1: Are you producing different parts on the newly retrofitted machine or was this dedicated to running one particular part?
We work with single parts, multiple parts, new machines, retrofitted machines, different materials, it does not matter. We do Impact Tests which simply take readings of the cutter at the tool tip, which in a nut shell tells us the dynamics of that machine tool, giving suggested rpm and depth of cut to run that cutter on that machine. Material, max rpm, HP, number of teeth, cutter and holder nomenclature are then input to give information, by way of a custom database. This results in maximum cutting of the cutting tool in that spindle on the machine, dynamically.
2: If your running different parts, have you achieved the same cycle time improvements or pcs/hr rates on the them?
Operations can increase by 0-100%. It all depends on if the programmer uses this data each time he programs.
3: Are there any new problems you've encountered because of the HSM techniques (fixturing, tooling, coolant, etc)?
There are always problems, but in general, the same applies to all machining. Of course exceptions such as wall thickness etc are noted. Dynamically tuned cutters will out perform all other cutters in all instances.
4: Have you seen any tool life increases?
Tool life, of course increases. By using dynamics, chatter is minimized. Chatter is the most determining factor of tool life, spindle life and surface finish. Although, excessive chip loads (Forced vibration) which are mistaken for chatter in many instances. Programming makes a boo-boo and operators think it is chatter. Chatter occurs at a frequency of natural frequency of the cutter, forced vibration occurs at spindle speed frequency. Easy to detect by audio.
5: How about power consumption?
I would imagine that the better the cutting operation the less HP used.