A new Programmable Coolant System that will revolutionize the way you work!
Waste particles produced during metal cutting work are called chips. These chips have a significant effect on product quality and work efficiency. It is not an exaggeration to say that the production of metal components struggles against these chips. Minebea, a global leader of in-house metal working, has developed a revolutionary device called Wavy Nozzle. The product is designed to greatly improve the chip-removal rate, and an excellent solution to a long-standing issue faced by component manufacturers.
Metal chips sometimes get entangled around components or tool edges, and this may lead to a stoppage of machines to remove the chips, and also chips may damage components and degrade their quality. The removal of chips is directly linked to a reduction in machining time and to the defective rate.
Thus, some machine tools have a device to remove chips by spraying oil from a nozzle, typically called a coolant. However, many conventional nozzles are of a fixed type, and they are not able to remove chips sufficiently. Also, the nozzle angle frequently needs to be manually adjusted depending on the material or working method. Therefore, the chip removal rate and the effort of adjustment have been challenges to tackle; especially for companies like Minebea, whose monthly mass-production exceeds a hundred million components. In such a case, a defective rate of 1% can equate to a million components, and prove to be very costly.
A moving nozzle changes the common challenges of metal working.
For Minebea, which had initially been proud of its high yield rate in component machining with their mass-production in excess of a hundred million components per month; a defective rate of even 1% may have a large effect. Minebea’s commitment to precision has led to a certain solution. It was the idea that a moving nozzle could inject coolant to remove chips more easily. The project was initiated based on developing a product to most effectively remove chips during manufacturing. Minebea combined the know-how and technologies among multiple business units to launch the Wavy Nozzle.
A new idea for guiding chips.
As indicated by its name, the Wavy Nozzle continuously injects a coolant at its target position via programmed actuation. The idea of guiding chips in one direction and preventing them from getting entangled, instead of blowing chips off by spraying a coolant at high pressure like conventional removal devices, was an unprecedented one.
After installing the device on a trial basis in our process for producing hard disk components, significant results were achieved. The occurrence rate of defective items, which had been around 1%, was improved to 0.02%.
The shape and weight of chips vary depending on the detail or raw material of cutting work. The movement of Wavy Nozzle can be selected from three modes so that it can support any machining work.
Particularly, KICK mode is a function that can change the speed of the nozzle during reciprocation, and this is unique to Minebea. The movement of the nozzle is controlled using our stepping motor that offers accurate positional control.
The Wavy Nozzle in action:
In addition, a teaching play-back system has been introduced in which the nozzle can be moved manually while visually checking the situation on a dedicated controller, and then such movement can be stored on an electronic substrate on the device’s main body. The technologies fostered through our manufacturing of electronic devices have also been used in these functions. Normally, various components need to be developed and purchased to move the nozzle; however, Minebea, which produces a number of different precision components in house, has been able to realize a moving nozzle by combining existing products and newly developed dedicated substrates.
Operation using the dedicated controller (optional) is available
Thorough removal of chips increases production efficiency exponentially
Although the Wavy Nozzle is a very simple device that supports chip removal, it brings immeasurable benefits. It significantly contributes to an increase in component accuracy and production efficiency, while reducing the operation person-hours of engineers. We have taken a fresh approach to increase manufacturing yield, a long time issue faced by component manufacturers. In addition, the point that a new product has been created by combining our own products and technologies also makes the device a very Minebea-like product. Wavy Nozzle has made engineers in component manufacturers say, “that is exactly what we wanted!” Without a doubt, the product is fashioned after Minebea’s concept of “expanding the potential of Monozukuri (manufacturing) in the world.”
Increase in Component Accuracy
Increase in Production Efficiency
Reduction of Working Hours
Using our own components and technologies has produced an innovative product.
The product that is essential for actuating the nozzle of Wavy Nozzle is Minebea’s stepping motor. A stepping motor, which offers accurate positional control, handles the movement of the nozzle corresponding to the machining work. In addition, the motor enables the device to be operated at a fixed speed. Minimal acceleration and deceleration at the beginning of movement adds to a smooth nozzle motion. It can be said that the stepping motor is one of the main keys to achieving success with the Wavy Nozzle.
For the Wavy Nozzle, not only the stepping motor, but a number of our products and technologies have been introduced. A high in-house production rate of about 80% has been achieved by integrating the products and technologies of Minebea. Resin-molding, a core technology within Minebea, is used for the body case; the electronic substrate that controls complicated movement is produced within our Electronic Devices Division; and our Bearing Division produces the ball bearings that support smooth and accurate motor movement.
About 80% of the parts of Wavy Nozzle are manufactured in house