I find the concept of the Collaborative Commons both compelling and a bit disquieting. My recent column offered a few comments on this development as an alternative to the market-based economy that we take for granted. Author Jeremy Rifkin has written a book that explores this concept in great depth. It’s called The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism.
Mr. Rifkin’s office sent me a copy of his book, with a personal letter that included these paragraphs. Because they summarize the book so well (and match my impressions of the snatches I’ve been able to read so far), I quote them here:
“Mr. Rifkin believes that the Collaborative Commons is a critical part of a bigger story unfolding around the world that is going to fundamentally alter our global economy in the first half of the 21st century. He argues that a new economic system—the Collaborative Comments—is entering on to the world stage. It is the first new economic paradigm to take root since the advent of capitalism in the early nineteenth century. The meteoric rise of this new economic paradigm is coming at a time when capitalism is under great scrutiny, with lower growth, rising unemployment and greater inequality.
In his book, Mr. Rifkin describes a transformative new technology revolution—the Internet of Things—that enables billions of people to not only produce and share their music, videos, news, knowledge, and other virtual goods, but now also green electricity, 3D printed products, and other physical goods at near zero marginal cost, and for nearly free, on a vast global Collaborative Commons, bypassing the conventional marketplace. A younger generation is also beginning to share cars, dwellings, clothes, and countless other items and services at low or near zero marginal cost on the burgeoning Collaborative Commons, wreaking havoc on traditional industries and in the process, changing the very way we organize economic life.”
The digital edition of Modern Machine Shop's July 2014 issue is now available.
The digital July issue of Modern Machine Shop is now available. Feature stories emphasize hole making and Swiss-type machining topics. The cover story discusses the costs and benefits of horizontal machining.
Our Rapid Traverse section highlights a novel modular clamping system as well as shop glasses that offer video and data capabilities.
This month’s Better Production section includes case studies about using new inserts to create micro grooves while increasing tool life, a robot that eliminates WIP and improves efficiency, and how tangential milling and a slow-motion video addressed a slotting bottleneck.
The Modern Equipment Review section highlights cleaning and deburring equipment.
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.