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Zinovy Khokhlov
Zinovy Khokhlov

ZCC APKT EMP02: The Screw-On System for Less Chip Interference


ZCC APKT: A Guide to Indexable Carbide Milling Inserts




Milling is one of the most common machining processes that involves removing material from a workpiece using a rotating cutting tool called a milling cutter. Milling cutters can have different shapes, sizes, and configurations depending on the type of milling operation. One of the most popular types of milling cutters is the indexable carbide milling insert, which is a replaceable cutting edge that can be attached to a milling cutter body.




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Indexable carbide milling inserts offer several advantages over solid carbide or high-speed steel milling cutters, such as longer tool life, higher cutting speed, lower cost per edge, and easier tool change. However, not all indexable carbide milling inserts are created equal. Different inserts have different geometries, grades, chipbreakers, and coatings that affect their performance and suitability for different materials and applications.


In this article, we will introduce you to one of the best brands of indexable carbide milling inserts in the market: ZCC APKT. We will explain what are ZCC APKT inserts, what are their features and benefits, what are their applications and industries, how to choose the right ZCC APKT insert for your milling operation, how to use and maintain ZCC APKT inserts, and answer some frequently asked questions about them.


What are ZCC APKT inserts?




ZCC APKT inserts are indexable carbide milling inserts that are manufactured by ZCC Cutting Tools Europe, a leading supplier of cutting tools for the metalworking industry. ZCC Cutting Tools Europe is part of the ZCC Group, which is one of the largest producers of carbide in China and has more than 50 years of experience in developing and producing cutting tools.


ZCC APKT inserts have a parallelogram shape and angle, which allows them to have four cutting edges that can be rotated when one edge wears out. The insert style is APKT, which stands for ANSI Parallelogram K (11) T (positive rake). The insert size is 160408, which means the insert has a length of 16 mm, a width of 4 mm, and a thickness of 0.8 mm. The insert radius is 0.031 inches, which means the insert has a slightly rounded corner for better surface finish.


Features and benefits of ZCC APKT inserts




ZCC APKT inserts have several features and benefits that make them ideal for various milling operations. Some of these features and benefits are:


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  • They accept industry standard APKT1604 inserts and competitor style APKT11T3 inserts, which means they are compatible with most milling cutter bodies in the market.



  • They have a versatile 90 approach angle that allows for multiple applications, such as face milling, shoulder milling, copy milling, and chamfer milling.



  • They have an 11 relief angle that reduces tool pressure and rake angles that provide smoother cutting.



  • They have a screw-on system that ensures secure clamping and less chip interference.



Applications and industries of ZCC APKT inserts




ZCC APKT inserts are suitable for a wide range of applications and industries that require high-quality and efficient milling operations. Some of these applications and industries are:



  • General milling of steel and stainless steel, such as automotive parts, machine parts, molds, dies, etc.



  • High-speed milling of steel and stainless steel, such as aerospace components, medical devices, etc.



  • Aerospace milling of titanium alloys, such as turbine blades, engine parts, etc.



  • Milling of cast iron, such as brake discs, engine blocks, etc.



  • Milling of non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum alloys, copper alloys, etc.



ZCC APKT inserts can handle various milling strategies, such as roughing, semi-finishing, finishing, contouring, slotting, ramping, plunging, etc. They can also achieve different surface finishes, from rough to smooth, depending on the insert grade and chipbreaker.


How to choose the right ZCC APKT insert for your milling operation?




Choosing the right ZCC APKT insert for your milling operation is crucial for achieving optimal results and avoiding problems such as tool wear, tool breakage, poor surface quality, excessive heat generation, etc. To choose the right ZCC APKT insert for your milling operation, you need to consider several factors that affect the performance and suitability of the insert. These factors are:


Factors to consider when selecting ZCC APKT inserts




Material type and hardness




The first factor to consider when selecting ZCC APKT inserts is the material type and hardness of the workpiece you are milling. Different materials have different properties that affect the cutting behavior and tool life of the insert. For example, steel and stainless steel are harder and more abrasive than aluminum and copper alloys, which means they require more wear-resistant and tougher inserts. Titanium alloys are more difficult to machine than steel and stainless steel because they have low thermal conductivity and high chemical reactivity, which means they require more heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant inserts.


ZCC APKT inserts have different grades that are designed for different material types and hardnesses. The grade of the insert is indicated by a code that consists of two or three letters and four numbers. The letters indicate the substrate material of the insert (such as Y for cemented carbide or E for cermet), while the numbers indicate the coating type and thickness of the insert (such as 9320 for PVD TiAlN coating or 205H for PVD TiN coating). The higher the number, the thicker the coating.


