In five-axis machining, the workholding has to get out of the way. This is one of the challenges. Particularly on trunnion-style machines that pivot the part instead of the tool, the wrong choice of clamping or fixturing risks collisions as the part rotates through compound angles. Meanwhile, one of the promises of five-axis machining is the ability to cut various faces of the part in a single setup. That benefit is compromised if the workholding device—say, a standard vise—covers up the surfaces of the part.
For shops rethinking their workholding for five-axis machining, Haas Automation posted this useful article detailing various fixturing options engineered specifically for five-axis machining.
One other approach, seen in the accompanying photo, is to make the workpiece itself the fixture by clamping the billet and machining the part out of it. This photo was taken at Padgett Machine. Read about Padgett’s experience with five-axis machining here.
This is the new multispindle assembly hall addition to Index's Deizisau facility. The addition has helped the company reduce the redundancy of manufacturing in three different locations.
No doubt about it: If Esslingen, Germany, had a sister city here in the United States, it would have to be Detroit, Michigan. Much like in the U.S. city, the Schwaben region’s ties to the automotive industry became more and more apparent with each shop and manufacturer I visited in late spring while I was in Germany for a press tour hosted by turning machine producer Index/Traub.
The highlight of the trip was going to the company’s anniversary celebration and open house. While in Esslingen, Deizisau and Reichenbach, I got a first-hand look at how the turning machines are manufactured, the facilities (including a new addition) and the technology behind various turning projects. Click here for a slideshow of some of the highlights from the Index/Traub open house.
During the eight-day trip, I also got to visit three other manufacturers of note:
Heller: The company’s WerkTag 2014 event, which gathered 800 guests from 20 different countries to its Nürtingen facility, had seven machines on display showing the depth of the company’s five-axis machining with high-torque spindle capabilities for the automotive, aerospace and mold and die industries. At the event, I also got a glimpse of Heller’s CylinderBoreCoating for coating cylinder bore surfaces of internal combustion engines using a twin-wire arc spraying process that melts iron/carbon wires and sprays them into the cylinder surfaces of an aluminum crankcase. (We’ll report more on this in a future issue of MMS.)
Zoller: Our host to presetting and measuring machine company Zoller was Alexander Zoller, who, as the current president, is part of the third-generation of the family-owned company. He says the company is seeing growth in the U.S. market, especially in industries such as automotive and aerospace. While at the facility, we learned about the company's Bronze, Silver and Gold TMS Tool Management Solution, which is designed to help optimize tool and stock management as well as production-based manufacturing organization. During the facility tour, we also learned how certain people are certified to assemble different machines. In some instances, one employee will assemble an entire machine for more consistant quality and more dependable assembly time.
Hainbuch: With more than 700 employees worldwide, this third-generation family business makes clamping solutions, of which, its quick-change solutions are particularly well-known. For example, if it normally takes 30 minutes to change a chuck, Hainbuch’s quick-change solution can do it in 30 seconds (with accuracy of 2 to 3 microns and 2 microns repeatability). One product of note is the company’s CFK series carbon fiber chucks. These chucks are approximately 1/3 as heavy as the steel version, which enables them to get up to speed faster for mass production applications, such as those for the automotive industry.
Gleason’s 100PS power skiving machine offers an alternative to shaping and hobbing operations.
While attending Gear Expo last year, I sat in on a presentation by Gleason about power skiving, a gear production process. Although skiving was patented in 1910, recent advances in machine design, cutting tools and simulation software have overcome inherent process challenges to make it a more viable manufacturing option for gear producers.
How do you 3D print an injection mold in plastic, put it into an injection molding machine, and then use that plastic mold to produce plastic parts?
That was the question pump manufacturer Whale faced when it first considering making injection mold tooling in this way. Watch the company print and use these plastic molds, and talk about its experience with them, in this video from Stratasys.
Learn more about using plastic molds to make plastic parts in this article.
In casting, a mold produces the form of the cast part, while a pattern is used to make the form of this mold. Pattern making is therefore the heart of casting.
Danko Arlington is a company that recently turned to 3D printing—specifically, fused deposition modeling—as a potentially more efficient way to make castings. In a report on the company’s website, company president John Danko discusses the pros and cons of making patterns through additive manufacturing. According to Mr. Danko, those pros and cos include:
Incorporation of intricate features
Customers’ high interest in 3D printing
Risk of pattern distortion during printing
Difficulty repairing or modifying a pattern made through 3D printing
Potential distortion of 3D printed patterns by hot foundry sand