True upgrade: Dedicated wheel truing
Complementing the October 2009 Productive Times article on dedicated wheel truing, this brief video report takes a closer look at why Myles Tool chose to use the Rush Machinery Wheel Truer.
This CTE Plus video was produced by Jeremy Bout, who has more than 10 years experience working in the cutting tool industry and is the owner of Underhouse Studio, a media production company in Ontario, Canada.
It didn’t take long for executives at Myles Tool Co. Inc. to realize that if they wanted to make the most of their 2005 expansion plans, they needed to overhaul how they made thread mills.
Since its founding in 1977, the Sanborn, N.Y.-based toolmaker focused primarily on low-volume orders for solid- carbide special tools. Myles Tool’s 30 or so employees regularly produced modified endmills, profile step drills, porting tools and other customized HSS and carbide products for industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to defense and medical.
Then 5 years ago, the company decided to branch out and offer a standard product line. The added emphasis introduced new challenges. The success of a special order business centers in large part on the technological expertise of the machinist to make the tool properly. Mass producing a standard tool line, on the other hand, emphasizes cycle time. Time spent setting up machines and running jobs comes under close scrutiny.
“Cycle time is very competitive [in mass production],” said Jeremy Bout, Myles Tool’s grinding supervisor during the expansion. “We needed to make sure that the machines were running as fast they as they could, that the time spent dressing and preparing the wheel was not eating up production time.”
In particular, the manufacture of thread mills, which had become a big focus for the company, was also a drain on machine productivity. Myles Tool devoted four of its seven CNC grinders to the operation.
“The large scale production of thread mills really brought
the issue to a head,” Bout said. “We needed a very specific
form on the grinding wheel, and to dress that in the machine
The remedy, Myles Tool decided, was a wheel truing and dressing machine that would permit quick, offline dressing of production equipment. The task for finding one fell to Bout, who had two nonnegotiable criteria. “I wanted to be able to dress a three-wheel pack without dismantling [it],” he said. “So I needed to be able to pivot the dressing wheel at a certain angle to move it in and out, and that axis needed to be on bearings, not on dovetails.”
He also learned from Myles Tool employees who had operated wheel truing equipment in previous jobs that dust and grit generated during dressing could easily get inside the machine’s slides and prematurely wear out the equipment. Accordingly, Bout’s criteria included protection against such a hazard. He checked out three units, among them the Model FC-250W truing and dressing machine from Rush Machinery Inc., Rushville, N.Y.
“He told us he wanted to do offline truing and needed to free up production time on his machines,” recalled Ted Hildebrant, sales manager for Rush Machinery. “Our FC-250W was a good match and competitively priced against other products he was looking at.” The machine’s features include the ability to true and dress flats, angles and radii on diamond and CBN single- and multiple-wheel packs.
The FC-250W offered the dressing capabilities Bout was searching for. “When you dress three wheels without having to take them off the arbor, they run perfectly true,” Bout said. “It was important that we did not have to take our wheel packs apart to dress them. A stable wheel pack translates into a smooth cut, which saves cycle time and increases output.”
He also noted that the FC-250W has a solid cast iron base for vibration dampening and that all operator electronic and computer controls were placed on one side of the machine to allow easy operation. The machine axes, he observed, had linear bearings and were fully enclosed to protect against dust and grit.
In July of 2006, a Rush Machinery FC-250W was installed
and operating at Myles Tool. “We’ve easily saved many [production] hours every week,” Bout said. “And those are billable
hours that we have reclaimed.”
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