the upper and lower point of the screw’s centerline. This process generates the double lead bone screw in a single pass cutting both the 1st and the 2nd leads at the same time.
NTK thread whirling designing technology and highly accurate insert grinding ability can produce the per- fect thread whirling inserts the first time. This feature enables double lead bone screw manufactures to achieve single pass machining. We believe that you will appreciate NTK’s highly advanced thread whirl- ing system technology once you use NTK’s double or triple thread whirling tools.
When your machine is equipped with the correct helix angle setting, correct tool setting and a NTK thread whirling system, you will experience “real Thread Whirling” which can produce perfect thread form screws. NTK is looking forward to your inquiries from those who eager to have perfect thread form from the beginnings, of course with no incorrect manual adjustment, or to improve your double, triple lead screws productivity.
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