Lawrence Engineering grinds out a great result

County Sligo engineering firm slashes cycle times with its latest Rollomatic grinding machine

Posted on 05 Mar 2019 and read 1370 times
Lawrence Engineering grinds out a great result Ireland-based Lawrence Engineering, which specialises in manufacturing high-precision low-batch ground components — in particular, small injection moulding and extrusion tooling — in a variety of materials, has invested in a new Swiss-made Rollomatic NP5 grinding machine supplied by Coventry-based UK sole agent Advanced Grinding Solutions Ltd (AGS).

Lawrence Engineering was formed in 1985 by Michael Lawrence, a tool and gauge maker who began his career in engineering back in 1970.

Initially based in his garage, the company has grown rapidly and is now housed in a 5,500ft2 unit at the foot of the Ox Mountains in County Sligo.

It currently has 14 employees, with 95% of its business coming from medical-device manufacturers based in Ireland.

Mr Lawrence’s policy has always been to invest in the best and newest technologies available.

As a result, the company has an assortment of EDM machines, milling machines, grinding machines and turning machines.

In order to meet customers’ demands, about £800,000 has been spent in the last year alone on a number of new machines, including a Rollomatic NP5 grinding machine that is the company’s largest single-machine purchase to date.

Several other machines are on order, and a new purpose-built factory extension is being built to accommodate them.

Mr Lawrence had not heard of Rollomatic before he saw its latest high-specification grinding machine — the NP5 — on the AGS stand at MACH 2018 last year, but the fact that it can be used for special un-round profile grinding caught his eye.

Grinding pic 2On being given a demonstration, he immediately understood the advantages that the machine would bring, and he decided to place an order soon after the show ended.

Rollomatic grinding machines are made at the Swiss manufacturer’s ‘state of the art’ production site in Le Landeron.

Founded in 1989, the company specialises in the design and manufacture of high-precision CNC machines for the production grinding of cutting tools, cylindrical grinding, and the laser cutting of ultra-hard materials.

It can provide complete manufacturing solutions for the grinding of precision tools and parts, including wheel dressing, plus measuring finished parts.

Mr Lawrence has been very impressed by the significant saving on cycle times achieved by the Rollomatic machine.

In one case, it has reduced the time to programme and manufacture a special tool from over 2.5hr to just 10min.

Furthermore, because tools are produced from solid bar in a single automatic operation, with no need to transfer parts across several different machines, the highest-possible precision is guaranteed.

Moreover, programming could not be simpler with Rollomatic’s software, which works off-line or directly on the grinding machine, allowing the most complex of tools to be programmed in just 5min (www.advancedgrindingsolutions.co.uk).

The NP5 uses the special design of pinch/peel grinding pioneered by Rollomatic, which allows parts with lengths up to 400 x the part diameter to be ground without deflection issues.

The machine can produce parts from 0.025 to 25mm in diameter, with auto-loading from pallets via an integrated three-axis robot loader.

The five-axis machine allows for stepped diameters, angles, chamfers, flats and even hexagonal and non-concentric cam profiles to be ground with ease.

The software allows users to specify multi-pass grinding operations for roughing and/or finishing to achieve the highest possible level of accuracy, while creating superior surface finishes on tapers and radii.

Grinding pic 3The size control on large batches is within 0.002mm on even the longest of tools, with run-out concentricity of under 0.001mm from this high-precision grinding machine.

Movomatic and Marposs gauges are used for part positioning and for the post-process automatic gauging of ground diameters (with automatic feedback to the Rollomatic machine’s Fanuc control).

Chris Boraston, AGS’s managing director, said that Lawrence Engineering is precisely the type of new customer that he is looking to add to Rollomatic’s already impressive UK and Irish customer base.

He said: “With more rotary tools of all kinds being manufactured on Rollomatics in the UK and in Ireland than on any other make of grinding machine, the Swiss company is one of the leaders in its field.

“In the last year, we have been able to add a number of new customers that have become Rollomatic end users for the first time, and this is very pleasing.

“The Rollomatic NP3 and NP5 machines are firm favourites for tool manufacturing companies.

“It’s good to see other forms of specialist makers of tools and punches investing in these machines to increase the precision of their parts and at the same time drastically reduce cycle times.”

Be seen in all the right places!

The Fastener Exhibition & Conference EMO 2019 TCT Show 2019 TOOLEX 2019 Northern Manufacturing 2019 MTA Hanoi 2019 Advanced Engineering 2019 Metalex 2019 Machine Tool Indonesia 2019 Steelfab 2020 WIN Eurasia 2020 Shenzhen International Machinery Manufacturing MACH 2020