Pro-Cut Tooling Ltd., a Hull, UK-based manufacturer, supplies and services a wide range of woodworking cutting tools, including saw blades, diamond tools, router cutters, tungsten carbide (TCT) and high speed steel (HSS) cutters, and drills.
Skilled craftsmen and the use of the best available precision manufacturing technologies have enabled Pro-Cut to efficiently produce and service woodworking cutting tools and to promptly deliver them to all parts of the UK.
For more than 12 years, the mainstay of Pro-Cut Tooling’s vital grinding functions has been its CNC tool and cutter grinders from ANCA. Given the company’s increasing workload and mindful of the technical progress made in the field of tool and cutter grinders over the past decade, a decision was recently made to retire the oldest of Pro-Cut’s ANCA machines and search for a modern state-of-the-art replacement.
“Our company growth and continuing success in the production, service, and supply of both standard and bespoke tooling is largely a result of our use of our highly precise and rapid acting ANCA tool and cutter grinders,” said Pro-Cut director, Steve Weymes. “In addition to producing high-quality tools, ANCA’s very productive machines enable us to achieve the kind of efficiencies that make our products and services extremely cost-effective in what is a very competitive marketplace.” ANCA’s WGX grinder is fitted with an automated loading system allowing it to run throughout the day and undertake highly efficient, medium-to-long production runs in an automatic lights-out mode throughout each night.
“Although we have been producing one-off tools and making shorter production runs on the oldest of our ANCA grinder for more than a decade, increasing customer demand meant that we recently made a decision to replace this machine with a more flexible faster model,” said Weymes. “Even though we have been delighted with the performance of our older ANCA tool and cutter grinder, we decided to source another machine to produce one-offs and carry out smaller production runs.”
Mindful of the advancements that have been made in the field of tool and cutter grinders, in addition to considering the latest ANCA machine, Pro-Cut Tooling also looked at the offerings from other leading manufacturers. Having witnessed demonstrations of the available alternatives, Pro-Cut came to the conclusion that ANCA’s flexible new FX5 Linear machine best suited our needs.
“Now installed and fully operational, the use of our advanced new ANCA tool and cutter grinder has slashed our machine downtimes and reduced setup times between our small batches. Our use of the new ANCA machine is resulting in excellent levels of tool accuracy and surface finish characteristics, whilst its speed and flexibility has given our production a significant boost and provided the competitive advantage that we were looking for,” said Weymes.
The recently launched ANCA FX Linear range consists of three cutting-edge, cost effective tool and cutter grinders that are able to perform tasks from light manufacturing to regrinding and full production. Innovative new features include a touchscreen that is customizable with Windows and a handheld pendant for simplified setups. Despite the FX Linear machine’s large working envelope, the advanced new grinders occupy a relatively small footprint. Every part on the new machines, from the positioning of the grinding wheel on the C-axis centerline (to reduce thermal influence), to the ANCA patented linear motors, have been aimed at enhancing accuracy, increasing productivity and making operator’s tasks significantly easier.
The advanced new FX Linear range uses ANCA LinX Linear motors for axis motion (X & Y axes). In conjunction with linear scales, a high degree of machine precision and performance is achieved, resulting in greater tool accuracy and superior surface finish characteristics. The cylindrical LinX Linear Motors experience less wear in use, as there are no contacting parts and have been designed for a lifetime of operation in harsh grinding environments. Aiding longevity, LinX Linear motors are sealed to IP67, guarding against the ingress of grinding contamination and further helping to extend the life of the linear motor.
As the magnetic field is cylindrical there is no additional down force on the rails or machine base. In addition, the high-quality motors are not affected by temperature variations. LinX Linear motors deliver higher axis speed and faster acceleration, while maintaining smoother axis motion, leading to reduced cycle times.
The LinX uses less energy than an equivalent flat-bed style linear motor and has the same power consumption as a ballscrew system, while delivering higher levels of efficiency. The design of the motor also naturally isolates any heating effects from the machine. In addition, the LinX does not need a separate chiller unit as it uses the machine’s regular coolant system, further reducing both required floor space and power consumption.
The mid-range FX5 Linear model purchased by Pro-Cut Tooling is ideal for users who need a degree of automation and options such as MicroPlus workholding. The FX5 Linear has a spindle power of 9.5 kW and also includes an automatic two-wheel changer, providing access to an increased range of wheels and tool types.
Together with the optional automatic headstock clamping and ANCA’s auto tool loading solutions, the FX5 enables untended operation and has the flexibility to handle small volumes and mixed batches of tools.
The FX7 Linear is well-suited for customers who require the flexibility provided by more spindle power, or the increased automation capacity that a robot can provide. Automation options include the FX Nachi Robot Tool Loader, a tool loading system that is fully contained within the machine canopy. This is a low-cost solution for customers seeking automation and is perfect for low-volume production runs.
For those requiring extended periods of untended operation and maximum productivity, the FX FANUC Robot Loader is a versatile automation solution that is located completely within the machine. It provides the flexibility for high-volume tool loading and can also be used to auto-load up to six wheel packs and their coolant manifolds.
Less than 3 µm of tool run-out can be achieved by the addition of MicroPlus ANCA’s high accuracy workholding and tool support system. Also, the ANCA LaserPlus system provides accurate and repeatable measurement of tools inside the machine. The LaserPlus can automatically measure OD, run-out, EOT, ball nose and corner radius profile tools. The LaserPlus can accurately measure tool geometries in-process to within ±2 µm.
ANCA’s optional iView measuring system is able to accurately measure the ground tool while it is still located in the workholding on the machine. The image of the ground tool as taken by the iView camera is compared with an ideal overlay shape generated by the software.
For more information from ANCA Inc., go to www.anca.com, or phone 248-926-4466.