Posted by: Tom Beard 16. September 2016

IMTS 2016 Succeeds in Quantity and Quality

Attendees gather for the Opening Ceremony in the Grand Concourse at IMTS 2016.

IMTS 2014 was a tough act to follow, yet this year’s show succeeded again, both in terms of quantity and quality. According Peter Eelman, AMT Vice President—Exhibitions & Business Development, attendance stood at 111,782 as of Wednesday evening, and it should finish at above 116,000 for the entire show, topping 2014. Moreover, this year’s extremely successful Smartforce Student Summit will likely end up having drawn more than 14,000 students.

But Eelman stresses that IMTS is about much more that sheer attendance numbers: “We really want IMTS to be the event that is at the center of the manufacturing industry, and I think we are achieving that at this show.”

Above all, IMTS is about technology, and there has been plenty on display this year, particularly in AMT’s Emerging Technology Center. This exhibition focuses on leading-edge technologies that are on the verge of going mainstream, and visitors can literally see that principle on display in the ETC and in the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion located right next to it.

The centerpiece of the ETC is the AIME project, led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. AIME combines additive technology with an integrated energy system in which power is shared between a hybrid electric vehicle and a building that produces and stores its own energy. Many components of both are 3D printed.

The AM Pavilion features 19 companies with equipment capable of producing production parts in a wide array of materials, including metal and plastic. Eelman also suggests that additive is on the verge of being applied to much larger metal parts, such as energy generation turbine blades. “I think this will
be the show that people will remember for additive going mainstream,” he says.

Eelman feels the same way about digital manufacturing (a focus of 2014), with the broad adoption throughout IMTS of MTConnect, the data exchange standard that enables greater interoperability among controls, devices and software applications. He says the ability to exchange data is quickly becoming a given with manufacturing equipment, and now that more analytics applications are in place, companies are finally getting a handle on what’s happening on their shop floors. “Just a few years ago, few manufacturers really understood what ‘data analytics’ meant, and now you are seeing it everywhere,” he says.

Another trend Eelman sees is the broad application of innovation and automation that are squeezing still more output from machining platforms. “You just don’t see a lot of standalone machines (on display) anymore, as machine builders are delivering more value on the entire manufacturing process.”

What’s going mainstream next? Go down Hall C of the North Building to the IMTS Ride Experience to find Olli, an autonomous (driverless) transport vehicle created by AMT partner Local Motors. Not quite a car or bus, Olli is intended to be an on-demand, first- or last-mile transport for community hubs. At first glance, it might appear to be a concept vehicle, but it is not. Eelman says it is expected to be on the road within a year.

Posted by: Mark Albert 16. September 2016

Data-Driven Manufacturing Is Driving Mazak

The Mazak SmartBox provides cyber security to give factory owners and IT departments confidence to digitally integrate their manufacturing operations.

Mazak has long been a proponent—and prominent practitioner—of data-driven manufacturing. So it is no surprise that the “future of data-driven manufacturing” is one of the main themes in its Booth S-8300, where the spotlight is on what machine tools, software and interconnectivity practices can be applied today to prepare manufacturers for the future. The digital solutions on display include the Mazak SmartBox, iSmartLink and Smooth Technology, and the industry standard MTConnect. 

Read the full story online from the IMTS ShowDaily here.


Posted by: Derek Korn 15. September 2016

Why You Should Be Excited about a Boring App

The app enables machine operators to log all cutting-diameter changes on all Big Kaiser digital boring heads and also helps them determine optimal cutting parameters and tool assemblies.

Big Kaiser says the company’s new line of EWD Evo digital boring heads was designed to make a machine operator’s life easier. This you’ll be able to see for yourself in the company’s Booth W-1600, as units will be synched with a smartphone/tablet app developed to enhance user friendliness while assembling and running those tools.

The app enables operators to read the cutting-diameter change and also helps them determine optimal cutting parameters for their tool assemblies. It can log historical adjustments for all tools ever synched with it, too, which is critical for shops working to establish a smart facility.

A number of other new products are on display (and some in action) in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Big Kaiser’s parent company, Big Daishowa Seiki. For example, the HSK-E25 line of toolholders now includes Big Daishowa’s low-runout hydraulic chucks. Available in 3- and 4-mm clamping diameters, these holders are designed for precision finish-milling work using very-high-speed spindles on small-envelope machines. You can see these chucks in action on a five-axis Microlution 5100-S machine, one of two machines in the booth. The 5100-S with a 50,000 rpm HSK-E25 spindle is performing micromilling, engraving and drilling with Sphinx tools (including the new 80×D micro drill).

