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CCS - Clean Cut Surfaces®​

​Direct translation of the journalist Allan Malmberg’s article in PLASTpanorama No. 11, 2016. PLASTpanorama is an industry magazine whose target group is the plastics industry in Denmark and Scandinavia, in particular the plastic processing and the plastic consuming industries.

Eliminate Polishing with Optimized Technology

Polishing is normally a set procedure when manufacturing tools for injection moulding. But not at the company Michael Lundbech A/S. They have developed the Clean Cut Surface technique, by which milling results emerge completely smooth – without the need for post-treatment

The company Michael Lundbech A/S in the town of Ringsted, Denmark is known as a toolmaking outfit rich in ideas and creativity. They are also behind the development of a new CCS® technique, by which such small traces remain from milling in conventional tool steel, that hand-polishing is rendered unnecessary. This means that there is no need for a tool to undergo a normal procedure: hand-polishing.

“Our technique entails that the tool component is finished when it leaves the milling machine. The surface appears completely glossy and tension-free,” the company’s founder and owner, Michael Lundbech, explains.

The technique is unique and exceptional, and neither he nor his coworkers know of other companies that have mastered the technique, which is essentially based on being able to optimally control the milling process.

“There are a few business secrets in the actual CCS technique, but at base it relies on our ability to handle the numerous parameters involved in milling in such a way that we eliminate the need for polishing. This gives rise to a series of very positive effects. By circumventing polishing, we can do away with this additional and time-consuming work process. Furthermore, there is a potential risk of slightly changing the geometry of the tool during polishing since it is impossible to polish the entire tool in a completely balanced way. During milling we are sure that the measures are kept,” Michael Lundbech explains.​

CEO Michael Lundbech at the company’s cell, which consists of a CNC Milling center, a EDM discharge machine and an intregrated robot. It is here that CCS development has come so far.​

Microscopic View Yields an Explanation

The milling process normally leaves traces. Using a microscope you can see that they almost look like plate racks lying side by side. Even small traces, if not removed, leave impressions on the workpiece. In the worst case, they leave veritable stripes, but normally, the result is that the workpiece is less glossy than it should have been.

These traces from milling are absent when using the CCS technique, which microscope images clearly reveal. The surface is completely uniform. “Even if you increase the resolution, you will see a high degree of uniformity,” he concludes.​

​Project manager René Hansen at the company’s measuring machine, busy inspecting work on an

injection moulded tool.

A Project that Awoke the Idea

The CCS technique has been underway for several years. The idea was born in connection with a project supported by The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. The goal of the project was to develop and implement a technology enabling the use of nano-structured surfaces on injection moulded plastic components. More specifically, it was about developing a tool for a plastic item on which the plastic surface would appear to have a structure where light was refracted so that the reflected light appeared within a very limited wavelength range. In that way, the surface would appear to have a uniform color. But in order to be able to shape the nano-structure directly on steel surfaces, there was a further requirement (aside from roughness): to reduce the tension level on the surface. The thought subsequently arose whether it would be possible to optimize milling so much that the traces and the tensions completely disappeared.

“When it succeeded for the first time, we worked with a six-millimeter spherical cutter, but now we can control the process using a two-millimeter spherical cutter,” Michael Lundbech explains.

Optimal control of the numerous parameters ensures a fully correct milling. CCS – Clean Cut Surfaces® is now a registered trademark.

“We use exactly the same machines and the same equipment as everyone else in this industry so, essentially, it’s a matter of time before our best competitors are abreast of us – at our current level. We are working on putting our technique onto the market, so, naturally, we are also thinking about the next step in order to ensure that we always stay on a par with the very best in the industry,” Michael Lundbech stresses.

​Surface milled without the CCS technique.

​Surface milled with the CCS technique.

A New Product on the Market

With the CCS technique, Michael Lundbech A/S has developed a production process that optimizes the value chain for the customer who can in turn skip the polishing step, thus minimizing handling, time and risks. Accordingly, the company is well on its way with a completely new product. As an order-producing company, it actively develops, among other things, prototype tools and injection moulded plastics, which the customer then uses in further development of the finished product.

The technique is still not widely available, but the project manager René Hansen at Michael Lundbech A/S has no doubt as to whether they have an excellent technique at their disposal.​

“We have developed a small tool with the initials ‘ML’ where the M was milled using the CCS technique. The tool was shown at PlastTeknik Nordic 2016 where it received much attention and many positive statements.”​

​​The tool project where the M in the logo is milled using the CCS technique. The plastic obtained through this tool has a surface gloss on a par with one that is made using a hand-polished tool.