How to make your investment in automatic grinding a successful one

When we talk of investing in automated grinding, the first step is to identify the right technology for each foundry specific needs. As we explained in previous news, this selection should take place depending on various aspects as the field of application, components, degree of automation, etc.

New technology: new questions to get the most out of the investment

Once the right technology has been properly selected with expert help, there are further challenges to be faced, needed to make the investment in automatic grinding a successful one. The questions that arise are based on the daily interaction with the equipment:

  • How to operate these new technologies in an efficient way?
  • What is important when dealing with the system?
  • How can the new investment be implemented economically and profitably?

For this purpose, it would be useful to analyze the processes of everyday use of these castings finishing systems in more detail.

Basically, the following areas should be considered in the initial planning phase.

1) Planning of material flow around the machine

Whether we are talking about robotic grinding cells or CNC machines, there is always a need for strategic planning of the material flow in the foundry. Automated grinding is many times faster than manual finishing. This reduces the throughput times of the raw castings in the fettling shop and logistic infrastructure must be adapted accordingly, otherwise the new equipment would be subjected to downtimes, following lack of material supply.

2) The correct staff and the correct training

 A second fundamental topic that comes into the game which is extremely important for a good handling of the systems is about the correct staff.

How much knowledge does my foundry people have about modern controls or automated processes? Should I hire new people or involve current employees sourced from the various departments? Can I use the existing know-how, or do I have to acquire new knowledge and select suitable personnel for further training?

The machine supplier will help you with this. Whether through self-organized training courses or through the mediation of specialized courses at control unit suppliers.

3) How to increase the efficiency

 Once these two issues have been clarified, the next question that inevitably arises is how can I gradually increase the efficiency and get the most out of my new investment? How to adapt it to all the different castings I produce every day? Can I tune my system, too?

To properly answer this important question, it is a must that the acquired technology and its needs in terms of costs and timing  required for a new part preparation are being fully understood by the users, but this understanding process requires time and practice. Like a racecar that can only be successful through a good driver and a good team behind it practicing everyday and learning from initial mistakes.

The real investment in automatic grinding: increase the profitability and machines life

What should be the key factors to focus attention first in this case?

To solve the dilemma we have to look inside the system because it all comes down to the component-touching units and the grinding process.

Long story short to grind a new part it is required:

  • a fixture holding the component.
  • a cutting and / or grinding tool.
  • a part program.

In other words, the successful preparation of a new part for the automatic grinding unit is based on:

  1. The design of a simple but reliable holding device that has to hold the part in a good and stable manner to grant the requested quality after grinding.
  2. The correct selection of the right tools capable of a good % of finishing, among those already available to minimize the stock of grinding tools in the warehouse.
  3. The preparation of a good grinding program aimed to minimize the unnecessary movements, use the tools always in optimal orientation with respect to the casting and most of all prepared it without using too much of the machine available time (here the off-line solutions based on CAD / CAM software come to help)

All above activities combined can create an unbeatable and above all profitable implementation of the automatic grinding solution with a long-lasting machine life and optimal total cost of ownership.

The capability to perfectly combine all these aspects lies in the eye of the knowledgeable observer who has gained a wide experience in this unique field and can wisely guide a new user to the correct steps of new automatic grinding equipment implementation.

We are happy to share here a video recently received from our customer JACTO AGRICOLA from Brazil about his progress with the GS40 automatic grinding units installed just a few months ago (congratulations to the programmer Mr. Gustavo for his great job !)