Derek Korn joined Modern Machine Shop in 2004, but has been writing about manufacturing since 1997. His mechanical engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Applied Science provides a solid foundation for understanding and explaining how innovative shops apply advanced machining technologies. As you might gather from this photo, he’s the car guy of the MMS bunch. But his ’55 Chevy isn’t as nice as the hotrod he’s standing next to. In fact, his car needs a right-front fender spear if you know anybody willing to part with one.
The 250-gallon centrifuge filtration system for this external thread grinding machine removes swarf as small as 5 microns from the full-synthetic oil coolant the machine uses.
B&R Grinding, located just south of Chicago’s O’Hare airport, specializes in precision thread grinding. Its latest CNC external thread grinder, a GS:TE 200 unit from Drake Manufacturing, offers a 1-meter grind length and180-degree grinding wheel power helix. This machine enables the shop to accommodate the longer, higher-helix-angle thread grinding work its customers are asking it to perform.
Another important component of this machine is its 250-gallon centrifuge filtration system that removes swarf as small as 5 microns from the oil. That prevents the swarf from being introduced between the wheel and the workpiece, which could create scratches. It also cools the oil to a consistent 70°F, and some of it is delivered through the machine’s headstock to prevent spindle expansion during grinding operations.
Learn more about how the shop leverages this machine capability and others in this article.
Sometimes shops have to get pretty creative when trying to figure out how best to fixture a part for machining. Precision Grinding and Manufacturing, in Rochester, New York, leverages an atypical technology to fixture parts such as thin-wall castings that are prone to flexing when conventional mechanical clamps are used.
In short, this technology, available from Blue Photon Technology and Workholding Systems, uses adhesive to temporarily bond a workpiece to numerous cylindrical grippers installed in a fixture plate. Once the adhesive is cured via ultraviolet (UV) light, the workpiece is securely held at a known datum location in an undistorted, free-state condition. After machining, the adhesive bonds between the grippers and workpiece are easily broken and any excess adhesive is removed from the completed part via a quick, steam-cleaning wash.
Read this story to learn how PGM is using this technology to its advantage.
Entry-level tool presetters, such as Parlec’s Origin line of bench-mounted devices offers an affordable way for small shops to integrate tool presetting into their process. They are designed to provide basic video tool measuring and inspection functionality at an economical price.
But larger operations that are already leveraging tool presetting can also benefit by deploying multiple presetters throughout their facilities. This can reduce the amount of travel for machine tool setup personnel and eliminate time wasted waiting for a presetter to become available.
Parlec showed its Origin line at IMTS. These presetters provide 20-inch measuring height, 10-inch measuring diameter, 0.001-mm fine adjustment, 70× video measuring and a rapid quick-positioning handle with electronic braking.
At IMTS, I learned about an organic-urea-based (yes, urea) hybrid lubricant that takes advantage of oil’s liquid nature and grease’s adhesive characteristics. LHL (Lube Hybrid Lubrication) is available in the United States through Lube USA and is said to offer a number of advantages. It uses just a fraction of the lubricant quantity compared to conventional oil lubrications systems. The company says lower lubricant requirement can significantly reduce machine maintenance costs while minimizing the chance that lubricant will enter a machine’s coolant tank causing coolant deterioration and/or decomposition. Plus, the LHL hybrid grease doesn’t emulsify and is packaged in convenient cartridges that are simple to replace. Maintenance made easier.
In my humble opinion, I think the cover photo shown above that I was able to take for our October issue was pretty cool. It punctuates the notion that significant tooling capacity is one necessary part of an effective 24/7 machining process (and this article explains R&G Precision’s efforts in that regard).
But there was another photo I took, the one below, that also captures a lot in one shot.
It shows the tool crib area located behind R&G’s HMC cell that has an efficient layout enabling operators to quickly prep tools and material for upcoming jobs. This area includes a Zoller Smile 400 presetter, a Rego-Fix benchtop hydraulic press used to insert or remove collets from Rego-Fix Powrgrip toolholders, a saw to machine blanks, and carts to contain all the tools and material needed to load a job into the cell or one of the shop’s stand-alone machining centers. Plus, one of the shop’s machine operators is also a programmer, and his programming station is just outside this shot. This enables him to set up new jobs as well as create CAM programs on the shop floor.
Putting together words and sentences and paragraphs to tell stories like R&G’s is one thing I enjoy, but the challenge of capturing supportive, telling photos during a shop visit is just as fun.