The Bangalore-based plant of Hindustan Aeronautics has taken delivery of a Bridgeport FGC-2 Flexible Grinding Centre from Hardinge Machine Tools for the manufacture of low and high pressure jet engine nozzle guide vanes.
A similar turn-key flexible grinding centre solution completed by Hardinge is manufacturing vanes for a China-based supplier.
The system supplied to China is made-up of a stand-alone Bridgeport FGC-2 Flexible Grinding Centre that is manually operated, where the order placed by Hindustan Aeronautics called for an integrated robotised cell to be constructed around a similar machine tool that will be working within a temperature controlled environment.
Designed to offer good access for loading and unloading, the five-axis Bridgeport FGC-2 Flexible Grinding Centre combines the milling and drilling processes into the same cycle as the grinding operation.
The Flexible Grinding Centre remains at the core of the Cell, which also comprises a Hexagon DEA CMM
A Kuka robot, suspended from a Gudel overhead gantry, is also incorporated into the Cell as part of a loading/unloading station.
Said to incorporate the performance features of a vertical machining centre, the Bridgeport FGC 2 machine is designed to handle a number of primary machining operations within a single set up.
The Cell created for Hindustan Aeronautics is designed to reduce the processing time associated with the nozzle guide vanes by half, based on an opertion cycle of between 10 and 20 minutes.
Six components are sent through a 32 operation cycle that results in six part variants, with the FCG-2 responsilbe for grinding, milling, and drilling.
Parts requiring a lot of material to be removed are measured, roughly grinded, unloaded and re-measured, finished, then measured again.
Components that need less material removing only need the finishing cycle, while welded components are ground after joining.
The CMM and the machine will carry out component casting measurement to optimise throat area.
A final 'quality' audit is carried out once the FGC has completed the machining cycles.
Finished parts are re-probed and then moved to the unload station, where their position indicates whether they have passed or if they require further work.