MMS Blog

Making its debut earlier this year at the ConExpo-Con/Agg trade show for the construction industries was the first fully functional excavator to feature major components produced through 3D printing. A descendent of the 3D-printed car, Project AME (Advanced Manufacturing Excavator) was conceived when members of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power toured the Oak Ridge National Laboratory facility where the 3D-printed car was made. 

According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory:

By: Kevin Saruwatari 2. September 2017

Are There Really No Stupid Questions?

As the guy in my shop expected to know all of the answers, people often automatically come to me whenever questions come up. Some of those questions are valid, some are truly challenging and some are beyond me. Others represent laziness, and some I consider downright stupid.

But what bothers me more than the stupid questions is the fear that something stupid will happen because stupid questions aren’t asked or, worse, because valid questions aren’t asked.

How do you finish the surface of a metal part to a mirror-like sheen without putting it through an abrasive process like grinding? For some applications, roller burnishing could do the trick without actually removing any metal from part.

In basic terms, burnishing is a method for polishing a surface, such as metal, through sliding contact with a harder object. The burnishing tools offered by Cogsdill Tool for machining metal use highly polished tapered steel rollers, as you can see in the photo above.

Many of the new designs for both military- and civil-aircraft turbine engines feature blisk rotors instead of single-bladed rotor assemblies because of their significant weight reduction, greater resilience and reduced maintenance. Blisks are usually machined from a solid billet of hard, exotic materials, such as titanium and nickel-based alloys, which makes them difficult to machine and leads to long cycle times. Subsequently, these components become very expensive to produce. As a result, efficient machining methods need to be developed.

Swiss machine tool builder Starrag (Hebron, Kentucky) has addressed these problems by developing a new tooling concept and milling strategy for roughing, semi-finishing and finish-machining blisks. The centerpiece of the improved milling strategy is the finishing operation, which helps to reduce the total machining time by 50 percent, Starrag says.

When you are working inside your company and not on your company, you do not necessarily look at some of the metrics that are perhaps more important than you are led to believe, says Dave Tilstone, president of the National Tooling & Machining Association. He says it is critically important for NTMA members to know exactly what metrics are driving their business, how they compare to others and where they need improvement.

One way to do this is by attending next week’s Top Shops Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 5-7. According to Mr. Tilstone, the seminars are worthwhile because they will teach attendees how to become a Top Shop—a designation that carries a lot of weight in the supply chain. He says being a more competitive Top Shop helps bring in business because it enables OEMs and Tier One and Tier Two manufacturers get a better understanding of shops’ qualifications and capabilities. Conference attendees will learn what the critical elements are of a Top Shop, how they are measured and more. “They will come away knowing what aspects the industry views as critical to become a Top Shop,” he says. In that respect, they can better identify areas of their machining business where improvements are needed. Register for the conference here.

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