MMS Blog

In most cases, turning operations involve continuous cuts in which the tool remains engaged with the material from the time it starts the cut to the time the cut is completed. Marubeni Citizen - Cincom has developed what it calls low-frequency-vibration (LFV) technology, which is available on its L20 sliding-headstock Swiss-type lathes. This technology purposely oscillates the cutter in the Z axis in time to the rotation of the barstock. At times, it actually brings the cutter completely out of the cut.

The company says the advantage of this programmed oscillation is that the intentional air cuts break the chips into small pieces so they can be readily expelled, minimizing the problems of spiraling chip entanglement around the workpiece known as “bird nesting.”

In this video produced for our upcoming Top Shops Conference, I talk about the value of benchmarking and the different benefits that might come from comparing your shop’s business and performance metrics to those of other shops. Also in this video, Gardner Business Media Director of Market Intelligence Steven Kline describes three characteristics that distinguish top shops—the group of shops with the leading benchmarks in our annual survey—from other machining businesses and facilities.

The Top Shops Conference, which will explore ideas and technologies top shops are adopting and the challenges they are overcoming, is the very first of what we hope will be a regular event. The conference runs September 5-7 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Learn more about the event and its speakers, and be sure to register for the Top Shops Conference. For more Top Shops information, visit our Top Shops Zone.

June 2017 Product Spotlight: EDM

The products listed below, compiled in our June 2017 issue’s Modern Equipment Review Spotlight, include EDMs, wire, and a special EDM coating technology.

Find more product information, news and articles about EDM equipment and shop applications in MMS Online’s EDM Zone.

Amid reassurances from our hosts that Virginia’s weather isn’t usually overcast, rainy and chilly in the middle of May, I and three other media guests traveled town to town for three days visiting, all in all, 10 manufacturers, industry education institutes and R&D campuses. Our ebullient hosts from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) drove our party across the leafy (and yes, wet) hills and valleys of central and southern Virginia to meet manufacturers which, despite their various industries and end markets, nevertheless shared some common concerns: finding and training skilled labor, and pursuing lean principles in the face of challenges both rooted in the past and looming on the horizon.

It’s an undisputed fact that Virginia is home to a lot of manufacturing, with a labor force numbering some 242,000, spanning transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, machinery, wood products and more. The commonwealth continues to stand out in its training and personnel pipelines networking universities, community colleges, and businesses, just as it did in 2012 when Modern Machine Shop’s Emily Probst traveled there. The Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining, a collaboration between Danville Community College and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, is on track to graduate upwards of 270 skilled machinists and metrology technicians annually between the Haas Center’s advanced training lab and high school courses. The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), another stop on our trip, highlights the research and development emphasis of the state’s manufacturing activity. CCAM, a nonprofit collaborative R&D “pool” with buy-in from OEMs, universities and agencies such as NASA, was described by Dr. Jaime Camelio, chief technology officer, as a place where researchers and technicians can effectively “play with” the latest machine tools, software, metrology equipment and additive manufacturing technologies to perform tests for OEMs but also “to learn about the process per se,” whether that be testing the possibilities of laser ablating, experimenting with metal coatings, automating the centering of metal castings for fixturing, or—as Dr. Camelio says the lab hopes to begin doing in 2018—playing around with mobile cobots.

When It Comes to Cybersecurity, Be Scared, but Be Prepared

Machine spindles can go bad. Cutting tools can suffer catastrophic breakage. A chip conveyor can jam. System failures such as these are ordinary and expected risks that every machine shop faces. Steps to minimize these failures are worthwhile, because they can cause downtime that might hurt profits and potentially harm customer relations.

Now we face the risk of system failures due to hackers. Manufacturers are increasingly susceptible to becoming targets of cyber attacks. Although I don’t doubt this fact, it is a broad generalization that makes me as uncomfortable as saying “Every home in America could be damaged by a tornado.” (Certainly true, but not every home faces the same level of risk. Consider a mobile home in Kansas compared to a stone farmhouse in Vermont.)

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