MAS Srlis a leading manufacturer since 1977 of Vertical Grinders and Honing equipment. We are pleased to be their US distributer. Please contact us to discuss your specific manufacturing requirements and we can build a machine to your exacting specifications.
In vertical grinding, the workpiece is held upright in a rotary chuck with the grinding spindle overhead. This configuration can improve roundness, facilitate single-setup processing and prolong the life of the machine. Loading and unloading may get easier, too. Workpieces with relatively large diameters and short lengths benefit the most from vertical grinding.
By now, we are used to machine tool configurations that break from the normal and the conventional. Each new way of arranging axes or orienting the cutting tool and workpiece causes us to rethink the basics of metal cutting and to discover new options for producing parts more efficiently.
Vertical grinding is certainly a case in point.
Vertical grinding, as the name implies, fixtures the workpiece on a rotary chuck in the base of the machine, similar to the workpiece orientation on a vertical lathe. The grinding spindle travels up and down and side to side (and may also swivel) from above the workpiece.
In recent years MAS S.r.l. has been a major supporter of vertical grinding and has patented a grinding method which allows the grinding wheel to get deeper when machining ID* thanks to the non-traditional spindle tilting mechanisms and its spindle reduced dimensions. This feature gives to the machine a huge advantage over its competitors who are trying to emulate the system.
The distinguishing characteristic of this grinder from a structural standpoint is that both the grinding spindle and the workpiece are installed vertically, rather than horizontally, for grinding the ID, OD and face of cylindrical part features. The grinding wheel head is controlled simultaneously in the horizontal axis (the direction of the workpiece diameter) and the vertical axis (the longitudinal direction of the workpiece). The strength of these machines is in grinding round shapes and plans in one positioning.
Here’s why vertical grinding has its special merits.
Less Distortion, Better Roundness
On a vertical grinder, the workpiece sits upright in the chuck. On a horizontal grinder, clamping force is required to keep the workpiece from falling out of the chuck. A vertically clamped workpiece requires
only enough clamping force to resist grinding forces. Gravity works in favor of, not against, the grinding process.
Because fixturing on a vertical grinder requires less clamping force, there is likely to be less distortion of the workpiece. This reduces the chances of roundness error. According to the builder, vertical grinding can achieve a roundness error of less than ± one micron (less than ±0.000039 inch) based on the results derived from standard test workpieces.
Finished In One Chucking
A vertical grinder can do OD, ID and face grinding. Depending on the shape of the workpiece, all three can be applied in a single chucking. When this is possible, it avoids error caused by multiple chucking. Circularity between the ID and OD and squareness of the ID and OD to the face can be maintained more accurately. Because the workpiece and the grinding spindle are vertical, there is virtually no sag to contend with. The structure of the machine is inherently rigid.
Combining operations in one setup offers obvious economies. Fewer setups means less part handling, shorter lead times, fewer machines and lower labor costs.
A vertical grinder can be easier to load and unload. Manual loading and unloading do not require supporting the workpiece while activating the chuck. The operator simply sets the workpiece down inside the chuck. Centering the workpiece also occurs more naturally because there is no uneven force of gravity as the jaws close.
Loading and unloading with a hoist or robot may also be simpler because the workpiece in the chuck can have the same stable orientation it has on the carrousel or transport tray. For example, a disk-shaped part such as a gear can be delivered flat down to be picked up for loading. It is likewise placed flat down in the chuck of the grinder.
Vertical grinders are also generally more compact than comparable horizontal grinders. Vertical grinders take up more air space than floor space. This leaves room for automatic loaders or a robot on the side of the machine, making automation a more attractive option
Keeping Dust Out
On a horizontal grinder, the sliding surfaces of the X and Z axes are lower than the point of grinding action. As configured on the Taiyo Koki machines, a vertical grinder positions the sliding ways of these axes above the grinding action. Grinding dust does not fall onto these moving surfaces. This reduces wear and prolongs the life of the machine while preserving its accuracy.
From this discussion, it is clear that workpieces with relatively large diameters and short lengths benefit the most from vertical grinding. Many automotive parts have geometries that lend themselves to vertical grinding. Automotive parts are the most common applications for vertical grinders. A typical non-automotive application is the vertical grinding of spindle housings for machine tools. Such workpieces can be processed efficiently on larger models of vertical grinders.
The application also dictates what type of vertical grinder is most appropriate. Models with the grinding spindle locked in a vertical position work best where optimum results for ID grinding are critical. This configuration is suitable for face grinding in addition to ID grinding. According to the builder, this is the most popular style of vertical grinder.
Models with the grinding spindle fixed at a 30-degree angle for use with angular grinding wheels work best where optimum results for OD grinding are critical. Face grinding is also feasible on these models.
Automatic tool changing is available for certain models with vertically fixed grinding spindles. The spindle moves in the X and Z axes to access drop-off and pick-up stations protected by a door that automatically opens and closes. This system allows grinding tools to be exchanged, adding to the flexibility and productivity of the vertical grinding process.