Gardner Double Disk Grinder
Welcome to another MachMotion minute, let's make your day a little more automated!
An automation engineer from a large bearing manufacturer sought out new ways to increase productivity. We'll look at how MachMotion upgraded a Gardner double disk grinder onsite in a week and how productivity has increased since the retrofit.
Challenges Of a Manually Operated Grinder
A bearing manufacturing company uses a 1973 Gardner double disk grinder, a manually operated grinder, as a part of their manufacturing process. This double disk grinder is used to grind down bearing rings. They struggled with the amount of time spent with setup and dressing. The operator had to do a lot of manual setup. This led to a fluctuation of production based on how experienced and trained the operator was.
The process of using the Gardner manually started with dressing the wheels with a diamond to prepare the surface of the wheels. The wheels are manually moved in to touch the dresser, then manually cycling the dress process. The wheels would then be moved in to manually touch off the part to prepare for grinding. After the correct spacing was establish, grinding could commence.
For each batch of parts, it would take about 4-5 passes through the grinder. The wheels would be dressed again after the 2nd or 3rd pass, meaning the wheels manually touching off the dresser and the part all over again. No positions were saved, duplicating work through the day. The engineer knew that if a control could save the positions, they could save time and increase productivity.
Automating The Process
The machine was out of service for only one week while MachMotion installed the new control. The existing electrical cabinet was re-used, but we were able to clean out a lot of now unused wiring.
The customer designed and fabricated a new button panel for controlling some of the auxiliary functions (e.g. wheels on/off, coolant, conveyor). All of this I/O was wiring into a Siemens PLC so that interlocks could be put into place and I/O status monitored.
With the MachMotion control, wheel and dresser positions are now saved. The only time the operator must manually touch off is when the wheels are replaced or with a new part width. The operator can quickly teach the control these positions and move on to the grind process.
MachMotion was able to reduce the dressing process from approximately 25 min to 8 mins. The wheels now automatically return to position, this new process saves approximately 34 mins per batch, a 33% increase in productivity. The bearing manufacturing company looks forward to new technology to further save company time and increasing production.
The new control also reduces the amount of training and experience required to run the machine. The process is less dependent on the accuracy and repeatability of the operator.
While they are currently using a thru-feed operation, the MachMotion control can also be run with an oscillator, further automating the process.