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Intelligent and tactile grinding tools – spike®.

Digital interfaces on the grinding tool

Digitization, Industry 4.0, automation - no matter what you call it, no company can avoid dealing with the integration of intelligent and digitally networked systems. After all, the benefits that affect the entire value chain and improve process reliability, quality and efficiency are decisive in global competition. Digital interfaces on the grinding tool or integrated tactile sensor technology in the tool holder or spindle nose offer easily implantable solutions for various grinding processes.

Digitization in manufacturing technology

Even though ongoing digitization fundamentally affects all industries and corporate divisions, its implementation in production is particularly evident. On the one hand, the associated improvement in transparency reveals unused potential in processes. On the other hand, productivity, quality and process stability are increased by significantly reducing throughput and processing times, processes can be monitored continuously and Intelligent and sentient grinding tools Digital interfaces on the grinding tool can be monitored more precisely and deviations can be detected immediately. Improved cost-effectiveness is the result - the use of the new technologies pays off immediately. Digitalization is also advancing in manufacturing processes such as metal cutting. Tool and machine manufacturers as well as users must ask themselves how they integrate the new technologies in order to shape their future digitally and competitively.

New technologies in well-known products

Machining production is of great importance for product quality and thus for the added value of manufacturing companies. Particularly in industrial precision grinding, the workpieces receive the proverbial "finishing touches" in terms of surface quality, manufacturing tolerance and appearance. This means that users have very high requirements for optimum processes and high-precision grinding tools.

Equipped with a digital data interface, high-quality CBN grinding wheels with "intelligence inside" through integrated memory chip. Modern grinding tools capable of Industry 4.0. The Hermes Schleifmittel GmbH from Hamburg is one of the pioneers in the development of digital interfaces on the grinding tool and focuses its development work on intelligent tools that can identify themselves independently and communicate with each other, and furthermore, in cooperation with pro-micron GmbH, on sentient tool systems of the spike® product series that can record process loads with high precision.

Intelligent tools, such as CBN grinding tools, for example, have integrated RFID chips that enable continuous and wireless communication between tool and machine or between tool and storage system. Such "smart" tools are predestined for a simple and cost-effective entry into digitization and enable users to significantly improve their process automation, process reliability and, in particular, their tool management.

If not only storage media but also sensors are integrated, this creates a completely new possibility for grinding tools to optimize processes. With the help of sensor technology in the area close to the tool, the tool system can now record process loads such as bending moment, torsional moment and axial force and thus virtually "feel" whether the grinding process is running according to the specified parameters or whether target values are not being achieved. Sensing grinding tools thus have the potential to significantly simplify both process analysis and continuous process monitoring, as even older grinding machines can be equipped with this technology.

Hermes Schleifscheibe

High quality CBN grinding wheels with "intelligence inside" through integrated memory chip.

more efficiency and safety in grinding

The RFID chips integrated in the mold have a reading time of 0.02-0.03 seconds per 16 bytes and can be programmed individually. In close consultation with the tool users, Hermes determines which individual data, such as test data, process identification numbers, maximum circumferential speeds or dressing parameters, should be stored before delivery. Input and output can be password-protected, thus offering reliable protection of sensitive data.

The intelligent CBNi grinding tools are qualified for many applications, for example in the automotive sector, the rolling bearing industry or medical technology. Due to the very high quality requirements in these industries, the use of digital interfaces offers immediate advantages such as automatic compliance with safety aspects inherent in the process, continuous optimization of grinding parameters, unique identification of the tool, and digital documentation of the process history. In this way, the manufacturers of digital grinding tools offer their users support for maximally efficient manufacturing processes while at the same time meeting the highest demands on product quality.

This means that users benefit greatly from the switch to digital processes and the associated advantages. After all, the economical use and safe handling of grinding tools are a key factor in the successful value chain of manufacturing companies.


Digital interfaces increase efficiency of tool logistics

The life cycle of a CBN grinding tool is defined by several phases: tool delivery, use in the machine, possible intermediate storage and finally return to the tool manufacturer at the end of the tool life for reuse.

