MMS Blog

Tri-State Tool Grinding in Cincinnati, Ohio, has a CNC tool grinder with a workpiece carrier intended for production grinding of carbide blanks. The small shop wanted to adapt this carrier for unattended regrinding of tools that already have the precision geometry.

The shop’s solution illustrates a point worth noticing now and again—namely, the extent to which a machine shop is routinely an inventor. Frequently, that invention takes the form of fixtures and other in-house workholding for machining centers, but this video shows it applied to the creation of a workholding device used for holding tools during regrinding.

German milling machine manufacturer F. Zimmermann GmbH recently hosted a grand opening of its new 13,250-square-foot facility in Wixom, Michigan, dedicated to expanding its activities in North America. The guests, some 40 in all, included employees, business partners, customers and representatives of the county and state.

At the event, shareholder Frieder Gänzle stressed the company’s resolve to be a stronger and more reliable partner for its American customers. “Demand in the American aviation and aerospace industries is continuously growing, and that is also true for the automotive industry,” he said. 

Multi-process equipment is not always based on a turning platform. By locking the spindle in place and spinning the trunnion table, a properly configured five-axis machining center can consolidate setups by turning symmetrically round parts, particularly large aerospace and energy industry components. Some machines can even leverage two rotary axes at once, adding tilt to spin in order to get even closer to the workpiece surface. As is the case with moving from three- to five-axis milling, adding rotary motion can enable turning with shorter, more rigid cutters at more aggressive parameters to improve cycle times, surface finishes and tool life.

That is according to Gunther Schnitzer, vice president of sales and engineering at German machine tool builder Hermle’s North American arm, which is located in Franklin, Wisconsin. He emphasizes that the key phrase here is “properly configured.” Not just any five-axis machine can turn, let alone tilt and swing what is most likely to be a large, heavy part spinning at speeds as fast as 800 rpm. For Hermle, the groundwork for achieving the latter capability was laid long ago, he says, back when the company first standardized on a modified-gantry-design scheme for all its machine tools. Although developed with milling in mind, this machine configuration is considered essential to ensuring the high levels of rigidity needed to turn the trunnion table into what is essentially an adjustable lathe spindle, one that is capable of presenting work to tool at a wide range of precisely programmable angles.

Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 6. February 2017

GBI: Metalworking January 2017 – 53.8

With a reading of 53.8, the Gardner Business Index showed that the metalworking industry grew in January for the first time since March 2015, reaching its highest point since May 2014. This also is close to its fastest rate of growth since April 2012.

New orders increased for the third straight month and at their fastest rate since March 2014. The same was true for the production subindex. Although it is still contracting, the backlog subindex continued the steady improvement that began last June and reached its highest level since August 2014. This trend in backlogs indicates that capacity utilization should increase in 2017. Employment increased for the third time in four months and at its fastest rate since July 2015, while exports continued to contract. Supplier deliveries continued to lengthen.

Versatile machining has turned on options and creativity for one shop that has long thrived on its ability to mill boxy parts on a turning platform. Today, newer technology and techniques enable saying “yes” to more work than ever before. Read the full story on page 68.