Two for one tool grinding

The economical manufacture of cylindrical cuttings tools has, until now, called for the use of at least two grinding machines.

Firstly a blank prep cylindrical grinding machine is required followed by one or even two multi- axis grinding machines to grind the tool’s neck, flutes and the end face tip. This is because while these operations could, in theory, all be done on a multi-axis tool grinder, the process is inefficient and not cost-effective as the grinding wheels are of too small a diameter and the rotary speed of the headstock is too low, resulting in long cycle times. The support of tools outside of the headstock also means that deflection during grinding occurs unless cutting feeds are kept to a minimum.  

The innovative hybrid design of Rollomatic’s new GrindSmart 660XW grinding machine overcomes these issues and combines, for the first time the manufacturer claims, the power and performance of a blank prep cylindrical grinder with the flexibility of a multi-axis tool grinder to allow for all machining operations to be carried in one single automatic operation on the same machine and in one clamping. Cutting tools can therefore be machined complete in a highly efficient single grinding process.

Making its debut at the recent EMO exhibition in Milan, Rollomatic’s GrindSmart 660XW tool grinding machine also brings dramatic gains in production efficiency for tool manufacturers. The savings are significant because lengthy set-ups on multiple machines are avoided all together, and the handling and storage of partly finished tools between machines is also negated completely.

According to Rollomatic, typical production efficiency from the traditional multi-machine production method for standard end mills is in the region of 11% and this is increased to some 82% on the Rollomatic 660XW. Savings can also be made in terms of manpower needed, and, because of the machine’s compact footprint, less floor space is required. 

The machine is equipped with a large capacity loader taking up to 1,360 tools in six pallets and features the latest in linear motor technology on each axis. A powerful 14kW constant torque synchronous grinding spindle ensures maximum grinding efficiency for all types of cutting tools from 0.1 to 12.7mm in diameter.

It features four linear and two rotary axes. Rollomatic says the “unique” aspect is a special design of workhead that’s identical to the one used on its blank prep cylindrical grinding machines that runs at 3,000 rpm and is mounted onto its own linear CNC axis which allows for Rollomatic’s own peel grinding process for fast and efficient blank prep cylindrical grinding. For drill grinding applications a special innovative steady-rest combines optimal tool support for fluting and point grinding.

It should be noted that this is a totally new design of grinder that despite combining all necessary grinding operations, actually has a smaller footprint than standard 5- and 6-axis tool grinding machines that do not have a true cylindrical grinding capability. Like all Rollomatics, it is also extremely accurate – easily capable of holding tight tolerances of just 2µm on tool runout across large batches of tools. As with all Rollomatic grinding machines, the model comes with three years’ unlimited hours parts and labour warranty.

The 660XW ships with all cutting tool software free of charge. Regular updates for life are also free.

Rollomatic’s objective when developing this new efficient lean grinding process was to remove as many non-added value operations as possible. This has been accomplished as multiple machine setups are no longer required, work in progress has more or less been eliminated and there is no intermediate inventory of batches of tools awaiting transfer from one machine to another.

Chris Boraston of Advanced Grinding Solutions, the UK agent for Rollomatic in the UK and Eire comments: “The positive feedback from major cutting tool manufacturers has been amazing as they discover what Rollomatic’s new ultra-efficient lean grinding process can do for their production of tools. The huge gains made in simplifying production management not only makes production considerably easier to control; the large cost savings in manpower and in the removal of non-value added operations allow tool manufacturers to become really competitive in the marketplace.” 

“He continues: “The significant reductions in lead-times that this one hit machining method brings are also really important as work is not held up waiting for a second or third grinding machine to become available – and if a batch of tools is needed quickly then the ability to load blank carbide rod into the 660XW machine and to get totally finished cutters from it is a huge benefit.

“Rollomatic’s focus on smart grinding continues and when you see a machine that increases production efficiency from 11% to over 80% then it’s clear that industry will be very excited by these figures. We believe, with good reason, that this machine is set to change the way in which the industry grinds its tools.”

Advanced Grinding Solutions

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