• MMS Youtube
  • MMS Facebook
  • MMS Linkedin
  • MMS Twitter
2/15/2011 | 2 MINUTE READ

A Streamlined Alternative for Automated Tool Manufacturing

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

This automated, single-machine system enables tool manufacturers to completely grind mixed batches of varying tool types and sizes unattended.

Share

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

Related Suppliers

Many cutting tool manufacturers face the same fundamental challenges as job shops. They are pushed to produce a wide range of tool versions in small batches and in short order. Installing a dedicated, tool-grinding production line with a number of single-process machines is oftentimes impractical because of the time wasted retooling for new jobs as well as the large amount of handling and WIP associated with transporting workpieces from machine to machine.

The TXcell from Australian-based Anca (its U.S. headquarters is located in Wixom, Michigan) is an automated, single-machine system that enables tool manufacturers to completely grind mixed batches of varying tool types and sizes unattended. An integral robot loads both tool blanks and grinding wheelpacks. The company calls this approach “blanket” grinding because the system enables manufacturing finished tools from blank stock within a single, compact platform.

The heart of the system is an Anca TX7+ CNC grinding machine with a 49-hp, direct-drive induction motor offering maximum spindle speed of 10,000 rpm (an optional 15,000-rpm spindle is available). An enclosure on the side of this machine houses the robot, wheelpack storage stations and tool pallets. The system accommodates as many as 21 wheelpacks for wheel diameters as large as 300 mm, while its four tool pallets (three for blanks and one for completed tools) can hold as many as 220 tools apiece. The pallets accept tools as long as 325 mm with diameters ranging from 3 to 32 mm. The robot, a Fanuc M-21iA with six degrees of freedom and ±0.10 mm repeatability, changes both wheelpacks and tools in 15 seconds.

The company says a stepped drill offers a good example of the TXcell’s advantages. This type of drill would traditionally require five separate steps and five different machines to cut stock to length, grind the shank chamfer, grind the cone point, grind the OD step sections and finally grind the tool’s OD, flutes and point. The TXcell is able to complete all of these operations in one setup as well as post-process operations such as polishing, brush honing, tool measurement and packing while the machine is grinding another blank.

In addition to offering a smaller capital investment and operating costs than multiple-machine tool production processes, the small-footprint TXcell can reduce inventory levels and stock holding costs for cutting tool manufacturers. The system also consumes less power, occupies less floor space and has just one coolant system. Plus, single chucking for all grinding operations is said to ensure maximum accuracy and minimal tool runout.

RELATED CONTENT

  • A Model Camshaft Grinding Process

    Optimizing a camshaft lobe grinding cycle has traditionally been based less on science and more on educated guesswork and numerous test grinds. Now, computer thermal modeling software can predict areas where lobe burning is likely to occur, in order to determine the fastest possible work speed that won't thermally damage lobes and greatly reduce the number of requisite test grinds.

  • Grinding Carbide--A Niche Within A Niche

    If one must pick a manufacturing specialty, grinding carbide might not be the first choice because it’s perceived to be very difficult. RPM Carbide Die, however, has worked the material for nearly 40 years and, as specializing seems increasingly to be the order of the day, this northern Ohio shop is in a good position to thrive.

  • What Is Single Point OD Grinding?

    Two enabling technologies -- superabrasive wheels and high precision servo control -- come together to provide a contour grinding process that resembles an OD turning operation. For many medium volume OD grinding applications, this method may be a means to consolidate several manufacturing steps into a single setup.


Resources

Thanks for considering a subscription to Modern Machine Shop. We’re sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind, we’d still love to have you as a reader. Just click here.