Radio Frequency Regrinding

June 26, 2023
ANCA applies RFID to FX CNC grinding machines to create a lights-out machine tool regrinding system to automatically process mixed batches of tools without the need to pre-sort the tools.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) was once one of the most widely discussed technologies for use in various manufacturing industry applications, from assembly to shipping. Though radio frequency technologies have taken a bit of a backseat to other identification and positioning technologies as prices for those other technologies have dropped, radio frequency tech has not disappeared. In fact, it’s seeing a bit of a resurgence, as evidenced by Humatics application of RF microlocation in its in-motion assembly technology.

As further evidence of RF tech’s continued use, ANCA, a CNC grinding machine supplier, has released its FX-RFID automated regrinding system that can process mixed tool batches in a lights-out operation. According to ANCA, its FX-RFID allows for tools of various types and diameters and from different orders to be dynamically loaded, rather than having to be pre-sorted by diameter or customer as typically necessary in mixed batches.

ANCA’s FX-RFID is targeted at machine tool service providers, such as Australia’s CarbitoolTool, which manufactures carbide tools for the woodworking, cabinetry, joinery, furniture, timber and panel industries. Carbitool is the first user of ANCA’s FX-RFID system in Australia. A video explaining Carbitool’s use of FX-RFID can be found below.

ANCA’s FX-RFID system comes with an extension to the machine canopy and a Fanuc 200iD robot. Dynamic loading of the FX is enabled by the following system components: Dynamic Tool Group Manager—this programming station is used to prepare the tools for regrinding. Using ANCA’s RFID workflow, tools can be loaded into the machine without having to pre-program individual pallet pockets. ANCA says the RFID and tool carrier can be placed anywhere on the RFID pallet top, with the tool holder's RFID code used to locate the assigned program.

  • RFID assembly (using Sick reader and interchange station).
  • Bench-mounted scanning station.
  • A Schunk collet adapter and collet rack to hold up to six bayonet collets.
  • RFID pallet top with 88 tool capacity and RFID tool carriers.

A key capability of the FX-RFID is its ability to run lights out for hours at a time. Referencing this capability, ANCA notes: While some resharpening services aim to run their machines unattended for a brief period with only a small mixed batch of tools…ANCA's RFID solution enables them to run their machines unattended for several hours, or even overnight. When the machine picks up the tool with the RFID tool holder, it scans the RFID code and automatically retrieves the corresponding grinding program, sets all grinding parameters, and loads the correct wheel pack. If a collet change is needed, the machine executes it automatically.”

Though the FX-RFID’s operation is automated, skilled operators are still needed to assess each tool at the workstation to select and modify the required grinding program. The individual program reference is then encoded onto an RFID tool holder, which is placed in a pallet along with the tool for the grinding machine. Customer names and job numbers can be added to each tool holder, making it easier to identify the original customer order after grinding.

The FX-RFID system uses two pallets and a pallet top with a maximum capacity of 88 tools. According to Andreas Sommer, ANCA product manager, “Regrinding an endmill or similar cutting tool takes an average of five to six minutes. With a rate of 10 tools per hour, it's easy to estimate the potential for unattended lights-out regrinding to increase machine utilization and productivity.”

ANCA adds that, during the FX-RFID’s running schedule, tools can be added, removed, or rearranged within the pallet. The job will terminate when an empty pocket is detected, indicating the end of the pallet.

About the Author

David Greenfield, editor in chief | Editor in Chief

David Greenfield joined Automation World in June 2011. Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and media experience to his position, David’s contributions can be found in AW’s print and online editions and custom projects. Earlier in his career, David was Editorial Director of Design News at UBM Electronics, and prior to joining UBM, he was Editorial Director of Control Engineering at Reed Business Information, where he also worked on Manufacturing Business Technology as Publisher. 

Sponsored Recommendations

Put the Plant Floor in Your Pocket with Ignition Perspective

Build mobile-responsive HTML applications that run natively on any screen.

Ignition: Industrial-Strength System Security and Stability

Ignition is built on a solid, unified architecture and proven, industrial-grade security technology, which is why industrial organizations all over the world have been trusting...

Iron Foundry Gains Competitive Edge & Increases Efficiency with Innovative Technology

With help from Artek, Ferroloy implemented Ignition to digitally transform their disconnected foundry through efficient data collection and analysis while integrating the new ...

Empowering Data Center Growth: Leveraging Ignition for Scalability and Efficiency

Data center growth has exploded over the past decade. Initially driven by organizations moving their computer assets to the cloud, this trend has only accelerated. With the rise...