RobbJack uses technology to gain a competitive edge in the PCD market



US company RobbJack Corporation is a manufacturer of high performance rotary cutting tools. Based in California, the 100% employee-owned company services a variety of industries including aerospace, medical and automotive.

RobbJack’s success is attributed to their values of being fair and honest to their customers. Consistency plays a vital role in all of this, and it was essential that RobbJack had the right tools in place to deliver quality solutions that meet their customers’ requirements.


David Baker, RobbJack President said, “The ANCA machines have been very useful for us on several things. One of them would be lead times. The newer machines have faster cycle times, and sometimes faster setup times. On top of that we're able to produce some of the features on our cutting tools on the new ANCAs that we just couldn't do before.”
With an increase in the use of composite materials, RobbJack sees polycrystalline diamond (PCD) as a significant market – and they are confident that ANCA will be able to help them achieve their success in the industry.

Mike MacArthur, VP of Engineering said, “ANCA's repeatability and ability to hold super tight tolerances really helps RobbJack become more successful in aerospace applications. When a customer is spinning a tool at 33,000 RPM, balance and vibration are very important parts and by holding the tight tolerances that we are able to do with the ANCA, really helps us be successful in that industry.”

“RobbJack got the EDGe because we were really limited on what type of geometry we could make on PCD tools. The EDGe allows us to make full three-dimensional helical shapes on the tool so we can have all the positive cutting geometry and solution geometry that we have on carbide tools, and now we have the technology to do it on PCD. It really transformed the way that we could manufacture the tools and we really didn't have the ability to do that without that machine.”

David agreed, “The diamond tipped drills that we're producing now on the EDGe are something that we were not able to do at all before with any machine in any fashion. And we're not only able to do it now but we're also able to do some of the other tools that we used to do on other machines much faster on the EDGe.”

“The PCD tipped, solid tipped diamond tools are challenging to manufacture because you can't really grind diamond, so you have to use ANCA's EDG technology to use electricity to erode the diamond away.”

“Geometry is very important to tools because that's what actually creates the chip or shears the material. So having a very applications-specific geometry is really the key difference between having a mediocre solution and one of those that really helps our customers solve their cutting needs.”

Mike believes in the importance of remaining agile and innovative as the marketplace evolves. One of the ways RobbJack maintains competitive edge is by recognising the advantages of investing in new technology. One of the investments was ANCA’s CIM3D software. Mike said, “In the past we had to grind carbide and different tools to see what it'd look like, now you can put it on the computer and try different things before you grind it.”

Automation is another investment that has benefitted RobbJack. “It’s very comforting to know that you can actually turn the lights off, walk out the door, and know that when you come in the morning, you're still gonna have good stuff,” David said. “We use our automation as much as we can, we run lights out as often as we can. And it's one of the metrics that we track every day.”

“The newer technologies have helped us move forward. We are much more efficient than we were even as little as five years ago. We have some big changes that we are able to put numbers on, and know that they're real,” David concluded.


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