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Curtis Machine Tools has won an order from an Indian customer to supply three Vector twin-spindle grinding machines for the production of a high-volume automotive component.

The component is ground in two operations on the Vector; the first operation – controlled by in-process gauging – is to grind a spigot, profile and a face with angle approach grinding.

The first operation is completed using a vitrified CBN grinding wheel with a rotary full-form diamond roll dresser.

The components are stored in the Vector in two pallets; the integral three-axis automatic loading system picks the components from the pallet and unloads/loads the second work chuck while grinding is being simultaneously carried out on the first chuck.

After unloading, the component is transferred via a servo-controlled axis to a secondary grinding station integrated into the Vector, where the second vitrified grinding wheel grinds a face parallel to the face ground in the first operation.

After grinding, the component is transferred by the same servo axis to the post-process gauging station where the overall thickness of the two ground faces is measured.

Automatic size correction of the second grinding process is controlled by feedback from the post-process gauge.

Curtis said its solution was selected because of its cost-effectiveness – both operations are completed on one machine in a total cycle time of 13sec.

The company said the Vector grinding machine range has a small footprint of 1190 x 1850mm, a fast and versatile integral loading system, offers more production per m2 floor space than comparable competitor machines and therefore lower piece part and overhead costs.

With minimal dead time and two-second load time, the Vector Twin ensures optimised cycle times.

Innovative gauging methods promote accurate closed-loop size control.

Potential manual intervention and interruptions to process flow are minimal due to ‘warm-up’ and ‘keep-warm’ cycles, ensuring statistical process capability is maintained.

Curtis said the compact Vector size confers good static and dynamic stiffness and good thermal stability, providing good workpiece geometry and short spark-out times.

Any potential contamination of the main working parts of both machine and loading system is virtually eliminated due to the Vector design, which ensures coolant and grinding debris is contained within the sealed guard.

The Vector also offers low running costs due to infrequency and ease of maintenance.

Curtis said a key parameter in the Vector concept is a low-energy footprint, both in construction and lifetime usage.

The ‘fit-for-purpose’ approach ensures machine element masses are optimised for stiffness and inertia, resulting in high dynamic performance with minimal raw material.

High-efficiency servo motors have relatively small mass to accelerate; therefore drives are optimised to provide high-performance with low current consumption.

The machine base contributes to stability but requires no precision as a simple steel fabrication is used with a low-cost mineral core.

The ‘hydraulic-free’ design is an important environmental issue and the small size of the ‘dirty’ volume ensures air purity standards can be maintained with a low-power extractor/filter.

With fully integrated grinding/parts handling, safety is a fundamental part of the Vector design, according to Curtis.

Two levels of guarding exist between operator and grinding wheel.

The robot loading arm with its ‘physical breakaway’ protects the robot, ensuring simple and rapid recovery procedures.

The sealed grinding area with integral mist extraction provides a cleaner environment for both operator and maintenance personnel.

Curtis Machine Tools

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