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Viper Grinding: The Future of Manufacturing

Introducing flexibility into the manufacturing process that helps improve performance and reduces costs is key to success nowadays. Searching out the best technology and combining this with highly skilled teams of design engineers and operators lies at the heart of everything that ELE stands for. Viper grinding technology enables engineers to create more intelligent designs by delivering a grinding tool that can be used on multiple axes, cutting the time spent on changing to different settings, substantially reducing manufacturing time and delivering a high degree of accuracy for more complex machine parts. One area where we differ from our competitors is with the introduction of one of the largest viper grinding machine currently available. Viper stands for Very Impressive Performance Extreme Removal and the acronym suits this technology perfectly. The process has been around for a few years now and replaced older, less effective manufacturing practices. It was originally developed by Rolls Royce Aerospace to help make compressor and turbine blades as well as engine parts to high degrees of accuracy and complexity. It was an immediate success when brought onto the market, a machine which greatly reduced lead times and brought excellent benefits to the manufacturing process as it behaved less like a conventional grinding machine with a wheel that generally ground over the part, the new viper concept was having the wheel moving around the part, more like a multi axis milling machine. These benefits include:

  • The process of grinding is now more efficient and has high levels of consistency allowing for factory processes that deliver high precision finishing across different parts with significantly reduced set up times.
  • There is less thermal damage to components, because of the unique way that the Viper grinder takes smaller cuts at rapid speed with very high coolant pressures, pressures that are so high in fact that they actually impregnate the grinding wheel with coolant during the manufacturing process.
  • Viper grinding can be easily incorporated with other processes such as milling or drilling within the machine due to its integral carousel, offering greater flexibility to the whole manufacturing cycle and finished parts can be completed in a single set up in some cases. All which helps toward cost, set up and lead-time reduction to the customer
  • 5-axis viper grinding machines work with some of the hardest materials in the manufacturing process including nickel based super alloys, making it ideal for sectors such as aerospace where integrity and safety are so important.
  • Speed is also part of the benefits with viper grinding – it delivers up to 5 times normal grinding performance.

The true benefit of viper grinding is that it allows engineers and machinists to produce machined parts and turbines with a much great degree of accuracy. This in turn allows developers to create more exact design criteria, improving tolerances something that is needed for safety critical parts within the aerospace, gas and automotive industries.

How can we help you?

Advanced technology lies at the heart of everything ELE delivers. With a highly skilled workforce we maintain our position at the forefront of technology, advanced by continually investing in our manufacturing processes and making things possible” for our customers. This gives us the ability to produce high quality, complex components for both for large and smaller scaled products to exacting specifications for our clients. Something we do by using latest technology such as the viper grinders to make turbine blades, nozzle guide vanes, seal segments along with other related hot gas path products.  If you want speed, efficiency and reliability to a high standard, then viper grinding from ELE is the perfect solution. At ELE we combine a range of manufacturing technologies to deliver the best outcome for each of our clients.

We love a challenge!

When you need help with a project or just need some advice from one of our technical team - hit the button

Creep Feed Grinding: Versatile Machining for Intricate Forms

ELE delivers high quality grinding processes that enable the manufacturing of complex machined parts for the aerospace sector and a range of other industries. Perfect precision in the production of large and small scale components is a key part of maintaining and improving the technological advances within a variety of sectors and encouraging engineers to seek innovation and produce more exact designs for manufacture.

The creep feed grinder is now one of the staples of industrial fabrication. It reduces the manufacturing cycle time by as much as 50% and provides an improved quality finish compared to other grinding tools and methods.

At ELE we have access to some of the latest, highly accurate, and efficient grinders that help deliver a technologically superior product for all our clients, whether they are in the aerospace industry, the gas turbine sector, or other commercial and industrial ventures. Creep feed grinders are characterised by the ability to remove large amounts of material at speed during manufacture. It does this by decreasing the feed rate as it moves deeper into the metal and can achieve a cut with fewer passes than other grinding processes. It is particularly suited to deep and more intricate shapes, particularly those found in turbines and aero blades and components.

The Benefits of Creep Feed Grinding

  • It can produce highly accurate profile forms on a range of materials.
  • It can work with hardened or soft materials, producing cuts often in a single pass and usually within a few minutes.
  • The use of diamond dressers on our creep feed grinders allows its use in the generation of complex geometric forms.
  • Because it uses fewer passes, creep feed grinding puts less stress on the material reducing the risk of fatigue.
  • It can be used to create a variety of intricate cuts in multiple materials.
  • It is highly efficient and produces a superior surface finish.
  • It also has the benefit of efficient working on heat treated materials.

Types of Creep Feed Grinder

At ELE we use both single wheel and dual wheel creep feed grinders operated by skilled engineers. Creep feed grinding is a highly accurate process that removes all the problems that occur with standard grinding, milling and broaching processes. It is therefore ideal for sophisticated manufacturing techniques where accuracy and an exceptional surface finish are paramount. Not only is it ideal for handling materials such as titanium and Inconel, particularly where you need a low heat inducing solution to protect the integrity of the product & process, it provides a finish that requires minimal deburring afterwards. That means the manufacturing process time is reduced and the product delivered is of a high quality and suitable for sectors such as aerospace and turbine development.

