MMS Blog

Sometimes feature articles in Modern Machine Shop include short sidebars. These sidebars sometimes present information that isn’t directly related to the primary focus of the article. 

An example is found in this story, which explains how Complete Grinding Solutions in Ohio leverages a high-speed peel-grinding process that resembles turning to effectively grind challenging materials such as carbide.

Part cutoff isn’t the kind of operation I’d normally associate with wire EDM. Nonetheless, a recent shop visit marked the second time I’ve seen this high-end machining operation used for that purpose.

That visit was to Omega Plastics, a Michigan mold manufacturer that relies on standardized workholding from System 3R (a division of GF Machining Solutions) to ensure seamless part transition from machine to machine without losing references. As detailed in this article, custom tooling modifications and the right machining technology enable the company to incorporate more than 80 percent of its work—including 200-odd-pound mold bases—into the standardized fixturing system. With fast, easy transfers and no need to find workpiece zero at every workstation, the shop often finds it more cost-effective to remove parts from their custom pallets via wire EDM rather than bandsaw. In addition to being more precise (and thus, at less risk of marring part that’s already undergone significant machining), this can eliminate an extra setup. The strategy is particularly beneficial for workpieces that must undergo wire EDM work anyway, especially when EDM’ed features are located on the mounting side.    

Abrasive waterjet machines historically were found most often in fabricating shops, because the abrasive waterjet process is an attractive alternative to other means for cutting large sheets and plate. However, the capability and flexibility of waterjet machining also has proven of interest to shops primarily devoted to machining processes such as milling, turning, grinding and so on. The waterjet process is useful for precision prototyping, short runs, cutting multiple parts from stacks of material, difficult and complex cutting operations, and operations that complement more traditional CNC machines.

Encouraging this trend has been the evolutionary development of waterjet machining. The process has become more precise, easier to program, more capable of multi-axis cutting, quieter and easier to maintain. In short, waterjet machining is as likely to fit into the machining job shop as in the fab shop.

For several years Dapra Corp. has had a technical center in Rockford, Illinois, where, like many other OEMs, the cutting tool manufacturer has conducted training sessions there for its end users and distributors. Recently, however, the company decided to make a change to its training model in response to customer comments about the difficulty of finding and training skilled labor.

Until recently, according to Product Manager Mike Bitner, the two-day seminars had been similar to other vendor-sponsored classes, with ample marketing material included in the training. In fact, it’s been a common complaint from Dapra’s customers that supplier training sessions put more time into product features and benefits than on practical machining training.

​Taking place June 14-15, the 2017 edition of Amerimold returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Though the venue is familiar, this year’s event is expanding its offerings for tool- and moldmakers.

In addition to more than 200 exhibitors displaying equipment and services for mold manufacturing, the 2017 show will also include:

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