An innovative kit that enables a standard CNC machining center to integrate a metal cladding process via the automatic toolchanger makes great sense—especially when one of the leading developers states his case.
At last month’s MFG Meeting in Orlando, Florida, the inaugural International Additive Manufacturing Award (IAMA) was awarded to Hybrid Technologies Ltd. limited of the United Kingdom and Plano, Texas. The winning entry for the prize is described as a hybrid kit innovation that can be integrated into any CNC machine to allow for metal deposition (via laser cladding), finishing and inspection of parts on a single machine. The hybrid methodology integrates directed energy deposition into a multi-axis CNC machine, using a toolchanger to change between processes.
“Hybrid technology is exciting because it offers a new way to adopt additive manufacturing—as an upgrade to a CNC machine tool. Adding tool-changeable deposition heads to an existing CNC machine enables 3D printing of metal, without the need to buy a separate machine,” said Dr. Jason Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies. “This significantly reduces costs and provides an intuitive adoption path for CNC operators. The combination of additive with machining offers new capabilities, including in-process finishing, that cannot be delivered by either technology independently.”
Speaking at the reception during which the award was presented, Dr. Jones explained the process and describe the long journey he and his co-developers trod to make this innovation practical and effective. His remarks are clear and compelling—you can find a video of the presentation ceremony and listen to what Dr. Jones shared that evening here. Of particular value to any company interested in the experience of innovation is the advice he gives starting at 28 minutes in the video. He concludes that creativity and imagination are more important than amassed technical knowledge when forging innovation. You can also read a report about this technology here.
The IAMA is the result of a partnership between AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology and VDW—Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association). AMT and VDW, with media support from Gardner Business Media and VDI Nachrichten and sponsored by the European Machine Tool Association CECIMO, announced the annual IAMA at IMTS 2014.
GE Aviation has announced that the cobalt-chrome housing for a compressor inlet temperature sensor has become the first additive-manufactured part to be certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly inside GE commercial jet engines. The company has begun working with Boeing to retrofit more than 400 GE90-94B jet engines with this new part.
This housing won’t be unique for long, the company says. Flight tests are underway for the LEAP engine, developed through a joint venture between GE Aviation and France’s Safran, which uses 19 additively manufactured fuel nozzles. This engine is aimed at new, narrow-body planes such as the Boeing 737MAX and the Airbus A320neo, and GE says more than 8,500 orders for the engine have already been received.
Every company has its own story. Some are so interesting they seem tailor-made for a screenplay or a book. That’s certainly the case with L&H Industrial, whose remarkable history has been captured by Sam Hurst in the book “Frontier Industrialists: Fifty Years of Innovation at L&H,” available in print on Amazon and as a PDF at the company’s newly redesigned website.
Much more than a new online presentation, the website signifies the results of a year-long rebranding campaign, according to Jeff Wandler, vice president and director of sales and marketing. “After 50 years of enhancing mining equipment and heavy machinery, we’ve broadened the base of our operations,” he said. “The new branding will show how we’ve grown and how we’ll continue to provide the most innovative solutions to our customers in product, service and technology.”
Founded in Gillette, Wyoming—where it is still headquartered—in 1964 by Leon Wandler and Hank Barney, with six employees, the company has grown into a powerhouse primarily serving the mining, oil and gas, and railroad industries. Specializing in field services, design and engineering, and manufacturing and repair, L&H has locations throughout North and South America. It has recently undergone a major expansion of its gear manufacturing facility in Tempe, Arizona, which you can read about in the March 2015 issue of Gear Production, the quarterly supplement to Modern Machine Shop magazine.
This month’s product spotlight highlights turning equipment—lathes, turning centers, mill-turn machines and even a CNC specifically designed for turning. Many of the turning machines covered have features designed to make them more flexible. For example, the EcoTurn 650 turning center from DMG MORI can be equipped with an optional C axis for turn-mill machining. Meanwhile, the Hwacheon VT-1150 vertical lathe has a geared drive system that enables high-torque turning at low speeds as well as high-speed turning. Click the image above to access the slideshow featuring these machines and more.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory produced this video of the world’s second 3D-printed car. The first 3D-printed car was made at IMTS. The second, in the words of Oak Ridge’s Dr. Lonnie Love in this video, does not “look like a printed vehicle,” but instead, “looks like a real car.”
Specifically, it is a working 3D-printed Shelby Cobra, made for the recent Detroit Auto Show. (This video was filmed prior to that show.)
One of the missions of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge (the facility seen in this video) is to help American manufacturers adopt additive manufacturing. In October, this facility will be one of the locations for a two-day, in-depth Additive Manufacturing Conference organized by Additive Manufacturing and Modern Machine Shop. To learn more about the conference—and register to attend—visit additiveconference.com.