ANCA Motion's Cylindrical Grinding solution is complex technology made simple

Read this in your language
  • 简体中文
  • 繁體中文

Receive ANCA news direct to your inbox

Stay updated on the latest tips and technology


Privacy Policy

The first cylindrical grinding machine was built in 1874[1]. The principle - a workpiece fixed between a headstock and a tailstock, and material removed from it by a spinning wheel - remains the same, but technologies to improve this in various ways have exploded in number.
From the very beginning, the constant has been trying to find better ways to remove material: “carrying out this machining process within ever shorter timeframes at a satisfactory level of quality,” as one trade magazine put it[2].
Machines have grown increasingly useful, and increasingly complex. Improvements such as in-process measuring; monitoring and compensation; increasingly automated functions and options; and quicker linear drives and spindle motors give higher productivity and better quality.
Equipment capable of manufacturing high-precision tasks are built like tanks, mounted on heavy machine bases such as granite and cast iron. Chasing microns requires this stability for steadiness and vibration dampening.
Grinding units can also be found with libraries of wheel packs for different jobs, as well as automated loaders. Software helps optimise feeds, speeds, spark-out times and other process parameters to ensure desired accuracies and surface finishes. Another critical function software provides is wheel balancing which can include in-machine balancing to prevent vibration and harmonics[3]. The list of what software can assist with is long, and we can return to this shortly. 

A growing market, but a shrinking workforce

Cylindrical grinding is also moving away from pure craftsmanship. Shorter timeframes and satisfactory quality levels still drive innovation within the industry, but machine companies are also targeting technology that doesn’t need an expert operator[4]
Cylindrical grinding machines include standard OD (Outer diameter) grinding and CAM (off-centre) machines. CAM machines, able to make non-cylindrical, offset shapes such as camshafts, are generally more expensive. CAM grinding is a small, highly-demanding segment in terms of motion control and precision.
The overall market for cylindrical grinding is growing steadily. It’s possible to segment this into plunge, angular, universal and traverse wheel head machines, and global unit sales within each segment are predicted to increase in coming years. Overall, a 5.5 per cent compound annual growth rate is modelled for the decade up to 2026, dominated by purchases from the mechanical industry sector[5]. Transparency Market Research puts this down to demand for “technologically advanced products” and production of components for those.
There are concerns among manufacturers in developed economies when it comes to the workforce needed to operate the growing number of cylindrical grinders.
In the United States, for example, there are enduring worries around the availability of manufacturing workers in general. Modelling from Deloitte predicted 4.6 million jobs in the sector need to be filled between 2018 and 2028, but a shortage of 2.4 million workers[6].
The approaching retirement of Boomer generation workers, especially those in “traditional” professions, is also an issue.
Overall employment of the USA’s machinists and tool and die makers is projected to show little or no change in the decade from 2018. Job opportunities are tipped to arise from “the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation each year[7].”
The employment of machinists is projected to grow three per cent in that period, slower than the average for all occupations. With improvements in technologies, such as computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools, autoloaders, high-speed machining, and lights-out manufacturing, “machinists will still be required to set up, monitor, and maintain these systems[8].”

Expert performance, even without expert operators

With predicted shortages of skilled machinists due to retiring talent, machine makers - particularly in cylindrical grinding - are addressing the gap between flexibility and usability. Specifically, a machine handling the complexity and precision needs of the market should be operable by a non-expert.
ANCA has been at the forefront of the CNC machining industry since 1974, contributing to its evolution through numerous industry-firsts. It has a long history in motion control for three-to five-axis CNC machines.
Continuing this trend of innovation is ANCA Motion’s CyGrind turnkey solution for outer diameter and more demanding CAM grinding applications, leveraging 45-plus years’ experience in motion control. The solution provides the brain, the motors and drives, cables, software and more to enable both high productivity and simple operation.
CyGrind requires minimal training and no NC coding experience. It visualises the grinding workflow, and supports grinding enhancements such as probing, gauging and automated wheel dressing. CyGrind offers an intuitive interface for the operator, with a simple geometry editor, full process simulation before a job is started, and industry-leading features such as in-cycle contouring MPG Feed and Live Offsets.
A minimally-trained operator can navigate jobs through touch and visual prompts, with instant 3D feedback on geometry defined on screen, in real-time, during grinding.
ANCA Motion operates around the world, answering the universal need - from machine builders and users alike - for complex technology made simple.

1 April 2020