Case Study: TASKMASTER® Grinder Solves String Problem
Essilor Labs of America, Omega Optical Laboratory in Dallas, Texas specializes in the production of state-of-the-art ophthalmic lenses. One of the products produced in the laboratory is a prescription lens composed of a polycarbonate material. The lens blank is generated using specialized CNC machinery. During the generating process, the machine sprays water based coolant on the lens to remove the waste material. The coolant and waste material is drained to a transfer tank which then pumps the coolant back to the primary coolant tank. The waste material is separated and augured to collection drums.
At one time the production of the lenses was straightforward but with the implantation of the newer generating equipment the waste material’s geometry is significantly different than with the traditional lens manufacturing process. “It was a major headache,” said Senior Maintenance Technician, Brent Teichman. “Major problems developed with our coolant system when we converted it over to handle the new process.” The main problem was the stringy waste material created during the process. These strings would build up around the separation auger until the auger would lock up. Soon after that the drive belt would burn off and the system would come to a complete halt. We spent hundreds of man hours working on the string problem. If the auger wasn’t checked periodically and the strings removed then you could count on production going down.
“We needed a solution and that’s when we turned to FRANKLIN MILLER,” said Teichman. “After reviewing our options, we purchased the TASKMASTER® TM8500 inline grinder. We saw an immediate difference. The unit chewed up the plastic strings into small particles which passed easily through the catch basket and the transfer pumps. During the initial installation we ran into flow problems which after speaking to our representative we realized that we needed gravity pressure to maintain a positive flow of coolant through the plumbing. We accomplished this by installing the TASKMASTER in the vertical position and placing the unit’s fluid chamber just below plumbing level, which completely solved the flow problem.
“The TASKMASTER TM8500 has helped a lot,” Teichman continued. “We spend only thirty minutes a day cleaning out the basket. We don’t have to worry about replacing belts and pumps or production going down. Franklin Miller has been very responsive, providing good technical support and service. And the TM8500 appears to be pretty much maintenance-free,” he concluded.