Posted by: Stephanie Monsanty 15. September 2014

Forecasting the Future at GFMC

“Hindsight is 20/20,” the saying goes—but that doesn’t mean manufacturers have to go into the future blindly. Self-knowledge, benchmarking data and strategic planning are tools available to help prepare for what’s ahead, if not predict it. The 2014 Global Forecasting & Marketing Conference (GFMC) is another such tool. The conference, taking place October 14-16 at the MGM Grand Detroit in Michigan will offer reports on past performance as well as industry outlooks to help attendees plan for future success.

Hosted by AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the GFMC includes a line-up of presentations by industry experts including Marc Raibert, founder and CTO of Boston Dynamics; Bill Horwarth, president of 5ME; Mike Warner, director of market analysis at Boeing; and Steven R. Kline Jr., director of market intelligence at Gardner Business Media. Networking opportunities will also be available throughout the three-day event. View the full schedule or register

Posted by: Mark Albert 12. September 2014

Off-Centerline Milling, Drilling and Tapping Take Center Stage

The C-axis head provides ±45 degrees rotation, creating a machining range of Y-axis features of ±1,000mm or 3,500mm the VTC table radius, depending on the model. The continuous power 22-kW (29-hp) attachment has a maximum spindle speed of 2200 rpm, and continuous torque of 875 Nm (645 ft-lb), and can be loaded manually or automatically via the machine’s automatic tool changer.

Fives brings off-centerline turning, drilling, milling and tapping capabilities to its Giddings & Lewis vertical turning centers with a new Y-axis attachment that combines a C-axis head with table and X- and Z-axes motions. The attachment, available fully integrated on new VTCs or as a retrofit, enables single-setup processing of flanged parts, pumps, compressors, motor housings, fluid routing parts, intakes and exhausts, among others. The Y-axis attachment is on display in the company’s booth at N-7018.

“The Y-axis attachment is a powerful package, with a wide range of motion,” says Pete Beyer, Director of Product Strategy and Development at Fives Giddings & Lewis. “Its power and torque are equal to our standard, heavy-duty right-angle heads, with no limits in cutting performance relative to speed. This is an affordable way to reduce setups and free up machine time on horizontal machining centers and boring mills that used to be required to produce these same features on turned parts.”

But this attachment probably won’t be the center of attention on Wednesday between 1 and 3 p.m. That’s when John Force and Robert Hight of the NHRA Champion John Force Racing Team will be in the booth to meet and greet visitors and sign autographs. John Force, owner and renowned 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion of the Castrol GTX team, and Robert Hight current NHRA Funny Car points leader and 2009 NHRA Funny Car champion of the Auto Club Team, rely on machining technology from Fives when speed and accuracy count in their racing facilities.

Other displays in the booth feature machines from G&L, Cincinnati, Liné Machines, Forest Liné, Cinetic, Citco and Gardner Abrasives.

Posted by: Emily Probst 12. September 2014

Video: Virtual Field Trip Filmed at IMTS and Broadcast to Schools

“Technology Applied: A Virtual Learning Experience” is a video series aimed at young people that was filmed and produced this week at IMTS, and has already been broadcast to schools across the country that registered to watch this IMTS virtual field trip. The project was conceived by Sandvik Coromant and carried out by the team from The Edge Factor Show. Peter Zelinski of Modern Machine Shop appears in the video to explain some of the technology at IMTS to young people who might use this very technology in their future manufacturing careers. We’ve posted the first episode of this series on a special page devoted to careers in manufacturing­, and we’ll be posted the remaining two episodes of this filmed-at-IMTS series there as well. Watch the first episode at (requires Flash).

Posted by: Emily Probst 12. September 2014

CCPIT Machinery Named Exclusive IMTS Sales Agent in China


Peter Eelman, Vice President – Exhibitions and Communications (left) and Sun Xitian, Chairman of CCPIT Machinery made a formal announcement at IMTS yesterday that CCIPT Machinery will be the exclusive IMTS sales agent in China.

AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology has appointed the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Machinery Sub-Council as the exclusive sales agent of IMTS to Chinese companies beginning on October 14, 2015, for IMTS 2016.

CCPIT Machinery is a trade body of the Chinese government founded in 1988, which promotes China’s foreign trade and international economic and commercial business interests between China and other countries around the world.

The arrangement will consolidate the displays from Chinese companies into one area at IMTS and create one point of contact for them, simplifying the trade show process.

“CCPIT Machinery has been a strong supporter of IMTS for many years. They have the experience and understanding to help Chinese companies produce first-class exhibits,” said Peter Eelman, Vice President – Exhibitions and Communications at AMT at yesterday’s formal press conference. “Our exhibitors from China for the 2016 show will receive a special benefit. An IMTS Exhibitor Workshop will be held in China in early 2016, which will be the first time Chinese exhibiting companies will receive that level of support.”

“We are extremely pleased to be named the official partner of IMTS. As one of the most prestigious shows in the world, we are dedicated to providing our Chinese companies with an outstanding opportunity to bring their products to the global market,” said Sun Xitian, Chairman of CCPIT Machinery.

Posted by: Jeff Sloan 11. September 2014

Searching for Composites-Friendly Machine Tools

PCD veined drill, for composites drilling. (Source: Precorp)

This is IMTS week in Chicago, and North America's largest machine tool show does a great job catering to the diverse and demanding requirements of metals cutting, drilling, reaming and other operations, and if the crowds on the show floor are a reliable indicator, we are in the midst of a burgeoning manufacturing economy.

However, if your job is to trim, router or drill composite structures, then the products required for those processes are here. They are not here in the volume of metal cutting, but they are here and well worth searching out. Composite parts — by definition non-homogenous — behave very differently when cut or drilled by a machine tool, splintering and powdering in the process. At the same time, machining composites comes with its own set of risks, with delamination topping the list.

Because of this, composites require machine tools specially designed for the work, and this is where the IMTS challenge comes in. The fact is that "composites" to many machine tool manufacturers is a foreign word — representing an exotic, small, odd corner of the materials and manufacturing community. However, a little digging through the aisles reveals some big and small machine tool suppliers who've made a name for themselves in the composites machine tool market, including Sandvik Coromant, Precorp (now a part of Sandvik Coromant), AMAMCO, LMT Onsrud, Seco, SGS, Niagara Cutter and others. As a result of work done by suppliers like these, the industry has seen dramatic increases in tool life, cutting quality and industry machining expertise over the last several years. Even CNC software specialist CGTech has gotten in on the act with the development of a product designed to simulate composites machining and drilling.

The biggest consumer of technology for composites machining is the aerospace market, which buys millions of dollars’ worth of machine tools annually to machine and drill composite fuselage, wing, tail and other structures — primarily for the attachment of fasteners. In this vein, the next big program on the radar is the Boeing 777X, which is being redesigned to include some of the largest carbon fiber composite wings made today. Some of the machine tool suppliers mentioned above are working hard right now to be selected to supply product for 777X wing manufacture — a program that promises to years of potentially lucrative work for the lucky winner(s). 

Of course, plane makers like Boeing and Airbus would like few things more than to rid themselves (mostly, if not completely) of fasteners, and composites bonding and co-curing technology is maturing such that this might be reality in the next five to 10 years. In the meantime, however, we are stuck with the necessary evil of cutting and drilling valuable composite structures, and IMTS is a great place to find the best technology options to get it done.

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