CNC advances: Small grinding center offers big productivity boost

Machine design integrates efficient, error-free machining processes with integrated automation to produce small chucked components and help support an expanding automotive industry, Emag said about its VLC 100 G Vertical Grinding Center.

02/21/2013


EMAG VLC 100 G is equipped with three axes (X, Z, C). The machine uses its overhead pick-up spindle to load itself. The machining area features one or two grinding spindles for internal and/or external work. Courtesy: EMAGIn development of the Emag VLC 100 G Vertical Grinding Center, grinding specialists ensured that the machine design offers efficient, error-free machining processes with integrated automation for the production of small chucked components to help support an expanding automotive industry. Automobile manufacturers globally are enjoying sales increases this year, with the biggest increases in the U.S., China, India, and Russia. However, the rapidly increasing number of vehicles built also brought production challenges, such as subcontractors dealing with increasing output levels, process safety, and component quality. Even the smallest components with complex geometries must be produced with increasing levels of precision.

Small chucked components are typically produced in large quantities. The demand for components, such as gearwheels, planetary gears, chain gears, and flanged components for cars, for instance, have necessary quantities that typically go into the millions; and short cycle times in the production of these components have become mandatory. For instance, the internal contour of a gearwheel must be ground in the shortest possible time, and the machine’s workholding unit must be loaded with a new workpiece just as quickly. In many production environments, this represents a critical moment, because the idle time is commonly a decisive factor in establishing the economic viability of the whole process.

Automatic loading scores heavily

The dressing unit of the EMAG VLC 100 G is shown with a diamond roll. Courtesy: EMAGHigh output levels and short cycle times are why Emag developed the VLC 100 G Vertical Grinding Center for small chucked components with a maximum diameter of 100 mm. The machine uses and onboard pick-up system to load itself. While one workpiece is being machined, the operator or the automation system is putting raw parts on the conveyor belt. This reduces idle time and increases output rates. Another benefit is the vertical machining concept. The design ensures that the grinding sludge falls to the bottom of the machine unhindered, where it is transported out of the machine.

Quality control is integrated

Dr. Guido Hegener is managing director of EMAG Salach Maschinenfabrik GmbH. Courtesy: EMAGMeasuring processes can also be integrated into the machine, making quality control an integral part of the whole process. The measuring probe is located between the machining area and pick-up station, where it is protected from contamination.

Two grinding wheels: The VLC 100 G offers the possibility to use two grinding spindles, which can be used to perform different grinding operations, or to handle both rough- and finish-grinding work. In other words, the first wheel performs the “rough” job of removing excess material from the raw part at high feed rates (the CBN wheel designed to absorb the necessary forces), while the second wheel (with different specifications) takes over the finishing work to guarantee a perfect surface finish on even the most challenging geometries. With the help of this intelligent tooling combination, Emag design engineers have succeeded in drastically reducing the grinding time of even very complex components. “For the removal of large amounts, two wheels offer a shorter cycle time than one, with the first wheel designed to do the rough-grinding and the second one in charge of finish-grinding work,” explained Dr. Guido Hegener, managing director of Emag Salach Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Germany. 

A convincing machine concept

Workpieces are mounted on pallets and taken into the VLC 100 G by the conveyor belt. The pick-up spindle further automates the loading and unloading process. Courtesy: EMAGThe combination of fast loading and efficient grinding processes leads to a very compelling machine concept. The VLC 100 G works very well with the dynamic developments in automotive production. Now, with the rapid increase in required quantities, the demand is for new machine concepts that can be integrated into existing production without any problem. With the VLC 100 G, two features enable it to be integrated without any problems. “Programming the workpieces with our new Emag Navigator software is simple and intuitive, saving valuable setup time. For many production environments, this is an advantage that should not be underrated,” confirms Dr. Hegener. Furthermore, the exceptionally small footprint for the VLC 100 G should make the work of every production planner easier. The stand-alone machine occupies about 4.5 m2 (48 ft2), helping with floor space.

The dressing unit of the EMAG VLC 100 G is shown with a diamond roll. Courtesy: EMAG

VLC 100 G advantages

Maintenance and service doors make the EMAG VLC 100 G CNC machine easy to access. Courtesy: EMAGThe CNC grinder:

  • Is compact with high precision
  • Can accommodate internal and external grinding spindles
  • Has integrated automation and short travel times for short chip-to-chip times
  • Has vertical machining for unhindered chip flow, with the grinding sludge falling to the bottom
  • Provides optimal access for fast setups
  • Adds process safety with an optional measuring probe

 - Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.

Go Online

www.emag.com 



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.