Cajero expedites PCD-tipped machine tool production by 35 percent

A Walter Helitronic Power Diamond two-in-one CNC tool grinder/erosion machine with a robotic loader is enabling the company to produce complex tooling in a lights-out mode.

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The installation of a Walter Helitronic Power Diamond two-in-one CNC tool grinder/erosion machine is enabling machine tool manufacturer Cajero Ltd. (Isle of Sheppey, Kent, U.K.) to reduce the time previously taken to produce PCD-tipped tooling by up to 35 percent. The machine’s robotic loader is also producing savings in machine operator costs by enabling the company to produce the complex tooling in a lights-out mode.

Supplied by Walter Machines UK of Honiley, near Kenilworth, U.K., the Helitronic Power Diamond uses a combination of grinding wheels and electrodes in the production of HSS, solid-carbide and/or PCD/CBN-tipped tools in a single set-up. The machinery is capable of processing tools up to 320-mm diameter and 350-mm long (12.6 inches by 13.8 inches), and has a 12 kW direct-drive spindle.

The machine incorporates the easy-to-use Tool Studio software, which enables operators to quickly and easily create tool machining and movement sequences by, for example, harnessing Wizard functionality to add all appropriate machining parameters then to utilize 3D-simulation to check and, if necessary, optimize grinding operations. Tool Studio also seamlessly integrates the robot load/unload facility: A Fanuc Robotics' (Rochester Hills, Mich.) six-axis LR Mate 200iC/5L robot loader that works in conjunction with a three-pallet storage system that can hold up to 1,500 workpieces, dependent on diameter. (Increased capacity is reportedly available upon request.)

“Compared with our former route of using separate machines and set-ups to machine the tools’ carbide bodies/flutes, etc., then PCD tips, the Power Diamond is key to enabling the end-to-end manufacture of special tool designs to be reduced by up to three weeks,” says Cajero’s operations manager Alex Harding.

“The continued growth in the use of composites and carbon fibers," he continues, "has been matched by our pioneering development of groundbreaking bespoke tooling."

“Our thorough investigation of the machine included trips to Walter’s HQ in Germany for cutting trials of a number of ‘special’ (rather than run of the mill) tools to really test the machine. We push the boundaries in terms of tool design, so it was essential we invested in a machine that would not only meet our current needs but also any potential future demands," says Harding. “It was clear that in addition to impressive savings in tool manufacturing lead times, the Power Diamond would also provide our PCD tooling team with a greater degree of control and process security, as well as production autonomy without impacting existing tool manufacturing routines.” He adds that machine stability, and high precision positioning and repeatability, were other key factors in the choice of the machine, along with the record of service and support that WALTER Machines UK has provided over the long-term.

The new machine joined an impressive range of manufacturing technology used by at Cajero’s 40 employees at its Isle of Sheppey (Kent) site, including an Ewag AG (Etziken, Switzerland) Ewamatic insert/tool grinder and a trio of Walter Helitronic Power tool grinders — one fitted with a Disc Loader pallet system that can accept up to 90 tools for processing in a fully automatic cycle — plus a Walter Helicheck four-axis, noncontact measuring center. This checks tool rake and helix angles, lead and relief angle, and automatically scans the tool profile.