Posted by: Russ Willcutt 27. November 2015

A New Tool for School

The LR Mate 200iD/4S fenceless CERT cart is designed for classroom use in helping students gain the skills they’ll need to succeed in today’s advanced manufacturing environment.

When I met Paul Aiello, director of CERT (certified education training) with FANUC at the company’s open house in Oshino, Japan, last April, we discussed our mutual interest in making students aware of the many career paths available in modern manufacturing. So I was pleased to learn about the introduction of the LR Mate 200iD/4S fenceless CERT cart for use in classroom settings.

The unit was developed by combining FANUC DCS Position and Speed Check software with an Allen Bradley SafeZone Mini Safety Laser Scanner mounted to a cart with heavy duty, locking casters that will fit through a standard doorway and runs off of 110 volts. The cart comes with gripper fingers and an embedded laser pointer. It features a 180+ degree work envelope with space on the worktable for Project Based Learning (PBL) kits such as Shapes. Options include multi end-of-arm tooling with suction cups and an integrated robot-mounted 2D iRVision camera.

This development supports the FANUC America Certified Education CNC Training (CERT) program, which works with the academic community to help students gain knowledge and skills that will help them to succeed in today’s high-tech manufacturing environment. See a video of the FANUC Cert cart here.

Posted by: Emily Probst 26. November 2015

Amerimold 2016 Dates Announced

Tool or die? Or mold or jig or fixture? If you answer yes (to any or all of the above), you should know about Amerimold 2016. It’s an annual event that benefits every aspect of a contract tool and mold manufacturing business. And, Amerimold has just recently announced its plans for 2016. Now in its 15th year, the event formerly known as the MoldMaking Expo will take place June 15-16, 2016, at Novi, Michigan’s Suburban Collection Showplace.

Presented by our friends at MoldMaking Technology, the two-day event will include an exhibit hall filled with equipment for designing, machining and maintaining tools and molds; a technical program featuring experts on product technologies and process innovations being developed and adopted by leading manufacturers, and there will be ample formal and informal business networking opportunities.

But, how does the event benefit every aspect of a tool and mold manufacturing business.?

  • Equipment: The Amerimold exhibit hall will feature leading suppliers of machine tools, materials, components, cutting tools, software and more. By visiting the show, you’ll be able to research and discover the latest equipment technologies. You can also meet with applications experts and sales engineers that can assist directly with addressing your production needs and challenges. Here is a list of who is already exhibiting.
  • Operations:The Amerimold technical conference includes sessions on designing, machining and maintaining molds. Participants in the conference walk away with real, applications-based solutions and strategies that can immediately impact business. Take a look at last year’s program.
  • Sales: In recent years, Amerimold has become an event the serves the sourcing needs of the tool and mold manufacturing market. Buyers from OEMs and large manufacturers attend the event to meet with contract tool and mold manufacturers. In fact, in 2015, Amerimold featured a record number of exhibiting tool and mold makers, who invested in displaying their services to interested buyers. These are those tool and mold makers.

So, if your business involves making tools or dies (or molds or jigs or fixtures) and you are involved in managing your equipment, your operations or your sales – set aside June 15-16, 2016, to participate in Amerimold 2016. In the meantime, be on the lookout for Amerimold announcements on conference programming, registration, special events and more. is a great place to look. Or, you can connect to Amerimold on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).

Posted by: Derek Korn 25. November 2015

Multitask Machine or Mini Cell?

Chris Guidotti, vice president of operations for East Branch Engineering, uses a pallet jack to maneuver the 2OP CNC milling machine from Southwestern Industries into position near one of the shops Brother VMCs.

East Branch Engineering often uses live-tool turning centers to complete complex parts in one setup. However, it also leverages a flexible and reconfigurable “mini-cell” strategy with a pair of portable CNC milling machines that can be easily transported next to any of the shop’s conventional VMCs or turning centers and then perform secondary operations, run dedicated, small-batch jobs or machine prototypes. That way, a single operator can tend two machines rather than standing idly by, waiting on just one machine to complete its operations, and the shop essentially gains “free” machining time by overlapping operations. Learn more.

Posted by: Mark Albert 24. November 2015

Data-Driven Manufacturing Enabled with Tool Lifecycle Management

This video presents a lively and easy-to-follow scenario of how information about cutting tool availability links design, planning and production. Although TDM's tool lifecycle management software is brought into focus at relevant spots in this video, the larger message that "tool data management will be the control room of digitally controlled production" is sound and compelling.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 23. November 2015

Grob Holds In-House Exhibition

Grob’s in-house exhibition was well attended and included tours of the company’s sprawling Mindelheim, Germany, manufacturing headquarters. 

Recently, I attended an open house in Mindelheim, Germany, the headquarters of machine tool builder Grob. In attendance were customers, representatives from the company’s global distribution network and suppliers from tooling, software and workholding companies. It was actually a mini trade show.

Grob is a family business that began in 1926 in Munich. It moved to its current location in Mindelheim in 1968, building a manufacturing campus that continues to grow. I was told they are the second largest builder in Europe and that the concentration of manufacturing facilities at the headquarters represents the largest concentration of machine tool building in Europe.

The company also manufactures in Bluffton, Ohio, Brazil, and China. Part of the company’s manufacturing strategy is to make these three satellite plants capable of making the same product lines as the German headquarters. They do this by pursuing vertical integration.

Highlighted at the open house was the line of universal machining centers built around the company’s G series of HMCs with multitasking capability. These machines are modular in design and can be customized with workholding, palletization, extended tool storage and myriad of other modules to customize the base model to a given application.

The other side of the company’s business involves machining systems that serve the automotive industry, in which Grob holds a significant market share.

Another highlight of the visit is called Grob-Net 4 Industry. According to Christian Grob, this connectivity package was implemented and tested in the Grob factories and is now being offered to its customers. We’re seeing this trend from other machine tool builders as Industry 4.0 and what we call the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) gains momentum.

It was an interesting and enlightening visit. 

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