“People think conventionally,” says Phil Wiss, regional sales manager at United Grinding North America Inc. When it comes to removing material from a workpiece, he says manufacturers generally find it easiest to associate particular machining operations with specific machine types. But what if a machine could do more?
To be sure, multitasking machines are nothing new — they’ve been around for years. For the most part, these machines combine similar chip-making manufacturing processes. Likewise, combined-process machines, machines in which dissimilar processes are combined, are not a new concept either, but new combinations of processes are still emerging as companies develop and fine-tune complementary technology.
A recent visit to United Grinding’s facility in Miamisburg, Ohio, provided a chance to see just how far combining processes can go in improving the effectiveness of machining and even transforming the role the machine tool might play. United Grinding North America Inc. represents eight brands of CNC grinding machines: Studer, Schaudt, Mikrosa, Mägerle, Blohm, Jung, Walter and Ewag. It serves makers of high-value components in aerospace, automotive, medical and defense, as well as makers of cutting tools. Its equipment consists entirely of grinding machines, yet some of these machines do even more. In these cases, a grinding machine that can do more becomes much more capable machine.
Rethinking Small Component Manufacturing
Under the Mägerle brand, United Grinding offers the MFP-30 five-axis grinding center, which is a combined-process machine designed to grind complex geometries, particularly those of small blades and vanes or heat shields for aviation turbines.