Energy-saving tool grinders

Walter Ewag UK, a member of the United Grinding Group, reports that energy savings of up to 40% are possible through the optimised operation of its Walter Helitronic tool grinding and erosion machines by, for instance, sensible warm-up and shutdown routines, the recovery of thermal energy and enhanced production via machine control software routines.

This figure also includes an 11% reduction in the machines’ energy consumption because Walter now uses more environmentally-friendly components in builds compared with those available 15 years ago. All measures and claims are independently assessed by experts from the German Steinbeis Sustainable Energy Competence Centre.

Walter’s awareness of climate protection begins with the design and construction of its machines – for example, by utilising modern drives and improved part loading, compressed air and extraction, as well as via the use of energy-saving LED lights and frequency-controlled coolant pumps.

This ethos continues through production by optimised machine operation. Some of the technology improvements include feed and spindle drives: the use of efficient synchronous motors and regenerative braking energy feedback into the power grid, including linear motors in the vertical axis and passive weight compensation. Another enhancement is coolant supply via a frequency-controlled pump. Here, high-efficiency motors (class IE4) and up to six individually switchable coolant valves serve to optimise coolant supply.

Further advances include the use of LED lights in all machines, including the status light, and centralised ‘impulse’ lubrication, where the lubricating oil pump runs only for a few seconds until lubricating pressure builds sufficiently. The pump then switches off until the next lubrication cycle. In addition, each machine’s vapour separator is equipped with potentiometer control and a free-running fan wheel, which allows optimal adjustment of the extraction volume.

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Compact robot honing cell

Nagel is introducing a fully automatic horizontal honing machine for small bore diameters.
The new ECOHO-NE horizontal honing machine, which is available in the UK from Permat Machines, can work on small bore diameters up to 40 mm in diameter while offering a fully automatic changer for worn tools.

Principal among the innovations of the single-spindle honing machine is its integral robot cell, which performs many other functions in addition to workpiece handling. For example, the robot cell automatically changes the machine’s work tools as they wear, if a replacement is available in the designated tool magazine. The robot also automatically aligns the newly exchanged tools, thereby avoiding the need for downtime while manual alignment takes place.

On workpiece changing, if the robot cell recognises a workpiece pallet with new material, the machine is set up automatically, with automated exchange of fixtures, tools, measuring equipment and more.
As to measuring equipment, the robotic cell can be equipped with the required auxiliary stations, if desired. Automatic error correction and the evaluation of measurement data (SPC) are also feasible. Whether for pre-testing, re-measuring, brushing or oil-free parts, it is possible to configure everything individually; the robot takes over the handling of the parts.

The new horizontal honing machine is suitable for the small- and large-series production of workpieces made from a variety of materials, ranging from metal to glass or graphite. For large-series production, it is possible to extend the machine with a second honing unit.

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Power-tool accessories unveiled

Fein, a specialist in power tools and accessories, has released a range of Starlock accessory kits to the UK market that are compatible with its recently-launched MultiMaster 300, 500 and 700 series.
With the latest Starlock accessories, the MultiMaster range offers 1000 blade possibilities, including sawing, sanding, polishing, cutting, filing, scraping and cleaning, for materials such as metal and wood. The new accessories are available now at Fein stockists across the UK.

“We understand that productivity is one of the biggest priorities for our customers, which is why we’re excited to extend our accessories range even further,” says Raphael Rudolph, managing director of Fein UK. “Thanks to the many possibilities presented by MultiMaster, completing a job quickly and proficiently has never been easier.”

The new accessory kits are available in a range of combinations and can be matched according to application and material, while also offering savings for anyone looking to purchase a Fein combo set.
Fein’s multi-tools are among further beneficiaries of the Starlock blade mounting system, meaning users gain from up to 35% more work progress and greater precision thanks to 100% power transmission without losses. The tool mounting comes in three performance classes: Starlock, StarlockPlus and StarlockMax, protecting the tool from overload and damage.

As part of the product range expansion, the company will be offering up to £100 in Amazon vouchers to any customers trading in their old non-Starlock Fein tools for the new MultiMaster 300, 500 or 700 series, when they register for the three-year Fein Plus warranty.

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Single-pass bore finishing

For many hydraulic and automotive honing applications, Engis superabrasive single-pass bore finishing is said to offer the best of both worlds: high-precision tolerances in a large-scale production environment. Development over many years has led to significant advances in bore size, geometry and customisable surface finish, so much so that bore size control has now reached the limits of current air-gauge capability.

Engis’ single-pass process uses a combination of superabrasive-plated tools, pre-set to exact dimensions, which pass through the bore, rotating as they complete the honing operation. The number of tools required for any specific task depends on: the amount of material removal required, the surface finish and the specified final geometry: roundness, concentricity, bow and/or size.

In the real-life example of a steering housing it was determined best to hold the part rigid and float the tooling, so spring-loaded holders provided the radial float for the tool assemblies, together with a special, free-pivoting union inside the tool mandrel. Up to 0.038 mm of ductile iron required removal and, as the bore had limited clearance at the bottom, it was necessary to deploy a semi-blind bore-finishing tool.

The tooling progression consisted of a series of six tools ranging from 40/50 down to 200/230 mesh diamond. Tolerance was within a total range of 0.7 µm, including variation in bore shape, and overall gauge accuracy and repeatability.

Using the single-pass process, it is possible to maintain tool size for relatively long periods of time, making it highly successful in the example of the steering housing. However, it is important not only to monitor and control the size of the final finishing tool, but of each tool in the progression.

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Post-processing of printed parts

The new 400 sq m technology and test centre of AM Solutions, a brand of Rösler, is outfitted with state-of-the-art engineering software and various 3D printing systems. However, the main focus at the facility in Untermerzbach, Germany is on an exceptionally well-equipped post-processing section, where AM Solutions 3D Post-Processing Technology can demonstrate an impressive range of machinery for finishing 3D-printed components.

Manuel Laux, head of AM Solutions 3D Post-Processing Technology, explains: “It is our declared goal to develop the best process solutions for our customers. To do this we must fully understand every detail of the additive manufacturing process and be in a position to demonstrate the various production stages. Only with such a hands-on approach will we be able take into account all the facets of additive manufacturing.”

Metallic materials at the test centre are printed with an EOS M 290 system, whereas for the creation of plastic components a Polyjet Objet 260 Connex 3 from Stratasys, an HP Jet Fusion 3D 5200 and a FDM printer are available.

To allow test trials for the development of optimum, automated post-processing solutions, and to select the most suitable equipment, AM Solutions 3D Post-Processing Technology has installed its own post-processing equipment line in the form of the S1, S2 and S3 models, as well as the M1, M2 and M3. Moreover, the test centre is equipped with various post-processing systems from partners of AM Solutions, including Gpainnova and PostProcess Technovlogies. These encompass a Gpainnova DLyte 100 and the first installation in the world of a DLyte 10,000. In addition, the Demi, Deci, Deci Duo and Rador from PostProcess Technologies are available for test trials.

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