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Coborn opts for J&S grinding excellence
Coborn opts for J&S grinding excellence
Coborn opts for J&S grinding excellence

Coborn opts for J&S grinding excellence

Added to MTDCNC by Hardinge Jones and Shipman on 18 September 2015

As a world leading manufacturer of ultra-high precision CNC grinding machines for MCD, PCD and PcBN cutting tool production, the Romford, Essex based Coborn Engineering Company is uniquely positioned to specify more conventional metal grinding machines to be used in its own machine tool building operations.


As a consequence, they have recently specified two new Jones & Shipman grinders – a Suprema cylindrical and a TechMaster surface grinder - to further upgrade their manufacturing process.


Coborn has a unique, global position supplying specialised, individually built, high-precision equipment to the polycrystalline diamond industry and the gemstone and natural diamond tooling industries.  


In addition to the RG9 (10 Axis CNC) grinding machines for the PCD/PcBN tooling market their other products include Planetary Grinding (PG) machines for natural diamond and single crystal diamond tooling, scaif spindles, high frequency milling and grinding spindles, dynamic balancing machines, lapping, polishing and edge honing machines.


High precision prevails in their operations with some of Coborn’s machines capable of grinding tooling down to 50 nanometre roundness (waviness) with ±2 microns being a typical tolerance on their ground planar surfaces.


"A very high proportion of our machines and fixtures feature precision ground surfaces and this is a core process that we exclusively keep in house," explains Technical Director Michael Scarfe.


"We do a lot of hand scraping and as this is a process we are looking to reduce in terms of increasing productivity, we specified the two new Jones & Shipman machines knowing they had the capability to replace the hand scraping with a more automated grinding process."


Coborn has successfully operated an older J&S Suprema for the past eight years but the latest model – a Suprema 650U - has a range of new features including the speed of set-up for dressing and grinding cycles via Jones & Shipman’s specialist EASY ‘fast-to-set’ graphical grinding software, utilising new colour touch screen technology.


The screen interface is the latest Fanuc power motor control that offers increased machine storage for thousands of dressing and grinding programmes.  It also offers increased processing speeds to further optimize programming and set up’s along with improved connectivity via USB.


These are features that Coborn’s engineers are fully utilizing, as Michael Scarfe explains.


"We store all of the grinding programmes on the machine and as most of the components are machined on repetitive cycles this works well.  The EASY software is a well used feature as it enables some of our engineers perhaps less adept in grinding to operate the machines to their full technical capability.  Likewise our apprentices are up to speed because the software is so straightforward to use."


A feature of the Suprema is its adaptability.  Being a multi-purpose machine it is equally at home processing high volume production grinding work or fulfilling demanding precision small batch quantities and one off work. Coborn produces a lot of special purpose fixturing and workholding – many of which are one offs and here the machine is proving highly adept.


Mindful of its precision philosophy, Coborn specified glass scales on the Suprema and also fitted its own high frequency spindles – these being a specialisation of Coborn with over 70 years manufacturing experience and which are fitted to all their own machine tools. 


The other new machine installed in Romford is the Jones & Shipman TechMaster 844 EASY, a surface grinder developed for high geometric accuracy with quick changeovers.


This machine also features a full colour touch screen used to access the EASY icon based software, coupled with membrane-type touch keys and electronic handwheels.  The 844 features automatic dressing and grinding cycles which means they can be quickly set, then left unmanned if necessary.


Concluding, Michael Scarfe comments; "this is a demanding manufacturing environment where the challenge is ‘cost down’ with no compromise on quality. Coborn has a world-wide reputation and we are constantly exploring new markets where the quality of our products will be tested.


"We therefore cannot compromise on the manufacturing quality and we believe our investment in the Jones & Shipman machines will ensure we maintain the very highest standards while meeting our productivity challenges."

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