MMS Blog

Eleva-Strum High School in Strum, Wisconsin, is about a two-hour drive from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and about three hours from Madison, Wisconsin. If you are interested in manufacturing education, the drive is worth it. This public high school is home to Cardinal Manufacturing, a manufacturing instruction program that pays for itself by functioning as a commercial business. Students perform job-shop work for local customers, thereby learning about not just machining and welding, but also winning business, meeting deliveries and serving customers. Learn about Cardinal Manufacturing in this article, and learn much more at an open house the school will be hosting next week.

The open house is May 3. Visitors will be able to meet the instructor, Craig Cegielski, and see the students’ shop. Returning visitors will be able to see how far the shop has progressed since the combination of commercial work and donations from supportive businesses has enabled Cardinal to steadily upgrade its equipment. Here is more about the open house.

A quick visit to Hyundai Wia’s technology center in the Chicago area during a recent open house refreshed my positive impression of this builder’s machine tool offerings. The lineup is remarkably diverse, ranging from a “commodity” vertical machining center to a five-axis contouring machine, with models for multitasking, hard turning, mold making and production applications in between. This builder’s heritage includes the design and construction of machines for one of its original parent companies, the automotive giant in South Korea that produces cars for the global auto market. Clearly though, the variety and capability of its current machine lineup extends well beyond the parts-machining needs of an automaker, yet this legacy of building machines to meet the reliability and productivity demands of this industry are apparent.

The photos above cover some of the machines and demos that were particularly eye-catching. Of course, Hyundai Wia’s technology center is a representative selection of the company’s catalog, and the machines in the center are an even smaller sampling. Yet the message is still valid: This manufacturing technology is to be evaluated carefully and with an open mind to its extensive possibilities.

Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), an additive process that builds parts by laser sintering layers of metal powder, makes it possible to create parts with mesh or lattice structures that reduce weight while maintaining strength. However, the relatively small build envelopes of powder-bed DMLS systems mean that the large parts that could benefit most from weight savings can't be made complete inside of these machines.

Aircraft maker Airbus recently found a workaround for this challenge, successfully direct metal laser sintering the frame of a partition for A320 aircraft that separates the passenger compartment from the galley. The original solid aluminum alloy frame was redesigned for additive manufacturing with lattice-like structures that reduced its weight by 45 percent. However, the nearly 7-foot-tall frame is much larger than the envelopes of the additive machines that were used to produce it.

Two years after Linz, Austria-based WFL Millturn Technologies introduced additive manufacturing capability in the form of adding laser-based hardening, welding and cladding to its machines, the company once again demonstrated this technology. At its Open House event March 21-23, 2017, the company highlighted the integration of additive manufacturing processes via a 6-kW high-power laser for melting powdered metals, low-distortion hardening and cladding in a M80 Millturn.

The process is still under development, but Reinhard Koll, head of application and project engineering, hopes to have the first machine in operation within the next year. "The technology on the machine hasn't changed much since we introduced the machine, but we have done extensive testing together with a range of customers to analyze the process, the quality of the layers and the material properties. The machine is ready to be sold. The crux is to convince customers—and even more importantly, their customers—that it is possible to manufacture a reliable and high-quality part which is made of two or more materials or which features heat-affected zones after the laser operation."

Don Schumacher Racing and Sandvik Coromant have opened a project and training site in Brownsburg, Indiana. The site will be a collaborative hub with a focus on automotive engineering projects and customized training for Sandvik Coromant customers.

Located inside National Hot Rod Association’s Don Schumacher Racing headquarters, the site will be one of three major Sandvik Coromant sites in the United States. With a full-time project engineer specializing in automotive process engineering and dedicated machines, the site is intended to serve as a hub for customer engineering projects as well as basic and advanced training. Similar to the other sites in Fair Lawn, New Jersey and Schaumburg, Illinois, the new site will host general metalcutting knowledge classes, but will also focus on specialized and customized automotive training.

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