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November 2018

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Flexible Microfinisher Saves Cycle Time, Improves Part Quality

The automotive industry consumes millions of precision shafts annually, ranging from transmission shafts, transfer case shafts, hypoid drive pinions, axle shafts, transmission gears, wheel spindles and inner-connecting shafts, typically from castings or forgings. Tolerances on finished parts are tightening in order to get maximum efficiency from the engine and transmission.

To that end, these precision shaft components must have very specific bearing journal diameters and surface finish to function properly and efficiently over the long term within the automotive transmissions.

A leading provider of precision shafts for automotive determined that an IMPCO Model 1040 modular microfinishing system would allow it to consistently achieve the required surface finish to .20 Ra or less on two journal diameters and a no-lead surface on a seal diameter for a family of three carrier assemblies. The compact Model 1040 has two columns holding three microfinishing heads. One column will have two microfinishing heads that will microfinish the two bearing surface diameters at one time.

In operation, a customer-provided robot loads the carrier vertically onto the work station between a headstock and tailstock. Once the part is in place and the robot has cleared the work station, the microfinishing heads automatically approach the part, tooling closes around the journal diameter and the process begins with the part rotating between centers and the microfinishing heads oscillating in a programmed cycle. After the predetermined cycle time, the microfinishing heads return to the starting point.

The second column has one microfinishing head that will microfinish the seal journal where necessary.

Once cycle has been completed, the robot removes the part. There is no changeover required between the three part types, and the parts can be processed randomly through this machine. The machine can be integrated for robot loading and unloading, or also be operated manually. Total cycle time per part is less than 50 seconds.

Microfinishing is the process that removes the microscopic amorphous surface material left from the grinding of a dimensionally finished part, such as a crankshaft, camshaft or pump shaft, to permit a highly precise fit to a mating part. IMPCO microfinishing is used to generate the final functional surface texture required for friction reduction, higher performance and greater reliability of the precision shafts. "Microfinishing tolerances are unattainable with grinding," said Mark Hendel, IMPCO Global Sales Director.

For more information contact:


3417 West St. Joseph Street

Lansing, MI 48917


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