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Posted by: Peter Zelinski 29. July 2014

Speakers at the Upcoming Additive Manufacturing Workshop

The Additive Manufacturing Workshop is a new event debuting at IMTS this year. The half-day workshop to be held September 9 will focus on the use of 3D printing technologies to make functional components and end-use parts. Speakers scheduled to appear include various people and companies we’ve covered in the Additive Manufacturing supplement to Modern Machine Shop. They include:

  • Craig Blue of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, speaking on the latest developments in additive at Oak Ridge. (It was Ryan Dehoff, who works with him at Oak Ridge, who was quoted in this article.)
  • Jon Baklund of Baklund R&D, speaking on additive manufacturing in the job shop.
  • Lou Young of Linear Mold, speaking on additive manufacturing for mold making.
  • Michael Hayes of Boeing, speaking on polymeric additive manufacturing in aerospace.
  • Greg Morris (pictured), formerly an additive manufacturing business owner and now Additive Technologies Leader with GE. He will answer questions about the promise and practicality of additive manufacturing.

For more about the Additive Manufacturing Workshop—and to register—go here.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 28. July 2014

Dollars and Sense

One way to save money on the shop floor is simply to use common sense. You may not realize it, but all the tiny delays add up to a ton of lost time, as do habits formed over the years that have gone unquestioned.    

Allan Arch, president of Southern Gear & Machine in Miami, Florida, began looking more closely at his own operations recently. Here are just a few of the changes he’s made:

  • After cutting his own barstock for years, Mr. Arch mentioned to his supplier what a time-consuming process it was. “Even though we had two saws running, it was basically a non-stop operation to get all of the barstock cut,” he says. His supplier offered to deliver the materials pre-cut. “They have saws that can handle a job that would take us all day in a matter of minutes. We’d just gotten used to the way things were and had never thought to ask if there were a better way.”

Southern Gear’s supplier can pre-cut barstock for a fraction of the cost, and in minutes rather than the hours required by the company’s own saws. 

  • Despite efforts to keep it orderly, the company’s tool crib had gotten messy over the years, so Mr. Arch and his colleagues developed an assignment for two of their summer interns. “As soon as they arrived they had a project to tackle,” he explains. “We showed them what we had, told them what we wanted and gave them all the resources they needed.” The result is a neat, color-coded storage area where it’s not only easy for workers to find the supplies they need, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep straight. “We literally saved months of lost time in the first few weeks that we had this new system in place,” Mr. Arch says.

Assigning interns to tackle revamping the company’s tool crib resulted in great experience for the students and an orderly system for the company.

  • Even better than an organized tool crib is a management system that makes tooling available to machine operators on the shop floor. New models do not require access cards, instead allowing users to obtain the tools they need by entering a password on a removable touchscreen. Southern Gear chose two Matrix Series 5 units—a “mini” and a “maxi”—from Ingersoll Cutting Tools for different areas of operation. “These devices bring the tools to the manufacturing area where workers can get to them easily while at the same time helping us monitor our stock levels, calculate CPU and estimate tool life.”

Tool management systems such as this provide much more than storage and convenience, also tracking stock levels and even tool wear. 

Read more about Southern Gear’s approach to streamlining operations in the August issue of Gear Production, a supplement to Modern Machine Shop magazine. 

Posted by: Mark Albert 25. July 2014

Useful Advice for CAM Software Users

In a new whitepaper, Mastercam calls useful advice for CAM software users “CAM Initiatives.” These initiatives are practical projects and procedural policies designed to help a machining company make more effective use of its CAD/CAM resources. Although primarily targeted to Mastercam users, many of these initiatives contain useful advice that benefits users of any CAM software system. 

Here are a few samples:

  • Say “no” to drawings. Don’t redraw parts until you are sure the customer does not have a usable CAD file to share. (They usually do.)
  • Fix what isn't broken. Empower everyone in the shop to be an improvement specialist.
  • Manage tool libraries. Find the cutting tools that work best in high-speed tool paths and use these tools exclusively where applicable.
  • Embrace five-axis machining. Follow this launch plan to ensure a successful transition.

Other initiatives have advice on 3+2 machining, programming templates, spindle probes, simulation and integrating safety habits.

For the complete whitepaper with all 15 CAM Initiatives, click here.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 24. July 2014

GE Brings Production-Volume Additive Manufacturing to Alabama

GE Aviation has announced that the LEAP jet engine fuel nozzle—the nozzle (shown) with a design made possible by additive manufacturing—will be mass-produced in Auburn, Alabama, starting next year. Up to 10 additive manufacturing machines will be installed at the company’s plant in Auburn, which was opened last year.

Additive manufacturing capacity will increase from there, the company says. Production demand for the new fuel nozzle is scheduled to ascend steeply, growing from an initial rate of 1,000 units per year to 40,000 per year by 2020. GE says the Auburn site could ultimately have more than 50 additive manufacturing machines, with nozzle production expanding to occupy a third of the facility.

Those nozzles will be sent to an even newer engine production plant in Lafayette, Indiana, that is scheduled to open next year. This $100 million plant, which will include both CNC machining and assembly, will be the seventh new U.S. manufacturing site in seven years for GE Aviation.

Posted by: Derek Korn 23. July 2014

Remember Fadal? It’s Back

We recently learned that Fadal Engineering and Merrill Technologies Group (MTG), both based out of Michigan, have joined forces to launch a new Fadal CNC machine tool product line.

“Fadal was a global leader in the production of vertical machining centers before closing its manufacturing facility in Chatsworth, California in 2008,” says Tansel Avci, Chairman. “Fadal will manufacture in Michigan and California, and sell globally through a distributor network.”

“The new Fadal is all about bringing back to market an easy to use, CNC machine tool of sound design and state-of-the-art technology.” said Tim Consalvi, Director of Sales.

The company will launch its new Classic series VMC at this year’s IMTS in association with Ingersoll Cutting Tools (Booth  W-1822). The Classic series, including the VMC2516, VMC3016, VMC4020, VMC6030 and VMC8030, is said to mirror the legacy boxway machine models for which Fadal was known. Fadal says it has updated these models with the latest in engineering enhancements, too.

Michael Naert, Fadal’s vice president of operations, says Fadal machines offer 220 foot-pounds of torque and a CAT-40 spindle that incorporates Big Plus technology. The new Fadal CNC-64MP control is said to function with the same language and compatibility of the legacy Fadal CNC-88, CNC-88HS and CNC-32MP models with greater processing power and speed. The company is also offering CNC horizontal turning centers including the FG5, FL6, FL8, FL8L, FL10 and FL12 models.

Later in 2014, Fadal will release its VMC Performance series, offering larger travels, greater weight capacity, higher rapid traverse rates and higher CAT-50 spindle speeds. In 2015, it will introduce its Heavy series with large machining and turning capacity, making it desirable for the energy, off-road, aerospace and defense markets.

“There is something kind of nostalgic about bringing a once family-owned company back to its roots,” says Robert Yackel, CEO of family-owned MTG and now Fadal Engineering. “The founding family of Fadal was a lot like my family. Entrepreneurial, hardworking, resourceful and determined. We’re proud to lead Fadal into its next era of success.”

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