New Additions Highlight Evolution of the Vgrind

The VGrind tool and cutter grinder from VOLLMER has become one of the company’s most popular machines since its launch in 2014. Developing a concept that breaks the realms of convention has certainly won plaudits from customers and the wider industry alike. Now, VOLLMER has expanded and diversified the VGrind to cater for the increasingly diverse needs of the industry. Andreas Weidenauer, the Chief Representative Office & Business Development Manager at VOLLMER discusses the next evolutionary steps of the VGrind and the arrival of one of three new machines, the neon.

Launching three new models in the VGrind series at the GrindingHub exhibition, Andreas provides an overview: “The machines are three ‘packages’. The VGrind concept has stayed the same since 2014, but we have evolved the product with the introduction of things like different drives. As you start selling the initial machines, customers have different requests and so, we evolved the general concept with different drives, different spindles, more power and different loading systems.”

“When we launched the VGrind, VOLLMER was new to the tool and cutter grinding market. As a new market entrant, this is always a challenge as you have to sell the advantages to the customers such as the polymer concrete base, the two spindles and the fixed bearings that are towards the front for enhanced precision and thermal stability and so on. Our target was to have a very accurate machine with almost zero warmup cycles. Sales were slow in the first year as you have to convince the market, but as soon as the industry recognised the benefits, the sales rapidly followed. Now, the VGrind is a proven and productive high-performance machine and I believe it is VOLLMER’s fastest-growing range as it started from nothing and is growing rapidly year on year.”


As part of the evolution of the VGrind, VOLLMER continuously communicates with its customers and the wider industry to expand its offering, now introducing three new machines, not just one. With existing VGrind iterations demonstrating extremely high levels of productivity, flexibility, automation and above all quality – the balance of specification versus ‘price-point’ was previously beyond the requirement of some manufacturers. To address this balance for particular customers, VOLLMER has introduced the VGrind neon. The neon aims to reduce the price point of the VGrind series by providing an ‘entry level’ package.

Alluding to the new neon machine, Andreas says: “We have listened to the market and asked what their minimum requirements are from a machine – and this is where we have created two new machines, the neon and the argon. The neon machine is a machine without the loading system and the wheel changer. This means that the operator has to load the tool manually and then hit the start button. The neon machine retains the two spindle configuration with the fixed bearings torwards the front as this is a concept that we will never leave, as it is extremely accurate and reduces warm-up cycles. The neon machine also retains the polymer concrete base as this guarantees thermal stability and minimises growth to provide accuracy and repeatability that leads the industry.”

“We have put some options into the neon machine. It has an additional measuring probe for the grinding wheels and software incorporated for a measuring probe, it has an A-axis with SK50, the multi-level two-spindle configuration, linear glass scales and a range of other options that have enabled us to create a package price that delivers a cost-efficient solution for tool manufacturers and re-grinding workshops. The neon has a limited number of options, but this package without automation has been created to meet the needs of extensive customer feedback that we have received.”

The Package

VOLLMER has developed the neon for tool grinders that act and react quickly when customer enquiries and orders are received. Without the complete automation package, the neon provides extremely quick set-ups to manually load tools – perfect for one-off or small series tool production. Whilst the neon ‘package’ removes many features that some workshops may consider cost-prohibitive, it still provides all the core features that are part of the VOLLMER DNA that deliver uncompromising levels of quality.

For instance, the neon retains features from other VGrind models such as the wheel measurement probe, glass scales and an intelligent cooling concept with a heat exchanger. The neon retains the fundamental stable wall concept that provides a very rigid, compact construction with temperature-stable polymer concrete. The kinematics of the two vertically positioned grinding spindles with the grinding wheel at the C-axis pivot point is retained for multi-level machining that reduces machining times with its shorter linear-axis travel distances and therefore also increases accuracy. The control unit is ergonomically positioned with a height-adjustable 19″ touchscreen that gives the user ease of use and an optimal view into the machining area. This modern interface has an intuitive and easy-to-use Numroto control system with the 3D tool and machine simulation and collision monitoring. Taking this machine generation into the Industry 4.0 sphere, the neon is fully communication-enabled and the VOLLMER IoT gateway is fitted as standard, opening the door to the digital world for customers.

Capable of processing tools to 200mm diameter with an overall length up to 360mm, the VGrind neon has X, Y and Z-axis travel of 425 by 490 by 500mm with an infinite A-axis that can rotate at 450rpm. The two belt-driven spindles with HSK50 adaption are capable of a maximum speed of 10,500rpm and 6,500rpm with a maximum torque of 14 and 7Nm respectively.

Discussing further benefits of the neon machine, Andreas says: “The internal cooling system is critically important to prevent any thermal growth within the machine, but using a chiller system requires considerable energy consumption. So, we developed a heat exchanger to replace the previous system – now we can handle incoming coolant up to 28 degrees C without any active chiller unit and this saves a lot of energy. This has now been integrated into all of our new machines.”

“This has been incorporated into machines to reduce operational costs for customers – it is also something that our competitors do not offer. So, we may be slightly more expensive than competitor machines, but we have a higher quality with better precision and repeatability, and of course lower running costs for our customers. Manufacturers and tool re-grinders want the best quality and most productive machine whilst reducing production costs, but we have to be conscious of our machine specifications and costs. We have to be very flexible to the needs of the market by offering universal solutions that have relatively low production costs and subsequently retail prices.”

Universal Platform

Regardless of its reduced price point in comparison to other VGrind models, the foundation of the neon retains an identical level of precision, performance and quality, as Andreas adds: “The number of options that can be added to the neon has been limited and this allows VOLLMER to produce more machines with the same fundamental construction. For example, if we can build 5-10 machines together with the same base specification, this standardises the majority of the machine and enables us to decrease our production costs and then pass this cost saving to our customer.”

“So, the features we have incorporated into this machine are the features that are relatively simple to retrofit. If the customer does not want the automation, the wheel changer, the steady rest, the loader or the linear drives – they just want the universal machine for grinding tools, this machine is suitable for most of our customer base. Although this machine could produce tools for almost all of our customer base, it might not fulfil the entire needs of all VGrind customers.. This is where customers may need a VGrind 340S, a 360S or a different loading system – but the VGrind neon covers a lot of the needs of the industry with a significant price advantage for the customer compared to other variants.”

“The VGrind model is not necessarily dependent upon the type of tools.So, we have the same software on the 340S, 360S, the 260, the argon and neon. The key difference with customers is very often the dimension of the tools, the precision levels and tolerances required and also the automation requirements. This is where we can offer the 340S, 360S and the 260, so customers can add flexibility to the machine in terms of wheel changer, automation and so on – as we cannot add the automation and wheel changer to the neon. However, one customer may focus on carbide drills, another on carbide end mills, another on form tools, drills, reamers, boring bars and taps – there is so much diversity. Whatever the diversity, all types of tools can be completed on all of the VGrind range of machines.”

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