Tool wear is one of the most costly problems in many manufacturing companies. Most companies have ongoing programs to try to reduce the cost of tool wear by continually improving tool materials. Part of improving tool life is monitoring the wear that is occurring. In the cutting and perforating of products made from plastic webs, the predominant mode of wear is polishing abrasion. Tool edges start in service with a very small radius which gets progressively larger as tool wear progresses. The minute wear is extremely difficult to quantify. This paper deals with the techniques that can be used to assess changes in tool edge radius produced by polishing abrasion from the product that is being shaped by tools.
Common and the not-so-common assessment techniques are discussed and it is shown that elastomer replicas coupled with microscopic edge inspection can be effective in assessing how tools are wearing with time, so that improvements in tool life can be made.
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