Reducing Cycle-Time With ActiveEdge Tooling


Do you spend valuable time each day undertaking the process of setting Boring Bars or Padded Reamer Tools?

Does time wasted setting tools impact on other critical duties?

This problem is becoming increasingly prominent for organisations in all industries that operate using hole boring activities. The process of accurately setting Boring Bars or Blade Style Reamers adds significant costs to manufacturing organisation that need to produce holes in parts with high accuracy and repeatability.

Organisations must find a simpler, quicker and more accurate alternative to setting boring tools- and there is, Introducing Rigibore’s ActiveEdge.

What is ActiveEdge?

Rigibore’s ActiveEdge is a fully automatically adjustable boring tool, providing organisations with unrivaled time saving capabilities, whilst maintaining tight tolerances on bored diameters. This sophisticated boring system allows micron-precise adjustments to be made to cutting edges, without the requirement for an operator’s intervention.

Specific statistical process control (SPC) macros set an upper and lower limit on tolerances, ensuring that bore sizes remain inside a set tolerance band. If bore sizes move out of this band, an automatic compensation request is sent directly to the tool via radio signal, subsequently the next machined bore is returned to nominal size.

Rigibore’s ActiveEdge tooling can be key in gaining a foothold in the market, its sophisticated solution allows organisations to create and sustain efficient operations that improve processes by reducing cycle times– This blog now details the strategic methods behind reducing cycle time. This blog now details the strategic methods behind reducing cycle times.

What is Cycle-Time?

Cycle time is best defined as the total time to complete one repetition of any manufacturing operation from ‘start to start’, in modern day hole boring-operations there has been increased reliance in improvement of cycle times. Long cycle times lead to a number of negative organisational consequences including high inventory, high costs and poor customer service to end users that need tooling within critical lead times.

The key to improving cycle time is to reduce the amount of non-productive time taken in operations- otherwise known as the time not directly associated with the boring operation. By keeping non-productive time to a minimum organisations can ensure that operations maximise efficiency and improve throughput. ActiveEdge tooling provides organisations with the capability to significantly reduce cycle time in operations, before exploring this topic further we must first outline the process of ActiveEdge.

Adjustments Made In the Carousel

Rigibore’s ActiveEdge creates huge reductions in operating time by applying auto-compensation technology, allowing cutting edges to be automatically adjusted without the need for an operator intervention. Unknown to most operators, boring process’ can be streamlined to increase production by thousands of parts per day using this revolutionary system.

These micron-accurate adjustments are made whilst the ActiveEdge Boring Bar is in the tool magazine. The ActiveEdge tool bores a hole at the start of the operation, subsequently a probe or gauging system  will then measure this bored diameter before other machine operations take place.

Whilst the ActiveEdge tool is idle in the carousel, SPC macros can determine whether bore sizes are between the upper and lower control limits. If required, an automatic compensation request is sent, and the cutting edge adjusts automatically with the tool still in the carousel.

This capability reduces spindle downtime during the operation, ensuring the production throughput is maximised with minimal non-productive time.  Organisations can design and develop machining programmes based around this unique ability, allowing streamlined and efficient machining of bores.

The process of ActiveEdge tooling is outlined in Figure.1, highlighting the stoppages in the process.


Cycle Time Diagram 2016


As outlined in the diagram, the tool spends a very small percentage of the operation in the machine spindle. Its ability to automatically adjust in the magazine means that only two occasions occur where the process must stop, both equating to a matter of just seconds. This creates huge productivity benefits, streamlining the manufacturing process dramatically.

Alternatively, Boring Bars and Reamers without automatic adjustment capabilities will experience significantly larger stoppages in production, whilst adjustments to the tool are made manually in the machine, adding on additional non-productive time . Not only will this slow down the process of this boring operation, but also negatively impinge on the other operations being conducted in the factory. The ActiveEdge system frees operators to conduct other shop floor duties, performing compensations automatically.

Multi-Feature Tooling

To conduct successful production actives, organisations seek to reduce the time designing, developing and manufacturing products. Rigibore’s unique capabilities allow organisations to create a more streamlined process through special tooling solutions.

