Modular Solutions for Multi-Process Machining

2023-03-05 09:02:10 By : Ms. Shirley Q

Maximizing metal-cutting productivity requires more than simply applying high cutting speeds and feed rates. To be truly competitive, a shop must also maximize utilization of the time available to do the work. Current time management strategies include the use of multi-tasking machines that can perform several operations in one setup, while eliminating the time spent moving parts from machine to machine for final completion.

Creating a part in a single fixturing generates significant savings by eliminating work-in-process and refixturing errors. One drawback, however, is the difficulty of managing different types of chips produced from each of the individual operations of a multi-task/multi-process machine. Industrial Filter Paper

Modular Solutions for Multi-Process Machining

Bourn & Koch Inc. (B&K), Rockford, Illinois, a provider of automated machine tool systems and a specialist in gear manufacturing and grinding equipment, engineered a multi-tasking machine called the MT3. The system is based on a Blanchard-style vertical grinding machine, engineered to provide full turning and milling capabilities. A dedicated robot changes tools and workpieces as well as separate grind/mill and turning spindle cartridges.

In the development process, B&K determined that efficiently handling the various types of chips formed in the various machining operations posed potential problems. This is because grinding typically produces a sludge-like swarf, while milling chips can be large and fragmented, and chips from turning and drilling may be long and stringy.

Bourn & Koch contacted conveyor suppliers to evaluate chip management alternatives. Options included drag plate and drag style conveyors that typically handle grinding sludge well, but can struggle to handle other types of chips created by the MT3 system. During its search, B&K reached out to material-handling specialist Jorgensen Conveyor & Filtration Solutions, Mequon, Wis., which designs and manufactures chip-handling and coolant filtration equipment.

After studying the B&K machine, Jorgensen designed a hinged steel-belt conveyor that could handle all three types of chips. The solution was based on the company’s EcoFilter conveyor, a self-cleaning two-stage chip removal and coolant filtering system.

In addition to the rough filtering that the conveyor belt provides, removable filter boxes inside the conveyor frame provide additional benefits. Large particulates are filtered out of the chip stream to a level of 200 microns or lower, and they are carried away before reaching the coolant tank. Then, the remaining coolant and fine particulates are pumped through a bag that filters the coolant to a clarity down to 10 microns or less.

For applications heavily weighted toward grinding, which generates a higher volume of sludge, Bourn & Koch uses cyclonic filtration in lieu of bag filters, coupled with Jorgensen’s new PermaClean system. Coolant tanks equipped with PermaClean keep coolant in motion by adding eductor nozzles to the tank, suspending chip particulates and preventing them from settling. When combined with cyclonic filtration, the filtration system is virtually maintenance free, significantly reducing labor required for frequent tank cleaning, according to the supplier.

Both the MT3 machine tool and Jorgensen’s conveyor offer modularity that enables users to upgrade their systems and add cutting operations or accessories. A shop can use the MT3 machine’s grinding, milling, and turning capabilities individually if desired. The grinding spindles provide rotary motion for milling and drilling, while the turning spindles hold dedicated static turning tools that direct turning forces differently than a standard mill/turn machine.

B&K’s spindles don’t use a brake to direct turning forces through rotating bearings. Instead, for turning, the entire spindle is changed out, thus isn’t compromised by adding tool adaptors or extended arbors, the company said.

Users can program the machine via a CAM system or program it manually to perform individual tasks. Bourn & Koch has its own conversational voice-controlled grinding human machine interface (HMI) for use with a Fanuc Manual Guide I system for OD- and ID-type milling and dressing. The B&K machine control also features a master listing program in which users can build separate programs for each tool, then string them together to process certain parts.

The machine control directs the stand-alone robot to switch tools in the spindle or change the spindles themselves. HSK 50 and HSK 63 mill/grind spindles are currently available, as are HSK 63 and HSK 100 turning spindles. The spindle cartridges lock into the machine spindle motor via a large HSK-like connection that Bourn & Koch calls its HBK 200. The stand-alone robot has a unique gripper that the company refers to as Alien Claw because of the claw-like features needed to perform tool and spindle changes and complete in-process part handling.

At this point in its development, the MT3 machine is a three-axis mill/turn/grind. A virtual Y-axis creates the third axis in which Cartesian coordinates are converted to cylindrical coordinates, enabling the C- and X-axes to produce angular moves by combining motion of the rotary and linear axes. Juggling coordinates and programming enables machining of off-center bores without refixturing workpieces as the machine table moves back and forth, and the X-axis moves in and out to grind around the off-center bore.

“From the start, our focus was on modularity with the new machine design,” said Peter Mischler, engineering manager at Bourn & Koch. “But in addition to that, upgradability was also key for achieving our goal of true ongoing flexibility, and Jorgensen quickly realized that and provided the perfect system.”

One modular feature of the Jorgensen system is a casing design that allows interchanging of conveyor belts. For the first machine Bourn & Koch designed, the company used a standardized hinged, steel-belt conveyor.

However, the Jorgensen system’s modularity enables a customer intending to use the machine largely for grinding and very little milling and/or turning to order the machine with a drag style belt. The drag belt has the same conveyor body as the hinged belt and fits into the pre-engineered tank system.

This adaptive capability can come into play if a shop buys the machine to accomplish a certain project, then needs to make a change. For example, if the shop determines it mostly will be performing grinding, it might be necessary to change the chip-conveyor system from a hinged steel belt to a drag-type belt. The modularity of the conveyor system also makes it possible to buy a new belt and not an entirely new conveyor. The frame and the body of the conveyor would remain the same.

Another advantage of the flexible system is the freedom to choose different types of filtering units such as gravity filters, bag filters, or cyclonic filters as the primary filtration for the system. B&K is interested in cyclonic filtration because it eliminates filtering media and the associated maintenance.

When Bourn & Koch approached Jorgensen regarding conveyor solutions, Jorgensen stressed its ability to deliver a complete modular coolant package based on its FlexFiltration system that could be configured to meet customer needs. This included the flexibility to handle changes and updates to the machining system, such as through-coolant tools and filtration-level adjustments, according to Karl Kleppek, president and COO of Jorgensen, who explained that the system could also add chillers and other accessories.

“Because the MT3 is configurable for specific parts and/or families of parts, the conveyor and filtration system must provide the utmost in flexibility,” Kleppek added. “Such capability allows Bourn & Koch to easily construct the conveyor and filtration can greatly magnify overall productivity and flexibility. The combination of B&K’s machine tool innovations with the advanced coolant circuit technology provided by Jorgensen is evidence of the value of this approach.

With more than 70 years of experience in designing and manufacturing advanced conveyor, coolant filtration, and material handling solutions for the machine tool, fluid filtration, metalworking, unit-handling, and recycling industries, Jorgensen offers a wide range of standard and customized systems to global customers, Kleppek noted. All products are engineered to provide high-quality, cost-effective, application-based product solutions for even the most demanding environments, he added. The company’s brands and extensive product line include MunchMan, EcoFilter, Filterveyor, ShuttlePro, FlexFiltration, PermaClean, FlexForce, and UVS Ecologic Control systems.

Modular Solutions for Multi-Process Machining

Micro Filter Paper For more information on Bourn & Koch Inc. visit or call 815-965-4013. For information on Jorgensen Conveyor & Filtration Solutions visit or call 262-242-3089.