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.
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Cutting tool maker Shape-Master Tool Co. (Kirkland, IL) needed to expand its tool grinding capability beyond that of its conventional machines or run the risk of losing work to the competition.
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.
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.
Many precision grinding machines on the market already offer their users near-perfect tolerances, leaving one to wonder: What’s next in grinding? But tool builders still have plenty of room to add valuable new improvements, machine shop owners say.
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.
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.
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).
Expanding use of ever-harder materials has opened the door to wider use of grinding processes on materials such as titanium, ceramics, and superalloys.
Keeping products clean is becoming a more significant part of manufacturing as standards for cleanliness, deburring, and finish grow more stringent.