Finishing planar surfaces was long considered a fully developed process, and the machining times for achieving high-quality surfaces through line-by-line milling with a ball mill were simply accepted. The German company Open Mind has developed a new technology that consists of two elements: an innovative 5-axis tangent plane machining strategy and a conical barrel cutter, which can simultaneously be used as a barrel cutter and a ball mill. For the conical barrel cutter, the company changed the form of the finishing tool to feature very large radii ranging from 250 to 1,500mm.
The large radii of the conical barrel cutter make step-over distances of 6 and 8mm possible. The ball mill tip is also very well suited for machining corner radii. This means that there is no longer a need to switch cutters in order to finish adjacent areas such as rounded interior corners. Open Mind claims users of these strategies and the conical barrel cutter for finishing planes and free-form surfaces achieve time savings of up to 90 per cent.