Whether the process is cylindrical or profile grinding, automation, which can increase cycle time, throughput, consistency of part quality and taking real-time in-process measurements, is once again in demand. The reasons can be found in the benefits found in typical applications and the innovative and effective forms of automation available from machine builders like United Grinding Technologies Inc. (UGT; Miamisburg, OH), and their automation integrator of choice, Matrix Design Inc. (Elgin, IL).
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Manufacturers continually seek ways to make their products stronger and last longer. High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) spray coatings help achieve those goals. However, grinding the coatings can be a challenge.
You don’t have to look too far to find the reasons for the growth of fiber lasers for production applications. On price per watt, beam quality, electrical consumption, and maintainability required, fiber lasers typically score the lowest on the cost side and very high on the performance side.
Expanding use of ever-harder materials has opened the door to wider use of grinding processes on materials such as titanium, ceramics, and superalloys.
In what shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, challenges for advanced grinding technology from high tech industries range from handling the most difficult-to-machine materials for aerospace jet engine turbines to series production on automotive drive train lines.
A recent effort by the Norton Advanced Applications Engineering Group demonstrates that for difficult-to-machine materials, grinding can be an economical alternative to other machining processes.
The first kilowatt-class fiber laser for material processing was introduced by IPG Photonics in early 2002. Since that time, the adoption of fiber lasers for production applications has grown at a rapid rate. Today, fiber lasers are becoming the choice for most major production laser applications as well as converting traditional welding and cutting processes to fiber laser technologies.
Daimler may be the first vehicle maker to offer 3D-printed replacement parts, but racing enthusiasts and car collectors like Jay Leno have been using additive manufacturing and 3D scanning for many years to replace worn-out parts or to enhance their rides.
Until the middle of 2010, first-tier subcontract machinist, JJ Churchill, could produce turbine blades only if they had their fir-tree root-forms preground elsewhere, or if they were subsequently added by another subcontractor. No longer is this the case.
Burrs, sharp edges, and rough surfaces plague even the most precise metal-cutting or forming process. Deburring and finishing can often be treated as the step-child of a manufacturing process, but its importance is growing as tolerances get tighter and precision devices become the norm.