I happened to be in the Chicago area in time to take in part of a day at the Discover More with Mazak Midwest event at the company's Technology Center in Schaumburg, Ill. Designed to help attendees “discover new tools and techniques for staying ahead of the manufacturing curve,” the event brought several good ideas to my attention. Here are four that particularly stand out.
Mazak is big on MTConnect, the open communication protocol that provides “interconnectability” among CNC machines, shopfloor devices and software applications from different suppliers. Mazak has helped more than 173 customers to implement MTConnect-enabled applications, involving more than 800 machines. In fact, Mazak uses MTConnect for machine monitoring in its own factory in Florence, Ky.
Per Matt Gimbel, production manager at Penske Racing, the Penske team uses its Mazak five-axis e410 Integrex machine to produce critical parts such as steering knuckles. With the latest changes in NASCAR regulations, the new top priority for racing teams is not squeezing in a little more horsepower, but rather squeezing out a few pounds. Instead of having separate parts welded together, the steering knuckle is now produced as a more compact, lighter-weight, one-piece casting. The Integrex enables Penske to do the complex machining that this casting requires.
Do done-in-one when you can, but if multiple setups are unavoidable to complete a part, Dan Skulan from Renishaw made the point that today’s advanced probing systems can greatly reduce the risk of introducing errors when refixturing workpieces, changing tools or working lights out. Probing technology makes new machining strategies possible.
Cloud-based manufacturing resources are a harbinger of sunnier days for machining companies that program CNC machines. Reps from Esprit, for example, were showing how their CAM software tapped into the Kennametal's cloud-based NOVO system to incorporate the latest tooling recommendations, matching machining data and process knowledge.
Joe Thole, applications engineer with machine tool distributor Hartwig, says the VTL (vertical turning lathe, vertical turret lathe or vertical table lathe—take your pick) offers advantages that go beyond the main advantage most people see.
That main advantage is that a VTL offers a practical way to turn large and heavy parts. The part sits atop the spindle like it is resting on a table.
But there are other advantages, he says. A VTL is inherently rigid, because cutting force is directed down into the base of the machine. Also, this lathe type is more floorspace-efficient than a horizontal lathe, because in the case of the vertical, the machine’s volume extends upward instead of being spread out across the floor.
Then there are the myths. VTLs are not more difficult to program, he says—programming is essentially the same as for a horizontal lathe. More significantly, VTLs are not dependent on large parts. Shops question whether they have enough large-part machining work to justify a vertical lathe, but the question really should be whether they have enough work in general. When there are no large parts to be run, the VTL can still deliver value by running average-sized workpieces.
Read more of what Mr. Thole has to say about VTLs in this article.
Here’s one method of finishing a fillet using an 80-degree insert.
Just because a pocket calls for a fillet with a tight radius doesn’t mean the entire thing should be rough-machined with a tool having that radius. As cutting tool manufacturer Greenleaf explains, radii like these typically are small. Therefore, a tool having such a radius is generally weak and must be indexed or changed numerous times if the plan is to use it to complete the entire operation. However, there are a number of effective methods available to finish fillet radii after performing roughing operations using a different, more appropriate tool. The company highlights four of them here.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently toured Cardinal Manufacturing, the Eleva-Strum High School manufacturing program that operates as a commercial manufacturing business. Read about Cardinal Manufacturing here. Todd Schuett of Creative Technology captured photos of Governor Walker’s visit as well as video footage. In this video, the governor lays out some of the numbers that account for why he advises children to view manufacturing as not just a job but a potential career.
Dealers, end-users, and members of the trade press got their first glimpse of Hyundai Wia’s new headquarters and technical center in Itasca, Ill., Monday, March 17. Twenty active machines were on display and ready for demonstrations at the new facility.
The centralized location is designed to provide greater access for customers than the previous site in New Jersey, the company says, adding that the move has greatly enhanced training opportunities for both sales personnel and machine operators. The ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration enabled guests to mingle with Hyundai Wia executives and staff. Corporate representatives included Jun-Mo Yoon, president and CEO, and In-Sig Lee, senior vice president and CFO—both of the Hyundai Wia Corp.—and “Brad” Bok Sup Lim, CFO of the Hyundai Wia America Corp., among others.
Confetti canons sent streamers soaring across the main hall as Hyundai Wia executives cut the ribbon introducing the new facility.
Active machines representing the company’s complete line of equipment are on display at the Itasca, Ill., facility. They are available for training and process demonstrations.