Seco Tools produces so-called Round Tools at a total of seven production sites worldwide. In addition to solid carbide milling cutters, these also include drilling, reaming and threading tools, basically all solid carbide tools. The Seco Lottum site specializes completely in the production of solid carbide milling cutters, which are delivered to customers all over the world. "We produce up to 70% standard tools and 30% custom tools," reports Thijs Luttikhold, Production Technology Round Tools at Seco. Thijs' team has extensive know-how in grinding solid carbide, because they primarily machine high-quality tools in the µ range. "We know about this know-how and secure it centrally in TDM," says Thijs. Seco was a trailblazer, the path for this successful model was started by Seco 20 years ago. The team at the time had pushed ahead with digitization, introduced TDM ClassiX for the management of grinding tools and adapted it to the characteristics of the grinding tools.
"Many Seco ideas have been incorporated into the structuring of the grinding tools," says Arno Kuenen, Production Engineer at Seco Tools. The grinding tools are managed using a pragmatically defined class/group structure and are divided into individual components (grinding wheels) and tools assemblies (grinding wheel packages) in the same way as for cutting tools. These are managed together with the grinding programs and thus form the basis for efficient planning and preparation of round tools production. The illustrations of the grinding wheel package in particular support correct assembly. "The assembly is much faster and the packages are assembled correctly. That saves us a lot of time," says Arno. Access to the grinding wheels is also organized transparently. "We store the grinding wheels in Kardex cabinets, which are managed with TDM. This way we always know where which grinding wheels are stored and we don't have to spend time and energy searching for things," Arno explains.
We store the grinding wheels in Kardex cabinets, which are managed with TDM. This way we always know where which grinding wheels are stored and we don't have to spend time and energy searching for things.
Arno Kuenen (right)
Production Engineer at Seco Tools
With Thijs Luttikhold (Production Technology Round Tools at Seco, center) and Patrick Bliki (Regional Account Manager at TDM, left)
"As a Tool Data Management System, TDM is also ideally suited for managing our own products, as it allows us to comprehensively map solid carbide cutters digitally," explains Thijs. As a product database - especially with regard to the regrinding processes of solid carbide cutters - TDM is the ideal software to provide the necessary information and ensure transparency. Seco Tools offers its customers a comprehensive network of regrinding centers and therefore a perfect service. In order to quickly obtain product-related information for the regrinding process, Seco reconditioning satellites have access to information such as product data, grinding programs and quality certificates. The TDM software makes it easy to exchange data and thus increases efficiency in the regrinding process. TDM is also deeply integrated into many processes at the Seco site in Lottum. Interfaces also exist at packaging and laser marking machines so that the product information on the Round Tools is sent directly to packaging or to the tool. This means that the identical data is used in all sub-processes, which enormously reduces the time required in the entire process chain.
"A major goal of Seco Tools is to keep innovation and performance in production at a high level and align it with the requirements of the future," Thijs tells. That's why, in 2022, the Lottum site has been appointed as a Lighthouse project within Seco Tools when it comes to the global production of Round Tools. "Our task is to further develop future working methods and processes, taking into account quality, delivery accuracy and time, while increasing shareholder value," Thijs says. The Center of Excellence created for this purpose brings together dedicated employees who are deeply involved in new technologies in production and industrialization of products. For this project, we use the tool database in TDM and can generate important insights," tells Jeroen Huijs, Manager Center of Excellence & Production Engineering at Seco. "And data quality, data availability and connectivity are particularly crucial for new automated, unmanned production methods. For us, TDM is a kind of central database in Seco production."
The success of the TDM project in Lottum is generating great interest at Seco Tools and is now to be rolled out to other plants worldwide. For this purpose, in 2021 it was decided to install a central server with an integrated tool database specifically for grinding tools in Fagersta, Sweden, and to introduce the TDM Global Line software line for international use of the data. "Our goal at Seco is to produce internationally with the same standards and thus also share best practices, experience and data," Thijs continues. Therefore, TDM Global Line will first be introduced at Seco in Lottum, after which several sites producing solid carbide tools will be integrated in further steps. Currently in planning is the Reynoldsville plant in Pennsylvania, USA. "Before we start with Reynoldsville, we want to have a perfect TDM Global Line application in Lottum, which we will then export to the other plants." Thijs adds. He is very satisfied with the implementation of TDM Global Line. The team in Lottum is particularly enthusiastic about the powerful tool search function. Thijs knows that the Seco team has done great things with this project and that this is also of interest to other manufacturers. "We are proud of what we have achieved and look forward to transferring this to other Seco plants, so we can make a big contribution to Seco's global success."
- Transparency in grinding wheel management
- Forward-looking tool preparation: Clear allocation of NC program – grinding wheel packages
- Reliable availability of grinding wheels
- Transfer of production know how to Seco Round Tools plants
- TDM is the central database in production
- Correct assembly of grinding wheel packages
- 100% availability of grinding wheels
- Realization of automated production methods due to data quality and availability, as well as connectivity to other systems
International roll-out with central database in Fagersta headquarters (with TDM Global Line)