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Posted by: Derek Korn 16. July 2015

What’s a Parakeep?

This parallel keeper is said to be quickly adjusted from approximately 1 to 4.2 inch to hold parallels against the vice jaws as the vice is open and closed during workpiece loading/unloading.

“Parakeep” is what Rimeco Products Inc. calls the adjustable parallel keeper it developed. The company says the device can be used with any standard set of parallels on any machine vise, holding workholding parallels in place while the vise is opened and closed during normal use.

The Parakeep has a spring-loaded housing with an adjustable screw that enables a machine setup person to quickly adjust the device’s parallel stabilizing mechanism with each new job. It serves as an alternate method to conventional means (using different length springs, scrap material, washers and so on) to hold parallels against the vice jaws as the vice is open and closed during workpiece loading/unloading. An individual Parakeep unit has a work envelope of 1 to 2.25 inches, while the kit covers 0.25 to 4.25 inches.  


Posted by: Stephanie Hendrixson 15. July 2015

Slideshow: Faster Cleaning & Deburring

Click the image above for a slideshow featuring these products and more. 

Operations like deburring, polishing and removing grease are often necessary to deliver a final product, but the steps can be time-consuming, especially if the workpiece must be moved manually between machines. Saving time by performing these processes in-machine or automating the movement of workpieces between machines is a common theme among the cleaning and deburring equipment highlighted in this month’s product spotlight slideshow.

The Emag VLC 100 C chamfering machine, for example, features a pickup spindle and a conveyor at the same height as other Emag machines for easy installation into an automated cell or production line. In the same vein, German Machine Tools of America offers an entire line of parts washing equipment that supports conveyor integration.

Click the image above to view this month’s slideshow. 


Posted by: Russ Willcutt 14. July 2015

Fluid Recycling ROI

Fluid recycling systems come in many different configurations so that they’re convenient to operate and fit seamlessly into your facility’s layout.  

Installing a metalworking fluid recycling system in your shop is guaranteed to bring about a return on your investment in terms of slashing costs for new coolants alone, but there are additional benefits to factor in as well. You will also improve workplace safety and employee health, since eliminating tramp oil from coolant reduces oil mist, improving air quality and reducing slippery surfaces. There are also legal considerations, since proof that you’re treating these liquids will protect you down the road should your disposal company incur any liabilities related to improper activities. And having a fluid recycling system in place will go a long way toward reaching environmental management standards for companies working toward ISO 14000 certification. This short video by Eriez HydroFlow provides a nice snapshot of what’s involved, and what you stand to gain by investing in a fluid recycling system.


Posted by: Peter Zelinski 13. July 2015

New Hybrid Unites Additive Manufacturing and Grinding

Using the hybrid grinder, this stator vane section was resurfaced via metal deposition, then machined to the part’s final tolerance via grinding.

To date, hybrid machine tools have combined additive manufacturing capability with milling and/or turning. But now, machine tool maker ELB-Schliff has introduced a grinding machine that is equipped for additive manufacturing. The hybrid version of the company’s “millGrind” is aimed at aerospace engine part production, producing part features both subtractively (through grinding and milling) and additively (through laser cladding). In other words, the machine can generate the features of precise, complex, critical components made aerospce alloys by applying both growing and grinding within a single cycle.

The additive capability comes from the laser metal deposition system from Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies that is integrated into the machine. Hybrid worked with ELB-Schliff on the machine’s development. The result, both companies believe, is the world’s first hybrid grinder.

The combination makes sense. Indeed, it could be argued that additive manufacturing is at least as good a fit with grinding as it is with other subtractive operations. Both CNC grinding and metal additive manufacturing are high-value processes typically performed on high-end machines. In addition, grinding is strong where additive is weak. Features produced additively generally require surface finish improvement, and surface finish is where grinding excels.

A statement from ELB-Schliff adds this: “Grinding particularly excels in cost-effectiveness for processing materials that are difficult to machine, such as nickel-based superalloys. The millGrind runs conventional grinding abrasives with superabrasive capability, and has an XYZ resolution of 0.1 micron. If hybrid milling takes additive manufacturing to a new level of productivity, then hybrid grinding takes additive manufacturing to a new level of precision.”

Find more details here about the ELB-Schliff machine.

The hybrid grinder was shown at the recent Paris Air Show.


Posted by: Mark Albert 10. July 2015

Under a Wing

school under airplane wing

The inspiration for this column came to me in the parking lot behind an extraordinary high school, where I learned about an extraordinary teaching lab.

In the photo above, you can see the wing of the 747 that made finding a parking space an unusual, but enlightening, experience as my introduction to Raisbeck Aviation High School, which is right next door to the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. The school occupies the building in the background, with its clean white walls on one side, and sky blue and dark sky blue glass panels on the other side.

Inside the school is the Prototyping Lab described in the column. The centerpiece of this lab is the Maxiem 1515 waterjet cutting machine from Omax, which is shown below.

omax at school

This lab and this waterjet machine are especially important to Robert Steele, who is standing alongside the machine. Robert, a physics and engineering teacher at the school, is head coach of the school's Skunk Works Robotics Team.

The school's robotics team relies on this machine to produce many of the parts that the students design and assemble to create winning entries in robotics competitions. And Robert relies on the experiences students have in the lab to reinforce essential lessons about manufacturability, keeping design and engineering practical, and the physics pertaining to real-world objects.

Meanwhile, the 747 is waiting for a new home which is being constructed during the next year adjacent to the school.  This construction project will finally give the plane, and many other historical aircraft from the Museum of Flight’s collection, a roof that will protect them as well as improve the visitor's experience. No doubt having historic aircraft such as this jumbo jet nearby will continue to inspire and energize the 400 or so students enrolled at this extraordinary high school.


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