Put Your Problems in Our Lap!
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Fine Grinding & Flathoning
Contract Flatness Inspection
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Fine Grinding and Flathoning
A-1 recently added Fine Grinding and Flathoning to our process capabilities. (Flathoning and Fine Grinding are different names for the same process). Currently operating two fine grinders, the second of which is the largest and first of its kind in the world, these two different sized machines give us the flexibility to process parts as small as .125” O.D., all the way up to 16” O.D. Fine grinding is similar to double sided lapping in its general operation but does provide some distinct advantages. While lapping uses a loose abrasive slurry type media to perform the cutting action, fine grinding uses fixed abrasive wheels most often composed of different variations and concentrations of CBN or diamond. There are many different abrasive sizes, layouts, and combinations of these wheels that can provide a wide variety of surface finishes, cut rates, and overall part quality.
The first advantage of fine grinding is the speed of the process. Due to the amount of speed and pressure inherent in this new technology, most often the need for any “rough” grinding operation prior to finishing the given work piece is eliminated. Eliminating any pre-grind operations is a direct cost savings to our customers. For example, we are currently processing a variety of T-15 spade blades hardened in excess of 65 RC with .025 of material to be removed. Previously this part was double disc ground, lapped, and then tumbled to remove the lapping abrasive. This part is now being run on a fine grinder, with no double disc or tumbling process. We are able to remove .025 stock, hold thickness to +/- .0001, flatness to .00005, and an RA value of 10 or less for the same price that our customer used to pay for just the lapping process! Please see our case studies page for more examples of fine grinding and lapping examples.
The other advantage over traditional lapping is cleanliness. While a lapped part usually ends up with a dull grey matte finish, parts that are flathoned have a much brighter, more reflective finish and similar if not better RA values. Often times fine ground parts are able to be packaged immediately after completion, as they come out of the machine very clean. By utilizing synthetic oil in the flathoning process, it acts as a rust preventative in most cases. The honing oil is filtered and chilled by a separate Transor Filtration System which is considered the absolute best filtration system on the market. This unit offers true 1 micron filtration, which means that the oil stays perfectly clean at all times. As always we welcome the opportunity to provide a quotation on any current or future fine grinding or flathoning needs that you may have.
Lapping is a unique process that removes material by the action of abrasive media suspended in oil or water based lubricant that is interposed between a rotating wheel and the work piece. As the wheel rotates it carries the loose abrasive across the face of the work piece, removing stock at a controlled rate. Media, lap size, machine speed, and down pressure determine the efficiency and the quality of the finished part. Lapping offers extreme accuracy and is a cost competitive process in either high or low volume work piece requirements. This process can be used before the finish process or as the finish process to the work piece. Whenever size, flatness, parallelism, or surface finish is a problem, lapping has been found to be very helpful.
One of the distinct advantages of the lapping process is its flexibility. Virtually any material can be lapped, with varying degrees of accuracy and surface finish refinement. Materials that we have experience lapping include the following: Powdered Metal, Steel, Brass, Bronze, Aluminum, Carbide, Ceramic, Cast Iron, Titanium, Bi-Metal, and various types of Plastic.
A-1 currently operates over 27 lapping machines setup with several different types of media. These machines range in size from a 12” lap, all the way up to an 84” lap and have the ability to process parts as small as .125” O.D. all the way up to 20” or more. Having such a broad range of equipment allows us to process a variety of different materials and part requirements without having to dedicate the time to change the media in a given machine. This flexibility results in a direct savings to our customers as there is rarely a need to charge for any sort of setup fee for a given work piece.
Our journeymen operators’ experience in many lapping techniques and processes are committed to providing quality that is second to none. Using various grits of aluminum oxides, silicon carbides, and diamond slurries depends on the required surface finish and stock removal. Our extensive experience and constant experimentation with the lapping process gives us a distinct advantage over our competitors. Please feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have about our capabilities.
Hopefully one day soon you may also put your problems in our laps!
Contract Flatness Inspection
Do you have parts that you need certified for flatness inspection? Does your customer require that these certifications are performed by an outside source? Does your company not have the volume to justify the purchase of a $160,000+ piece of equipment?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then A-1 has the solution for you. Here at A-1 we offer contract flatness inspection on our Tropel Flatmaster 200mm machine. We have the ability to check all different types of parts ranging in size from .25" O.D., all the way up to 8" O.D.
We can provide many types of graphs, layouts and 3D images depending on your requirements. These images can be printed out and given to you, or electronically stored and emailed to you and/or your customers. If you have any parts that require certified flatness inspection, we welcome the opportunity to quote and/or inspect sample parts for your approval.
Double Disc Grinding
Double Disc Grinding in action