MMS Blog

“Dengeln” is a German word meaning sharpening or honing. It’s typically a manual process whereby a hammer and anvil are used to smooth and sharpen the blades of scythes or sickles. Machine tool builder Starrag has developed what it calls its “dengeling” process, which is a more advanced version of this concept. The process enables a five-axis machine to mill and then finish turbine blades in one setup, eliminating secondary polishing, grinding or shot peening operations. Learn more in this article.

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One idea that’s commonly emphasized by efforts to attract fresh talent to our industry is that the most modern manufacturing facilities are not as dangerous as the factories of yesteryear. That may be true on the whole. However, the fact remains that the equipment MMS readers interact with day-in and day-out tends to be powerful, to say the least. And as we all learned from Spider Man, great power comes with great responsibility. Specifically, the responsibility to ensure people respect that power and stay safe, using standardized, enforceable procedures to that end wherever possible.

Consider how people interact with the many robots on the floor at Vickers Engineering, an automotive manufacturer in Southwest Michigan (the company’s transition from HMC to VMC cells was the subject of this feature article). As you can see above, these robots are surrounded by cages, and for good reason: When every cent of per-part cost means the difference between success and failure, speed is paramount, and these bots brake for no one, following programmed routines to the letter regardless of who or what may be in the way.

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Posted by: Peter Zelinski 20. September 2016

7 Impressions of IMTS 2016

The biennial International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) finished last week with 115,612 total registrants—up slightly from two years ago. But that number doesn’t tell the most significant story. Far from making an incremental step forward, the show this year seemed to me to cross an important threshold, beginning to assume the form it will take next as it continues to respond to changes in industrial manufacturing. Part of what I am referring to is cultural and demographic—Baby Boomers are leaving the industry and Millennials are coming in, producing a particularly large generational step-change. But an equally important part is technological. IMTS this year embraced and provided a serious forum for technologies that were present more as intriguing novelties at previous shows. I don’t know what the sum of all the changes in these different areas will ultimately bring about, but IMTS 2016 was the show at which we began to sketch the outline.

1. Additive manufacturing. The addition of additive manufacturing to the show this year lived up to expectations, even though expectations for the prominence of AM at the show were high. Going into the show, we knew there would now be a new, dedicated Additive Manufacturing Pavilion at the front of the North Building, along with various machine tool companies in other pavilions showcasing their own additive manufacturing technology. Ultimately, the impression that all of this made was the sense of additive manufacturing having now arrived. Additive simply makes sense at IMTS. The technology belongs at this show, and the show has now expanded to take it in because the options for making production parts have now expanded to include this possibility.

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In the market for new CNC machine tools, there is a wide variety and selection of machines, offered by scores of machine builders from around the world. Vertical machines, horizontals, lathes, gantries, routers, boring mills, screw machines, grinders—the choices are almost limitless. So where does one start, how does one decide, and what tools are available to assist a buyer through the process of purchasing a new machine?

There are many factors to be considered, and a lot of questions have to be asked and answered prior to selecting the right CNC machine. Answering these questions will help ensure a successful installation once a machine is purchased. There is nothing worse than buying a new machine tool and having it sit in the corner, under-utilized, because it is the wrong machine for the job. Yet, this does happen.

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Posted by: Tom Beard 16. September 2016

IMTS 2016 Succeeds in Quantity and Quality

IMTS 2014 was a tough act to follow, yet this year’s show succeeded again, both in terms of quantity and quality. According Peter Eelman, AMT Vice President—Exhibitions & Business Development, attendance stood at 111,782 as of Wednesday evening, and it should finish at above 116,000 for the entire show, topping 2014. Moreover, this year’s extremely successful Smartforce Student Summit will likely end up having drawn more than 14,000 students.

But Eelman stresses that IMTS is about much more that sheer attendance numbers: “We really want IMTS to be the event that is at the center of the manufacturing industry, and I think we are achieving that at this show.”

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