Optimo – for tools that measure up

Stonegate introduces Optimo to cut set up times on CNC workcentres from hours to minutes, speed up processing times and increase the life of the tools.

The diamond tools used for processing stone are precision engineered. They are expected to work to tolerances of a fraction of a millimetre, although you wouldn’t necessarily know that from the way they are sometimes treated.

When they are working to maximum efficiency, they will perform faster, last longer and produce a finish on worktops good enough to make any kitchen owner proud. But setting up a seven-tool profile set can take hours, even using the spot lasers that many machines are supplied with.

That’s just one of the reasons Stonegate Precision Tooling, the stone working CNC tools, consumables and equipment supplier, has introduced its Optimo tool calibrating service. Its aim is to end the bottleneck at the CNC workcentre. 

Developed using Stonegate’s experience and relationships with both CNC manufacturers and customers, as well as the hands-on experience of its technical team, Optimo is a service Stonegate has proven to significantly improve your productivity (with 30% faster travel speeds) and lengthen the life of your tools (up to 30% longer tool life).

Here’s how.

Using the same technology as an optician uses to scan your eyes, Optimo measures your CNC profiling tools down to five micron (0.005mm) accuracy, regardless of the profile or brand of CNC you use.

That level of accuracy means:

  1. Reduced set up time and, therefore, machine downtime. It takes approximately 15 minutes instead of the average laborious four hours many operators face.
  2. Human error is just about eliminated because your operator is copying a set of measurements supplied by Stonegate into the CNC operating system, which also reduces the number of tools accidentally damaged during set up. 
  3.  Increased speed of your tools by up to 30%, enabling them to perform as they were intended to, taking off the correct amount of stock, which can be as little as 0.02mm or up to about 0.3mm for lower grit numbers. In practice, Stonegate has found many businesses can obtain even better than a 30% increase in speeds.
  4. A high quality finish is achieved quickly, and as it’s right first time you don’t have to run multiple passes. There may be the odd process where you still want to finish by hand, such as underside chamfers, depending on the tolerances and calibration of material thickness.
  5. Your tools will last longer. The tooling will only work as hard as it needs to, which could possibly double the life of your tools. Stonegate says it will increase the lifespan by up to 30%, but depending on the current set up, many companies will find they get more than 30% extra.

Optimo is also available on a subscription service individually tailored to each business. The subscription is based on a calculation of how long the tools will last, so you know how many tools you will need to replace and when over time.

For example, if you are currently getting (say) 200-300m of work out of your tools, Stonegate says you can expect to increase that to 400-500m with Optimo.

The tools might need adjusting occasionally as they wear but, again, Stonegate supplies all the measurements and the adjustment should take no more than a couple of minutes.

Stonegate has been developing its Optimo service for the past three years, in the past year giving the service field trials with customers.

It says the results are outstanding. “It’s a very, very well thought out system,” says Peta Bean, Head of Marketing & Communications for Stonegate. “Feed-back has been excellent and customers already using the service have seen an increase in their productivity.”

For anyone who wants to take that further by maximising the flow of work through the factory and minimise handling and re-handling, which eats up a lot of time as well as risking damage to the work piece, Stonegate offers a wider service of analysis and reporting. 

Most companies Stonegate works with in this aspect need the guiding hand to make the changes they already know are needed to help their business grow.