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Leader to take a ‘balanced approach’ at MACH 2024

Posted on 26 Feb 2024 and read 522 times
Leader to take a ‘balanced approach’ at MACH 2024Tamworth-based Leader Chuck International Ltd will showcase the latest innovations from its Italian partner, Balance Systems at MACH 2024, which have been developed to expand the company’s range of retrofit solutions for grinding and dressing process optimisation.

A team of experts will be on hand to discuss visitors’ needs and talk them through the benefits of implementing these new technologies in machines already in operation. For more than 40 years, Balance Systems’ mission has been to provide customisable and easy-to-integrate solutions to optimise almost every grinding and dressing process, reducing production and maintenance costs and improving the quality of machined parts.

Whether gear, cylindrical, centreless, surface, profile or special-purpose, grinding machines are usually the last step in the manufacturing process. They support most precise geometric characteristics of the part: from dimension, profile, flatness, circularity, cylindricity, conicity, as well as good surface finish. This is why it is important to preserve machine qualities and whenever possible increase their performance. The wide range of grinding machine brands that can be upgraded by Balance Systems include AZ, Buderus, Danobat, Earlsdon Technology, Estarta, Favretto, Ger, Holroyd, Jones & Shipman, Junker, Landis, Matrix, Palmary, Robbi, Rosa Ermando, Reishauer, Samputensili, Schaudt, Studer and Tacchella.

Mark Jones, Leader Chuck International managing director, said: “Modernisation can increase the profitability of an old grinding machine. There are three significant reasons to consider ‘retrofitting’ grinding machines —balancing, touch detection and gauging.”

Any experienced grinding machine operator knows the negative effects of grinding wheel unbalance on the surface quality of the workpiece. During turning, especially at high speeds, this unbalance generates undesirable vibrations on the spindle with subsequent irregular machining of the workpiece. Additionally, spindle bearings, slide rails and ball screws are directly affected by this vibration causing a potentially reduced service life.

Touch detection

Only real-time monitoring and balancing of the grinding wheel in the machine can significantly improve the quality and stability of the grinding process. Balance Systems has developed moment-free balancing heads (patented symmetric design), to offer both automatic balancing solutions for full integration into the machine controller and semi-automatic balancing solutions for machines without a PLC/CNC.

Touch detection controls the grinding wheel-workpiece and grinding wheel-dresser contacts, by using acoustic emission and/or power sensors. The most familiar application of touch detection is the Air Gap Elimination feature to reduce grinding cycle time. This goal is achieved by moving the grinding wheel towards the workpiece at semi-fast speed until it detects contact to immediately switch to working speed. The same technique can be used to detect the contact between the grinding wheel and the dresser to fully automate the dressing process.

As an extension of touch detection, crash detection is a safety feature for both the machine and operator. Although machine tool operators know and appreciate this feature, it is not always properly implemented. In fact, most solutions are based only on acoustic emission technology (AE sensors). Although this technology is suitable for detecting the contact of the grinding wheel with the workpiece or dresser, it cannot always distinguish normal contact from dangerous collision.
Balance Systems can simultaneously use an AE sensor and a power sensor connected between the motor drive and the spindle motor. The power sensor can accurately measure the intensity of the touch, allowing reliable discrimination between a normal touch and a collision, and avoiding unnecessary machine stops.

Using in-process and post-process gauging (absolute or comparative) can fully automate the grinding process through workpiece dia measurement, geometric control and positioning functions to ensure consistent machining. Thereby increasing part quality and machine productivity. Due to the very tight machining tolerances achieved, the measuring system must be reliable, accurate and suitable for installation in a grinding machine. Another important feature for small production batches is the ability to measure dia from 5 to 250mm with a resolution of 0.1µm through a quick manual setup without changing equipment.

Franco Riva, UK market manager for Balance Systems, said: “Accuracy, versatility and reliability are the most important requirements for stable and optimal in-process measurement. In addition to the well-known TG200 measuring heads, the new range of TGA absolute measuring devices enables in-process measurements of up to 1,000mm to be carried out automatically without manual changeovers. Additionally, the new range of TGA absolute gauges allows multi-diameter measurement from 4-400mm, without the need for any manual re-tooling.”

Also on display will be the latest features of the Italian company’s B-Safe System. Based on a miniaturised smart sensor, the B-Safe System expands spindles and machine tool diagnostics and protection through the continuous monitoring and analysis of the operating vibrations and temperature. The presence of a microprocessor with integrated memory allows the local detection and memorisation of collision, unbalances, overloads phenomena as well as machining anomalies, tools wear and bearings diagnostics. Thanks to the wide range of available functions (including statistical and trend data, FFT analysis, spindle check-up, fingerprinting) the B-Safe System also becomes a valuable tool for the preventive planning of maintenance jobs.