The following table shows some examples of ZCC APKT insert grades and their recommended material types and hardnesses:



Insert grade


Material type


Material hardness


YB9320


Steel and stainless steel


P: 150-300 HBM: 150-350 HB


YBG205H


Steel and stainless steel


P: 150-300 HBM: 150-350 HB


EMP14


Titanium alloys


S: 200-400 HB


YD101


Cast iron


K: 150-300 HB


YD201


Non-ferrous metals


N: 50-250 HB


Cutting speed and feed rate




The second factor to consider when selecting ZCC APKT inserts is the cutting speed and feed rate of your milling operation. Cutting speed is the speed at which the cutting edge of the insert moves relative to the workpiece, while feed rate is the speed at which the workpiece moves relative to the insert. Cutting speed and feed rate affect the amount of heat and force generated during milling, which in turn affect the tool life and surface quality of the workpiece.


ZCC APKT inserts have different chipbreakers that are designed for different cutting speeds and feed rates. The chipbreaker is the groove or notch on the cutting edge of the insert that helps to break the chips into smaller pieces and control their direction. The chipbreaker of the insert is indicated by a code that consists of one or two letters, such as APM or N. The letter indicates the shape and size of the chipbreaker, as well as its suitability for different cutting conditions.


The following table shows some examples of ZCC APKT insert chipbreakers and their recommended cutting speeds and feed rates:



Insert chipbreaker


Cutting speed range (m/min)


Feed rate range (mm/tooth)


APM


100-300


0.08-0.25


N


50-150


0.05-0.15


P


150-350


0.1-0.3


M


200-400


0.15-0.35


F


300-500


0.2-0.4


Depth of cut and width of cut




The third factor to consider when selecting ZCC APKT inserts is the depth of cut and width of cut of your milling operation. Depth of cut is the distance that the insert penetrates into the workpiece, while width of cut is the distance that the insert covers along the workpiece. Depth of cut and width of cut affect the chip thickness and load on the insert, which in turn affect the tool life and surface quality of the workpiece.


ZCC APKT inserts have different geometries that are designed for different depths of cut and widths of cut. The geometry of the insert is indicated by a code that consists of one or two numbers, such as 11 or 22. The number indicates the clearance angle and edge preparation of the insert, as well as its suitability for different cutting conditions.


The following table shows some examples of ZCC APKT insert geometries and their recommended depths of cut and widths of cut:



Insert geometry


Depth of cut range (mm)


Width of cut range (mm)


11


0.5-3


0.5-3


22


1-5


1-5


33


2-8


2-8


44


3-10


3-10


55


4-12


4-12


Note that these are only general guidelines and you may need to adjust the insert geometry according to your specific milling conditions and requirements.


Chipbreaker and coating type




The fourth factor to consider when selecting ZCC APKT inserts is the chipbreaker and coating type of the insert. As mentioned earlier, the chipbreaker is the groove or notch on the cutting edge of the insert that helps to break the chips into smaller pieces and control their direction, while the coating is the thin layer of material that covers the surface of the insert to enhance its wear resistance, heat resistance, corrosion resistance, and lubricity.


ZCC APKT inserts have different chipbreakers and coatings that are designed for different cutting conditions and requirements. The chipbreaker and coating type of the insert are indicated by a code that consists of one or two letters and four numbers, such as APM9320 or NEMP14. The letters indicate the chipbreaker shape and size, while the numbers indicate the coating type and thickness.


The following table shows some examples of ZCC APKT insert chipbreakers and coatings and their recommended cutting conditions and requirements:



Insert chipbreaker and coating


Cutting condition


Cutting requirement


APM9320


General milling of steel and stainless steelModerate cutting speed and feed rateModerate depth of cut and width of cut


Balanced tool life and surface qualityGood chip control and evacuationSuitable for roughing, semi-finishing, and finishing operations


NEMP14


Aerospace milling of titanium alloysLow cutting speed and feed rateModerate depth of cut and width of cut


High heat resistance and corrosion resistanceSuitable for difficult-to-machine materialsSuitable for semi-finishing and finishing operations


PYBG205H


High tool life and surface qualityExcellent wear resistance and lubricitySuitable for finishing operations


Note that these are only general guidelines and you may need to adjust the insert chipbreaker and coating according to your specific milling conditions and requirements.


Examples of ZCC APKT insert grades and chipbreakers




To give you a better idea of how to choose the right ZCC APKT insert for your milling operation, here are some examples of ZCC APKT insert grades and chipbreakers and their typical applications and results:


YB9320 grade and APM chipbreaker for general milling of steel and stainless steel




If you are looking for a versatile and reliable ZCC APKT insert for general milling of steel and stainless steel, you can try the YB9320 grade and APM chipbreaker. This combination offers balanced tool life and surface quality, good chip control and evacuation, and suitable for roughing, semi-finishing, and finishing operations.


The YB9320 grade is a cemented carbide substrate with a PVD TiAlN coating that provides excellent wear resistance, heat resistance, and toughness. The APM chipbreaker is a medium-sized groove that can handle moderate cutting speeds and feed rates, as well as moderate depths of cut and widths of cut.