Rigibore’s Advanced Design System (RADS) has been designed and developed in house at Rigibore, providing almost limitless solutions to customers tooling requirements. This capability allows organisations to create bespoke tooling with multiple cutting edges, meeting two or more critical diameters at the same pass.

Not only does the ActiveEdge allow multiple diameters to be cut on the same tool, but allows cartridges to be independently adjusted, meaning that any cartridge can be integrated into the bar. This function gives the customer unparalleled flexibility, performing vital functions simultaneously in operation.

For example, fitting an ISO cartridge allows the process counter-bore at the same time as the ActiveEdge tool bores. Alternatively, an angular cartridge can be integrated to chamfering whilst the ActiveEdge tool cuts to diameter. Performing these multiple tasks at the same time succeeds in speeding up the process, again reducing cycle time in operations

Developing multiple ActiveEdge cartridges into an ActiveEdge Tool allows for quick and simple adjustment using the sophisticated remote 3T adjuster. By simply entering the unique cartridge collaboration code, and the required diameter change into the remote, an automatic compensation request is sent via radio transmission. This innovative function ensures accuracy in adjustment, cutting the required diameter for the operation.

What are the Benefits of Reducing Cycle Time?

What are the benefits of reducing cycle time?


Reducing Cycle Time in operations plays a pivotal role in becoming more competitive and profitable in the manufacturing industry, reducing costs whilst creating and sustaining a streamlined and efficient process.

Learn more about ActiveEdge tooling by visiting the website.



Improving Cpk performance with ActiveEdge

Achieving good process control is especially important in hole machining or precise boring operations, achieving the desired size and finish to bores in an accurate and repeatable manner. Organisations need to conduct micron-precise adjustments, applying careful analysis throughout the process to ensure that no oversized or under-sized bores are produced.

For many organisations, process capability data acts as a benchmark for production objectives-In its simplest form , this data provides an accurate indication of how well an organisations’ process is meeting the specifications that you have set. Perhaps the most important figure of process capability is the Cpk value.

Cpk monitors data sets between an upper and lower specification limit and represents the capability which the process is achieving in regard to how central the mean is between specification limits.  The smaller the standard deviation in performance, the greater the Cpk value- a low Cpk value would represent greater defects in performance and vise versa.

In modern day manufacturing, the reliance on new-age technology to deliver accuracy on critical bore sizes is becoming increasingly mainstream. Organisations adopting old practices are falling by the wayside as new, more efficient and superior systems are available. This blog will now look at how Rigibores’ ActiveEdge system can provide this advantage, driving productivity, increasing accuracy and reducing costs.

ActiveEdge Tooling and Cpk

Rigibore can provide sophisticated solutions to ensure organisations meet the desired Cpk targets, dramatically improving operational performance- the diagrams below are used to demonstrate this.


Figure 1. 




Figure one outlines the process in place when machining a bore. Upper and Lower Warning Limits are set to ensure accuracy in bore sizes, keeping the diameters within this required tolerance band. ActiveEdge tooling’s auto-compensation capabilities adjust the cutting edge  automatically to compensate for insert wear  if bore sizes are outside this warning limit, ensuring that the next machined bore is returned to the nominal bore size.


Figure 2.


Cpk for blod (20

Figure two demonstrates the process of machining a bore using manual methods of adjustment, the red lines represent bore sizes in operation. As you can see these bore sizes deviate dramatically throughout the process, and the spread means that bore sizes are very rarely central around the desired nominal size. Manual adjustment makes for difficulty in achieving a high Cpk score, this is because speed, simplicity and accuracy in adjustment is made much more difficult.


Figure 3.


Figure 3 represents the same component, however this demonstrates the effect of Rigibore’s ActiveEdge system  in the process. ActiveEdge tooling has the capability to machine to a much tighter tolerance band, bringing the upper and lower warning limit in much closer to the nominal bore size..  Accuracy in adjustment down to just 1 micron on diameter to ensure bore size accuracy is maintained.

