MMS Blog

Last month, DMG MORI invited me and other metalworking editors from around the world to visit its headquarters in Tokyo, its manufacturing campus in Iga and the Japan International Machine Tool Fair (JIMTOF). Click through the photos above for a glimpse of what I saw during the trip.

A strong focus of DMG MORI’s JIMTOF booth, and the trade show in general, was on the Industrial Internet of Things, additive manufacturing and automation. While I was only at the show for part of a day, MMS editor Mark Albert was there longer. You can expect a comprehensive report tomorrow covering the range of technologies he spotted during his time at the show.

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Registration is now open for the Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS), which takes place April 25-27 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. The show is dedicated to the precision machining industry and will feature more than 280 exhibitors displaying equipment ranging from Swiss-type lathes and grinding machines to inspection and cleaning equipment.

The show is also home to the Parts Cleaning Pavilion and PCx, the Parts Cleaning Conference. The two-day conference offers sessions dealing with issues of cleaning, finishing and inspection, including the cleaning of additively manufactured parts.

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Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 6. December 2016

GBI: Metalworking November 2016 – 49.7

With a reading of 49.7, the Gardner Business Index showed that the metalworking industry in November was virtually unchanged from the previous month but reached its highest level since June 2015 (discounting a spike last March). The industry has clearly improved from the 43.2 reading it posted one year earlier, in November 2015.

New orders grew for just the third time since July 2015, while production increased for the third time in four months. Backlogs continued to contract, but they reached their highest level since last March and second highest level since June 2015. The trend in backlogs shows that capacity utilization should begin improving very soon. Employment was essentially flat in November after one month of minimal growth. Exports continued their long run of contraction, however, their subindex reached its highest level since May 2015 and clearly has trended up since August 2015. Supplier deliveries have lengthened since last March.

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Tri-State Tool Grinding is a Cincinnati, Ohio, shop that, along with the tool grinding in its name, also does general CNC machining. For this latter work, the shop recently made a move many small shops contemplate: the jump from vertical to horizontal machining.

For the shop’s first HMC, it invested in an a61nx from Makino. In the video above, Quality Manager Michael Newcomb describes parts that were formerly machined using verticals, and how those same parts are now machined more efficiently (thanks to fewer setups) on the horizontal machine. He also describes the shop’s use of Mastercam for programming these jobs.

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The promise of additive manufacturing will be found in products that are designed for additive manufacturing—that is, products that take full advantage of the geometric freedom that 3D printing can realize. A recent successful example of this relates to milling cutters. Komet’s “Revolution” line of PCD milling tools includes tool bodies made through metal additive manufacturing to realize design features that include a flute density higher than what is possible on coventionally manufactured tools. When it comes to cutting edges made of PCD (polycrystalline diamond), more flutes on the tool translates directly to faster feed rate. Thus, Komet is actually using additive manufacturing to make subtractive manufacturing more productive.

Company director of production Cullen Morrison sees making tool bodies through 3D printing as being the way of the future, at least for PCD. This cutting tool material often can take advantage of all the flutes it can get, he says. It is capable of such high material removal rates in the materials it typically cuts—aluminum and carbon fiber composite—that the number of flutes can be the limiting factor on feed rate and productivity. This is increasingly true as facilities using this tooling adopt modern machine tools with high acceleration rates. However, obtaining a high number flutes is problematic in cutter bodies made through machining, because the small pockets resulting form high flute density have to be milled out painstakingly using light cuts with small tools. By contrast, additive manufacturing offers a different option.

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