Keeping steel wheels spinning

Published Date
May 24,2020 - 08:00:pm

Related Glossary Terms

  • computer numerical control ( CNC)

    computer numerical control ( CNC)

    Microprocessor-based controller dedicated to a machine tool that permits the creation or modification of parts. Programmed numerical control activates the machine’s servos and spindle drives and controls the various machining operations. See DNC, direct numerical control; NC, numerical control.

  • gantry robot

    gantry robot

    Robot positioned by means of an overhead supporting structure such as a crane or bridge-type support.

  • lathe

    lathe

    Turning machine capable of sawing, milling, grinding, gear-cutting, drilling, reaming, boring, threading, facing, chamfering, grooving, knurling, spinning, parting, necking, taper-cutting, and cam- and eccentric-cutting, as well as step- and straight-turning. Comes in a variety of forms, ranging from manual to semiautomatic to fully automatic, with major types being engine lathes, turning and contouring lathes, turret lathes and numerical-control lathes. The engine lathe consists of a headstock and spindle, tailstock, bed, carriage (complete with apron) and cross slides. Features include gear- (speed) and feed-selector levers, toolpost, compound rest, lead screw and reversing lead screw, threading dial and rapid-traverse lever. Special lathe types include through-the-spindle, camshaft and crankshaft, brake drum and rotor, spinning and gun-barrel machines. Toolroom and bench lathes are used for precision work; the former for tool-and-die work and similar tasks, the latter for small workpieces (instruments, watches), normally without a power feed. Models are typically designated according to their “swing,” or the largest-diameter workpiece that can be rotated; bed length, or the distance between centers; and horsepower generated. See turning machine.

  • machining center

    machining center

    CNC machine tool capable of drilling, reaming, tapping, milling and boring. Normally comes with an automatic toolchanger. See automatic toolchanger.

Since 1910, Simmons Machine Tool Corp., Albany, New York, has built machine tools and measuring machines for producing and maintaining railway wheel sets. The company also manufactures automation systems. 

Each wheel traditionally is placed on a machining center using a forklift, a crane or another manual handling method — a slow, inconsistent process in which worker safety is a concern. Simmons Machine Tool sought to boost productivity and improve worker safety when loading and unloading railways for repairs in a vertical CNC lathe.

This video supplement to Cutting Tool Engineering magazine's June 2020 Productive Times article showcases the solution provided by Güdel Inc. — automated material handling through the use of a double-axis gantry robot with special grippers.