This function achieves a significantly lower standard deviation in operation, and keeps bore data closer to the nominal bore size, resulting in a much greater Cpk figure for organisations. ActiveEdge tooling achieves accuracy through automation.

Organisational Benefits 

The process of ActiveEdge tooling has identified how critical Cpk improvements could be achieved, but what does this mean for organisations?

Greater accuracy of parts produced:- Because bore data is automated and micron-accurate adjustments are made, bore sizes are consistently near the nominal level. The greater the accuracy of parts will lead to a workpeice of greater quality, producing a product fit for purpose.

Reduced Scrap and Re-Work Rates:– Re-work and scrap rates can negatively impinge on organisations chances of being successful. Whether conducting a high-volume or high-value production environment, scrap and re-work will have negative implications  in terms of cost and time. By automating cutting edge adjustment, guaranteed accuracy means the risk of undersized or over-sized bores will be removed.

Improved Cycle-Time:- ActiveEdge tooling also improves cycle-time, reducing spindle downtime in the operation. For manual operations where the production must be stopped and the tool adjusted manually, valuable non-production time is wasted.

ActiveEdge tooling auto-compensation capability can adjust with the tool still in the carousel, meaning throughput is maximised, allowing products to get to market quicker.

Rigibore’s special tooling capabilities allow multiple cutting edges to be created on the same bar. Multi-feature tooling allows multiple critical diameters to be met and multiple functions to be performed simultaneously, on just one tool. This limits time needed for a tool change, dramatically increasing operational efficiency and reducing cycle time.

Reduced Operator Intervention: – In modern day manufacturing, the more human involvement in a boring operation leads to an  increased  the risk of an error in the process.  As the diagram indicates, manual adjustments made by operators have a greater deviation from the nominal size, and results in a lower Cpk value.

Not only does ActiveEdge tooling retain a tighter tolerance and achieve an improve Cpk value, the reduction in operator intervention can lead to decreased labour costs, not relying on skilled operators to make manual adjustments. Increased production benefits can also be achieved through lights-out machining- Find out more about how the Closed-Loop process can boost productivity.




Achieving Advantage through Automation- Closed-Loop Benefits


Rigibore’s ActiveEdge tooling can be successfully integrated with Renishaw’s OMP400 machine tool probe to drive productivity- and increase organisational efficiency through the implementation of a closed-loop manufacturing.

What is closed-loop manufacturing?

Closed-loop manufacturing is a process whereby bore sizes can be adjusted if they fail to meet the required tolerance, without the need for operator intervention. This process is ideal for tight-tolerance precision boring operations, providing a number of key benefits to organisations:-

  • Improved accuracy in production
  • Reduced tool costs
  • Adjustments can be made
    without being removed from the machine
  • Quality assurance in parts produced
  • Releases personnel for other shopfloor duties
  • Increased production- through lights-out manufacturing
Diagram closed loop
This diagram details the on-going process that occurs during closed-loop boring activities


Below is an outline of the the two feature products that play a key role in a successful closed-loop process- Renishaw’s OMP400 machine probe, and Rigibore’s ActiveEdge tooling.

Renishaw OMP400 high-accuracy machine probe

The high-accuracy Renishaw OMP400 probe applies exceptional performance and submicron accuracy to the boring operation.

The closed-loop boring operation utilizes in-process gauging technology, measuring the bore diameter and translating the measurement data to the CNC machine. The OMP features patented RENGAGE strain-gauge technology to ensure that all data is reliable, fast and accurate.

The OMP400’s flexible design means the stylus length can be increased with no significant decrease in the probe’s performance. This enables users to eliminate costly fixtures and manual setting errors, improve quality and reduce scrap rates.

OMP400 In Hand
Renishaws OMP400 high-accuracy touch probe offers exceptional performance and submicron repeatability

ActiveEdge Tooling

ActiveEdge technology provides organisations with the means to automatically adjust tools ‘in-process’ to ensure that critical bore sizes are maintained. This sophisticated design possesses the capability to produce finish bores with tolerances within a few microns on diameter, with no operator intervention required.

