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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | On the way to digital the grinding process
On the way to digital the grinding process
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Intelligent, networked systems are increasingly being used in grinding technology. Digital CBNi grinding tools, for example, have RFID chips in their basic body. These chips enable continuous wireless communication between the machine and the warehouse, say Tim Göttsching and Verena Göhler.
As with other metal-cutting manufacturing processes, digitalization is advancing in grinding technology and posing new challenges for the industry. Tool and machine manufacturers as well as users must ask themselves how they want to integrate this new technology in order to make their future digital and competitive. Even under conventional conditions, industrial grinding demands optimum processes and high-precision grinding tools, because this process gives the workpieces the proverbial “final touch” in terms of surface quality, production tolerance and optics.
Modern grinding tools become Industry 4.0-compatible by equipping them with a digital data interface. In this way, tool manufacturers make a significant contribution to the optimisation of grinding processes through digitization.
High-tech in classic products: the basis for networked production
Hermes Schleifmittel from Hamburg is one of the pioneers in the development of digital grinding tools. The CBNi grinding tools manufactured by Hermes have RFID chips embedded in the base body. They enable continuous, wireless communication between grinding tool and machine or between grinding tool and bearing system. The chips have a read time of 0.02 - 0.03 seconds per 16 bytes and can be individually programmed.
Hermes and the tool user agree in close consultation which individual data – test data, process identification numbers, maximum peripheral speeds or dressing parameters – should be stored before delivery. Input and output can be password-protected, thus providing reliable protection for sensitive data.
The intelligent CBNi grinding tools are qualified for a variety of applications. Common applications are found in the automotive, bearing, or medical technology industry. Due to the high quality requirements in these industries, digital interfaces offer immediate advantages. These advantages include automatic compliance with inherent safety aspects, continuous optimisation of grinding parameters, clear identification of the tool, and digital documentation of the process history. The manufacturers of digital grinding tools offer users support for the most efficient manufacturing processes while placing the highest demands on product quality.
digital infrastructures offers machine makers advantages
Every machine manufacturer is required to provide products that are more efficient, transparent, and safer than their predecessors. Digitization supports the implementation of these requirements. Thanks to intelligent links and interfaces, modern machines can provide and process increasingly more information and be equipped with new, app-based navigation elements.
With global access to process data, better service due to fast, digital problem analysis provides an increase in product quality through uninterrupted assessment of data. Simplified, intuitive operation becomes a reality as the possibility of networking many different machine types to automatically adjust to machine parameters becomes possible.
Of course, all this also applies to the manufacturers of grinding machines. If they design their machines with a view to integrating intelligent grinding tools, they can score points with their users with optimised processes and measurable advantages.
Increasing one’s own competitiveness by converting machines to intelligent grinding tools is easy and cost-oriented to implement for machine manufacturers. Because the digital RFID chips embedded in the grinding wheels are very small, both small tools and very large centerless grinding wheels can be equipped with them. This ensures that any grinding machine can carry this technology. The writing and reading device can be mounted inside or outside the machine room, depending on the application.
Users benefit from increased efficiency & reliable processes
Users in particular benefit greatly from the conversion to digital processes and the associated advantages. After all, the economical use and safe handling of grinding tools are key factors in the successful value-added chain of manufacturing companies - and exactly those are significantly influenced.
The life cycle of a CBN grinding tool can be divided into the following main phases: Tool delivery, use in the machine, possibly intermediate storage and finally return to the tool manufacturer after reaching the end of the tool life for recoating. This cycle holds a considerable potential for rationalisation, which can be tapped with modern digital tool management. Above all, the focus is on the unique identification of the tools used: Which tool performed which process on which machine and manufactured a specific workpiece?
Intelligent tools supply this important data automatically by providing independent and continuous information on application data, limit values, processes, and process history. This data forms the basis for highly efficient tool logistics, which can continuously improve and adapt on the basis of their self-generated data.
All necessary information is provided via the digital interface when using intelligent grinding tools and is constantly updated. The data collected is combined in a superordinate cloud; classic accompanying documents are no longer required. The advantages are obvious: resource-saving creation, fast and decentralised access, and shorter response times; generally more transparency and security than before.
Networked production makes it possible to clearly track and assign tools to processes, but also to the final product. At the same time, the digital documentation provides the user with important information about the life cycle of an individual tool by storing additional data such as the number of ground components or dressing cycles in addition to the geometric data. If a pre-defined wear limit is also entered, a new order can be placed automatically. Once more, the focus is on process efficiency and safety for the user.
Customised solutions for digitization on the user side
At first glance, complete networking offers many advantages. However, it does not have to be the best possible solution for every company. For a successful integration of digital components, it is necessary to take stock as early as possible of individual problems: Is there a quality problem in production? Are the processes sufficiently automated? Is there a safety problem due to an increased number of machine tool collisions? Is the handling of the printed associated documents clear? Depending on the results of this inventory and the degree of digitization in the company, the solutions for implementation are selected.
Stand-alone App-based solution as a good introduction to the technology
The simplest variant for digitizing tool management is an app-based stand-alone solution. Here, data can be exchanged wirelessly via the interface on the tool body then stored and organised on a computer or tablet. This approach is a good starting point.
Another approach of a stand-alone solution is the integration of digital tools into existing monitoring systems for individual machines. Here, the most important process data such as power consumption, compressed air, temperature and tool-specific data are visualised and measured.
Digital tools can unfold their full performance potential by integration into modern Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). With MES already implemented, the integration of intelligent grinding tools is comparatively simple. However, if companies do not yet have a corresponding degree of digitization, an increased willingness to implement and invest is the prerequisite for being able to make full use of all technological advantages.
Experts can help launching digital grinding processes
The Hermes Abrasives Institute (HAI) is a competent consulting partner for the integration of intelligent grinding tools into production. Its experienced application engineers support the user in evaluating the possibilities of such integration. The starting point for customer-specific solutions is a comprehensive analysis of the grinding processes on site with the aid of modern measuring and evaluation technology. For example, the entries relevant for writing the RFID chips must be defined in advance. The subsequent implementation phase and employee training is also supported by HAI employees in the company.
Production practice often still falls short of technological standards. Potential competitive advantages thus remain untapped and increase the gap to more innovative competitors. Consultants of tool manufacturers can help to close this gap. Their knowledge of what is technologically feasible in combination with an experienced view of the customer’s situation is the basis for a successful integration of digital components into the existing infrastructure.
About the author:
Tim Göttsching is Industry Manager for Bonded at Hermes Schleifmittel in Hamburg (Germany). Verena Göhler is Product Manager for CBN-Tools at Hermes Schleifmittel in Dresden (Germany). For details, contact Nitesh Kedia, Technical – Sales of Dev Abrasive (distributor for Hermes Abrasives in India), on Tel: 022 2882 8419, 2881 2186, Mob: 098334 45444, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
High Precision Grinding Tools
Grinding Tool And Machine
Medical Technology Industry
Manufacturing Execution Systems
Hermes Schleifmittelverena Göhler
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