Tool Grinder's CNC Facilitates Unattended Automation
Star Cutter’s NTG 6RL five-axis tool and cutter grinding machine, based on NUM’s Flexium+ CNC platform, automates the high-speed production and reconditioning of complex cutting tools.
The grinder machine handles fluting, tertiary grinding, relief grinding and automated wheel changing. The NUMDrive X modules accommodate third-party linear and direct-drive torque motors as well as high-frequency grinding spindle motors. The bandwidth of the servo drive and internal processing are said to provide sub-picometer accuracy.
The platform can run grinding programs as large as 40 MB directly from the NCK memory. The CNC executes complex cycles from the system’s disk drive via a high-speed data transfer protocol, expanding CAD/CAM grinding operations.
The grinding machine’s servo-assisted popup mechanical steady rest takes advantage of the system and drive modules’ detachable axes. Users can place the rest into the machine for longer parts and remove the full motor and mechanical assembly when it is not needed.
The operator station is designed to simplify machine setup and operation. The optional six-axis robotic part loader essentially programs itself with NUMroto tool files, according to NUM. Notifications can be set to alert shop personnel of process completion or issues during unattended production.
The machine can be integrated with automation systems and handling robots. The CNC platform offers a variety of system communication busses. Measured process or post-process data can be fed back to the NUMRoto software for on-the-fly corrections, facilitating adaptive, real-time control of the grinding process. Shop floor data can be shared with the plant and to the cloud with an MTConnect interface.
The double-disc grinding process is consolidating its position in automotive applications but is moving into other industries. Double-disc grinders are now easier to operate, and they have added capabilities for control flexibility, precision process control, faster changeovers, and grinding of nontraditional materials.
It sounds like a contradiction in terms-between centers and centerless grinding on one machine. But for some categories of workpieces, it's a viable production process that can yield machining time reductions of 45 percent over separate grinding operations.
Achieving consistent and quality results from the centerless grinding process requires an understanding of the basic fundamentals. Most application problems associated with centerless grinding derive from a misunderstanding of the basics. This article explains why the centerless process works and how to use it most effectively in your shop.