Sharon Weiss, CEO, Colibri Spindles Ltd

Please tell us something about Colibri Spindles…
Established in 2003, Colibri started by manufacturing air-bearing dicing spindles, and although we continue to supply high quality spindle solutions for the semiconductor industry, the company shifted its focus to a highly innovative technology we developed in the mid-2000’s – the HSM Jet Spindle – a compact, coolant-driven, high speed auxiliary spindle for milling and turning operations.

Colibri’s tagline says, ‘The Metalworking Innovators’.  Tell us more about some of the innovative technologies from Colibri?
The HSM Jet Spindle’s coolant-driven technology is in and of itself quite an innovation; utilizing the CNC machine’s own cutting fluid supply as a power source to drive the spindle. Along with that, we have added a wireless real-time RPM monitoring system built-in to the spindle, for greater accuracy than ever before.

Colibri is also engaged in the development of new complimentary IOT applications and accessories; anticipating the future of ‘smart’ factory operations. Our SmartHUB device monitoring system, mounted inside the CNC machine, receives wireless real-time data from the spindle and interfaces with machine PLC to display all that information via Colibri’s special software platform on a tablet that can be viewed   wherever you go.

What kind of partnerships/tie-ups do you have with companies like ISCAR, TaeguTec, Ingersoll, Tungaloy, DMG MORI, and others?
Colibri can boast strategic alliances with some of the world’s most respected names in the metal machining industry. We are very proud that the HSM Jet Spindle is among the leading technologies being offered by IMC group members; ISCAR, TaeguTec, Ingersoll and Tungaloy, plus other industry leaders such as EWS, Index-Traub, DMG MORI, Fukuda and more; as an innovative solution to their customers.

Tell us about your widely accepted technologies like SPINJET and Typhoon?
The HSM Jet Spindle (trade names SPINJET/Typhoon) offers a high speed machining solution using small diameter tools for a wide range of semi-finishing and finishing machining applications such as milling, drilling, thread milling, engraving, chamfering/deburring and fine radial grinding. It’s easily adapted to existing CNC machines – with no installation or external power feeds. The compact unit is a truly ‘plug & play’ device that easily fits on the ATC or tool magazine.

The Jet Spindle uses the machine’s existing coolant or cutting fluid supply as a pressurized energy source rotating a turbine in the range of 40,000 to 60,000 RPMs. The coolant is delivered directly to the cutting edge,which greatly improves chip evacuation, surface finish and helps prolong tool life.The monitoring of the spindle’s rotational speed in real-time optimizes cutting conditions for all-around machining efficiency.

Can you please tell us something about your R&D activities?
Colibri’s R&D department is a very busy place. We have recently expanded our HSM Jet Spindle line to include a special high-pressure coolant driven model we call the JETiger, that can handle up to 80bar. We have also introduced angle-head Jet Spindles, with both fixed and adjustable configurations.  In addition, 2017 will be a very exciting year for Colibri, as we are scheduled to launch a number of new products based on the coolant-driven HSM Jet Spindle technology, but for a far wider range of machine types and applications.

Coming to cutting tool technologies, what are the recent technological developments?
Probably the most significant would be hybrid machining – using both additive and subtract machining processes. Additive manufacturing is not a replacement for CNC machining; which will continue to provide the fastest and most precise way to manufacture a broad range metal parts. But because additive methods can achieve intricate and enclosed geometries that CNC machining cannot, both methods can be employed to complement each other in the particular manufacturing process they are best suited for. In the long run, this hybrid approach should result in increased productivity, improved quality and higher profits.

How can your technologies impact customer’s business and productivity?
Colibri’s exclusive spindle technology has had a proven impact on our customer’s bottom line. Utilizing both coolant power and high speed, greatly enhances performance by significantly cutting down on machining time, improving surface quality and extending tool life. Our in-the-field- tests, numerous case studies and customer testimonials concur; the HSM Jet Spindle really does impact profitability.

How has the industry evolved over the years?
We can already see evidence that the Industry has made great strides by implementing sophisticated robotic systems; enabling greater productivity and reliable lights-out manufacturing.  The next few years will see the dawning of the Industry 4.0 age, as more factory operations become connected and interconnected. Every industry segment will be geared towards integrating and implementing the 4.0 concept. Company goals will revolve around reducing data waste and improving manufacturing processes – from pre- to post-machining, using connected technology and high level machining know-how.

What kind of demand you see in India compare to western or more developed world?
In the past few decades we have seen significant and steady growth in the demand for cutting tools in India’s manufacturing sector. India has posted growth in the automotive arena and both the heavy and light engineering sectors.  We see the India market as a microcosm of the world that includes both highly advanced multi-national companies determined to further improve their production process and also local companies, striving to climb up the technology ladder and establish a stable business.

Your future plans for India…
Our plan is to develop relations with a strong strategic partner in India. Ideally, it would be a company with well-established connections in the local metal machining industry and a highly skilled sales and tech team, who are dedicated to elevating their customers to the next level; utilizing innovative technologies such as the HSM Jet Spindle.

By Nishant Kashyap




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