MMS Blog

There are many factors to be considered before acquiring a new machine tool, and a lot of questions have to be asked and answered prior to selecting the right CNC machine. This process includes asking questions about why the shop is buying in the first place and considering what size and sort of workpieces will be machined. It’s also useful to recall all the different people and departments the new machine will affect before moving to purchase.

During the machine-buying process, some companies will form committees, especially when numerous departments will be involved in and responsible for the daily operation of the machine. Buying committees allow each department to have input, conveying their requirements and concerns prior to machine selection.

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The 2016 Additive Manufacturing Conference (AM2016), which took place at this year's International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), featured 20 speakers on topics ranging from surface finishing options for additive manufactured tooling to the right reasons for an organization to pursue 3D printing. It would be impossible to summarize all that the conference's 500 attendees witnessed, but the editors of Additive Manufacturing have done our best to highlight the most salient points in the November issue. Go directly to the conference coverage, or access the full issue here.

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Nadia Ayad, a materials engineering student from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s Military Institute of Engineering, was announced the winner of Sandvik Coromant’s Graphene Challenge for her idea of using graphene for a filtration device and desalinization system that would provide drinkable water to households. The contest invited people to submit ideas for sustainable innovations made from graphene for the modern household. Ms. Ayad’s idea could significantly reduce energy costs and strain on current water supplies by recycling water.

“I am really fascinated with the study and applications of advanced materials, so the opportunity to travel to Sweden to meet with leading researchers is one that I am really looking forward to," Ms. Ayad says.

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There are various B-axis turn-mill machines that have automatic toolchangers (ATCs) to tend their milling heads. Hwacheon now offers its C1 series CNC lathes with Y-axis motion and an ATC that tends its “three-stack” turret. In addition to tool stations that can be used to perform operations on either the main or subspindle, the turret has six stations with Capto toolholder interfaces to accommodate automatic tool change-out, like on a B-axis turn-mill, VMC or HMC (see video above). This offers increased flexibility to job shops that encounter a diverse array of workpieces and small batch sizes. 

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Not only are metalworking businesses changing, they’re changing significantly and for the better. What’s more, the pace of that change shows no sign of slowing, even in the face of an unpredictable future that’s rife with significant challenges.

That’s the picture painted by a recent survey commissioned by Grainger, an industrial supply company, and Practical Machinist, an online metalworking community. Worries cited by the survey's 360 respondents included the result of the election (unknown at the time of the survey), overseas competition, regulation, taxes, U.S. and global economic volatility, and, above all, difficulties with finding talent. Nonetheless, among those respondents, all of whom hail from businesses using CNC or other metalworking machinery, the number who expected business to improve next year more than doubled the number who expected it to decline (42 percent versus 20 percent, with 10 percent unsure and 29 expecting no change).

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