IMTS 2014 visitors were witness to numerous sleek and shiny new models, with curvy cabinets and touchscreen terminals. Among the new design introduced there – one that enclosed a novel, and high-concept, production technology — was the ANCA FX Linear series. The three machines with incorporate new motion and control technologies, and the developers promise users will achieve higher levels of grinding accuracy and performance, with reduced maintenance requirements, in a smaller foot print.
ANCA also noted that no other machine tool offers the tubular shaft linear motors it designed for the ANCA FX Series grinders. The machines are designed to check the punch list of requirements for modern manufacturers: increased productivity and reduced operating cost, and to improve tool and cutter quality.
Newly developed software is available for the series, to enhance program performance and simplify the operation.
“The FX machine range will be released with a new generation of software RN33 and uses a new generation of automation technology designed and developed by subsidiary ANCA Motion,” previewed Grant Anderson, ANCA CEO/director. “These new developments include the LinX linear motors as well the new touch-pad user interface, high-performance CNC, remote pendant, AMD5x servo drives and IO box, all of which use the latest Ethercat communication technology.”
The FX series consists of three machine levels. FX3 Linear, FX5 Linear, and FX7 Linear. Suitable to multiple machining projects (light manufacturing, regrinding, full production), the series’ best performance and productivity range is for tools up to diameter 12 mm. It offers grinding capabilities for tools up to 200 mm diameter. Maximum wheel diameter is 8 in.
The AMD5x control system supports machine operation, starting with the ANCA CNC Pad operator panel that is a full touch screen. This design offers Windows 8 functionality (e.g., multi touch, zoom), and the screen layout is intuitive, configured to the machine options. A hand-held pendant improves the operator’s access to the machine during setup.
Tubular Linear Motor
ANCA Motion designed and built the ANCA LinX Linear motors for long service life in demanding workplace settings. It’s a fully enclosed design, resistant to the potentially contaminating conditions of high-performance grinding.
LinX linear motors provide axis motion in the X and Y axes. The vertical Z axis uses a preloaded ballscrew to move the grinding head. Coupled with linear scales, ANCA reported the linear motors achieve high levels of machine precision and performance, promoting tool accuracy and improving surface finish. Linear motors avoid performance issues resulting from ballscrew wear, loss of preload or rigidity, permit smoother axis motion, and eliminate backlash. The benefit to the tool grinding process is seen higher quality finished parts.
“LinX Linear motor’s design naturally isolates any motor heating effects from the machine elements and allows the use of grinding coolant for temperature control,” an ANCA representative explained, “and thus does not require a separate dedicated coolant and chiller system. So, there is no additional power consumption, and no increase in ambient factory temperature.”
With linear scales, LinX delivers machining accuracy, impervious to effects of temperature variations. With no mechanical moving parts there is no loss of machine accuracy due to wear. Higher axis speed and acceleration allow reduced cycle times. LinX motors provide a rapid speed of 50 meters/min. No additional load is placed on machine axis guidance due to the magnetic attraction in the scales.
Elements of Design
The ANCA FX Linear machines are compact designs with large working envelopes. The grinding wheel is positioned on the C axis centreline, which reduces temperature influence on machine elements. The polymer-concrete base ensures a thermally stable and rigid machine.
The FX3 Linear is the entry-level model, providing an affordable first step into CNC tool and cutter grinding. ANCA indicated the technology available with this machine provides an exceptional price/performance ratio. It’s not available without any automation, but it offers the same software and application diversity of the other ANCA machines.
The FX5 Linear introduces an automated two-wheel changer for increased range of available wheels and tool types. With optional automatic headstock clamping and a compact loader, it can provide unmanned operation.
The FX7 Linear is a machine for manufacturing and resharpening. The powerful 19-Kw wheel spindle provides the high levels of speed and productivity needed to produce multiple tool types and geometries.
The FX7 also has high-performance servo-drives for quicker machine movement and reduced cycle times. It has a standard automatic headstock and a range of high-productivity options, including a robot loader with capacity to load up to 840 tools, a six-station wheel changer for auto loading of wheel packs and coolant manifolds, a compact loader, and laser probe for in-process tool measurement.