Ford Steers Clear of Rough Holes and Speeds Production

From: Finishing Techniques Ltd
Published: Fri Feb 09 2007

Ford Australia has solved the problem of removing burrs in cross-drilled holes by adopting the Orbitool in the production of camshafts. Orbitool is available in the UK exclusively from Finishing Techniques and managing director, Jonathan Dean, believes the Ford experience can benefit all engineers struggling with the difficult to remove burrs while needing to maintain high volume production.

"Ford’s search for a solution was prompted by an increasing number of engine problems arising from Ford Geelong in Victoria, Australia. They quickly found that left-over burrs in drilled holes became unattached and sometimes jammed the cam variable timing system," explained Jonathan.

Clearly this needed a technically viable way of removing the burrs without slowing production. Okuma Australia Pty Ltd, a key equipment supplier to Ford Geelong, was set the task of finding a deburring solution that would not compromise the rapid cycle times required.

Leigh Milvain, technical and engineering manager of Okuma, commented, "Our search for a solution soon led us to the Orbitool. We saw it allowed intersecting holes to be drilled and then deburred – importantly, this takes place on the same machine. We developed a turnkey system for Ford with automated materials handling and a floor-to-floor time of 60 seconds."

This is quite an achievement as each camshaft required eight radial holes to be drilled and deburred. The holes have a diameter of 4 mm and are drilled within two 5 mm-wide circular grooves having a root diameter of 28 mm. There are four holes in each groove. The rear holes break through into the axial holes on a PCD, while the front holes break through into the central bore.

As the component is inserted in the machining centre, a vision system takes readings on any misalignment of the axial hole pattern. A Kirby drill then makes the radial holes, following which the Orbitool deburrs the intersections of the cross-drilled holes. If the quality of the hole is uniform after drilling, then the Orbitool programme produces a finished part to the required standard.

"Deburring the intersection of cross-drilled holes has been a notoriously difficult task and usually one that compromises productivity. However, the Ford experience shows that this need not be the case. The Orbitool solves these problems and soon pays for itself in saved production time," concluded Jonathan.

The Orbitool is manufactured and patented by JW Done in the USA and is available in the UK from Finishing Techniques. A range of options allows the device to be easily tailored to individual operations. Technical specifications and online demonstrations can be downloaded from UK pricing information is available from Finishing Techniques 01706 825 819.

More information:
Jonathan Dean, Finishing Techniques Ltd
Holcombe Brook, Bury, BL0 9SA, Tel. +44 (0)1706 283921
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