Transforming through innovation with ANCA’s AIMS at GrindingHub 2022


The future factory is efficient, automated and runs round the clock. It uses modular programs scripts, remote access, and cutting-edge machines to operate at maximum efficiency.

The world of CNC machining thrives on innovation. Grinding machines, cutting tools and software are constantly evolving to be more efficient, flexible, accurate and automated. ANCA chases customer requirements to identify the next challenge to solve — constantly iterating and refining its technology. Over its 40 plus years of operations, developments that were considered cutting-edge are now business as usual — even at ANCA, we reflect on how revolutionary our early products felt.

Pat Boland, ANCA Co-Founder and Joint Managing Director, said: “We can recall a time when it was almost impossible to resharpen cutting tools on a CNC machine. That was until 1986, when ANCA launched our TG4, the first machine in the world to automate the measurement of tool geometry and regrinding through probing.”

“Or when we introduced the System 32 which, for the first time, applied advanced robotic software to tool grinding which enabled significant opportunities, for example, the soft axis or soft machine kinematics which simplified the grinding of cutting tools. We’ve come a long way, from probing for cutting tools, leading the competition in five-axis grinding or from simulating grinding processes before grinding with the CIM3D.”
“Designing the best technology requires a multi-pronged approach. We immerse ourselves in the market; are continually inventing; keep a keen eye on new developments and bring them into our applications. We seek out intelligent, talented people, and interact with customers daily to understand their specific needs. This is how we design and manufacture our market-leading solutions.”

ANCA will showcase its latest innovations at the GrindingHub in Stuttgart, May 17-20, Hall 10, C51. “Automation and digitization are at the center of this exceptional display. We are showing industry 4.0 solutions that fit with the context and targets of our customers, be it small, mid-sized or larger companies,” says Martin Winterstein, Sales Manager for Europe.

The CPX in-process OD measurement system is a quality control system that monitors and controls the OD of ground blanks within a batch production.

Batch grinding on a CPX with high material removal rates and to tight tolerances is a basic function of the machine, the OD measurement system takes it further by utilising the Statistical Process Control (SPC) feature that comes standard with the OD measurement software. SPC is user defined, the tolerances along with the Cp and CpK values are constantly monitored, controlled, and reported to the user.

The OD measurement system is permanently mounted inside the machine and only called upon when required, based on the set tolerances and the frequency of measurement, an accurate in-process measurement and compensation is applied to maintain the blank OD to the nominal diameter.
The system is flexible with the ability to handle multiple diameters in one setup, making it perfect for complex blank geometries/shapes and longer batch runs.

ANCA’s Integrated Manufacturing System (AIMS) is the future of optimised cutting tool production through streamlined manufacturing and connectivity. With ANCA and AIMS, customers can achieve continuous, unattended production that dramatically reduces non-productive machine time, with smart automation that connects sequential tool production processes and offers connectivity across the whole factory.

This is Industry 4.0 — factory-wide integration. The technology considers a factory as a single machine, rather than separating it into many different elements of design, blank preparation, grinding, laser marking, washing, packing and shipment. This is a powerful concept that brings together one ecosystem and builds it to be as efficient as possible. AIMS, being a modular solution, could be deployed in stages, allowing for easy, gradual and smooth transition from traditional to automated and integrated manufacturing.

An AIMS manufacturing cell will be displayed at GrindingHub, demonstrating a fully automatic process of tool manufacturing starting from the pallet with blanks and finishing with pallets with ground tools.

The GrindingHub demo consists of the following components:
– AutoSet – preparation station, it is a main operator interface. Jobs scheduled for production are downloaded through the AIMS Server to the AutoSet station and are prepared for production here, pallets are being loaded with blanks for further automatic process

– AutoFetch – AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot) responsible for material transfer between processes replacing operators carrying pallets or individual tools between machines/processes. The AutoFetch robot will transfer full pallets with blanks to the respective grinder, will pick up an individual tool from a grinder for out-of-process measurement and compensation and then will pick up a pallet of finished tools and transfer it to the Finished Goods area

– MX7 Linear grinder equipped with AutoLine Advanced loader (Robomate 2 loader with AIMS kit installed), allowing for accepting pallets presented by the AutoFetch

– Zoller Genius with Zoller AutoLine Advanced responsible for out-of-process measurement of individual tools from a batch being manufactured. Measurement values are transferred to the respective grinder and compensation of grinding parameters is taking place based on individual customers tolerance settings.

AutoMarkX is an automatic stand-alone laser marking station replacing manual and labour-intensive processes. It is AIMS Ready, which means it can be used as a standalone machine but could be easily integrated to your lights out, unmanned AIMS manufacturing cell with automatic pallet transfer using AutoFetch robot.

The AutoMarkX eliminates the need for manual laser marking which is a repetitive and labour-intensive job which could be automated and therefore saving you money. By avoiding manual handling, tool quality is protected by eliminating risk of chipping.

AutoMarkX accepts up to two full pallets of tools, which means you can mark a large batch of tools unmanned. Flexible marking means the message could be etched on a single side of the shank or on opposite sides of the shank as well as at the end of tool. The last option is particularly useful for applications where a unique tool identification code (e.g. Datamatrix) needs to be etched on the tool. Codes like Datamatrix are usually etched on the shank where they risk the exposure to excessive surface wear, rendering them unreadable. The end of tool is the best location to etch this type of code to overcome this issue.

ANCA understands the requirement to continuously reduce cost within the production processes which is a particular challenge in smaller production batches of complex tools and in regrinding process. To address this challenge ANCA has developed a flexible solution utilising RFID technology, our LaserUltra closed loop measurement and barcode reader interfaced into our iGrind and end-customer’s ERP system. This system will be demonstrated on the FX7 Linear platform. The demonstration will highlight how to set up a tool for regrind utilising a barcode reader and QR code, how to easily make adjustments within our ANCA software, what inputs are possible in an ERP system, setting up the RFID to allow mixed diameter automation and the actual grinding process itself. The FX7 Linear machine will also be fitted with the Pop-Up Steady, AutoStick, Auto Wheel Qualification and iView.

The standalone MX7 Linear with RoboMate loader will be demonstrating ANCA’s solution for grinding and auto loading of indexable inserts. The machine and loader will be installed with workholding, grippers, pallets and interchange station specifically for the manufacture of special inserts.
Accessories fitted on the machine include the 4-station Auto Stick, Auto Wheel Qualification and LaserUltra.

Driven by the automotive industry’s electrification and the general rise of e-mobility, the demand for skiving cutters has seen 30% year on year growth. The GCX Linear provides a complete solution for customers to tap into this rapidly developing market, including the ability to produce skiving cutters, shaper cutters and regrinding of hobs. It offers advanced stand-alone software to design and optimise the tool, neatly interfaced with the gear tool package inside ANCA’s renowned ToolRoom software. The machine is designed for accuracy with features including all axes with LinX linear motors and an enhanced headstock. GCX Linear also added a series of technologies: AEMS dressing, MTC on grinding spindle and dresser spindle, integrated gear tool measurement and direct compensation – setting the new standard for producing skiving tools that achieve the highest DIN AA quality class.

Due to the skiving tool’s novelty, many gear measurement machines still don’t have the correct mathematical model for evaluating the quality of the cutter. Leading the world in solving the quality control issue, ANCA developed the world-first integrated gear tool measurement system, which enables the grinding-measuring-compensation all done in the machine, as the only practical closed-loop solution.

At GrindingHub, the GCX Linear will demonstrate the skiving cutter production process assisted with the industry-first integrated gear tool measurement system.

Want to know more about this article?
Ask us below...

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.