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Picosecond laser processing of polycrystalline cubic boron nitride —
A method to examine the ablation behavior of a high cubic boron nitride content
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Chipping of hardened steel is often performed by the use of polycrystalline
cubic boron nitride (PCBN). Moreover, PCBN tools are also suitable for many
machining tasks with a lower degree of specialization, due
to their excellent mechanical properties. Despite the significantly higher
lifetime and the associated process reliability plus the reduction of
nonproductive times, tools from PCBN cannot yet prevail over competing cutting
materials. The reason for this can be seen in high tool
costs, which especially arise from an expensive, mechanical final preparation
process that is subject to a high tool wear. Laser material
processing with ultrashort pulsed laser
sources can be regarded as an alternative to the conventional preparation of
PCBN cutting tools. However, the multitude of laser process parameters in
combination with different material properties by a variety of available
PCBN-types requires an each individual setup and review of the process. This
represents a barrier for introducing laser processes into industrial
applications. Therefore, the objective of this research is to establish an
efficient method for a global parameter determination which is performed by
varying the parameters power, repetition rate, scan speed, and track-distance of
the laser process. Investigations are carried out by use of picosecond
laser radiation on a PCBN grade with a high cubic boron
nitride content and a titanium-based binder to gain a basic understanding of the
ablation behavior of PCBN. The results of the experimental
investigations show that processing of PCBN cutting tools by laser ablation is
feasible. Due to the achieved volume ablation rates of
QA > 18 mm3/min and an overall
minimal surface quality of Sa = 1.52 μm, this
process shows potential as an alternative to the conventional preparation
method. Therefore, also the processing of enhanced tool geometries in PCBN by
use of laser technology becomes possible.
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