MIAMISBURG, Ohio – Despite the challenges of COVID-19, research and expert analytics predict market growth in the near future for manufacturing in numerous industries, many of which rely on parts and components that require precision grinding. Those industries include light and heavy vehicle production, equipment for civilian aircraft, packaging, medical equipment and supplies, and mining production.
For revenue growth opportunities in these industries, shops must expand their processing capabilities, especially for parts such turbine vanes, blades and shrouds; vehicle hydraulic pumps and steering racks; and hirth couplings. Other growth industry parts include tooling such as step tools, dies, drills and milling cutters, along with woodworking and form tools and rotationally symmetrical tools. In the medical sector, key growth parts range from knee joints to bone saws and knives.
With advanced grinding technologies and applications support from United Grinding North America Inc., today’s manufacturers can prepare for the upcoming surge in customer demand within these key growth industries. Specifically for shops serving those industries, United Grinding offers space-saving five-axis, heavy-duty continuous dress creep feed grinding machines, modular surface and profile systems, Two-in-One grinding and eroding capabilities, single-clamping tool production, optical non-contact four-axis CNC measurement, universal cylindrical grinding with integrated palletized automation, and data-driven production analytics.
To meet the digitalization challenges of Industry 4.0, United Grinding Digital Solutions aim to enhance manufacturing productivity and production availability while easing process tasks. Built as a modular suite of services, Digital Solutions strengthens manufacturing's transformation to data-driven efficiency with Remote Service, Service Monitor, Production Monitor, Customer Cockpit and IT Security according to United Grinding.
Digital Solution’ Remote Service minimizes downtime with single-click access to prompt, system-specific remote analysis and expert troubleshooting via a secure communication platform and certified VPN connection that integrates easily into a shop’s existing IT infrastructure (LAN), according to United Grinding. With each service request, the system automatically transmits essential data, including machine condition, alarm and error log files, while a digital logbook documents every connection.
Service Monitor maps the current state of machines and provides structured maintenance planning that reflects machine operating hours, along with online access to service documentation and order suggestions for wear and spare parts. A “traffic-light” system indicates when connected machines will need service and itemizes each machine's status information, as well as the tools, parts and instructions required for service. As shops complete procedures, the system documents ongoing service history.
Production Monitor provides 24/7/365 access to status updates on all connected machines from anywhere in the world via a smartphone app. Machine information helps shops spot production backlogs, with full itemization of timings – cycles, auxiliary, malfunctions – and production quantities. If a failure occurs, shops can report it through a service request to Remote Service.
Customer Cockpit centralizes management of machines, users, authorizations and software updates through a digital hub that links and provides the basis for all aspects of the Digital Solutions service suite.
IT Security assures that Digital Solutions functions directly and exclusively through a secure, encrypted connection between the shop facility and United Grinding, with timeouts to limit connection duration. For added security, each exchange begins only when the customer initiates it, so shops do not need to adjust their in-house security parameters or drop their firewalls to use the service, according to United Grinding.
STUDER S33 Grinds Complex Test Specimens
United Grinding is featuring several new machines, including the STUDER S33 CNC universal cylindrical grinding machine, which handles individual, small-batch, and large-scale production of short to long workpieces. It grinds complex workpiece geometries in a single clamping and provides excellent results on essential test specimens for the aerospace and defense industries, according to United Grinding. Paired with an integrated flexLoad loader and robot, the S33 provides a flexible solution with easy programming and reduced setup times, the company says.
The STUDER S33 changes over from grinding between centers to live spindle grinding in less than two minutes. With distances between centers of 15.7" (400 mm), 25.6" (650 mm), 40" (1,000 mm) and 63" (1,600 mm), and a center height of 6.9" (175 mm), the STUDER S33 can machine workpieces with a maximum weight of 330 lbs. (150 kg). A solid Granitan S103 machine base provides stability and well-damped vibration for excellent surface finishes, according to United Grinding.
To perform straight and angular plunge grinding on one machine, the wheelhead swivels to positions of 0, 15 and 30 degrees, and can be equipped with a spindle motor for external grinding, as well as a high-frequency spindle for internal grinding in different configurations. The STUDER S3’s B-axis design features an automatic 1-degree Hirth coupling with a swivel range of -30 degrees to +210 degrees to accept up to two outer diameter (OD) grinding wheels and one inner diameter (ID) grinding spindle for complex tasks. Options include a chuck workhead for chuck applications and a C axis for thread and form grinding.
With graphical StuderPictogramming and a software design that expands with integrated modules, the STUDER S33 offers easy programming, according to United Grinding. Optional StuderWIN software allows shops to program grinding and dressing cycles on an external PC. The optional flexLoad loader with FANUC LR-Mate robot for the STUDER S33 provides a flexible automation solution, with a large side door and a stacking method that expands through optional pallet stackers or conveyors. The flexLoad system also accepts options that include gauging, barcode scanning and a coolant-clearing air nozzle.
To maintain safety, flexLoad’s full-system sheet metal enclosure requires the operator's explicit permission to open its main access door and three parts drawers. A side flanged panel connects flexLoad to the S33, further enhancing safety and reducing overall cycle time by up to eight seconds over an automatic door.
WALTER HELICHECK 3D Ensures Tool Quality
Production demand is expected to surge in industries such as light and heavy vehicles, defense, construction machinery, civilian aircraft and medical, and particularly in applications that involve cutting tools of all types. To meet these growing tooling needs, United Grinding is featuring the WALTER HELICHECK 3D optical non-contact 4-axis CNC measuring machine, which adds to the precision of tool grinding operations for these challenging applications, according to the company. The machine generates 3D models of tools and production parts and compares scans of drills, step tools, milling cutters, woodworking and form tools to CAD/CAM system models. A transmitted light camera and laser sensor scan, digitize and register the complete geometry of each part.
After the backlight camera and sensor measure the outer contour of the part, the WALTER HELICHECK 3D generates the 3D data point cloud required for a 3D model. The machine’s special 3D Tool Analyzer software allows users to lay vertical, horizontal and freely selectable cutting planes at any position on the 3D model. From there, the software automatically analyzes the planes and provides exact measurements of the model’s parameters, including core diameter, rake angles and spiral pitch. Because the WALTER HELICHECK 3D derives the measurements from the 3D model, users can work offline at a separate station.
The WALTER HELICHECK 3D applies WALTER’s 3D Matcher software, which overlays two 3D models within a graphical user interface and performs a color-coded comparison. After matching up both models, the machine provides an instant evaluation of product quality and any deviations from desired values. To further increase part quality and production efficiency, automation options dependent on the intended application are available. The high-precision ISO 50 spindle with automatic clamping mechanism provides precise and repeatable measurements, according to United Grinding. The modular adaptor spindle uses quick-change ISO, HSK, Capto and VDI adapters to eliminate additional setup time. High-precision ball roller spindles and linear guides guarantee positioning accuracy for measurement precision. The solid granite base of the WALTER HELICHECK 3D damps vibrations and provides thermal stability for very high measurement accuracy and reliable results, the company says.