Total Carbide opts for Micromatic

Master Abrasives has installed a Micromatic Pluto 18 grinding machine at Aylesbury-based Total Carbide, a manufacturer of sintered tungsten-carbide wear parts.

Total Carbide was looking for a cost-effective new machine for its tungsten-carbide measuring probes. The component has a chamfer on the front corner which was ground by interpolation on the company’s previous machine.

Required stock removal on the measuring probe is 0.5 mm on diameter, while surface finish is 0.4 Ra with an outer diameter and length tolerance of ±0.25 mm. The new machine had to accommodate a volume of 2000-3000 pieces per month and it was necessary to have a Fanuc CNC to grind OD, face, chamfer and corner radius features, allowing a smooth transition for operators.

Micromatic’s Pluto-18 is best suited to the production of accurate, small components, and can perform both plunge and traverse grinding operations. Several features of the machine identify its suitability for the batch production of shaft-type components with a maximum wheel outer diameter of 400 mm (50 mm width). For instance, a rigid anti-friction wheel head is utilised for better geometrical accuracies, while an integrated table provides higher rigidity.

The Pluto-18 measures only 1.66 x 2.2 m, which can help to save nearly 30% in space compared with the footprint of a similar hydraulic grinder. Furthermore, the machine’s customised user-friendly graphics aid machine setting and operation.

Master Abrasives can show Micromatic machines in action at its grinding and finishing showroom in the Midlands, along with superfinishing devices, metrology equipment and abrasives.

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Calling on tool production expertise

Machines from both Walter and Ewag, and nowadays especially Ewag’s Laser Line Ultra and Laser Line Precision models, have consistently proven effective in the manufacture of successive generations of new mobile phones – producing tools from 1.8 to 8 mm diameter to machine the plastic or metal cast housings.

Very often – says Walter Ewag UK, a member of the United Grinding Group – the die-cast moulds are machined using tools produced by Walter Helitronic tool grinders/erosion machines and Ewag laser-based tool-manufacturing machines.

These so-called 3C tools (tools for computer, communication and consumer electronics) also now embrace PCD types. On the Apple iPhone 6, for instance, the bevel on the aluminium housing is machined using PCD profile cutters produced on Ewag laser-based machines. However, on the iPhone X, stainless steel is integrated into the housing frame, so CBN cutters (also produced on Ewag laser machines) are used rather than diamond-coated tools.

With new demands on design and technology, materials such as glass and ceramic are increasingly specified. However, due to their brittleness, hardness and low thermal conductivity, glass and ceramic place particular demands on the tools needed for machining. As a result, Ewag regularly receives customer requests for 3C tools with highly specific geometries – tools that are capable of producing very small internal radii and shoulders, as well as tiny turned parts.

In conventional tool manufacture, such tools would have to be manufactured and assembled from a variable number of parts but, using a Laser Line Ultra machine, for example, they can be produced fully automatically in one set-up.

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Dressing software updated

Responding to customers seeking solutions to optimise grinding cycles for their production needs, Anca has developed a tailored dressing solution in a software update with optimised dressing from solid through the removal of air passes.

This intelligent solution can help customers improve and streamline their production processes. Applications like tap, punch, keyhole punch and drill require a lot of in-process dressing on the machine, so customers will benefit significantly from this new software feature in terms of time and cost.

In the existing implementation of solid dressing, the final wheel profile is offset in the radial direction, such that the first pass only dresses the wheel by the specified infeed per pass. This method results in a significant amount of air dressing, where the dresser roll is not in contact with the grinding wheel. A particular customer request was to find a solution to reduce solid-dressing cycle time.

The solution was implemented by trimming sections of the dressing path that lie above the wheel radius, and increasing the feed rate of moves where the roll is not in contact with the grinding wheel.

This update is compatible with any machines offering wheel-dressing capability that are running the ToolRoom RN33.2 release onwards. The feature is available for all solid-dressing surface types, including form, periphery and segment dressing. Optimised dressing has replaced the existing implementation of dressing, which will no longer be available due to the longer cycle times. Optimisations will automatically be calculated for dressing a profile on to a new or flat-profile wheel, and only air dressing beyond the wheel radius will be optimised.

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Graining technology at Constant Group

Oldham-based Constant Group recently took the decision to invest £1m in fibre-laser cutters and press brakes and, while these machines may have been the main focus, the arrival of a Timesavers 12-600-W deburring and finishing machine from Ellesco has also made a significant impact on efficiency when graining stainless-steel materials.

“Prior to the acquisition of the 12-series machine we were hand-graining all of these parts, which could take 20 minutes each; we now achieve that in seconds, with consistent quality,” reports Matthew Garlick, joint managing director at Constant Group.

The Timesavers 12 series is among the smallest machines in the range and can be specified with working widths of 225 or 600 mm, the latter being specified by Constant Group, which acquired the basic configuration with an abrasive belt for graining and removing vertical burrs.

A cylinder brush or rotating disc can be fitted to remove side burrs and for edge preparation. Sheet between 1 and 75 mm thickness can be processed with simple control that allows work to flow under the belt at between 3 and 9 m/min to achieve the finish required. The simplicity of the Timesavers 12 series is also playing another important role for Constant Group in that its ease-of-use allows anyone to set and operate it, releasing skilled employees to work on higher value operations.

“Since the arrival of the Timesavers machine it has been running eight hours a day minimum with no issues whatsoever,” says Garlick. “The ability to have anyone run it is a big advantage, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, where if we had staff absent we knew we could continue operating.”

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Meeting place for deburring technology

DeburringEXPO, the fourth edition of the trade fair for deburring technology and precision surface finishing, will be held at the Karlsruhe Exhibition Centre on 12-14 October 2021.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an expert forum, which is in great demand as a source of knowledge, complete with simultaneously interpreted presentations (German <> English). Beyond this, examples based on actual practice and benchmark solutions will provide ideas and stimulation for the optimisation of processes.

The supplementary programme at DeburringEXPO will be geared towards increasing demands for efficiency in production and changing manufacturing technologies, such as in the areas of joining, coating and assembly. A new theme park ‘Automated Deburring with Industrial Robots’ will provide information concerning corresponding solutions, and address the integration of deburring and rounding processes in an interlinked/digitalised production environment. Elsewhere at the show, the ‘Cleaning after Deburring’ theme park will deal with growing demands for technical cleanliness.
DeburringEXPO has a very high proportion of participating visitors (94%) involved in operational investment decisions. These decision-makers are seeking out solutions in a targeted fashion at the show.

“The challenges faced by companies from virtually all manufacturing industries also have an impact on surface-finishing processes such as deburring, rounding, and the production of precision surfaces and cleaning,” explains Hartmut Herdin, managing director of promoter FairXperts GmbH & Co KG. “Beyond this, these process steps are becoming more and more important in the growing market for component conditioning.”
Key requirements in this regard include ongoing quality improvements, increased efficiency, optimisation, automation and the digitalisation of processes, as well as solutions for parts manufactured using new and modified production technologies, such as 3D-printed workpieces and components made from hybrid materials.

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