Economic production is one of the main concerns of any manufacturing facility. In recent years, cost increases and tougher statutory requirements have increasingly made cutting fluids a problematic manufacturing and cost factor in metalworking. Depending on the cutting fluid, production process and supply unit, cutting-fluid costs may account for up to 16% of workpiece cost. In some cases, they exceed tool cost by many times (Ref. 1). The response by manufacturers is to demand techniques for dry machining (Ref. 2).
The cutting tool industry has undergone some serious changes in the last couple of years in both technology and the way the industry does business. The emerging technology today, as well as for the foreseeable future, is dry cutting, especially in high volume production settings. Wet cutting continues to be as popular as ever with lubrication advances making it more economical and environmentally friendly. There has also developed a process called "near dry cutting." this process offers many of the benefits of fluids while eliminating many of hte associated problems.
High-speed machining using carbide has been used for some decades for milling and turning operations. The intermittent character of the gear cutting process has delayed the use of carbide tools in gear manufacturing. Carbide was found at first to be too brittle for interrupted cutting actions. In the meantime, however, a number of different carbide grades were developed. The first successful studies in carbide hobbing of cylindrical gears were completed during the mid-80s, but still did not lead to a breakthrough in the use of carbide cutting tools for gear production. Since the carbide was quite expensive and the tool life was too short, a TiN-coated, high-speed steel hob was more economical than an uncoated carbide hob.