Control cabinet

Rotary Table Speeds Up Automated Grinder

Sept. 30, 2019
Improved surface finish and faster cycle times were high priorities in developing a new surfacing center with robot cell. Much of this success was made possible by strategically specifying pneumatic and electromechanical drives.

Lapmaster Wolters GmbH, Rendsburg, Germany, was founded by Peter Wolters in 1804, and the company has been producing lapping, polishing, and fine grinding equipment since 1936. The company’s new twin-batch processing machine, the Peter Wolters AC Microline 1000, provides ultra-precise machining of workpieces with a maximum diameter of 320 mm and thickness up to 100 mm. The machine’s modular design makes it ideal for fine-grinding, lapping, honing, polishing, and other surfacing operations.

The Peter Wolters AC MicroLine 1000 has a modular design and is ideal for fine-grinding, lapping, honing, polishing and deburring surfaces. Using the new twin loader ensures fast loading and unloading times. 

Alexander Unger, the engineer responsible for the project at the Lapmaster Wolters plant, explains: “Tailored to the concept of the latest AC MicroLine 1000, we have also developed a new rotary table that offers maximum functionality as well as the compatibility essential for this type of concept. We achieved this by also equipping the twin loader with Aventics pneumatics.”

Automation Shortens Process Cycles

The new rotary table is part of a high-tech automation concept for future tasks, which Lapmaster Wolters continually advances. The new loading and unloading unit inserts workpieces into carriers to minimize processing time. All this is made possible by using a loading and unloading unit for carrier handling developed in-house. Unger continues: “The loading and unloading unit is designed for fully automatic operation, allowing users to precisely set both the cycle time and speed. The design also helps reduce the time required to swap carriers.”

Aventics GPC series guide cylinders and lightweight MNI series cylinders handle the carriers. The exact position and required travel time for the MNI mini cylinder are queried by an analog SM6 distance measuring sensor with a precision of ±0.1 mm. This sensor can also be used to check material supply.

High-strength GPC (top) and weight-optimized MNI pneumatic cylinders (middle) with SM6 programmable sensors handle swapping of carriers.

Solution Cuts Time, Energy, Space

Based on standard components, the sophisticated system is also used in the grinding machine, where the Aventics AV03 valve system with ProfiNet interface plays a main role. The system controls the cylinders and offers integrated pressure zone separation for the required pressures. The AV03 features up to 45% smaller installation dimensions than its predecessor, allowing users to integrate the valve into existing concepts. At the same time, the system offers major advantages for energy-conscious users.

AV03 pneumatic valve manifold with AES fieldbus uses ProfiNet (shown here with optional I/O module) to control the cylinders and offers integrated pressure zone separation for the required pressures.

The valve system is the main component of the pneumatic control cabinet. As Unger points out, Aventics provided Lapmaster Wolters with a plug-and-play solution. “This enables end-to-end standardization, from hardware to handling. The complete assembly is tailored to our customer-specific requirements and is delivered with a test seal.” Last but not least, the flexible AES fieldbus control for the valve system supports all common fieldbus protocols.

The control cabinet showing Aventics AV03 pneumatic valve manifold and AS3 series pressure regulators.

Greater Machine Safety and Reliability

“In addition to the valves crucial to the application, we have also managed to solve all stroke and travel motions,” reports the engineer, pointing out the application-specific selection of cylinders from the comprehensive offering to achieve maximum process reliability. On the end of the AC microLine 1000 fine-grinding machine, ED02 series electropneumatic pressure regulators play their part: They perform a key function in workpiece processing by controlling the contact pressure of the fine-grinding disc.

The ED02 electropneumatic pressure regulator—a compact 3-in. long—controls the contact pressure of the fine-grinding disc.

ED series electropneumatic valves combine control electronics, the pressure sensor, and direct drive via proportional solenoids into a single closed unit. With critical fluctuations in pressure, the pressure regulator shines, with its typical high dynamics: Based on a target-actual value comparison, it immediately generates the necessary pressure change on the outlet side to ensure process stability. “With this control technology, the pressure can always be tailored to the application and dynamically adjusted. The valve’s high control precision makes it ideal for optimized, energy-efficient machining processes,” confirms Unger.

AS series FRLs ensure compliance with the required compressed air quality and cover the preparation processes of air preparation. In its fine-grinding machines, Lapmaster Wolters uses the AS3-FRE filter pressure regulator of this series to control the system pressure.

The pneumatic concept of the AC MicroLine 1000 with twin loaders will now be applied to additional fine-grinding machines from the company, allowing users to flexibly integrate them into different production strategies. The grinding machine and twin loaders form a single unit, with excellent production performance thanks to compact dimensions, high flexibility, and a high throughput. Based on the advantages of the rotary table, Lapmaster Wolters wants to use it in its AC 700 and AC 1250 for fine-grinding and flat-honing. The project manager is convinced of the Aventics pneumatics in use: “Here, you can clearly see how flexible and future-proof the system is.”

Jens Westphal is a sales engineer at Emerson Electric Co. For more information, visit

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