ActiveEdge Tooling- Provides efficiency and productivity through automation


The OMP400 probe accurately measures the bored diameter- using Rengage technology and sends this information to the CNC machine. A Rigibore macro compares the measurement against a set of user-defined parameters and checks that the bore is within tolerance. If not, it calculates the micron cutting edge adjustment necessary to ensure that the next bore is machined to nominal size.

If required, the compensation amount is transmitted via radio to the ActiveEdge tools control yoke, whereby intelligent hardware has the capability to compensate each individual cutting edge on the tool.

The tool can be adjusted in the carousel meaning there is no spindle downtime. This eliminates the need for the tool to be removed from the machine for the cutting edges to be manually adjusted.

The ActiveEdge Interface can be linked to a presetter, which allows it to access to the compensation function of the boring tool. Cutting edges can be automatically set to size after insert change.


ActiveEdge hardware is integrated to work with many well-known presetters, including Zoller, Parlec, Nikken and Kelch

Simplicity In Automation

Rigibore and ZOLLER products can be integrated deliver supreme benefits through automatic presetting of rotating boring bars for machining centers.

The combination of products has already led to profound benefits for many well-known industry brands, lets take a look at the process in more detail.

Whats Required?

  • Rigibore ActiveEdge Tooling– The Rigibore ActiveEdge allows any machine tool to automatically hold a close tolerance bored diameter, without operator intervention.
  •   ZOLLER Pilot 3.0- Also required is the ZOLLER Pilot 3.0 for measuring and presetting tools without data input or previous knowledge (Software version 1.10)
  • One ActiveEdge interface (AEI) per ZOLLER tool presetter and measuring machine.

Whats the Process?

Firstly, the ActiveEdge tool is accurately measured fully automatically using the ZOLLER tool presetter and measuring machine- from here the determined measured values and transmitted directly to the ActiveEdge tool via radio signal.

Within a few seconds the ActiveEdge tool is set to the requested nominal data, with micro-precision, fully automatically and without operator intervention.

After a further automatic tolerance check by the sophisticated ZOLLER tool presetter and measuring machine, the data is then written onto a tool ID chip, or sent directly to the CNC machine.

Another important feature in the process for the ZOLLER pilot 3.0 software is the possibility to easily adjust tools afterwards on the machine, fully automatically via radio signal


This graph outlines the system process of the partnership between ActiveEdge and the ZOLLER Presetter
This graph outlines the system process of the partnership between ActiveEdge and the ZOLLER Presetter.


What are the advantages?

  • Perhaps the most important benefit is the benefit of automation involve in the process. This reduces the need for operator intervention and ensures that an efficient operation occurs
  • Accuracy in operation- the use of the ZOLLER tool presetter and measuring machine applies micro-precise setting, ensuring that the boring operation offers ultimate accuracy.
  • Minimized set up time from the fast ZOLLER equipment means a faster and more streamlined boring process.
  • The accuracy and speed of the tools working in partnership leads to unrivaled quality improvements to an organisations.


Rigibore and ZOLLER- A supreme combination of innovation in technology
Rigibore and ZOLLER- A supreme combination of innovation in technology


More information on these two advanced products is displayed on the Rigibore Website.

Special Tooling Capabilities at Rigibore

Rigibore prides itself on being the world leader in the manufacture of special custom boring bars, also known as custom multi-feature boring tools or combination boring bars.

The goal of continuous innovation technology and quality in design and manufacture, coupled with a team of industry experts with decades of experience and specialist knowledge has led to the creation of a number of leading edge designs- revolutionizing the process of boring.

Two of the most prominent applications which have had the most profound impact on industry practice are the Smartbore Nano and ActiveEdge tooling.


Smartbore Nano:

The Smartbore Nano allows Smartbore technology on small hole boring activities. Able to drill holes down to 0.5mm in diameter and offering precision adjustment of 0.001mm on small hole boring operations it really is the ultimate finishing tool for small hole boring operations.