Also featured is the expanded line of Smart Damper toolholders, which now includes a solution for lathe applications. The Smart Damper boring bar features three modular insert holders, optimized for ID turning with common inserts.

Additional technology you’ll find in the booth includes the Speroni Futura tool presetter with pneumatic, quick-change spindle adapters for fast, one-handed exchange of adapters, and multi-axis clamping solutions for the Unilock Zero-Point workholding system that enable a clamped workpiece to be flipped into new orientations for subsequent operations without unclamping it.

This story was originally written for the IMTS ShowDaily.

Posted by: Mark Albert 14. September 2016

Put a CAP on Cybersecurity Concerns

One notable aspect of IMTS this time around is the large number of network-connected products and systems that promise significant boosts in productivity to manufacturing companies. Industrial control systems, for example, are becoming more interconnected, connectable and networkable, thus making data-driven manufacturing a practical reality on the factory floor. However, there are growing risks that threaten the security, performance and financial return on these control systems and the equipment they run.

UL, a global safety science organization, has an answer to mitigate this concern. You can learn about it in Booth E-4135. It’s UL’s new Cybersecurity Assurance Program (UL CAP) for industrial control systems. Using the new UL 2900-2-2 standard, UL CAP is designed to provide testable cybersecurity criteria to help assess software vulnerabilities and weaknesses, minimize exploitation, address known malware, review security controls and increase security awareness. UL CAP is intended for control system manufacturers who need support in assessing security risks while they continue to focus on product innovation to help build safer, more secure products. These steps will help protect the Industrial Internet of Things. The program should benefit OEMs, machine tool builders, system integrators and retrofitters who want to mitigate risks by sourcing products assessed by an expert third party.

“We’re aiming to support and underpin the innovative, rapidly iterating technologies that make up the Industrial Internet of Things with a security program,” says Rachna Stegall, director of connected technologies at UL. “The more industrial control systems become interconnected with other devices, the greater the potential security risks. The Cybersecurity Assurance Program’s purpose is to help manufacturers, purchasers and end users mitigate those risks via methodical risk assessments and evaluations.”

Industrial control systems that meet the requirements outlined in the standard can then be certified by UL as “UL 2900-2-2 compliant.” Additionally, since security is an ever-changing challenge, UL 2900-2-2 can be used to evaluate a vendor’s processes for design, development and maintenance of secure products and systems.

Posted by: Derek Korn 14. September 2016

The Story Behind the Aluminum Top Shops Logo

Shown left to right are Applied Engineering’s Rory Hamilton (operator who machined the logo), Brad Bohnet (shop projects manager) and Chad Harris (CAM programmer for the logo).

A key component of Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops display in Booth W-10 is a Hall of Fame, where company logos machined by past winners of the magazine’s annual benchmarking program are displayed. Also included is a machined version of Modern Machine Shop’s new Top Shops logo.

“Given that our annual Top Shops benchmarking survey is on its sixth year, the time was right to freshen its logo,” says Derek Korn, the magazine’s executive editor and manager of the Top Shops program.

Once the new logo design was finalized and the decision made to have it machined for IMTS, Derek set out looking for a shop to take on this job. “Being that contract shop Applied Engineering, located in Yankton, South Dakota, was last year’s Top Shops winner in the machining technology category, it made sense to first approach those folks to see if they’d be willing to take on the job,” he says.

Shop projects manager Brad Bohnet agreed to help, putting programmer Chad Harris in charge of the endeavor. After the new 2D logo design was completed in Adobe Illustrator, a .dxf file was exported to simplify the creation of a 3D CAD model. That file was sent to Chad on Tuesday, July 5, so he could start building the model. Less than 24 hours later, he sent Derek screen captures of what he had created based on his perception of what the machined 3D logo might look like, adding depth and dimension to various individual elements, such as the Modern Machine Shop logo and the banner that wraps around the shield.

After CAM programming, including the removal of a good deal of material from the back side of the workpiece to lighten it, Chad used SolidWorks to approximate the final weight at just a little more than 45 pounds. He then turned the job over to Rory Hamilton, the operator who machined the logo on one of the shop’s HMCs. The shop left most of the toolpath witness marks as instructed, but took the initiative to polish the Modern Machine Shop logo to make it pop. The result is an attractive workpiece that is the centerpiece of the Top Shops attraction in the West Hall.

“The people at Applied Engineering did a fantastic job machining our new logo, and we couldn’t be more pleased with it,” Derek says.

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