Posted by: Peter Zelinski 8. June 2015

Video: In-House Manufacturing of the Machined Direct Drive Drum Pedal

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Machining is so important to DW Drums’ latest pedal design that machining is part of the product’s name. In this video, Rich Sikra, the company’s vice president of manufacturing, discusses the production of the Machined Direct Drive pedal, the advantages of having that production in-house, and how the company has saved cost by using extrusions instead of machining from rectangular blanks.

I visited DW Drums as part of a film shoot for a forthcoming Edge Factor documentary on music-industry manufacturing. Find updates about the progress of this project at

Posted by: Mark Albert 5. June 2015

Metrology Data That Drive Manufacturing

HxGN Live is the annual international conference sponsored by Hexagon, the global company best known in the manufacturing industry for its broad range of metrology equipment. With its recent acquisition of Vero software, Hexagon now has CAM software products to make metrology data a key driver of shopfloor productivity, as this year’s event made clear.

Where will metrology fit in as the manufacturing industry moves quickly toward an environment that is driven by a data and connected across the entire supply chain by a single “digital thread?” A good answer emerged at the HxGN Live event, which took place June 1 through 4. This answer can be summed up by the theme for the metrology component of this conference as announced by Norbert Hanke, Hexagon Metrology president and CEO. Three words state this theme: Sensing. Thinking. Acting. Proficiency in these three areas establishes metrology as the business of solving problems. This is much more than the activity of taking measurements, as some might narrowly define metrology.

In his Metrology Keynote presentation, Mr. Hanke explained that sensing is at the heart of metrology equipment, whether by contact or non-contact techniques, or a unified combination of these methods. This “sensory input” represents the measurement of workpiece dimensions and feature characteristics. Thinking refers to the analysis of measurement data so that it becomes useful information to manufacturers. Software and software systems provide this analysis and reporting function. Finally, acting refers to the ability of shop and factory personnel to make decisions that ultimately improve productivity, which in this context includes the rate at which good parts are produced. Metrology, then, is a driver of productivity, not a barrier that consumes time and resources on the shop floor without delivering additional value.

When Steve Sivitter, CEO of Vero Software joined Mr. Hanke on the stage, he explained how one of the key connections that enables metrology to drive productivity is in CAM software. As the engine that drives machine tools and other CNC equipment, CAM software is best positioned to be the agent by which metrology data can immediately influence the manufacturing process to ensure the production of parts that meet all of the dimensional specifications of the customer. Mr. Sivitter made it clear that the range of Vero software brands, which include EdgeCAM, Surfcam and WorkNC, now gives Hexagon a comprehensive path for looping metrology data securely into strategies for implementing data-driven manufacturing concepts.

Technical presentations and new products introduced in the exhibit area showed how Hexagon Metrology is backing up its vision for metrology as a problem solver and productivity driver with real world solutions, both in hardware and software.

Posted by: Stephanie Hendrixson 4. June 2015

Slideshow: Boosting Productivity with EDM

Click the image above for a slideshow featuring wire EDMs and more. 

This month’s product spotlight on EDM technology highlights a number of wire EDMs equipped with automatic threading capability. This function enables the machines to run unattended for long periods of time, and reduces the spark-to-spark time when rethreading is needed.

Click the image above to view the slideshow highlighting these machines as well as small-hole EDMs, EDM wire and an electrical discharge wheel dresser, and read the product spotlight in the June issue for more detail. 

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 3. June 2015

C.R. Onsrud Partners with Pinnacle

C.R. Onsrud is known for its custom-built routers. This six-spindle version provides each column with its own tool changer. 

C.R. Onsrud of Troutman, North Carolina, has long been known for its sturdy woodworking machines. A fifth-generation company established in 1915, its first design was a swing-arm router that is still in production. In addition, the success of its line of custom-built routers and heavy milling machines for metalworking applications is gaining momentum—a fact that was evident during a recent conference and tour of the facility. To keep that momentum surging ahead, C.R. Onsrud has developed a new relationship with Pinnacle Machine Tools, a longtime distributor that is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, with customers throughout the Southeast.

According to the company, it’s a winning proposition for everyone involved. It should be noted that Pinnacle, which distributes an extensive line of Mazak multitasking, five-axis, milling and turning machines, has entered into this relationship with Mazak’s blessing, says Matt Jenkins, marketing director. Pinnacle is already established in the very markets C.R. Onsrud is growing into, such as aerospace and automotive. For Pinnacle, this means the company can now provide its customers with a wider range of solutions, including both stock and custom machine tool designs.

The tone board of a Steinway piano—historically machined in Germany, but soon coming to the United States thanks to C.R. Onsrud’s custom design. 

Dealers and distributors from around the country spent a relaxed week at C.R. Onsrud, learning directly from staff engineers and building new business relationships. 

Posted by: Derek Korn 2. June 2015

Collaborative Robots Cut Crown Leadtimes

It will be interesting to see the impact that collaborative robots—robots that can work alongside humans without safety fencing—will have on our industry. This case study explains how one dental implant manufacturer uses them in the production of crowns. A single robot tends four machines, using camera technology to detect the 16 different shades of blanks used for the crowns when the blanks are picked from a dispenser. If the robot detects a problem with the dispenser, it alerts an operator to come fix the issue.

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