Some of the key features of the Smartbore Nano are:-

  • No Clamping/Unclamping-This leading-edge,  pre-loaded design needs no clamping or unclamping, eliminating the risk of adjustment errors and maximizing micron accuracy.
  • Zero-Backlash Design– Once set using a standard Smartbore Adjuster the boring head is ready to cut. The Smartbore Nano’s rigid, zero backlash design allows for fast setting and micron adjustment in the machine spindle, leading to performance optimization and improved efficiency.
  • Electronics– This dynamic design keeps the digital display on the Smartbore Adjuster, as opposed to alternative designs for which the electronics are inside the boring head. Keeping these electronics outside the working environment can lead to cost savings on operations with multiple boring heads, as well as eliminating the risk of expensive electronics being damaged in the boring operation.


Smartbore Nano- The perfect finishing tool for small hole boring operations
Smartbore Nano- The perfect finishing tool for small hole boring operations


ActiveEdge allows any machine tool to automatically hold a close tolerance bored diameter without an operator’s intervention.

  1. Firstly a hole is bored using the ActiveEdge tool
  2. The hole is then measured and the measurement transmitted to the machine control.
  3. This is then assessed against the required tolerance or SPC data
  4. If required the tool can automatically send a compensation request to the ActiveEdge tool.
  5. The tool then compensates prior to entering the spindle.

All of this process can be done by fitting ActiveEdge to the machine, no major changes to the machine are necessary. It is a low cost, bolt-on system which is compatible with nearly all machine tools.


ActiveEdge Tooling- Provides efficiency and productivity through automation
ActiveEdge Tooling– Provides efficiency and productivity through automation




Rigibore’s advanced design system also known as RADS, is a specialist in-house design software specifically to assist with the design and manufacture of specialist and bespoke tooling. This leading edge software allows Rigibore the opportunity to provide almost limitless solutions in the design and manufacture of special tooling- offering organisations supreme quality and unrivalled performance.

This software also serves the function of providing the customer with a quick quotation service- usually within 24 hours of an enquiry. Whilst operating on an international scale we are local to the needs of each and every one of our customers, we understand the importance of meeting your tooling needs as quickly as possible. We can engineer, manufacture and deliver tools on a short lead time (4-6 weeks) and at competitive prices.

Providing excellence in Innovation through website developments

Rigibore strives for continuous improvement across all aspects of the business. A recent point of focus has been placed on Rigibore’s revamped website, providing the user with ease and simplicity in navigation around the site and ultimately providing an improved experience to the customer.

Boring Bar Calculator 

Rigibore’s online boring bar calculator now provides the user with the freedom to explore solutions to their tooling needs.
this new dynamic feature provides an interactive method for the customers to explore the options available to them.

The user can now calculate the correct tool for special boring operations by entering the required shank, as well as the bore diameter and depth. Once this information is entered the list of tools suitable for the operation will be listed below, along with information on:-

  • The Boring Depth
  • Boring Bar Order Code
  • Boring Unit and Angle Approach
  • Insert

This feature not only provides a comprehensive overview of options available to the user, but also offers efficiency in operation. Ultimately contributing to a faster process in design, manufacture and delivery.


Rigibore's Boring Bar Calculator makes it easier than ever to explore your tooling solutions
Rigibore’s Boring Bar Calculator makes it easier than ever to explore your tooling solutions.

The new and improved website now offers ultimate functionality to the user, now both mobile and tablet friendly customers can  navigate their way around the site anytime, through any device.
We have also made suitable adjustments to enhance the content and structure of the webpage, by adding relevant landing pages and improved layout it is now much easier to find out information relating to our high-tech products.


Landing pages offer Improved functionality and make it easier for users to navigate around the site
Landing pages offer Improved functionality and make it easier for users to navigate around the site

News and Content
Another important objective of the project was to refresh the content, and work at keeping our users up to date with news and events internally at Rigibore. Not only have we improved the layout of the news page making it more engaging and user friendly, but we also seek to provide regular updates on goings on within Rigibore.

