News & Press

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News & Press


Comprehensive display of high precision metal cutting and grinding technology from Hardinge Inc. at AMB

AMB 2018:  Stuttgart, Halle 5, Stand B80. The latest Kellenberger 100 platform concept cylindrical grinding machine features alongside two Hardinge…
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UK machine debut and Okamoto introduction are highlights for Jones & Shipman at MACH

Stand 875 – Hall H20 The UK debut of an entirely new Kellenberger universal grinding machine concept and a first…
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Comprehensive grinding solutions on offer from Hardinge Grinding Group at Grindtec

Kellenberger, the Swiss manufacturer of high precision grinding machines, is representing the interests of the international Hardinge Grinding Group at…
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Kellenberger 1000 – Swissness par excellence

State of the art technology, a cool design and top ease of use. For 20 years now, the firm Kellenberger…
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Jones & Shipman precision and repeatability proving winning combination for Xtrac

Since installing a new Jones & Shipman Ultramat 1000 EASY touch screen controlled cylindrical grinding machine, world leading transmission specialist Xtrac Ltd has experienced significant improvements in its grinding section productivity and component quality. A long standing user of J&S grinding machines, Xtrac was established in Finchinhampstead in 1984 and moved to its purpose built factory in Thatcham in 2000. Today, Xtrac is widely acknowledged as the world’s foremost designer and manufacturer of performance car transmissions and gearboxes – ranging from F1 bespoke products to vintage car one-off’s. As Steve Bowley, the company’s grinding manager explains, continuing high demand coupled with challenging lead times and a wide inventory of components combined to make the case for the latest Jones & Shipmen investment. “We go back a long way with J&S and they were our first port of call when considering a replacement for our ageing manual grinding machines,” he explains. “That said, it was a demanding brief. Although the factory is geared for full production work, in engineering terms the environment is more akin with that of a toolroom – very high quality but shorter and prototype work. That scenario is what attracted us to the EASY programming feature on the Ultramat. But that said, it had to operate 24 hours a day!” “In terms of the contribution it has made in our grinding section the numbers speak for themselves. We estimate an additional 50 machining hours a week has been created simply by the productivity benefits offered by the unit – reduced downtime, faster set up’s and speed of operation. Our assessment is that the Ultramat’s capability has replaced three older machines. “Then there is the quality and repeatability. Here we have a machine capable of maintaining a 1 micron tolerance if needed, day in and day out. And such is the surface quality we are achieving that we have in a number of cases been able to eliminate costly – and time consuming – polishing operations. Equipped with the latest Fanuc Oi-TD touch screen CNC control with an embedded Windows® system and the latest J&S software suite, the Ultramat 1000 EASY offers the operator all of the advantages of CNC control without the complexity of programming traditional CNC systems. Its icon based software can interpolate two axes simultaneously to enable precision grinding of highly complex shapes and profiles and offers a choice of manual, semi or fully automatic operation. The self teach features enable inexperienced and experienced operators alike to become immediately more productive with all the controls immediately to hand for setting and to revert to manual operation when required. A range of wheelhead configurations enable the operator to tailor the machine precisely to the end use. These include universal options with manual swivel or a fully automatic B axis, programmable to 0.001°. External only wheelheads with wheel options up to 500 x 80mm in both straight approach and angle head are also offered. As with all J&S machines, great emphasis has been placed on machine design and build quality to enable maximum thermal stability and heat isolation to ensure the consistency of the finished workpiece. The Xtrac grinding facility accommodates a range of grinding techniques – cylindrical grinding, surface and profile grinding, jig grinding, straight, helical and bevel gear grinding. “Consistency and repeatability are the key features,” continues Steve. “Given the value of some of the components we manufacture it goes without saying we can’t afford to lose one and as grinding is only one of a range of processes in the manufacturing operation we must be spot on, every time.” Precision and accuracy apart there is another challenge for Xtrac – the workpiece materials. Case hardened steels predominate but Xtrac has, over the years, invested considerable resources in developing its own workpiece steels. The aggressive operating environments of motorsport demands very stable processes and component materials are a vital factor. That in itself presents very demanding grinding environments and Xtrac works closely with its grinding wheel supplier Winterthur and the J&S technicians to create optimum machining environments. As part of its investment in grinding machines, Xtrac has also added a Jones & Shipman 524 EASY surface grinder to its capacity. Again, this machine is equipped with EASY touch screen control and software. Ends