Machinery developed generic fixtures that achieved this with just 11 base fixtures. This machine is now capable of grinding, in many cases, an entire tree of parts in a single automated cycle, replacing the existing process of one piece at a time on a manual backstand machine.

This has greatly improved

safety, efficiency and process control in the foundry. This machine has also implemented the bar code scanner and RFID options. This requires the operator to load the correct part and fixture combination and reduces likelihood of operator error. A representative from DePuy Synthes stated, “DePuy Synthes has purchased a RGS850 Reciprocating Bed Grinder to eliminate ergo issues associated with hand grinding and repetitive motion, as well as reducing operator time manually grinding castings. Through collaboration with AW Bell Machinery, multiple casting product family’s examples were sent to AW Bell Machinery for their expertise in designing grinding fixtures capable of being interchanged quickly onto their equipment. The machine is currently undergoing validation activities at the foundry with the expectations of significant reduction in time and labor resources. We are working to validate the grinding of both flat and profile surfaces which the machine easily can do. There are several benefits already apparent from these above activities. These benefits being: reduced machinery footprint, improved noise reduction, area cleanliness due to the capture of grinding residue and the biggest benefit to DePuy Synthes: the throughput and cycle time reduction of grinding these previously manual ground parts.

Hitchiner Manufacturing – Aerospace Sector “AW Bell has supplied us with two of their RGS series grinders in the past year (one RGS250 and one RGS850), and these machines have been responsible for

increasing throughput both by

decreasing cycle rate and decreasing scrap. In the case of both purchases, AW Bell has well exceeded initial


Recipients of the Innovator of the Year have successfully incorporated improvements in the investment casting process in one or more of the following areas:

• Technology • Process Improvement

• New Process or Product Introduction • New Machine Introduction • Safety Improvement • Cost Reduction

• Creative Business Concept • Customer Satisfaction

• Operational Improvement • Quality Enhancement • Environmental Impact

expectations in cycle times, even by as much as 50% in the case of the RGS850. One of the best aspects of working with AW Bell has been their willingness to take a new approach. In both cases, we have requested non-standard options on our machines that have required AW Bell to reach outside of their comfort zone. These requests have ranged from replacing existing technology with alternative versions, to integrating new and untested technology. AW Bell has always come through with new and innovative solutions,” Joe Peterson of Hitchiner Manufacturing stated. “Taking a step back to 2018,

AW Bell’s first machine produced for Hitchiner was one of their RGS230 units. This rotary grind machine was purchased with the intent of grinding some of our flatter components, however, when the machine’s capabilities were tested at runoff, we found that the tolerances required for the finish of many of our parts were just too tight for the machine as it was. Not being satisfied with the status quo, AW Bell found that they were able to adjust and swap key components of the machine to allow us to target a much tighter range. Thanks to these improvements, Hitchiner was able to cut our grinding cycle times by as much as 30% over current techniques and eliminate the need for a manual finishing operation down the line,” Peterson continued. “Moving into 2019, the first

challenge we presented to AW Bell with our RGS850 was the conical nature of our castings. Throughout the aerospace

industry, conical profiled panels are the norm. We challenged AW Bell to accommodate for the nature of these profiles with a 2-axis machine by incorporating a third axis nonstandard option. The original plan was to develop a rotational axis that turned about the X-axis. AW Bell found this to be an unsatisfactory solution as the X-axis had a tendency to lose its reliability when competing directly with a grind wheel. Going the extra step, AW Bell redesigned the axis to instead turn about the Y-axis. This move not only provided more consistent results, but it also helped maintain the integrity of the machine.” “In the second case for our RGS850

grinder, we asked AW Bell to integrate third party laser system technology to accommodate our personal needs and objectives. As many in the manufacturing industry can attest, finding medium skilled labor can be a challenge, especially in physically demanding or dirty positions like grinding. Using the third party laser system, AW Bell has been able to help remove the burden we place on the operators by creating a feedback loop within the machine to

internally compensate for belt

degradation over time and even warn operators when belts are ready to be replaced.” “AW Bell’s constant improvement and unwillingness to settle with ‘good enough’ results, has supplied Hitchiner with custom machines that exceed expectations on almost every Peterson concluded.

front,” November 2019 ❘ 13

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