In the intersection of technological advances and industrial traditions, broaching emerges as a practice with surprising longevity, capable of adapting to change and evolving while maintaining its functionality.
Although its roots can be traced back over 150 years, it retains a prominent role in today's precision engineering sector, having been able to reinvent itself to meet the needs of an ever-changing industrial world.
In this article, we will explore how broaching works, what its applications are, what its advantages are, and how it differs from similar techniques, first and foremost slotting.
What is Broaching?
Broaching is a machining method by chip removal. It makes use of a special tool, known as a broach, equipped with a series of cutting edges arranged in sequence. The latter perform the task of removing material in order to generate the predetermined profile.
This technique, rooted in a distant industrial past, saw the light of day in the mid-19th century, finding its initial application in the production of keys for pulleys and gears. It played a pivotal role in the efficiency and precision of the machines of that period, allowing for optimal interlocking between mechanical parts.
During the First World War, the broaching process underwent a change in its purpose, being used in the machining of gun barrels: a new application that expanded its frontiers of use, demonstrating a high versatility and adaptability to different production contexts.
Like any self-respecting technique, broaching has not stood still, but has gone through a process of refinement and refinement: continuous development has led to the creation of broaches capable of working to millesimal tolerances. Such precision has made it possible to produce gears, transmissions, hubs and other mechanical components, thus expanding the scope of machining.
Broaching vs Slotting: the Differences
Broaching and Slotting belong to the family of machining techniques, both intended for shaping the internal/external surfaces of holes. Despite their apparent similarities, the differences are apparent in the complexity of the profiles they can devise and the applications in which they are most appropriate.
Broaching is distinguished by its ability to create profiles of extraordinary complexity. As mentioned, this technique involves the use of a specially designed tool, the broach, which is guided through a pre-existing hole. The aim of the manoeuvre is to modify the morphology of the hole itself, thus enabling the creation of polygonal shapes such as squares and hexagons, or grooved profiles.
It is also divided into two distinct methodologies:
- Internal Broaching consists of the process of altering the internal profile of a pre-existing hole, according to a procedure frequently used to create polygonal or grooved contours.
- External Broaching lends itself to shaping the external surface of a machined part. It is particularly useful for creating a variety of contours: round, grooved, serrated and many others, which exemplify the wide range of possibilities offered by machining.
In parallel, Slotting manifests itself as a method aimed at modifying the internal or external surface of a hole, be it through or blind. And herein lies the main difference with Broaching: the latter does not allow working on blind, deep, stepped holes or obstructed external surfaces.
All the advantages of Broaching
The adoption of broaching as a machining technique reveals a multitude of advantages, which make this methodology an indispensable tool for tackling a variety of challenges in the mechanical sector. We see them in detail below.
- Articulated and Multiform Profiles: Broaching allows the creation of various profiles, even of considerable complexity. The flexibility of the process, in fact, allows the creation of internal and external profiles with millesimal precision, testifying to the ability of the process to meet highly sophisticated design requirements.
- Dynamism and Energy Efficiency: it also stands out for its speed of action, being able to remove a large amount of material in a single pass. This quality makes it a suitable methodology for the mass production of components, favouring time optimisation and an increase in productivity.
- Economic Savings on Large Production Batches: In light of the speed of execution of the process and its ability to generate precision profiles in a single pass, Broaching proves to be an economically advantageous option. It can lead to significant savings, especially when faced with large production batches.
- Precision and Finish Quality: ensures a high level of accuracy and quality. Very tight tolerances and an excellent surface finish make it a prime choice where a high degree of precision is required.
- Material Processing: demonstrates exceptional versatility in terms of the materials that can be machined, being suitable for the most commonly used metals in precision mechanics. It ranges from steel to cast iron, also involving brass and plastic, thus ensuring a wide applicability in various industrial sectors.
Broaching, therefore, has a number of advantages in terms of efficiency, precision and versatility. It offers flexible, high quality solutions that allow all possible customer requirements to be met.
Bonanomi Processing and Shop
Bonanomi, founded in 1946, is a precision machine shop with a long tradition and experience in sophisticated machining operations such as Milling, Grinding, Engraving, Drilling and Boring. With a rich assortment of state-of-the-art equipment and a team of experienced professionals, we ensure meticulous attention to every product.
If you would like to learn more about our specific expertise, please do not hesitate to contact us.