Partnering opportunity

Evaluation and test partners sought for specialist routers for the sign industry or window manufacturers


The UK SME specialist tooling manufacturer has developed solid carbide and high speed steel (HSS) routers for routing of various materials across the sign making and fenestration industries. The routers require further testing in a production environment to prove that material specific tool design improves the performance of routing tool. Cooperation under a commercial or technical cooperation agreement is sought.

Partner sought

The UK SME is looking for window or sign manufacturing companies routing any of the materials referred to in the description who would be prepared to provide end user testing of routers over an extended period of time to validate the project results. Partners will need to be willing and able to provide information on pre-agreed tool performance criteria during the routing process. In addition, information on the routing process would also be needed, including: machine used, tool holding, fixturing, cooling technique and machining strategy as these are all critical factors in the performance of cutting tools. Ideally the partner would be interested in continuing as a customer provided the validation tests proved beneficial and cost comparison is favorable. Therefore a commercial agreement with technical assistance or a technical cooperation is sought.


The UK SME specialises in manufacturing high end special cutting tools/services to distributors or end users for a large range of industry sectors including aerospace, medical, automotive, oil and gas and general engineering. With more than 25 years of experience the team possess substantial knowledge of manufacturing cutting tools and own state-of-the-art machining equipment with very high accuracy. They have significant experience working with high profile engineering, manufacturing and automotive clients and in undertaking collaborative research and development projects with industry and academia. The company is looking to diversify into other niche markets including the sign and fenestration markets where routers are preferred to milling cutters and different machine setups, cooling methods and machining strategies affect tool design and performance. Also the materials used differ and therefore tool design changes. Materials used include: • Aluminium • UPVC (unplasticised polyvinyl chloride) • Acrylic • Copper • Brass • Composites • Foam • Wood They have developed solid carbide and high speed steel (HSS) routers for routing of various materials across the sign making and fenestration industries and so seek partners who are routing any of the materials mentioned that would be able to provide comparative testing to measure tool performance against competitors’ tools. Ideally the partner would be interested in continuing as a customer providing the validation tests proved beneficial and cost comparison is favorable. Cooperation is anticipated under either commercial or technical cooperation agreement basis.

Advantages and innovations

The design of cutting tools requires significant knowledge of machining science. A combination of mechanical, thermal and chemical interactions between cutting tool, cutting chips and work piece materials, results in tool failure which is unique for each material and machining environment. Understanding the tool failure mechanism, chemical reaction between cutting tool and work piece materials, behaviour of the coating, tribology of cutting and surface integrity and morphology of the work pieces to make informed design decisions requires significant knowledge of machining science. Compiling experimental results for mathematical equations for modelling machining information, optimisation and extending the data to other tools and materials require innovative thinking and competency. Identifying the behaviour of various materials in and the effect of individual geometrical features on the tribology and physics of material cutting is challenging. Therefore design and optimisation of multi-input problems, such as cutting tool design, requires a robust scientific methodology that ensures complete data capture, validity, repeatability and reproducibility whilst minimising experimental runs. The tooling developed has been designed based on synchronized application of theoretical, analytical and experimental knowledge to ensure cohesive design. The research conducted has proved that small changes in tool geometry can have a massive impact on tool performance. Therefore tools designed for specific materials will outperform tools that are produced for general material groups. Further research also proved that specific material properties, tool coating properties, cooling techniques and machining strategy will further improve tool performance.

Development stage

Available for demonstration

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)


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