Getting the Most out of Your Grinder
There are many factors involved in any type of grinding, but today we’re going to discuss just five issues that can have an impact on your grinding operation.
Vibration is the enemy. Grinding is all about precise movements, and vibration destroys that precision. The causes can range from a deteriorated spindle to tremors caused by motors on the grinder or by nearby pieces of equipment, like large presses.
Regardless, the results are the same – bad finishes and final parts that perform poorly.
Operators employ workarounds to avoid these results. They dress the wheel more frequently or slow the grinding process down. While such remedies work in the short term, their long-term effects reduce the operation’s overall efficiency and productivity.
More permanent solutions include using special anti-vibratory pads on the grinder when nearby machines cause vibrations. When a deteriorating spindle is the culprit, the solution is usually to replace or rebuild the spindle. An analysis by a GCH Tool technician can point you in the right direction.
Looseness is another killer of quality and productivity.
As they deteriorate, ball screws and slideways can loosen and affect the precise movements required of grinding. Especially on manual machines, veteran operators know how much to compensate for these issues and deliver the appropriate finish. This, of course, takes precious time and presents further problems when the veteran retires, and the replacement operator doesn’t have the necessary feel for the grinder.
Again, an analysis by a GCH Tool technician can provide insights into longer-term solutions, like installing an infeed ball screw or rebuilding the slide components.
We’ve written about preventive maintenance before, but it can’t be said enough. The best way to deal with problems like vibration and looseness is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. A regular maintenance program is the answer here.
Keeping your grinder clean is a top preventive maintenance tip. Dirt and debris affect the machine’s ability to run properly and speed up the deterioration of spindles, slideways and other components.
Lubricating lube points according to the manufacturer’s schedule also will help keep your grinder running well. Read our preventive maintenance blog for more useful tips.
If you’ve got a clean, well-maintained grinder, the next area to look at is the control system. Today’s grinding wheels incorporate new, expensive technology. But older controls don’t offer the necessary precision to take full advantage of that technology. Older controls also can be difficult to troubleshoot.
But new control packages offer the precision and built-in reporting features that allow you to achieve the best performance possible from today’s grinding wheels.
Once you’ve got updated controls in place, the best way to realize even greater efficiencies is to add accessories.
Material handling automation packages enable one worker to oversee the operations of several grinders all at the same time.
Acoustic emission more accurately controls the movements of the grinding wheel.
Gaging systems dynamically measure workpieces and provide process control feedback.
Mist collectors not only protect workers from a health and safety issue, but they also help with preventive maintenance by keeping the grinder cleaner.
As one of the last processes performed on your parts, grinding represents a major investment. Make sure your grinder is operating at peak efficiency to deliver the productivity and quality your operation demands.