Six-axis tool grinder unveiled

The new six-axis Ewag Compact Line tool grinder from Walter Ewag has been designed as a small-footprint, flexible solution for the grinding of inserts in tungsten carbide, cermet, ceramic, PCBN and PCD. Peripheral grinding is also included in the machine’s capabilities, alongside optimised kinematics and C-axis motion, which together ensure the application of protective chamfers on the inserts’ main cutting edges.

According to Ewag, machine downtime is minimised by the Compact Line’s short travel distances and integrated six-axis Fanuc robot that offers agile handling and a high degree of flexibility for loading complex inserts. A ‘three-in-one’ dressing unit offers wheel dressing, regeneration and form ‘crushing’ (for profiling diamond grinding wheels) in a single package.
Machine traverses in the X, Y and Z axes are 450, 180 and 150 mm respectively, while axis resolution is 0.0001 mm. The 5.5 kW grinding spindle produces 10,000 rpm.
Machine usability and effectiveness is also said to be guaranteed by the integrated ProGrind software, while the Fanuc control system enables all grinding routines to be programmed quickly and easily via its user-friendly touch-screen panel.
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Investment brings control to Hiretech

Gaining control of the manufacturing process is fundamental to the success of Watford-based Hire Technicians Group. The privately-owned business has evolved from being a tool-hire company to a global specialist in the design and manufacture of floor sanders and steam wallpaper strippers.
“There is a desire to gain as much control over our production as we can,” explains manufacturing manager Ron Putts. “In fact, it was this control that drove our decision to invest the Autopulit robot grinding, brushing and polishing cell from Ellesco. We can now do all of our polishing in-house, under our control, allowing us to meet customer needs more efficiently.”

The Autopulit cell from Ellesco fully automates the grinding, brushing and polishing of a number of components on Hiretech’s floor sanders. The cell comprises an ABB robot for automated part loading that features a chip-reading system for identifying which component is being picked up by the robot. Independent program selection means a mixture of differing parts can be run at any one time.
There are three belt-grinding stations, each with different abrasive grit, a brushing station for cleaning up certain areas of the castings and a double-headed polishing unit with oscillation and automatic polishing compound application via spray guns. While many OEMs see subcontracting as a way to reduce costs and eliminate in-house manufacturing, Hiretech takes the opposing view, and its program of investment is allowing the company to increase in-house production to over the 80% mark. The Autopulit cell is playing an important role in that change and strategy.
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First self-regulating flat-finishing machine

Thielenhaus Microfinish says it has introduced a trendsetting innovation on the path to Industry 4.0: based on the proven MicroStar platform, the machine-tool manufacturer has managed to develop the first self-regulating flat-finishing machine, MicroStar iQ. Until now, no reducing processes were possible with parameters such as flatness.

The eight-station machine for combination processing does not just ensure highly precise workpieces, but consolidation of the process stream. In the area of active magnetic spindle technology, the magnetic fields of the bearings retain the spindle both radially and axially, and perform the feed motions. The MicroStar is equipped with a synchronous spindle, which is capable of varying and/or oscillating highly dynamic speeds during the process. Due to the speed variation, the tool can always be maintained within an easy-cutting range. HyperFinish processing is also possible with this system by overlapping the main oscillation with an additional high-frequency oscillation.
A new HyperBrushing process that was developed especially for the machine ensures equal or even better results than those achievable by a high-pressure deburring unit, which can thus
be omitted from the whole process to save costs, says Thielenhaus. This deburring technology with special kinematics of the brushes improves the symmetrical rounding ratio of the flat surface to the casing and ensures more constant deburring results. According to the company, this is particularly important in the case of holes in components used for injection technology, which may be subjected to pressures of more than 2000 bar.
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Improving cutting tool life and performance

The latest drag and stream finishing machines from OTEC Präzisionsfinish are enabling UK company Fintek to provide machine shops with a service that improves the performance and extends the life of cutting tools. Tool condition also directly affects the surface finish of a machined area and the probability of incurring more costs in further processing to meet the required end product quality.

Fintek’s managing director Jonathan Dean explains: “Worn tools – whether HSS, carbide or coated – can all be refinished to the original manufacturer’s standard or sometimes even better. However, this takes more than just re-grinding, which often leaves a sharp and brittle cutting edge that is easily chipped. The Fintek surface finishing service not only grinds but also edge-hones and smooths in one process. Edge honing puts a perfect radius on the cutting point, strengthening the edge to retain sharpness longer without chipping. Tool life is often more than tripled before needing to be refinished.”
In the same cycle as radiusing the edges of cutting tools to prevent chipping, unevenness on the surface peaks in the chip flutes is removed. This reduces friction, wear and allows debris from the cutting point to be cleared, which is important for difficult materials such as aluminium and composites. Again, in the same cycle, polishing takes surface smoothness even further. This process restores the original cutting geometries.
For UK tool manufacturers, Fintek provides a full range of OTEC DF and SF machines for inline production. From fully automated to robotised systems, all are able to edge-radius, deburr, smooth and polish in a single cycle.
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Honing capability added to machining centres

Engis UK, offers customers a tooling solution which effectively replaces the expensive and skilled “black art” of honing, putting the process firmly into the range of repeatable and cost-effective machining centre tasks on standard vertical and horizontal CNC equipment.

The tooling’s design overcomes issues caused by lack of height within many machining centres, and removes the need for floating toolholders and adaptors (enabling the bore finishing tools to be held directly in the machining centre toolholders), while still providing the required high-accuracy geometry demanded of bore-finishing operations, e.g. roundness to within 1 µm and surface finish to 0.2 Ra.
Using Engis’ flexible tooling system, the first tool passes through the bore with a single in-and-out stroke, and its place is then taken by the pre-set, single-pass tool. The number of tools used in any given application will vary depending on the amount of stock to be removed, the surface finish, the geometry and the material being machined.
Each of the new Engis pre-set, single-pass bore-finishing tools is coated in a single layer of diamond, which is permanently plated on to the tool, creating faster cutting/stock removal rates and ensuring that tool sizes can be held for long periods without adjustment.
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