In a highly competitive market, Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive component suppliers to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are constantly challenged to produce millions of parts to a high degree of precision while maintaining a profitable business. Component manufacturers face increasing costs related to materials, labor, and real estate. They have to consider many variables before deciding to take on high-volume production for the major automotive OEMs. They are also held to high standards in providing 100% quality parts due to risks in car recalls that have made recent headlines.
As an example, the centerless grinding process for manufacturing fuel injector valve pins can be an arduous task. Today’s green environment requires fuel delivery systems to constantly be developed for increased efficiency. This requires components to be redesigned and tested at a rapid rate. Many fuel injector components incorporate many critical dimensions, all of which need to be centerless ground.
Additionally, the quality of the finished ground part is as important as the cycle time. With all of these factors contributing to a more complex manufacturing environment, it is necessary to excel and improve in all facets of the manufacturing process. As part of the bidding for lucrative, high-volume part orders, companies need to supply in-specification parts that have to pass stringent testing. Extensive time is required on conventional centerless grinders to produce in-spec parts, which often leads to companies missing the window of opportunity to get these orders.
In early 2016, Glebar was approached by a Tier 1 automotive vendor to fast-track a process to supply its customer with finish-ground fuel injector pins. In past development projects, lead times for ground components could be upwards of 16 weeks. This is due to the extremely long lead time of a reverse-plated dressing wheel, which is very complicated to make. Adding further risk is that it often takes a few times before a reverse-plated wheel is made correctly, which complicates the development process. A reverse-plated dressing roller can be very accurate, but it takes patience and capital to get it right.
Glebar provided a solution to expedite the grinding development by using its GT-610 CNC grinding system with full CNC work wheel dressing, incorporating a single disc CVD dress roller. The CNC dressing system has sub-micron positional accuracy; therefore, intricate forms can be dressed into the work wheel to generate critical dimensions required in the production of the fuel injector part. The ability to use a single disc roller allows the end user to generate a multitude of profiles using one roller rather than using a reverse-plated roller for every different profile. This leads to shorter lead times for sample parts and reduced cost of tooling in the part-testing phase.
No one is questioning the use of reverse-plated rollers in a production environment; it is very often a great solution when grinding automotive components. But when there is a short window to provide sample parts, within a certain upfront cost structure, the versatility of being able to use single-disc rollers, as well as reverse-plated rollers, enables the end user to develop fast-track development projects and fully automated long-term production runs. Glebar’s GT-610 CNC is also capable of using reverse-plated rollers in a production environment, providing the flexibility of both rapid prototyping in addition to high production dressing coupled with rapid wheel changeover.
In today’s challenging manufacturing environment, machine tools are now more than ever required to be multi-faceted and vertically integrated. The market of today and the future requires manufacturers to ensure that their machines incorporate the latest technology.
IMTS 2016 Booth #N-7317
About the author: Mark Bannayan is vice president of sales and marketing at Glebar Co. He can be reached at or email@example.com.