Viper Grinder Wins Award

Makino-NCMT Grinding Division won the category "Best Grinding/Abrasive Machine Tool" for the Makino i-Grinder G5 VIPER grinding machine at this year's MWP Awards Dinner. It was held on April 22 in Birmingham, UK, during the MACH 2008 machine tool exhibition. The award was collected on the night by Alan Gibbons, Director of Technology at NCMT, which is sole agent in the UK for the Japanese-built Makino range of machines.

"Taking the final step into making this previously hybrid manufacturing method into an all-in-one efficient process - the concept has revolutionised the way the aero industry machines nickel alloys" was the quote from the panel of eleven independent judges about the i-Grinder G5 and the reason it selected the machine as the winner.

VIPER grinding is a production process patented by Rolls-Royce that employs a machining centre for creep feed grinding primarily of nickel alloy components for the 'hot' end of gas turbine engines. It has been an international success since its introduction in 2001, as it has proved to be much faster than all of the machining techniques it was introduced to replace, namely CBN grinding, broaching, milling and turning.

One of the partners in the development project - Makino -introduced the new i-Grinder G5, designed specifically to exploit the technology to the full. Until then, the platform was a standard Makino A55 horizontal machining centre, albeit extensively modified with very high-pressure coolant delivery to the vitrified aluminium oxide wheel via programmable nozzles and through the high-speed spindle.

The new, purpose-built, 5-axis machine, which offers a 10 per cent productivity improvement, is marketed in Europe and Scandinavia by Makino-NCMT Grinding Division, a UK operation that has acquired a reputation as world leader in the research and development of the superabrasive process.

The reduction in non-cut time comes from a number of factors, including an increase in linear rapid traverse rate from 40 to 48 m/min. Faster rotary workhead speed, which has more than doubled to 100 rpm, is especially beneficial when grinding smaller components.

Probably the most critical improvement, however, is in the design of the programmable coolant nozzles. They are more versatile on the i-Grinder G5, as they may be positioned by two rotary NC axes anywhere through 360 degrees around the periphery of the grinding wheel, rather than through just 180 degrees, as was the case with the Makino A55.

A big advantage of VIPER grinding on a horizontal machining centre is that in addition to abrasive wheels, other live and static tools such as milling cutters, drills, broaches or turning tools may be exchanged automatically between the tool magazine and the spindle, allowing additional machining operations to be carried out in the same cycle.

In addition to the machining of aerospace and land turbine components, VIPER (very impressive performance extreme removal) grinding is also suitable for cost-effective manufacture of medical implants, especially as their increasing complexity is making manufacture more difficult on conventional or modified tool and cutter grinders.

Makino-NCMT Grinding Division,
NCMT Limited, Ferry Works, Summer Road,
Thames Ditton, Surrey KT7 0QJ
Tel: 020 8398 4277. Fax: 020 8398 3631.
Contact: Dave Burley,
Divisional Director - Marketing.

The Right Image Ltd,
PO Box 42, Twickenham, TW1 1BQ.
Tel: 020 8891 0603
Contact: Chris Wright.

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