The speed and accuracy of our creep feed grinders make them important for the manufacture of a number of industry wide machined product. They come with added benefits of excellent process capability and repeatability, and extended wheel life, as well as cost saving measures during the manufacturing cycle that makes them the perfect, cost effective solution for many engineering tasks.

How can we help you?

At ELE we combine a range of manufacturing technologies to deliver the best outcome for each of our clients.

If you have a project that you need help with, please complete our enquiry form


Farnborough AIRSHOW 2016

Some pictures from our visit to the Farnborough International Airshow this week.

Typhoon engine - rear view

Typhoon engine – rear view

Rolls Royce Trent XWB

Rolls Royce Trent XWB

Rolls Royce Trent XWB

Rolls Royce Trent XWB






F35 Lighting Cockpit

F35 Lighting Cockpit





Benefits of Fast Hole Drilling

The Benefits of Fast Hole Drilling

Engineering solutions that deliver drilling results at speed with a high degree of accuracy are important to a wide range of specialist industries nowadays. Central to this is Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) which allows manufacturers to cut and drill intricate shapes that would not be possible with traditional machinery.

For industries such as aerospace and energy, creating tight tolerance holes in difficult materials such as turbines has been key to creating better energy efficiency and performance in recent years. One key area is Fast Hole Drilling using EDM, which has significant benefits in these kinds of industries because of its speed and high degree of accuracy.

What is Fast Hole Drilling (FHD)?

FHD is a form of Electrical Discharge Machining that can handle highly specific drilling jobs at speed. Basically, it produces high temperatures that melt and vaporise materials to form a hole. When this is carefully directed it can create holes in a variety of materials with pin point accuracy to a great depth.

For awkward surfaces that have curves or angles, the FHD process does involve the kind of pressure exertion which could make drilling difficult making it the perfect solution for these kinds of materials. Fast Hole Drilling also has low depth to diameter ratios which are also very useful.

How is FHD Better Than Other Methods of Drilling?

  • In certain circumstances, Fast Hole Drilling works as a good alternative to acid electrolytic techniques such as Shaped Tube Electrolytic Machining or STEM. This is especially the case in the creation of drill holes for parts such as aerofoils.
  • Fast Hole Drilling is one of the primary methods of creating holes in conductive high tech materials including titanium, carbide and hastalloy.
  • It’s ideal for curved, angled and spherical services, both hard and soft materials, and can produce small tight tolerance holes in a variety of materials.

What Industries is FHD Used For?

Fast Hole Drilling is beneficial in a variety of industries where small, precise holes are needed, often in traditionally difficult to machine materials. The drilling speed for a FHD can be around 1 millimetre per second and can the process can drill down much deeper than alternative STEM processes producing holes with a diameter of just 0.3 mm.

That’s why it is ideal for the aerospace industry where it can be used on range of components including turbine blades. Machines such as aircraft require air to circulate over components so that overheating doesn’t occur. Creating these small holes accurately and quickly has always been a big challenge to manufacturers. What Fast Hole Drilling does is make this process possible with fast drilling rates for a range of materials.

It’s not just the aerospace industry that benefits from FHD. Industrial gas turbines need similar machining to make them more efficient and to prolong the life of a particular component. EDM Fast Hole Drilling is advancing rapidly with the ability to make ever smaller, tight tolerance holes that are needed in engines, turbines and hydraulic components as well as industries including medicine, mining and marine equipment where intricate drilling is required.

Have you got a project that you think could benefit from FHD?

Please complete the quick enquiry form and we will get one of our FHD experts to contact you.

Teenagers fail to link technology and engineers

ELE provides Turbine Blade machining services to its customers and we are always looking on how we can attract the next generation of Engineers.

This article appears on the Institute of Mechanical Engineers website

Research from Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering shows UK teenagers are keen on tech but not so keen on difficult engineering degrees

Research from the QE Prize for Engineering has highlighted the gap between teenager’s perceptions of technology, and awareness of the role engineers play in its development.

According to the survey by the QE Prize for Engineering, 85% of 16-17 year olds are interested in technology such as smartphones and computers, yet only 21% are interested in a career as an engineer.

The figures for 16-17 year olds were released as the government launched this year’s National Apprenticeship Week with a drive to promote the value of apprentices to companies.

The QE Prize survey results, which compares perceptions of engineering in the UK against those in other countries, are from the Create the Future report. Around a thousand people were questioned from ten countries for the report.

Although UK teenagers’ interest outstrips that of young people in Germany, Japan and South Korea, specific interest in engineering falls below all the other countries surveyed.

Sir Christopher Snowden, chairman of the QE Prize judging panel and vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton said: “We need to do more to educate people on the role engineering plays in technology and help young people understand that technology is a product of engineering.

“The challenge facing the engineering community is to shift the love of tech to a love of engineering. There is no silver bullet solution to this issue, but if we work together as parents, teachers, companies, institutions and even governments, then we will see a change in attitudes and debunk the myths surrounding our profession.”

According to the QE Prize, the report shows the complex attitudes young people have towards engineering and their chances of breaking into the profession. Half of the UK teenagers questioned were optimistic that engineering can address issues such as depleting energy resources in in the next 20 years.

However, around 30% of potential engineers were put off the career as they felt an engineering degree was too hard, too expensive and that they lacked adequate funding for training.