6/5/2019 | 3 MINUTE READ

United Grinding Symposium 2019

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The fourth Grinding Symposium held by the United Grinding Group in Thun, Switzerland from May 8 to 10, 2019 was a great opportunity for customers, experts and company representatives to discuss a diverse range of topics including the advantages of digital solutions for production machine operators, how user interfaces should be designed user to enable ideal machine operation, and what role additive manufacturing can play in machine building.

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Three days packed with 13 technology presentations, 16 technical colloquiums and 1500 visitors on 4,000 square meters of exhibitions space; the fourth Grinding Symposium held by the United Grinding Group in Thun, Switzerland, was a great opportunity for customers, experts and company representatives to discuss a diverse range of topics including the advantages of digital solutions for production machine operators, how user interfaces should be designed to enable ideal machine operation, and what role additive manufacturing can play in machine building.

At the Future-Lab, United Grinding showcased current and future applications including additive manufacturing and laser micro-threading. The company is already using many 3D-printed parts in its own machines including the universal cylindrical grinding machine Studer Favorit as well as the WireDress system, which inhibits 12 3D-printed parts. On the Favorit, Studer leverages additive manufacturing technology to build parts such as the hydraulic block, which is more efficient in materials handling, storage and assembly, because the overall number of parts was reduced from five to one. Moreover, flow paths can be made with cross-sections that are square instead of round, reducing turbulent flow by 20 percent with the same channel width.

The in-house designed 3D-printed coolant nozzle called SmartJet is designed to optimally distribute the right amount of coolant in the correct flow rate and pressure to the right spot during the grinding process.

“Precise grinding requires a lot of experience, the right parameter settings and optimization in many areas including cooling,” Studer CSO Sandro Bottazzo says. “The heat produced during the grinding process is critical in terms of workpiece quality. Relatively high friction effects in abrasive machining cause heat generation which can lead to thermal damage in the surface layer of a machined part; cooling and lubrication therefore play a decisive role during grinding.”

The 16 lectures given at the Symposium by internationally renowned experts from science and practice covered a range of topics. In addition to the opportunities and challenges in the cooperation of human and machine or the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the manufacturing industry, there were practical production topics, such as experiences with the integrated electro-discharge dressing technology WireDressing dressing technology.

Switzerland-based Fischer Spindles, for instance, uses the WireDress technology to ensure a consistent dressing of grinding wheel profiles, avoiding wear of the dressing tool. Most importantly, the technology enables automated production with a reproducibility of the smallest tolerances. To achieve that, an air-conditioned machining environment is needed among other things, as well as constant grinding wheel speed during workpiece changeovers. According to Fischer Spindles, grinding high-precision diameters using the WireDress system (which means the process does not have to be interrupted for dressing/measuring by the operator) results in highly-accurate roundness values, which are significantly below 0.5 micron.

Technology Presentations

In the 13 technology presentations visitors were able to experience the latest machines and solutions of the eight company brands (Mägerle, Blohm, Jung, Studer, Schaudt, Mikrosa, Walter, Ewag) – from the Mägerle MFP 30 grinding center, a new compact five-axis grinding center for machining aircraft engine blades, to the European premiere of the Studer S31 and S33 universal cylindrical grinding machines. One of the main features of the S31 and S33’s updated versions is the extended range of distances between centers. Both the S31, designed for grinding workpieces in individual, small-batch and high-volume production, and the S33, designed for medium-sized workpieces, are now available with distance between centers of 400 and 1,600 mm, respectively, complementing the existing 650- and 1,000-mm sizes.

The Ewag Laser Line Ultra showed in a live demonstration how diamond-coated tools—which are increasingly in demand due to a trend toward CFK and light alloys in the automotive and aerospace industries—can be machined with a laser. Hard materials are hard to machine by grinding or wire erosion, but the laser can separate the diamond and the binder material, all grain sizes can be machined and hardness as well as electric conductivity do not influence the machining process. The high-end laser machine can produce drills and milling cutters from 0.5 mm to 3 mm in diameter.

Of course (we wouldn’t expect any less from UG), the evening events were perfectly organized with some speeches, performances and of course great food and wine. Thank you, UG!

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