MMS Blog

What if, instead of manufacturing a batch of 100 pieces, you could instead manufacture 10 batches of 10, all in separate places that are near the ultimate points of use. Digital manufacturing via 3D printing coupled with cloud-based networking makes this possible. This is the “manufacturing as a service” model now being advanced by UPS’s Global On-Demand Manufacturing Network. UPS VP of Corporate Strategy Alan Amling discusses the idea in this video. Additive manufacturing as a disruption not just to manufactured part designs but also to logistics is an idea I talk about here.

Focused on “smart” factories, cities, mines and more, Hexagon’s annual conference opened with an inspiring keynote address on the “limitless possibilities” of an interconnected world. Yet, however limitless the future, HxGN Live also clarified the extent of the possibilities available in the present.

Hosted June 13-16 at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, the annual event attracted 3,000 end users and partners hailing from industries ranging from security to transportation to utilities. Based on presentations and demonstrations from the company’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, the promise associated with data-driven manufacturing of discrete parts is very real, and at least for Hexagon, most of the proverbial puzzle pieces are now in place.

Although the Amerimold event is primarily targeted to manufacturing companies involved in plastic injection molds, anyone interested in the advanced technology that is critical to mold machining could find useful, valuable information there. In fact, I went looking for product news and application insights that would be of interest to the metalworking industry at large. There was plenty to see. Almost all of the emerging developments and key trends in metalworking technology were represented at this show, as the highlights of my discoveries illustrate.

In most cases, turning operations involve continuous cuts in which the tool remains engaged with the material from the time it starts the cut to the time the cut is completed. Marubeni Citizen - Cincom has developed what it calls low-frequency-vibration (LFV) technology, which is available on its L20 sliding-headstock Swiss-type lathes. This technology purposely oscillates the cutter in the Z axis in time to the rotation of the barstock. At times, it actually brings the cutter completely out of the cut.

The company says the advantage of this programmed oscillation is that the intentional air cuts break the chips into small pieces so they can be readily expelled, minimizing the problems of spiraling chip entanglement around the workpiece known as “bird nesting.”

In this video produced for our upcoming Top Shops Conference, I talk about the value of benchmarking and the different benefits that might come from comparing your shop’s business and performance metrics to those of other shops. Also in this video, Gardner Business Media Director of Market Intelligence Steven Kline describes three characteristics that distinguish top shops—the group of shops with the leading benchmarks in our annual survey—from other machining businesses and facilities.

The Top Shops Conference, which will explore ideas and technologies top shops are adopting and the challenges they are overcoming, is the very first of what we hope will be a regular event. The conference runs September 5-7 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Learn more about the event and its speakers, and be sure to register for the Top Shops Conference. For more Top Shops information, visit our Top Shops Zone.

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