Informative technical presentations on Walter and Ewag tool grinding, erosion and laser processes – available in the UK from Walter Ewag UK – were among the array of technology treats displayed and discussed at the United Grinding Group’s three-day Grinding Symposium 2019 in Thun, Switzerland, where more than 1,500 visitors attended.
While Ewag focused on the use of lasers in online tool manufacturing, Walter highlighted both ‘high-end’ and PCD tool production. These were among the event’s 16 presentations, which also included lectures and presentations by other United Grinding Group brands Mägerle, Blohm, Jung, Studer, Schaudt and Mikrosa.
The potential benefits of Ewag’s Laser Line Ultra machine in the production of ultra-hard tools (solid carbide and PCD) for one customer were revealed as part of a novel Internet-based demonstration in collaboration with that customer, a specialist supplier to the aerospace, automotive, and die and mould sectors.
Using a dedicated customer portal, online order processing – tool configuration, material and order/delivery details – is already a success, with the company reporting a 20 per cent increase in turnover without the need for additional staff.
Its next move is to utilise the Laser Line Ultra for completely automatic end-to-end tool manufacture.
After witnessing Ewag’s prototype demonstration at GrindTec 2018, when 200 tools were produced by the Laser Line Ultra, the customer is establishing a cell around the machine where eight pallets accommodate a total of 1,800 tools (including two pallets for finished tools). Orders and production will run autonomously with no operator involvement, and round-the clock if required.
The production of fir tree milling cutters (HSS/carbide) for aerospace blade machining was outlined by Walter, using a cutter of 25 mm diameter and 40 mm long – and demanding a profile tolerance of +/- two microns – as an example.
This demonstration showed the unrivalled process integrity of the combined attributes of a Helitronic Power 400 tool grinding machine and a Helicheck 3D measuring machine, used for scanning a tool to create a 3D master model.
Walter also presented the effectiveness of integrating its ‘two-in-one’ Helicheck Power Diamond 400 grinding and erosion machine with the Helicheck Plus inspection machine with robot loader for the production of PCD-tipped solid carbide tools.
Using ‘traditional’ grinding to process the carbide body and erosion technology for the PCD tip, after tool simulation using Walter’s innovative Helitronic Tool Studio software, the cell also featured integral tool cleaning and laser marking for ‘one-hit’ tool production.