“We do conventional grinding galore here at Crowley Tool Company, Hendersonville, TN, said Ed Crowley. “Because so much of our work is unique, with maybe 20 pieces being a big order for us, we spend considerable time in setups and fixturing time. About ten years ago, we attended a PMTS show in Columbus, where we saw a Schutte grinder that had some amazing features that we knew would make a difference for our operation.” Owing to budget limitations at that time, Crowley notes, he was not able to purchase a new machine, but heard from one of the sales and support specialists at Schutte that a used machine was available. When software questions arose, Schutte was there with the answers, very quickly.
“The machine made a difference in our grinding operations, almost immediately.” He notes the past procedure involved individual flutings, with considerable handwork and setup, while the Schutte machine and its SIGSpro software had all the cuts included in the program, allowing the same chucking to be used.
After several years of use, Ed Crowley came to a decision. With the purchase of a new Schutte 325linear grinder with latest generation of SIGSpro grinding software, the company made a significant leap forward in its production.
He explains, “We run some very complex fluting patterns, with ID/OD relief and stepped configurations. Often, our customers require 3, 6 and 12 set packages. As a lot of our customers are doing automotive, defense, aircraft, valve stem, connector, transmission and specialized fitting work, they have exceedingly high quality expectations. So do we. In the last few years, we’ve started to run the new machine able to communicate on a network, we can back up all the production data for our customers as well as our own QC.” As Crowley further explains, these requirements put the shop onto some new paths in their tracking protocols and he cites the team at Schutte being particularly helpful in assisting Crowley Tool in that process.
On the new machine, the 3D simulation on the Schutte SIGSpro software, designed for modular flexibility, offers the Crowley operator, a simple Windows-based menu plus onscreen simulation of the cutting path, which can also be run offline on a pc, saving considerable machine uptime and eliminating the need for the company to purchase additional simulation software.