MMS Blog

Amid all the hype about what is being called the next phase of the industrial revolution, it’s natural for machine tool builders to seek to contribute in any way possible to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). Yet, doing so just for the sake of being in that space can risk moving too fast at the expense of system reliability and performance.

So said Massimo Carboniero, freshly appointed president of Italian machine tool association UCIMU and vice president of metal-forming machine manufacturer Omera, during a press conference at the 30th edition of the Bi-Mu/SFORTEC trade show in Milan. These comments weren’t meant to suggest that technology facilitating the “smart factories” of the future shouldn’t be (or isn’t already) of utmost importance to Italian machine tool builders, which displayed their wares at the Fieramilano exhibition center October 4-8 along with more than 1,000 other technology suppliers from all over the world. Far from it, in fact. Reflecting Mr. Carboniero’s sentiments, most of these manufacturers of mostly large, made-to-order machine tools are, indeed, claiming a place at the proverbial table. At the same time, however, the mood from booth to booth seemed markedly reserved—not negative or unenthusiastic, just cautious, realistic about hurdles and wary of overhype.

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Posted by: Jedd Cole 24. October 2016

The Mobile Cobots Are Coming

Collaborative robots, or “cobots,” may soon be not only known for their ease of programming and safety controls with part picking/placing and machine tending, but also for their ability to pick up and transport payloads around the shop floor, among human workers, completely autonomously.

That’s the idea behind such robots as Otto Motors’ Otto 100 and 1500 models, which are primarily designed for material handling, but are being developed for other applications as well.

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Statistical process control (SPC) helps improve quality and reliability while reducing operating costs. This can be achieved by gathering and analyzing data to determine the best manufacturing process for a particular workpiece. By focusing on critical characteristics of a part and allowable ranges, companies can ensure parts are produced within tolerance.

An upcoming webinar presented by Robert Fruit, senior system engineer CT-lab at Mitutoyo, will discuss three steps: the X-Bar and R chart, histogram chart and capability indexes, that help ensure control throughout the manufacturing process. In addition, these steps provide a visual representation of the process that show how it meets customer requirements.

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A machine shop’s successful entry into machine monitoring reveals important points about what to do and what to expect. To encourage and help shops move toward machine monitoring—and more—here are some recommendations and advice, from Richards Industries, a Cincinnati, Ohio, company that has installed a machine-monitoring system to enable its shopfloor personnel to track activities and record the performance of its machine tools.

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By the time the doors closed on the 30th edition of Bi-Mu/SFORTEC, the biennial Italian machine tool exhibition, nearly 60,000 attendees had passed through the halls of the 90,000-square-meter Fieromilano Rho exhibition center in Milan. Although 41 percent of the 1,072 exhibitors hailed from abroad, Italian machine tool builders were naturally prevalent. And North America remains a prime target for their equipment, which trends large and is characterized by a high degree of sophistication and customization. 

According to figures highlighted by show promoter and Italian machine tool association UCIMU-Sistemi Per Produrre, North America remains the third-most popular destination for machine tools and related products from Italy, which is the world’s fourth largest producer and third largest exporter of this equipment. Of the total 4.1 percent increase in Italian machinery exports, North America saw its share rise 10.7 to 15.8 percent compared to last year. 

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