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Time to consider the integrated tool/holder concept

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Tools for Success by Scott Burton
Scott Burton is the sales and marketing manager for Royce//Ayr Cutting Tools. For more info email:

As demand for precision tooling products has increased in the wood industry, so has the necessity for precision tool holding systems.
New machine innovations have higher RPM and feed-rate requirements, which places greater importance on tool design and tool holding systems. Cut quality expectations have also never been higher, which further increases the need for greater precision between tool and holder.
To meet the demands of new machinery and customer expectations, modern tooling manufacturers have a way to merge the tool and tool body into a single integrated unit. The result is performance superior to any other holding system on the market. 

• Mechanical Collets: Most widely used in the industry as it provides an economical solution that is useful in some situations, but has serious performance limitations for larger heavier router tooling.
• Hydraulic Tool Holders: Provides the best combination of precision and convenience, but demand a premium price and serve no purpose for tools that will remain in the tool holder without required changes.    
• Shrink Fit Tool Holder: Provides excellent precision and rigidity between tool and holder, but requires extremely expensive tool changing machinery that serves no purpose if tools will remain in holder. 
• Integrated Tool / Holder Concept: Provides superior rigidity, centricity and balance, resulting in the finest performance and safety available in the industry.  

The complete elimination of tolerance between tool and holder creates a tooling solution that will outperform any other alternative, particularly on profiling applications that involve larger/heavier tool bodies.  
Modern diamond servicing machinery allows integrated tools to be sharpened directly on the holder, which provides the most accurate method of sharpening diamond tools and eliminates inaccuracies when re-installing on tool holders.  

Practical examples of the integrated tool/holder concept have been showcased in many CNC routing applications on wood composites, solid wood and carbon-fibre materials. The concept is best utilized in profiling, surfacing, deep pocketing and hogging.
Any type of tool listed above that will be placed in a tool holder and not removed should be considered a candidate for an integrated design.   

All tool-holding systems are safe if assembled properly and operated under optimal conditions. However, there are a number of variables that can affect tool safety and we can appreciate that machining conditions are not always optimal.
Mechanical collets, hydraulic chucks and shrinkfit holders are all susceptible to human error upon installation due to moving parts. Excessive RPM, feed rate, or depth of cut can increase stresses on tools that lead to vibration and deflection if not installed in a rigid holder system.
Even proper installation of large profile tool bodies can be problematic if clamping pressure is not sufficient for the weight of the tool.
The integrated system is the simplest option with the least number of variables, which makes it the safest tool holding system on the market. 

For efficiency and accuracy reasons, lean manufacturing concepts discourage the idea of changing tools between holders, which necessitates the purchase of multiple holders. Therefore, the integration of tool and holder is a logical option as both components are already being purchased separately in many cases.
Costing structures can vary depending on tool manufacturer, but most integrated concepts can be manufactured for an up-charge similar to the cost of a premium tool holder and collet. If the cost of collet replacement over time is considered, the integrated system will provide far greater performance at a minimal cost increase.
If you are considering purchasing tooling or holders for your CNC machinery, the integrated tool/holder concept should be seriously considered to optimize the performance and safety of your investment.
Talk to your tooling supplier for design details based on your machine and application.

Scott Burton is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Royce/Ayr Cutting Tools. 
He can be reached at

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