Sydney-based sheetmetal manufacturer Interfab has become the latest jobbing shop to replace much of its manual grinding with purpose-designed automated Kuhlmeyer technology.
Much of Interfab’s sheetmetal production culminates in a powder-coated or plated finished product, so the grinding finish of welds and edges has to be of the highest order.
General Manager of Interfab, Mr Robert Schild says that although some processes are still performed in an enclosed manual grinding bay, there are certain jobs ideal for putting through the Kuhlmeyer.
“The Kuhlmeyer achieves an excellent finish so the only manual grinding we do is on jobs where the grinding location makes it not possible to use this process.” said Mr Schild.
“We have our list of specific jobs that go through the Kuhlmeyer unit; mostly these are very visible straight and corner welds in any type of metal including stainless steel, aluminium and mild steel.
“Grinding is performed at the tail end of most of our production so it is doubly important to make it look as close as possible to perfect.
“The machine removes any over-weld, so that when the powder coat is applied, it doesn’t even look like a welded joint.”
Some of the long list of fabrications laser cut, punched, bent and welded from sheetmetal by Interfab includes products for architecture, communications, computing, defence, gaming, medical, traffic control and transport.
Apart from excellent grind quality, the company’s Kuhlmeyer also provides efficiency of use, particularly as much of its production involves multiple, identical welded components.
The equipment allows operators to accurately utilise suction cups to hold job pieces in place and replicate the grinding action until the entire batch has been processed.
A loop of grinding roll is quickly and easily inserted onto a rotating drum system and is just as easily replaced when a different grade of roll is required.
As the grinding roll travels the loop, an operator uses either a handheld flat pad or roller assembly to apply grind pressure onto the job piece. There is no lifting of any equipment and only very minimal downward force is needed to exact the grind.
At Interfab, general processes require the handheld pad to be used about 90% of the time whereas the roller is more convenient for the remaining 10% where slightly more pressure is necessary.
Quality and speed are the main benefits of Kuhlmeyer grinding machines that smooth poor welding as well as remove protruding edges and heat affected zones caused by welding.
With two parallel running grinding belts – one for coarse grinding and the other for fine finishing – it is possible to process work pieces in one clamping position using a Kuhlmeyer machine.
Standard machines have a wooden slat sliding table to carry the work pieces and the table can be manually moved or adjusted.
Grinding belts are pressed onto the surface by easy moving pressure pads, pendulous suspended contact drums or fully automatic mechanisms.
By using flat pressure pads on flat surfaces the risk of grinding too deeply or creating dished hollows in the surface of the work piece are eliminated.
A handling device equipped with vacuum clamping makes the ZBS a very flexible universal long belt grinding machine for the grinding of all sides on multiple components of any shape.
Special belt drive geometry and the pneumatic belt tensioning ensure the flexing of the belts up to 90° to the front and to the rear. Corner weld seams, contours or smoothing can be processed and done easily.
Twin-belt grinding machines equipped with automatic tool and table movement and a PLC are capable of processing automatic mode doors, sheets or heating elements.
To grind pillars, struts, square pipes and facade components the twin-belt grinding machine can be offered in a jig arm (C-Frame machine stands) type.
The company is capable of taking on any sheetmetal work ranging in gauge from 0.25mm to 8mm or more and can produce prototypes, pilot runs or production volumes with very high levels of consistency.
Interfab provides a full turnkey service to its customers including finishes and mechanical assemblies. It operates from a modern 2850 square meter purpose-built premises.