AB Tools opts for Anca tool grinder

A specialist in the manufacturing of cutting tools, Lincoln, California-based AB Tools, has taken delivery of an Anca MX7 Linear grinding machine with automation to help it produce the company’s Shear Hog range of carbide inserts. Existing machines and processes were proving insufficient to keep up with demand.

The engineering team at Anca worked closely with AB Tools to find a solution, as it can custom-design mechanical, electrical, software and process solutions to enhance the standard product range and meet specific customer requirements. The engineering team was requested to deliver a solution that was able to automatically load and grind the Shear Hog inserts, perform grinding operations in one set-up and meet cycle time requirements.
Developments included a modification to the loading system, with custom pallets to suit the inserts. The custom pallets can hold up to 442 inserts, although this capacity can be increased by ordering the four-pallet upgrade option available on the MX7 Robomate universal loader. A modification to the robot gripper head allows the robot to pick up and handle the insert/nail combination. In addition, robot loading software was developed to support the insert pick-up operation, and load and unload the nail via an interchange station. Inserts can now be ground in a cycle time of less than six minutes.
“Anca impressed me from day one,” states Alfred Lyon, AB Tools’ shop supervisor. “Creating a whole new type of machine for AB Tools is not merely impressive, it’s extraordinary. We could have purchased another machine similar to the one we were using, but we asked Anca for help because we wanted to expand our capabilities and simplify the process. This new machine has exceeded both desires.”
For further information www.anca.com

Ceramics specialist invests in Okamato

Following 12 months of trouble-free operation at the Crewe manufacturing facility of CoorsTek, a manufacturer of engineered ceramics, an Okamoto 818 CNC surface and profile grinder has been integrated as a core part of the company’s specialist grinding operations.

The machine was one of the first to be supplied by Jones & Shipman Hardinge, Okamoto’s sole UK distributor. Tristan Weller, production manager at CoorsTek, says: “In the surface grinding cell, we are precision grinding ceramics to typical tolerances of ±10 µm on form radii, and down to 5 µm on flat surfaces. It is a complex process with slow feeds and speeds, and can take its toll on machines and wheels alike. Inherently, it is a time-consuming task, so sustained machine integrity and stability are important.”
Offering a compact footprint, the Okamoto 818 CNC features a 450 x 200 mm table area with the machine based on a small moving saddle design. The ISO type programming menu is delivered through a Fanuc CNC unit with other key features being automatic lubrication to guides and slideways to optimise reliability and prolong maintenance-free operation.
All of the core machine castings exhibit high static and dynamic stiffness, and are fully damped. Scraped V-slideways with low-friction Turcite coatings are standard.
Harry Hodgson, Crewe plant manager, and Tristan Weller, production manager, say: “The Jones & Shipman overall commitment to quality and aftersales technical support convinced us to invest in the machine.”
For further information www.hardinge.com/jones-shipman

Emag acquires CNC-Technik Weiss

The Emag Group is expanding its technology range with cylindrical grinding technology from Weiss.

“Cylindrical grinding is particularly important at the end of the process chain, when a large part of the added value has already been transferred to the component,” says Dr Guido Hegener, managing director of Emga Maschinenfabrik GmbH. “That is why it’s very important for us to offer our customers the best solutions in this area. The expertise and machines from Weiss significantly expand our range of solutions, resulting in even more attractive offerings for our customers.”
Over the past few years, CNC-Technik Weiss has made a name for itself as a developer of cylindrical grinders. Founded in 1993, the company built this expertise by performing maintenance and modernisation work on Karsten cylindrical grinders. The high-quality service provided by the company quickly led to a growth in its customer base, and resulted in demand for in-house production solutions, which marked the birth of Weiss CNC cylindrical grinders.
“I’m excited to have found a new partner in the Emag Group that allows me to put my visions for our business into practice,” explains Bernd Weiss, current and former managing director of the company. “Our massive growth at the Neckartailfingen plant has brought us to our capacity limits. As part of the Emag Group, completely new opportunities are opening up for our products. We now have access to broad knowledge and support from the group, which will allow us to accelerate the development of new machines.”
For further information www.emag.com

Environmentally friendly packaging

As part of its commitment to the environment, sustainability and social responsibility, Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) has changed all of the packaging on its UK-manufactured cutting tools to 100% recyclable materials.

The issue of plastic recycling and disposal was proving problematic to address, until ITC’s long-standing packaging partner, Rose Plastic, began producing its new range of BlockPack and TwistPack Plus tubes from environmentally friendly bioplastic.
Rose Plastic says that ITC has become the first UK cutting-tool manufacturer to embrace the environmentally friendly packaging. The new biopolymer plastic is produced using ethanol from sugar cane, as opposed to conventional polyethylene, maintaining 97% of the chemical properties of conventional HDPE. This make-up ensures that the packaging retains its performance and appearance characteristics while offering 100% recyclability and sustainability.
For further information www.itc-ltd.co.uk

Relying on Walter tool grinders

Within the UK abrasive machining segment, tool grinding retains a major presence. A case in point can be seen at tooling specialist Gandtrack and sister company GT Grinding, which have been mirrored by their regular investment in Walter tool grinders and automatic measuring machines.

Housing 28 employees between them, Gandtrack and GT Grinding have installed a total of 12 Walter machines (10 Helitronic tool grinders and two Helicheck inspection machines) since 2000. And while in each successive case, the new machine has resulted in a higher level of production efficiency, it is Gandtrack’s latest investment – a Helitronic Power with robot loader – that catches the eye.
“We found that machining batches of initially 20-60 each month of comparatively long [up to 280 mm] reamers in 15 different sizes, and with long flute lengths of 70 to 90 mm, wasn’t proving ideal when using the machine steady,” says director Adrian Jones. “So, we investigated the use of the Helitronic Power’s automatic tailstock in conjunction with the machine chuck. We liaised with Walter AG in Germany – whose engineers prepared the program and, with carbide rods in hand, we spent a full day there producing the reamers. The demonstrations showed that we could halve machining times and, importantly, avoid scrap.”
Explaining that the process allows the tailstock to be removed from the reamers for the completion of end work, Jones also highlights how the use of probing in conjunction with the tailstock/chuck “means the exact position of the flutes can be determined”.
The choice of a robot loader instead of Walter’s Eco loader, which Gandtrack/GT already have on four machines, was also determined by practicality, as well as by the potential for increased production, says Jones.
For further information www.walter-machines.com