Posted by: Peter Zelinski 18. February 2015

Interest in Additive Manufacturing Enters Phase Two

At CIMP-3D, visiting engineers from various companies look at a layer slice of an additive-manufactured part. Penn State research assistant Kenneth Meinert discusses additive build orientation and parameter settings as they relate to this part.

Timothy W. Simpson, Ph.D., professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Pennsylvania State University, is co-director of the university’s additive-manufacturing-focused Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition, or CIMP-3D. He has toured more than 1,200 visitors through this additive manufacturing demonstration facility, he says, and he believes he is now seeing attention to AM enter a second phase. The knowledge level of potential users has advanced.

The previous phase reached its high point 18 to 24 months earlier, he says. At that time, visitors to his facility asked basic questions. A common one was, “You can 3D print in metal?” Amazement at seeing functional metal parts produced additively was common. But now—strikingly—almost every visitor to the lab has moved well beyond that level of knowledge.

The new wave of interest that he is seeing takes the form of engineers working with the lab to produce one-offs or trial batches of additive manufactured parts. In almost every case, the engineer’s purpose is to take these sample parts to his or her company management as part of an argument for adopting additive production. As a result, Dr. Simpson expects to see a third phase in another 18 to 24 months, as some of the bosses of those engineers agree to start implementing additive processes for the production of initial parts.

Projecting these anticipated phases into the future, Dr. Simpson estimates that 3 to 5 years from today will be enough time for additive manufacturing for full-scale production of metal parts to move to a point of acceptance beyond the leading edge at which it’s practiced today. By that point in the future, he says, the production of end-use parts through additive manufacturing will be an established, day-to-day practice in facilities serving a variety of industries and end uses.

Read more about additive manufacturing at CIMP-3D.

Posted by: Matthew Jaster 17. February 2015

Large Machines and Large Capacity in Renovated Pfronten Facility

The exhibition floor at DMG MORI’s open house in Pfronten, Germany, featured 76 machines including four world premieres. 

DMG MORI hosted its 20th open house earlier this month in Pfronten, Germany. The event featured 76 machine tool exhibits, including four world premieres, and gave nearly 8,800 attendees (including global customers, journalists and guests) had the opportunity to tour the recently renovated and expanded facility to see its latest machine tool technologies. Here are some observations from the event:

  • Large-part machining: In more ways than one, DMG MORI is expanding its manufacturing portfolio. Case in point: The DMU 600 P is designed for machining extremely large and heavy components. It is well suited for automotive, rail, shipping and construction industry applications, with a travel of 6,000 mm in the X axis and 4,200 mm in the Y axis. An optional crossbeam has a path of 2,000 mm, and the ram stroke provides an additional 1,500 mm.
  • Increased production capacity: Pfronten’s new high-tech assembly hall was designed so that two DMU 600 P machines could be built in their entirety with room to spare. Upgrades and renovations in 2014 have doubled the facility’s previous capacity.In keeping with Germany’s Industry 4.0 plans for more intelligent production capabilities, the factory also boasts an integrated information system. Digital workstations installed throughout the factory enable employees to look at the exact configuration of customer orders, lock-in necessary materials and order supplies for each machine tool without leaving their workspace. The result is an increase in shopfloor efficiency.  
  • Updated equipment: One of the four machine tool world premieres was the second generation CTX beta 1250 TC. This turn-mill features the new CompactMaster spindle, and it machines workpieces ranging to 350 mm in length with tools ranging to 400 mm length. The second premier was the DMC 270 U, a five-axis machine featuring a gantry design and a new B-axis milling head. The company also highlighted the DMU 100 P duoblock and DMC 125 FD duoblock five-axis machines, now in their 4th generation respectively, which feature a new wheel-type modular tool magazine.
  • Celos: In the spring of 2015, DMG MORI will launch four new application tools for its Celos CNC operating system including Job Scheduler (production planning), Tool Handling (reducing tool setup times), Service Agent (predictive maintenance) and Messenger (machine status overview).  
  • A push for single-source machining: The other main topic of conversation in Germany involved streamlining the product lines. During the press conference, DMG MORI executives, including Dr. Ruediger Kapitza and Dr. Masahiko Mori, discussed plans to use the German and Japanese machine tool resources to the fullest extent. This means getting Celos on every machine. It also means discussing the possibility of a joint IT department. The goal is to centralize the company’s machine tool line to meet the increasing demands of its customers. Expect more information on this later in 2015.

Posted by: Emily Probst 16. February 2015

GE Aviation Inspection Technologies Challenge Announced

NineSigma, representing the General Electric Company, is accepting entries for its Inspection Technologies Challenge through February 24. This challenge is designed to find technologies, processes or approaches that can greatly increase the speed and accuracy of aviation parts inspection and greatly increase manufacturing efficiency.

Participants will compete for as many of three cash prizes of $15,000. Winning respondents who enter into a joint development agreement with GE will be awarded a $35,000 development grant to collaborate with GE to develop proposed solutions.

For this challenge, participants are asked to demonstrate their abilities by inspecting a Victorinox 4 inch paring knife instead of actual high-precision aircraft parts.

Visit this site for more information about the challenge and read the official rules. There is also a forum in which you can post questions about the challenge.

Posted by: Derek Korn 13. February 2015

2015 Top Shops Survey: Time’s Almost Up

Ever benchmarked your machine shop against others? Here’s your chance.​

The online survey for the 2015 edition of Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops benchmarking program ends February 28. Hundreds have participated thus far, so please take time to complete the survey if you  haven’t already. Participants will receive a number of survey reports and have the chance to be profiled in the magazine. All it costs is a bit of your time.

Read this to learn more about the survey or go directly to this link to participate.

Posted by: Emily Probst 12. February 2015

February 2015 Digital Edition Now Available

The digital edition of Modern Machine Shop's February 2015 issue is now avilable.

The digital February 2015 issue of Modern Machine Shop is now available. The cover story discusses the challenges that modern medical machine shops face and how they have helped shape one shop in particular. Other stories discuss how a castings supplier opened a fully equipped in-house machine shop, how a hydraulic system producer implemented an ERP solution and strategies in chip processing and coolant filtration.

Our Rapid Traverse section highlights EDM in three articles. The first is about a control that uses touchscreen navigation to help the basic user match the productivity and capability of an experienced operator. The second details how simultaneously rotating and tilting the workpiece enables the EDM wire to cut complex openings that may have different paths at the top and bottom of the opening. The third story discusses how the wire “spark erosion process” is used to dress a metal-bonded grinding wheel while still mounted in the grinder.

This month’s Better Production section includes case studies about how CAM software and new employees helped a job shop ramp up on a small budget, how a tool management system improved plant-wide communication, and how a vise-within-a-vise system enabled economic five-axis machining.

The Modern Equipment Review section highlights grinding equipment.

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