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Bryant Grinder Celebrates 100th Anniversary
The LL2U-MS multisurface grinder is designed for applications that demand very tight tolerances, such as medical device manufacturing.
Celebrating its 100th year in business, Bryant Grinder (Springfield, VT) is an example of how a company can adapt to industry changes, advance technology, and ride out tough economic times all while staying true to its core product line. Founded in 1909, it is one of the oldest surviving machine tool companies in the United States, and it continues to develop grinding equipment and software for several niche markets.
From supplying grinders and other parts for the Wright brothers' Whirlwind engines--which were used for Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic--to providing grinding tools for today's aerospace and fuel-injection applications, the company has plenty of experience with meeting tight tolerances. "Our focus is on providing higher accuracy for higher production work," says Craig Barrett, president.
That focus has helped the company transfer its expertise to several different markets, including medical device manufacturing, which demands very tight tolerances. Building on its long history, the company has been able to build grinders that hold to tighter tolerances and higher accuracies than in years past, Barrett says.
The company recently introduced a universal multisurface grinder that allows for various machine configurations of slides, grinding and dressing spindles, tools, and fixtures. The LL2U-MS can be configured for as many as five different grinder applications and can be further customized with variations of the basic configurations. The machine features the company's high-torque spindles, which the company claims run cooler and longer compared with competing standard spindles. The spindles provide sensing capabilities for acoustic emissions dressing, gap elimination, and adaptive grind. Although Bryant Grinder is a division of Vermont Tool Corp., which purchased the company in 2002, Bryant Grinder maintains its own Bryant Spindle division. Through Bryant Spindle, the company manufactures and remanufactures a range of belt-driven and high-frequency spindles.
In addition to producing grinding machines with round hydrostatic way systems and linear drives, the company has also focused in recent years on developing software to enhance equipment capabilities and user friendliness. "Software is the key to grinders," says Barrett. "It allows for greater flexibility so an operator can customize part programs and get exactly what is needed."
The company's Revelations software package is designed to be a path to the company's digital factory. Combined with Ethernet, the software allows users to troubleshoot and access part programming assistance from Bryant Grinders' engineering and software staff. Set up to run flow-chart programming on one screen and interface with the machine operator on a second screen, the software can help limit machine downtime and service calls.
The company's longevity and ability to keep up with industry demands is supported by its experience in catering to multiple industries and its dedication to grinding technology. Sticking to its specialty, the company has contributed a number of innovative product designs to industry throughout its history. Its motorized spindle, which was first designed in the 1930s, continues to be a model for spindle manufacturers around the world today, according to the company. In the 1950s, it introduced the first high-frequency wheelheads and its "centalign" design, which offered both traverse motions of the wheel on one side and on the same plane as the work centerline. By 1979, Bryant Grinder produced the first CNC multisurface grinding machine, and it developed hydrostatic ways the following year. It received the United States president's "E" award for exports in 1963 and the "E Star" award in 1982. The company looks forward to advancing grinding technology for another 100 years.