A top tier technical glass OEM required a precision grinding solution for quartz glass rod components which will be transformed into fiber optic cable cores. They needed to improve their existing process to increase output while maintaining a small footprint in their factory. Precision is paramount as the glass will ultimately need to transmit light over long distances without any boosting and without losing any of the information that has been encoded onto that light.
Glebar was able to design and build an automated form grinding system for the customer by configuring a PG-9x20DHD Infeed Centerless Form Grinder with a 20-inch-long diamond plated work wheel. Having one of the smallest footprints in the market, the machine is easy-to-operate with HMI controls and custom software designed by Glebar specific for this application. Glebar engineers also worked closely with the customer to design a custom gantry that integrates efficiently into their cell and process flow. Absolute encoders are used to facilitate startup. The increased automation will provide the customer long term savings by reducing downtime.
The 1”x 18” glass rod is placed on the automated gantry feeding system, which pushes the component into the grinding area. A pair of safety push buttons were installed to insure both hands are clear of the work area. Servo controls (versus previously used stepper) provide extremely accurate slide positioning. The fully automatic slide and regulating wheel bearing lubrication systems, minimize wear and increase up time. The plunge grind operation is completed within 42 seconds and the required tolerance of +/-.001" was easily achieved and maintained over the entire 18" while removing .015" of stock with no chipping.
The PG-9X20DHD form grinding machine was developed to size pre-sintered carbide rods in the pre-fired state. Additional applications include crystal quartz glass boules used to make fiber optics.