Vgrind takes automation to next level

Vollmer has introduced a host of automation solutions for its Vgrind 360 tool grinder.

As the successor to the Vgrind 160, the Vgrind 360 tool-grinding machine is equipped with enhanced travel distances to manufacture carbide tools up to a diameter of 100 mm. Thanks to its two vertical spindles, the Vgrind 360 also allows tried-and-tested multi-level machining.
This capability enables tool manufacturers to produce large numbers of milling cutters and drills quickly and precisely. However, manufacturers are increasingly demanding automated tool production and this is where Vollmer says it really excels.
Automated solutions, such as pallet magazines, wheel changing packages and free-arm robots allow machining to continue unsupervised around the clock – but the opportunities go much further. The optional wheel changing facility on the Vgrind 360 provides the potential for manufacturers to load up to eight grinding wheel packages.
Accommodating grinding wheels up to 150 mm diameter, the wheel changer is located outside the work envelope in a clean environment to prevent contamination. This fully automated process can change a wheel and the respective coolant nozzles in just 9 seconds on either spindle.
Committed to providing its customers with a complete automation solution, Vollmer has also developed its HP160, HC4 and HPR250 automation packages to demonstrate the complete range of opportunities for end users.
The HP160 pallet magazine and HC4 chain magazine are compact and ergonomic solutions that provide external loading and unloading with a single or double gripper configuration
for clamping tool shanks up to 25.4 mm diameter. Loading can be by either the HC4 chain magazine system for tools up to HSK-A63 or the HPR 250 free-arm robot system.
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Service centre

Automation expert Bosch Rexroth has recently made a significant investment in its UK service and repair centre, resulting in a facility with higher capacity, faster throughput and state-of-the-art technology.

The new workshop, which specialises in the repair of hydraulic products, is based at the company’s UK headquarters in Cambridgeshire and opened officially on 13 August. Including planning phases, the project has taken two years. The new facility will double both the size and the repair capacity of the previous workshop.
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ITC installs another Anca tool grinder

Thanks to continued growth, Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) has taken delivery of an MX7 Linear grinding centre from Anca.

The MX7 Linear is the fourth Anca grinding centre acquired by ITC and the fifth such machine to arrive since the company extended its manufacturing facility by over 50% in 2016.
Able to process tools up to 300 mm long, with diameters up to 200 mm, the MX7 Linear uses Anca LinX linear motors and scales. LinX linear motors are said to offer higher axis speeds and acceleration, leading to reduced cycle times, while maintaining smoother axis motion. In addition, the machine has a permanent magnetic spindle that provides high torque at lower speeds, which is particularly important for carbide grinding.
Regarding precision, the Anca MX7 Linear incorporates a bi-symmetrical gantry design. Evenly straddling the tool centre line, the gantry delivers rigidity and resistance to thermal growth, while keeping vibration to a minimum. In addition, the MX7 Linear has been specified with automatic in-process measurement and compensation. The LaserPlus built-in laser probe measures tool geometries to within ±2 µm or less.
With respect to productivity, the latest arrival at ITC incorporates Anca’s FastLoad-MX automation system. The FastLoad-MX automation system uses the existing machine axes to ensure a compact design with a small footprint. Loader movements are kept simple, making it suitable for ITC to undertake the grinding of tools in small batch sizes.
This high-performance addition will enable ITC to increase its capacity and meet growing demand for its range of solid-carbide round tooling.
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First apprentice at Hainbuch

Work-holding specialist Hainbuch UK, which is based in Cannock, has taken on its first ever apprentice: Jacob Machin from South Staffs College.

Following completion of his BTECH Level 3 90-credit Diploma in Engineering, Machin joins Hainbuch UK as an apprentice technical sales engineer.
“Similar to many companies in the engineering sector we recognised a need for succession planning in our workforce,” says Hainbuch UK’s managing director Nick Peter. “Our technical sales engineers are required to have a comprehensive understanding of a wide range of technical information in order to suggest the right product and application to customers, as well as solve complex problems. As a result, we required a young person who already had a grounding in the general principles of engineering in whom we could invest our time and energy into developing the required knowledge and skills for a long-term successful career with the company.”
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AFRC makes move into space industry

The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) is making its way into the space industry, working with Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) and TWI Ltd to bring the manufacture of space propellant tanks back to the UK.

In a two-year collaboration funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), the AFRC is using its expertise in forming and forging to advise Airbus DS on advanced manufacturing methods for the tanks.
Ways to make the design more efficient and economical will be explored, chiefly by producing the initial component at as near to net-shape as possible, substantially reducing machining time and the waste of expensive metals such as titanium. Formerly produced in the UK, Airbus DS currently purchases its fuel tanks from Germany or the US. Key to the project is bringing production back to the UK and sharing outputs with the wider supply chain.
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