How Technology Can Work For You in Centerless Grinding

How Technology Can Work For You in Centerless Grinding

If you’re like the rest of us, you’re getting more and more obsessed with technology. The world of machine tools is not immune to the rapid pace of technological advancement.  From the latest in 3D modeling to nanotechnology to intelligent maintenance systems, technology is virtually impossible to avoid in the manufacturing workplace. Here are ways in which technology can improve the operation of your centerless grinder.  To learn more,

Especially in the industrial sector, keeping up with rapidly changing technology can be an intimidating task. Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with sticking with a tried-and-true process, you might want to reconsider your stance when it comes to centerless grinding.  I’m not saying that you have to take a blind leap onto the technology train.  I’m saying that technology has a place – and a very excellent one – in centerless grinding.  Here’s my advice:  start small, enjoy the benefits, and then consider the next step. Below are a few small technological changes that can increase the uptime and production of your centerless grinding machine.  Implement them all, or pick and choose.  In the end, you and your centerless grinder operations will be better for it.

1.  Add an automatic balancer to the grinding wheel.  This upgrade can be retrofitted economically on your shop floor. Reduced truing increases wheel life, which boosts grind time.

2.  Add load and unload conveyors with variable feed drives to your throughfeed grinder.  You’ll benefit from consistent loading while being able to easily accommodate multiple feed rates. 

3.  Along with conveyors, add a bowl feeder or hopper feeder.  Your operator will have more time for quality checks and, mostly likely, the opportunity to run more than one machine. 

4.  Go full-blown CNC.  Your operators will no longer need to true the wheels, and CNC allows for easy, accurate infeed compensation – both of which minimize the potential for error. Additionally, the easily adjustable RPM rates and truing feeds allow for maximum part quality and wheel life. 

5.  Now that we have a modern CNC machine, add robots or gantry loaders for your infeed applications.  Today’s robots are easily programmable and accurate, and never take breaks.  CNC controllers harmonize robot movement with machine operation to maintain a safe work environment and a consistent process.  Robots have a number of benefits including improved part quality and increased production.  Robots also free up the operator to perform other tasks.

6.  With a full CNC machine and automation, the next logical step is to add automatic gauging, either contact (part is touched) or noncontact (part is not touched).  With contact gauging, the part is nearly always stopped at a specified spot on the exit conveyor. The gauge closes on the diameter, a measurement is taken, the gauge opens and the part continues down the conveyor.  With noncontact gauging, such as laser gauging, the part generally does not stop, and is scanned as it passes through opposing lasers, where a measurement is taken.  You decide whether to gauge every part or just a sample. The great thing about automatic gauging is the ability to send results directly to the grinder, allowing the grinding machine to automatically compensate for trends and keep part size stable. 

You don’t have to be a technology guru to implement the changes listed above.  Any reputable supplier can help. Whether you go step-by-step or full throttle, technology will make your process more productive, reduce costs and improve your life. Don’t you and your centerless grinding machine deserve it?

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