Printing the Future of E-Vehicle Manufacturing…Today

Hybrid stator bore tool leverages additive, traditional manufacturing to deliver unmatched productivity in electric motor machining

3D-printed stator boring tool with carbon fiber body for machining three diameters

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Advancing E-Vehicle Manufacturing

As automotive manufacturers expand their hybrid and electric vehicle offerings, Kennametal is leveraging the design flexibility of additive manufacturing to meet growing customer demand for lighter weight tooling solutions for machining e-vehicle components. Our innovative 3D-printed stator bore tool—combined with a carbon-fiber-body and our proven RIQ inserts technology—delivers unmatched productivity and reliability in the production of large diameter, deep bore electric motor housings.

Why did Kennametal develop this novel tooling solution?

Kennametal’s mission is all about performance for our customers, and we were responding to their needs with the development of this tool. As automotive manufacturers globally make the transition to hybrid and electric vehicles, they require new tooling solutions to meet the unique challenges of machining e-vehicle components such as electric motor housings. For example, the stator boring of electric motor housings presents new challenges, as deep holes in conjunction with large diameters have been relatively uncommon in the automotive sector up to now. In addition to short machining times and reliable chip removal, simple handling (by error-proof cutting edge setting) is one typical requirement. Furthermore, tools are required to be lightweight to be usable on small, highly dynamic machining centers and being suitable even for weak tool changing systems. We developed this tool to enable our customer to retrofit their machines for the highest level of productivity and efficiency in the machining of electric motor housings.

How does the stator bore tool improve productivity and efficiency for customers?

Machining three diameters in one operation, the stator bore tool ensures the alignment and concentricity of the machined surfaces whilst reducing the cycle time significantly. The lightweight 3D printed combination tool enables a faster tool change and spin-up even on less powerful machines. The surface specifications and component tolerances are achieved without constraints and the hazzle-free chip removal is ensured by means of the wing-like arm design. The cooling channels featuring an airfoil shaped geometry ensure a precise and powerful coolant supply to the cutting edges and guide pads. Additionally, the Kennametal RIQ pocket seat enables an easy adjustment of machining diameter and a trouble-free setup of new cutting inserts. While the stator bore tool provides an increased level of process reliability, it also saves the costumer valuable setup and machining times.

Animation of the stator bore machining process

Function test of the coolant supply

Why did you use 3D printing and carbon fiber reinforced polymers?

With 3D printing we can put material only where we need it – without requiring a cubic or round base body, so we can make complex tools that are lighter and better performing in the process. By leveraging finite element simulations and the design flexibility of 3D printing, we reduced the weight of the stator bore tool by approximately 50% compared to conventional solutions, while achieving the highest requirements for accuracy, roundness, and surface quality. 3D printing enabled us to realize complex geometries that improve the performance of the tool and would be difficult or impossible to economically produce with traditional manufacturing. These include the tool’s unique cooling channels and the airfoil-shaped connections between the tool body and cutting edge, which help improve chip evacuation, prevent chip buildup, and protect workpiece surfaces.

The use of modern materials, such as carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), which ensures high rigidity, strength, and best damping properties at lowest weight, also contributes to the overall weight reduction of the tool. 

What other unique selling points does the tool have?

The stator bore tool is a hybrid solution that leverages Kennametal’s expertise in additive and traditional manufacturing. It is designed to be used in combination with our proven RIQ inserts, which deliver unmatched machining precision in many customer applications. The tool is available with all common interfaces. For particularly high requirements in terms of rigidity, speed and precision, the KM4X interface developed by Kennametal is the recommended choice.

The stator bore tool and its features

Development stages and design variants of the innovation

Kennametal competencies for e-mobility

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