MMS Blog

“When the winds of change are blowing, one can build a wall or a windmill.”

Cited by Heller Group COO Manfred Maier at a recent Heller Machine Tools press event, this adage speaks to the value of changing one’s approach in the face of new challenges. It also seemed particularly fitting for the occasion. Heller builds machine tools, not windmills, but the world’s continued evolution toward a greener future—namely, anticipated declines in the production of traditional internal combustion engines—has this 120-year-old automotive machining specialist thinking hard about how best to adapt.  

Registering 55.0 in July, the Gardner Business Intelligence (GBI) Metalworking Business Index was down slightly from the previous month, falling slightly below the year-to-date average value of 55.6. For the year-to-date and 12-month periods, the index is up 1.8 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

The backlog component of the index is closely monitored by GBI, as backlog readings are considered a bellwether to capacity utilization and, ultimately, machine tool sales. In July, this backlog component recorded a value of 53.2, slightly above the year-to-date average.

Scanning for Speedier Setups

It is hard to follow the scanning touch probe’s path as it races across the workpiece in the machine. At rapid feed rates (G0), Renishaw’s Sprint system with “Supascan” technology acquires a vast quantity of surface and position data within seconds. In June, Renishaw’s Product Manager Armin Bucher unveiled the company’s latest on-machine scanning technology at its German headquarters in Pliezhausen to a select group of trade journalists. This presentation was just one example of the new technology the company will display in September at EMO 2017 in Hanover, Germany.

For many years, on-machine scanning probes have been used for advanced measurement applications, including complex-part-setup tasks, but most usually for special applications. In addition, while scanning provides great speed benefits on most types of workpieces, the programming and data processing requirements can be a significant overhead in some cases. However, Supascan, the newest addition to the company’s on-machine Sprint scanning system for high-speed, high-accuracy, in-process control applications, is also designed for simple machine-tool integration to enable fast workpiece setup to maximize spindle uptime.

3 Must-See Top Shops Conference Sessions

The Modern Machine Shop Top Shops Conference is an extension of our annual Top Shops benchmarking program, which uses data from leading CNC machining businesses to identify best-in-class operations, processes and business-management strategies.

As a result, the Top Shops Conference program relies heavily on information provided by top machine shops and will feature presentations by leaders from several past and present Top Shops honorees. It truly is a program “by Top Shops, for Top Shops.”

Data-driven manufacturing depends on shops being able to collect the data they need to make good decisions about manufacturing processes. Right now, a lot of attention is devoted to collecting this data from connected devices via a computer network, usually one that uses internet technology to make accessibility to the data almost unlimited. When data is turned into actionable information, people (as well as machines) can respond to situations before workflow is disrupted, a process creates scrap or a danger arises. This is a cornerstone of concepts such as Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

However, critical information about machines on the shop floor can be collected and conveyed by other means that may be simpler, faster and often more effective for achieving certain results. This is the idea behind the Smart Attend “smart light tower.” This device not only provides the expected color-coded light display, but also provides audible indicators such as buzzers, chimes and voice messages. More important, the light tower is also wired to a companion Smart Device that communicates production data wirelessly to a machine-monitoring application running on a cloud-based server. This application enables authorized shop personnel to open a dashboard on a smartphone, tablet or networked PC.

RSS RSS  |  Atom Atom