The digital edition of Modern Machine Shop's January 2015 issue is now available.
The digital January 2015 issue of Modern Machine Shop is now available. The cover story delves into ISO 13399, a family of standards that specify a common format for identifying and describing cutting tools. Another feature reports what trends we discovered while at JIMTOF, the Japan International Machine Tool Fair. A third story details the invisible advantage to cutting tool edge prep, while a fourth story discusses tooling up for vertical turning. Our fifth-annual Top Shops survey is now online, so be sure to check that out.
Our Rapid Traverse section highlights two technologies we saw at IMTS—a vending system that uses a carousel with adjustable slots to hold box-shaped contents, and an inspection microscope with automatic focusing capabilities that can streamline the process. This section also highlights how high-speed spindles can be powered by coolant pressure, and it looks into a new website that enables shops with excess tooling to sell it to other shops.
This month’s Better Production section includes case studies about optimizing multitasking using custom clamping, how standardized CNC improved production of power-generation equipment, and how a trunnion table helped a VMC fill a utility roll for a shop.
The Modern Equipment Review section highlights robots and automation.
Fourth- and fifth-axis rotary tables bring added flexibility to conventional three-axis VMCs. At IMTS, Koma Precision introduced the Tsudakoma RG series of rotary tables that uses a ball-drive system for table rotation.
As shown in the photo above, both sides of each ball remain in contact with the system’s worm gear, and each ball is located to within 1 micron of each other. The company says this design offers zero backlash/reversal error while providing a maximum indexing speed of 140 rpm with high accuracy, rigidity and torque transfer. In addition, the device, which is available in three sizes, is said to require no adjustments over its lifetime.
Industrial automation takes different forms for different shops. For some, “automating” might mean adding a pallet changer to a machining center to run longer unattended. For others, it might be installing a large cell of several machines with a tending robot so that parts can be machined complete within one area of the shop floor. Or it might mean automating a process in itself, as with welding robots, freeing up personnel for other tasks.
Click the photo above for a slideshow of these automation products and others featured in our January product spotlight. Also check out the Robots & Automation Zone for case studies, feature articles and more on this topic.
Common manufacturing hardware turns into an impressive feat of engineering when the scale is large enough. TMX Workholding Solutions provided this photo of an example. The company recently delivered this 71-inch, 8,000-pound, forged steel chuck for an oil-and-gas industry customer in Louisiana.
Company Vice President Shawn Luschei (pictured) says, “Working closely with the customer, we developed this four-jaw, heavy-duty chuck for use on a large welding positioner. The manufacturer needed a large chuck to hold its blowout prevention valves while it completes its cladding process.”
He adds that this chuck actually will soon be outdone. “We are now in the process of designing a 74-inch version of the same chuck for a slightly larger positioner.”
ISO 13399 is an international standard that enables cutting tool manufacturers to use the same “language” to describe their products in a computer-interpretable, digital format. This common format simplifies the exchange of this data between computer systems and software applications. Sharing this data more readily should lead to better decisions about shopfloor activities, thus improving productivity and significantly cutting costs. As a result, ISO 13399 is a major step toward data-driven manufacturing.
By complying with this standard, information about cutting tool products from one manufacturer “looks” the same as the information from another manufacturer that also complies with this standard. Computer software that can use this information does not have to have a translator or customized interface for the data from each manufacturer in order to make that data usable in an application. For this reason, ISO 13399 is a valuable resource and model for the other standards developed to exchange manufacturing data.
An important example of this is MTConnect. MTConnect is a computer protocol for exchanging data between shopfloor equipment such as machine tools and software applications for monitoring and analyzing machine performance. Like ISO 13399, MTConnect creates a vocabulary of defined terms related to manufacturing equipment. From the start, MTConnect was designed to be extensible, that is, sets of vocabulary terms could be added to the standard for other categories of manufacturing data.
After the original versions of MTConnect were released in 2008, one of the categories of new vocabulary terms targeted for inclusion in the MTConnect standard were those related to “mobile assets.” For MTConnect purposes, mobile assets include cutting tools, cutter body assemblies, fixturing components and other elements that tend to circulate among machine tools, storage units, inspection devices, automatic toolchangers and so on.
Developers found that ISO 13399 could provide a ready-made set of vocabulary terms and codes usable for an extension to MTConnect that would cover mobile assets. By adopting these terms and codes, the mobile assets extension could be compiled and released more quickly. This extension was formally added to the MTConnect standard in July 2012. The compatibility between ISO 13399 and MTConnect is significant because it enables data about cutting tools and their performance to be added to the data that an application chooses to include in its monitoring and analysis.
Any hindrance to the exchange of digital data between computerized equipment and across information systems is a barrier to data-driven manufacturing. ISO 13399 and MTConnect help break down these barriers. Data exchangeability is also a key enabler in concepts such as the Internet of Things and initiatives such as Industry 4.0. Neither of these can be realized fully without the smooth, secure and comprehensive flow of data. Likewise, access to the data cloud hinges on data exchangeability.
In this context, ISO 13399, MTConnect and other data exchange standards for manufacturing show their true significance. To learn more about ISO 13399, click here.