How did the “Blanchard Grind” come to be a process in manufacturing? It all started with a manufacturing problem that needed a solution. The Blanchard Machine Company started in Cambridge, MA before 1895. The records of the company prior to that are not well documented. During the 1890s and 1900s, it is known that the company did manufacture power transmission equipment, including engines for boats and stationary power units. Blanchard Machine Company was also a job shop of sorts, taking on contracts to produce almost anything that they had the capability to do. One of these contracts was for a the manufacture of a hydraulic assembly that included a set of valve plates with a tight tolerance for flatness, parallelism, and fine surface finish. This would ensure the hydraulic assembly had minimum leakage and a long operating life. The machine tools available at this time were not able to produce the required tolerances, causing much frustration in the form of cost overruns on the project. The project seemed destined for failure.
In the face of this adversity, Winslow Blanchard, owner of Blanchard Machine Company, assigned one of this engineers to devise a method for producing the valve plates. Henry K. Spencer, a recent M.I.T. graduate, was given the daunting task to develop a machine capable of producing the valve plates to the required tolerance. Over the course of six months, Spencer developed the world’s first vertical rotary surface grinder. The machine was crude in design and execution but performed so spectacularly that additional time and development was allowed on the project. Thus, the first Blanchard Surface Grinder was born in 1909.
Once word spread about this new machine tool, inquiries came pouring in. Winslow Blanchard obliged and began building vertical rotary surface grinders.
The first machine was a 16″ diameter grinding wheel with a 26″ diameter work table. It was a relatively simple, but effective machine. Today, Bourn & Koch has taken great steps to bring new technologies to the Blanchard line of machine tools. The Blanchard grind is still the same easily identifiable cross hatch pattern but with new technologies to make it happen faster and more effectively. We manufacture new machines with up to 120″ diameter magnetic chucks and up to 200HP grinding spindles. We also remanufacture machines to new condition with the latest CNC controls from Fanuc. Our latest version of the 22AD-42, which is by far our most popular model, boasts such advanced features as a powered wheel dresser, full stainless steel enclosure with an automatic door, an optional 100HP direct drive grinding spindle, and a programmable x-axis via servo cylinder. We’re proud to continue and further the legacy of Winslow Blanchard to this day.
To learn more about new and remanufactured Blanchard grinders, contact Nick Fontana, our grinding unit manager. Nick can be reached at 815-978-1101 or [email protected]