MMS Blog

Many shops today have a variety of newer and older CNC machines, and while newer machines are often equipped with MTConnect- or OPC UA-compliant control units, many more were installed before these standards were adopted. As a result, these machines’ control units have limited data-generating capability. And while those that might only be four to five years old might have data-generating capability, they might lack the appropriate functionality to read-out all process-relevant data in real time to ensure an optimum machining process.

“The goal in an Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing environment is to be able to measure product quality in real time during the machining process,” says Matthias Brozio, Research Fellow at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen, Germany. “Today, most machines offer restricted feedback options, such as online process information on temperature, forces, acceleration and structure-borne sound or mechanical vibration.”

As a young person interested in manufacturing, Corey Ocock potentially has quite a career ahead of him. Speaking to the trade press at GF Machining Solutions’ annual open house event, the company’s first U.S. apprentice expressed fascination with five-axis milling, a technology that’s far removed from what was available in his high school's manufacturing program and even in many businesses. In addition to the latest in milling, his upcoming apprenticeship will expose him to laser-texturing machines and laser-micromachining centers; automation, such as pallet changers and robotics; standardized workholding systems to go along with that automation; and, of course, the technology that proved to be the biggest draw at this year’s open house: electrical discharge machining.

More specifically, the new Cut P series of wire EDMs made its North American debut at the June 6-7 Solution Days event in Lincolnshire, Illinois. However, this wasn’t exactly a debut for everyone in attendance. On-hand to tout the benefits of the new offerings were Brian and Karl Bernt of Extreme Wire EDM, a Grandville, Michigan-based contract provider of wire electrical discharge machining services that was the first manufacturer on the continent to install a Cut P machine. Thanks in part to this purchase, the brothers are projecting significant growth during the next few years. 

Gardner Business Index: Metalworking May 2017 – 57.1

Registering 57.1 in May, the Gardner Business Index for metalworking recorded its highest value yet in 2017, a value that has not been surpassed in more than five years. The production subcomponent, a primary driver of the overall index, jumped at the beginning of the year and recorded another strong month, sustaining its 2017 average value of greater than 60. This component has increased by more than 50 percent over the last 12 months.

The new orders component of the index increased by 20 percent between October 2016 and April 2017, and it is one of the strongest indicators of a strengthening metalworking market. In the first four months of this year, the new orders subindex recorded an average value of more than 59. This is consistent with our separate index of business expectations, which notched another month of elevated results in May.

New Turning Process Can Drastically Cut Cycle Times

If you could take a high-volume turning application and double the output, would you be willing to change your process? That’s a no-brainer for most shops, but what would you have to do?

Sandvik Coromant says they have an answer with their new PrimeTurning process, which they say can reduce cycle times by 50 percent or more in the right turning applications. The key is the ability to feed the turning tool in any direction: toward or away from the chuck in turning operations, and up or down in facing operations. A very low lead angle on the insert allows you to take much more aggressive cuts. And the ability to feed away from shoulders eliminates the chip-jamming problems typical of conventional turning. In applications in which you are removing a lot of material in well-supported parts, this “all-directional-turning” process results in massive improvements in turning productivity,  with better tool life and surface finish in the bargain.

On June 30, 2016, MC Machinery Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation, announced its plans to build a new, larger facility in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The announcement came with company representatives and partners from The Opus Group, Elk Grove Village and Heitman Architects overturning that first shovelful of dirt and, according to a few who were there, virtual reality headsets showing how the building would look when built. Well, last week they found out. MC Machinery Systems hosted an official ribbon-cutting ceremony with employees, partners and press (myself included) on hand.

"All of our competitors are located along Interstate 90 here," said Patrick Simon, marketing and corporate planning manager, during the opening ceremony. "You come out of O'Hare and this is the first building you see." He went on to explain that a gentleman from Ohio flew in to visit a competing EDM supplier, saw the MC Machinery signage on the building, and decided to stop in. "We did a demo for him, and I think we may have sold a machine."

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