Building a Machine Foundation

Monday, September 28th, 2009

The precision begins from the ground up!

Over the years, The Gear Works has developed a technique to construct large stable concrete foundations to support its many heavy machine tools. The proper installation of a rigid foundation is essential in this era of modern CNC machine tools which are assembled with modular components and connected only by electronic cables – and the base on which they sit. It is the foundation that supports and maintains the position of the machine modules, and provides a barrier against external floor vibrations. This is especially critical with gear manufacturing equipment, such as our new Gleason-Pfauter P800G gear grinding machine, where stability of the grinding head stanchion, work table and tailstock modules must be precisely maintained to assure DIN 1 gear accuracies. To complicate matters, the Gear Works facility is located in an area of soft alluvial glacial soil where heavy machines tend to settle unless properly supported.

Photo #1 The Big Dig

Photo #1 The Big Dig

The Foundation begins with the excavation of a large pit, approximately 12′ X 24′ X 8′ deep. The bottom of the pit is backfilled with 18” of compressed sand capped with an 18” reinforced concrete floor. A wooden form is then constructed to cast 16” thick concrete walls. After the forms are removed, the result is a sunken tub that is flush with the shop floor.

Photo #2 Lining the hole

Photo #2 Lining the hole

After the concrete walls have cured, the inside of the shell is lined with a special vibration absorbing mat. Rebar is suspended into the pit along with block-outs to form tie-down anchor pockets.

Photo #3 The final pour

Photo #3 The final pour

Over 16 yards of 4000 PSI rated concrete is pumped into the cavity. The mix is thoroughly agitated with a vibrating probe to prevent voids.

After one month of curing, the foundation surface is painted with a concrete sealant. The new machine now has a proper base on which to sit.

Photo #4 The finishing touch

Photo #4 The finishing touch

Final stats:

* 51 total yards of concrete
* 500 feet of reinforcing steel
* 32 Tons total foundation weight
* 24 Tons total machine weight (Pfauter P800G)
* 11 Tons maximum work piece weight

At The Gear Works, our commitment to excellence starts where the sun doesn’t shine!


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