A groove is a long, angular indentation that is incorporated onto a workpiece. They play a big roll in the formation of a workpiece and can have several different functions. Most commonly, grooves are used as guiding rails, along which another component can be flexibly and securely mounted. During assembly, grooves are a practical feature used to securely hold components before they are fixed into place. Grooves are also used for lubrication channels, which are manufactured using a specially made tool called the oil groove cutter.
As long as the workpiece is easily accessible, grooves for the external areas of a workpiece can be produced using a CNC-milling machine.
However, if this is not the case, a keyseating machine will be necessary. This is especially true for grooves needed on the inside of tubing and other hollow profiles. Keyseating machines like their counterpart, the shaper, are increasingly being replaced by automatic CNC machines. Therefore, when these machines are bought used, they are available at considerably low prices.
A keyseating machine cuts away a contour in a workpiece. The mechanical term sometimes used for this process is "shaping". The difference between a keyseating machine and a shaper basically only has to do with their size. Shapers can work with long and big profiles, whereas keyseating machines work with short and smaller profiles.
They also work in different directions: shapers work horizontally; keyseating machines usually work vertically. Keyseating machines are hydraulically or mechanically powered by ballscrews. Due to the unavoidable idle stroke that is necessary during each operation cycle, keyseating machines have the same problem with inefficiency as shapers do. Due to their small dimensions and single functionality, they are also in high demand in relation to the more expensive CNC-milling machines.
Established manufacturers of keyseating machines are: CHRISTIAN GIERTH GMBH, LEISTRITZ GROUP, MARIO BEYER GMBH and FRÖMAG. Former manufactures of keyseating machines were: BALZAT, STUHLMANN and WGW.