IMTS is expansive, covering 1.3 million square feet of floor space at Chicago’s McCormick Place. However, there are a variety of tools available to help you prepare and plan for it. This article highlights three: Modern Machine Shop’s August and September issues, the show website and the Show Daily newspaper. These resources will help you more easily tool around at McCormick next month.
Automation is a broad topic that we often picture narrowly. Say “automation,” and we tend to picture robots—even though the range of what automation might involve includes these devices and more. Similarly, we tend to imagine that automation refers to technology taking the place of people. In fact, productive uses of automation in manufacturing often involve people and technology working in parallel to complement one another. I had a chance to talk about automation—its importance, its value, and why it is succeeding now—in this video.
Making informed decisions about the choice of manufacturing technology requires giving careful consideration to the proponents of various competing alternatives. In this blog post, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence makes the case for an "all-in-one" vision system for part measurement versus the traditional optical comparator.
Although this article presents only one side of a many-sided discussion, it raises many of the issues that must be addressed and resolved when judging the relative merits of different approaches to part measurement. These include the need for quantitative data, adequate resolution, environmental influences, traceability and provisions for automation.
Despite the apparent bias against optical comparators, the article's perspective is a useful reference when evaluating other points of view on the most appropriate technology for part measurement.
Click on the photo above to read the August 2016 digital edition of Modern Machine Shop.
Every two years, we do something special with our August issue and devote it entirely to promoting the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). This year is no different. With more than 2,000 companies exhibiting in 1.3 million square feet of exhibit space at Chicago’s McCormick Place, this show is well worth the extra attention we provide in print and digital editorial. But don’t take my word for it, see why Mark Albert thinks this show is so special.
The feature story, “Seeing the Whole of IMTS,” discusses how potentially disruptive manufacturing concepts and advancements in proven technologies will come together at next month’s show. Read the full story here.
Of course, this wouldn’t be our biennial show issues without hundreds of pages of the magazine devoted to new products and technology that will be on display. Begin browsing here.
A screenshot of a turning machine entry on Techspex, which enables users to compare such specifications side by side, spec for spec.
This probably isn’t mind-blowing, but machine tool purchase decisions are not to be taken lightly. A shop looking to acquire a new machine (or several, as the case may be) has to weigh its options. This means, among other things, carefully considering the work it needs the machine to do and evaluating any number of financial variables against the machine models available.
But how does a shop go about gathering data on those machines? How does it know what’s out there to begin with? How does it find out who distributes them? And when this data is all gathered, how does the shop compare among them to find the right machine for the job?
Once a shop has outlined and refined its questions, it’s time to find answers. That’s where Techspex.com comes in. Techspex is the largest machine tool database, providing specifications on more than 8,600 machines from more than 500 builders, as well as extensive information on importers and local distributors. Instead of having to keep track of multiple catalogs and websites, Techspex simplifies the data-gathering process with the goal of making disparate information as accessible as possible.
Basically, Techspex is a free research and analysis tool for shops concerned about getting the machining center, lathe, EDM, grinder or multitasking machine that best fits their needs. To that end, Techspex provides users with several functionalities for machine research:
Search by specification. Users can search based on specific features (such as spindle orientation), as well as by inputting a range for horsepower, spindle speeds, chuck diameters or axis travels, among other variables.
Compare models. Users can select among a search query’s results to generate a downloadable spreadsheet that compares multiple machines’ specifications side by side.
Find distributors. After narrowing the search to several machines, users can view an applicable list of machine distributors and their locations.
Request quotes. Users can access a simple form from each Techspex machine tool page to make contact with a machine supplier and request a quote.
Share datasheets. Users can email machine data sheets, links, spreadsheets or other supplier data to colleagues directly from Techspex.
Most importantly, full access to the entire database and its accompanying features is offered for free. With a free registration, users can save the custom searches, and downloadable machine and manufacturer data.
A significant number of Techspex users (around 37 percent) are from companies with fewer than 50 employees. While making wise acquisition choices is important for companies of all sizes, it could be argued that smaller manufacturers in particular need an easy, accessible way to make the most of the precious time it takes to research their options and make the best choice of new machine tool.
Techspex could be a useful tool to keep in mind both as you browse the IMTS preview issue of Modern Machine Shop and after you return from the show, having seen the machines up close.