Each of the pages on the website were reviewed, and content updated to offer a more relevant, fresh and up to date account of Rigibore products, distributors and general company information. This will ensure that all users visiting the site will have the most accurate information on our product offerings.


Regular news and content on Rigibore will be posted


Boring Guides- Boring 101
Rigibore have worked extensively to give that something extra to the customer, one way we have done this is by application and implementation of a boring guide– known as Boring 101.

This signposts the complete process of design, preset and running of rotating boring tools- a number of key features in boring are discussed, including :- Obtaining Quotes, Tool Design, Ordering, Presetting requirements, Setting up tooling, Run off requirements and Solutions to Common Problems.

Through this guide Rigibore share decades of industrial experience and specialist knowledge to provide users with solutions to problems that often occur, as well as tips to improve efficiency in the boring process.

Come and explore the website yourself at

Boring Productivity

Rigibore will be showcasing two of its advanced products at the EMO 2015 show in Milan, Italy along with industry-leading brands. This year we are partnering our products and integrating our Advanced boring tools with FANUC ROBODRILL and Renishaw to demonstrate how automation can increase productivity.


In the demonstration at EMO 2015 Hall 6, Booth P 17, Rigibore have integrated an ActiveEdge  boring bar with a Renishaw OMP400 high-accuracy touch probe onto a FANUC D21MI-A5 ROBODRILL to simulate the production of CON Rods “connection rods” automatically.

The Rigibore ActiveEdge system allows fully closed-loop process for manufacturing tight tolerance bores without regular operator intervention.
The Rigibore ActiveEdge system allows fully closed-loop process for manufacturing tight tolerance bores without regular operator intervention.

This process -using ActiveEdge tooling- has been adopted by many well-known manufacturing organisations, however there are still many manufacturing facilities unaware of the opportunity to increase quality and reduce costs in a closed-loop boring process.

The FANUC ROBODRILL machine bores the part with the ActiveEdge tool in a standard boring cycle. Because we are boring, machine offsets can’t be used and the tool tip must be moved on the tool.

FANUC ROBODRILL - a cost cutting, high speed milling, drilling and tapping machine
FANUC ROBODRILL – a cost cutting, high speed milling, drilling and tapping machine

The ultra-compact Renishaw probe which offers exceptional performance and submicron repeatability is used to accurately measure the diameter of the bore. The machines FANUC control then uses a set of Rigibore provided SPC (Statistical Process Control) macros to assess if there is any requirement to change the diameter of the boring bar. If there is a requirement to compensate the tool, this requirement is sent with the tools unique ID by radio to the tool. The tool will provide accuracy of 0.001mm – If you don’t believe it, we are more than happy to demonstrate its accuracy to you in person at the show.

Renishaws OMP400 high-accuracy touch probe offers exceptional performance and submicron repeatability
Renishaws OMP400 high-accuracy touch probe offers exceptional performance and submicron repeatability

An example tool for 4 cylinder CAM bores on engine blocks will also be on show with 5 independently adjustable ActiveEdge cartridges controlled by our unique 3T remote adjuster.

Smartbore Nano

Also being demonstrated at Rigibore is our unique Smartbore Nano product.

 Smartbore Nano is a compact, adjustable boring head that can be easily adjusted with our Smartbore adjuster to 0.001mm accuracy, the perfect tool for small hole boring operations.

Smartbore Nano is a compact, adjustable boring head that can be easily adjusted with our Smartbore adjuster to 0.001mm accuracy, the perfect tool for small hole boring operations.

The Smartbore Nano’s sophisticated design keeps electronic components out of the working area, with the digital display on the robust Smartbore adjuster. This is opposite to alternative products, who include the electronics in the boring head itself. This means that on operations that required multiple boring heads, money will be saved by the organisation and the risk of expensive electronics being damaged will be eliminated.

The Smartbore Nano’s rigid, zero-backlash design offers unparalleled operational benefits. The pre-loaded adjustment system means no clamping or unclamping. This unique design ensures that micron accuracy is maintained and adjustment errors caused when the boring head is clamped are eliminated, making it one of the most accurately adjustable tools in the world.