Here is an example of using the YB9320 grade and APM chipbreaker for face milling of steel (P20) with a 50 mm diameter cutter:



  • Cutting speed: 200 m/min



  • Feed rate: 0.15 mm/tooth



  • Depth of cut: 2 mm



  • Width of cut: 40 mm



  • Tool life: 30 minutes



  • Surface roughness: Ra 1.6 μm



YBG205H grade and PVD coating for high-speed milling of steel and stainless steel




If you are looking for a high-performance ZCC APKT insert for high-speed milling of steel and stainless steel, you can try the YBG205H grade and PVD coating. This combination offers high tool life and surface quality, excellent wear resistance and lubricity, and suitable for finishing operations.


The YBG205H grade is a cemented carbide substrate with a PVD TiN coating that provides superior wear resistance, heat resistance, and smoothness. The PVD coating is a thin layer of titanium nitride that reduces friction and adhesion between the insert and the workpiece.


Here is an example of using the YBG205H grade and PVD coating for shoulder milling of stainless steel (316L) with a 63 mm diameter cutter:



  • Cutting speed: 350 m/min



  • Feed rate: 0.2 mm/tooth



  • Depth of cut: 1 mm



  • Width of cut: 50 mm



  • Tool life: 45 minutes



  • Surface roughness: Ra 0.8 μm



EMP14 grade and N chipbreaker for aerospace milling of titanium alloys




If you are looking for a specialized ZCC APKT insert for aerospace milling of titanium alloys, you can try the EMP14 grade and N chipbreaker. This combination offers high heat resistance and corrosion resistance, suitable for difficult-to-machine materials, and suitable for semi-finishing and finishing operations.


The EMP14 grade is a cermet substrate with a PVD TiAlN coating that provides excellent heat resistance, corrosion resistance, and hardness. The N chipbreaker is a small-sized groove that can handle low cutting speeds and feed rates, as well as moderate depths of cut and widths of cut.


Here is an example of using the EMP14 grade and N chipbreaker for copy milling of titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) with a 32 mm diameter cutter:



  • Cutting speed: 100 m/min



  • Feed rate: 0.1 mm/tooth



  • Depth of cut: 2 mm



  • Width of cut: 20 mm



  • Tool life: 20 minutes



  • Surface roughness: Ra 1.2 μm



How to use and maintain ZCC APKT inserts?




and maintain ZCC APKT inserts properly. Using and maintaining ZCC APKT inserts correctly can help you extend their tool life, improve their performance, and prevent potential problems. Here are some tips on how to use and maintain ZCC APKT inserts:


Installation and clamping of ZCC APKT inserts




Before installing and clamping ZCC APKT inserts, you need to make sure that the milling cutter body, the insert seat, the screw, and the wrench are clean and free of any dirt, dust, or debris. You also need to make sure that the insert is not damaged or cracked.


To install and clamp ZCC APKT inserts, you need to follow these steps:



  • Place the insert into the insert seat of the milling cutter body, making sure that the insert is aligned with the seat.



  • Use the wrench to tighten the screw until it is firmly secured. Do not over-tighten or under-tighten the screw, as this may cause insert loosening or breakage.



  • Check the insert for any gaps or misalignment with the milling cutter body. If there are any gaps or misalignment, loosen the screw and reposition the insert until it is properly seated.



  • Repeat these steps for each insert on the milling cutter body.



After installing and clamping ZCC APKT inserts, you need to check the balance and runout of the milling cutter. Balance is the even distribution of weight around the axis of rotation of the milling cutter, while runout is the deviation of the cutting edge from the ideal circular path. Poor balance and runout can cause vibration, noise, tool wear, tool breakage, and poor surface quality.


To check the balance and runout of the milling cutter, you need to use a balancing machine and a dial indicator. A balancing machine is a device that measures the imbalance of a rotating object, while a dial indicator is a device that measures the distance or displacement of an object. You need to follow these steps:



  • Mount the milling cutter on the balancing machine and run it at a low speed.



  • Read the imbalance value on the balancing machine display. If the imbalance value is within the acceptable range (usually less than 5 gmm), then the milling cutter is balanced. If not, you need to adjust the position or weight of the inserts until the imbalance value is within the acceptable range.



  • Mount the milling cutter on a spindle and attach a dial indicator to it.



  • Run the spindle at a low speed and measure the runout value on the dial indicator. If the runout value is within the acceptable range (usually less than 0.01 mm), then the milling cutter is aligned. If not, you need to adjust the clamping or alignment of the milling cutter until the runout value is within the acceptable range.



Troubleshooting and optimization of ZCC APKT inserts




During the milling operation, you may encounter some problems or issues with ZCC APKT inserts, such as excessive tool wear, tool breakage, poor surface quality


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