Grinding Machine 4.0 [App Story]

IO-Link brings greater flexibility, efficiency, and easier handling to the new Fives Giustina grinding machines. With IO-Link and centrally-stored parameter recipes, format and product changes are easy and can be accomplished in the shortest possible time. Transparent parameterization and diagnostic concepts offer users additional significant benefits. Together with Balluff, this Italian manufacturer has made its machines Industry 4.0-capable.

The Grinding Machine

Giustina RVD 23 grinding machine

The Giustina RVD 23 grips the workpieces to be processed in a vice: the machine grinds components with plane surfaces such as cone rods, disks, gear wheels, and other machine and tool construction components. This vertical double-grinding machine can be used for a variety of purposes, its flexible changeover concept supports a wide variety of parts. Both workpieces with plane-parallel surfaces and those with only one plane surface can be ground on the machine using the infeed or continuous flow process. The component is rotated during the grinding process, which improves the parallelism and quality of the surfaces. With a simple exchange of the workpiece holders, different workpieces with material thicknesses from 0.5 to 100 mm and diameters up to 200 mm can be processed.

The manufacturer of the grinding machine is Fives Giustina S.r.l. headquartered in Turin; this company is part of the Fives Group. Fives Giustina offers a full spectrum of grinding machines including grinding accessories and service. Its customers are in nearly all branches of industry, especially vehicle manufacturing and aerospace. The Giustina RVD 23 distinguishes itself through its great efficiency and good price-performance ratio. “We always keep our ears open for innovative technologies that increase performance and reduce costs at the same time,” says Damiano Bosa, Project Engineer at Fives Giustina.

IO-Link Integration

For many years, the sensor system, RFID supplier, and automation expert Balluff has maintained a close partnership with Fives Giustina. IO-Link, in accordance with the IEC 61131-9 internationally-certified point-to-point connection below the bus level, is a known standard at Fives Giustina. Starting in 2014, the company equipped machines with the digital communication standard and delivered these to a well-known automobile manufacturer—and since then, it has received many positive reports. In fact, IO-Link has opened up completely new perspectives: the digital I/O standard links sensors and actuators to the system controller easily with a three-wire cable and plug connector. Complicated wiring is a thing of the past, which saves time, material, and money. At the same time, this simple communication standard focuses directly on the place where things happen. Anyone who thinks about Industry 4.0 now is entirely on the right path: for it’s not without reason that IO-Link is regarded as an enabler technology in the industry.

Profinet fieldbus module with IO-Link interfaces to sensor switching

There are several reasons why Fives Giustina selected IO-Link for its current grinding machine series. One of the core requirements was that it should be possible to process a broad spectrum of parts on the machine. With a flexible changeover concept, the company had already provided the prerequisites for a quick product change. Parallel to this was the request for a simple and flexibly-applicable parameterization concept.

Smart LED Lighting

The pressure sensors used and the new Smart Light LED signal lamps from Balluff tipped the balance in favor of IO-Link. These are connected to the controller level with simple three-wire cables and M12 connectors via a BNI Profibus master. There is no need for screened lines, switch boxes, and additional cards. Even simple inductive sensors are collected via special sensor hubs and incorporated into the IO-Link architecture. Plugging instead of wiring wins people over because the probability of installation errors is reduced to almost zero. Not to mention the material savings and clarity. Since IO-Link makes do with a few standard components, this approach is frequently worthwhile simply with regard to the hardware components.

The extensive functionality of new Smart Light LED signal lamps would not be conceivable without IO-Link: in contrast to the usual signal lamps, the colors and zones are not assigned permanently; instead, they can be activated at will and programmed centrally. 20 colored LEDs arranged one over the other either light up or flash in several selectable colors depending on the requirements and tasks at hand. Various operating states of the system, flow, or physical variables such as temperature states can be visualized easily as needed.

Glowing Results

“It was a declared goal that users of our grinding machines should be able to adapt the relevant modules flexibly to changing tasks. This is easily and quickly possible thanks to IO-Link and the use of stored parameter recipes. Downtimes can, therefore, be reduced to a minimum,” adds Damiano Bosa. In addition, IO-Link structures the wiring of the machine clearly and takes up much less space in the control cabinet. Creating the circuit and terminal diagrams is quick and they are immediately comprehensible for both machine operators and service technicians.

 “With IO-Link, our machines are put on the market faster, our customers have machines that can be used flexibly and provide performance and operating advantages,” summarizes Damiano Bosa, Project Engineer at Fives Giustina.