Thus, digital tool management offers noteworthy potential. This is based first and foremost on the clear identification of the tools used: Which tool has carried out which process on which machine and thus produced a specific workpiece?

Intelligent tools provide this important data automatically by independently and continuously updating usage data, limit values, sequences and the process history and making them available in a cloud. This digital documentation eliminates the need for classic accompanying documents and forms the basis for highly efficient tool logistics that can continuously improve and adapt based on its self-generated data. In addition, it can be accessed quickly and decentrally, enabling shorter response times and creating greater transparency and security. Networked manufacturing allows clear tracking and allocation Networked manufacturing. of tools to processes but also to the final product. At the same time, digital documentation also provides the user with important information about the life cycle of an individual tool by storing additional data such as the number of ground components or dressing cycles in addition to the geometric data. If a predefined wear limit is also stored, a new order can be triggered automatically.


Sensory toolholders measure process loads

The sensory tool holder spike®_mobile and the sensory spindle nose spike®_inspindle from pro-micron GmbH offer the possibility to determine process loads such as forces and torques in the immediate vicinity of the effective zone of the grinding process with high precision. The sensory tool holder can be combined with a variety of common clamping systems via standardized mounts. Based on the measurement data provided by Spike, the cutting process can be diagnosed and optimized offline. Alternatively, the measurement is connected to the machine control system so that online monitoring is possible to react force-controlled to changes in the process. Spike not only shows the forces acting on the tool, but also records the direction of action so that imbalance or irregular tool wear is detected dihw 12 - 4 2020 25 tools. The measurement data can be used in two different ways:

  • Diagnostic tool: Offline process analysis, e.g. for process development of grinding procedures for new workpieces or tools, benchmark tests.
  • Monitoring tool: Online process analysis, e.g. for process monitoring and supervision, ensuring process stability.

Investigations on internal cylindrical grinding at the Institute of Machining Technology (ISF) of the TU Dortmund University prove the potential of spike® for high-precision process analysis or monitoring. Already during dressing, the contact between dressing diamond and grinding tool can be detected very precisely. Since precise dressing is essential for the subsequent component quality, spike® can immediately detect irregularities caused by worn or misaligned dressing tools. Investigations of the sensitivity during the actual grinding process confirm the very high accuracy of the measuring system. The different process phases, such as roughing, finishing or burnout, are very easy to recognize from the signal. At the same time, deliberately provoked differences in the infeed of only a few micrometers (process A to D) could be detected immediately. With the spike®_polar, the actual condition can be compared with the target condition. In addition to unbalance and runout, erratic cuts, wear of the wheel and tool breakouts are clearly displayed. But also vibrations, an undetached grain, material build-up on the wheel and much more are missed Sensory tool holder spike®_mobile (left) during grinding with spike®_polar (right). More info:; the spike®, by measuring the bending moment in two directions.

Werkzeuglieferung, Werkzeugmanagement und Standzeitende

Networked manufacturing

Well advised on the implementation of digital components

In terms of the use of intelligent and sentient grinding tools in manufacturing, the Hermes Abrasives Institute (H.A.I.) a competent consulting partner. The experienced application engineers from Hermes support the user in evaluating the possibilities of a successful integration of digital components. The starting point for customized solutions is a comprehensive analysis of the actual grinding processes on site using the latest measurement and evaluation technologies. The subsequent implementation phase as well as the training of the employees is also accompanied by H.A.I. employees and, when using spike®, in tandem with pro-micron employees, so that a smooth course of the conversion and commissioning into the running operation is ensured. Potential of spike®.



The digital transformation is in full swing and presents companies with the question not of whether, but how they want to actively shape it. This fundamentally involves the willingness to make changes in manufacturing and to make the necessary investments in order not to miss the boat on the increasingly rapid changes and to exploit possible competitive advantages. Tool manufacturers help to integrate intelligent and sentient components into the existing infrastructure with their knowledge of what is technologically feasible in combination with an adept view of the customer's circumstances.

Abrichten und Schleifen - Hermes

Potential of spike®


Dr.-Ing. Tim Göttsching Hermes Schleifmittel GmbH
Markus Preuß pro-micron GmbH