MMS Blog

Small steps, narrow alleys and pointed gables shape the silhouette of old Tübingen, Germany, on the way up to its castle. The Swabian university town of 86,000 inhabitants and 27,000 students combines the flair of a lovingly restored medieval town center with the colorful bustle and typical atmosphere of a young, cosmopolitan students’ town.

But Tübingen is not only a favorite tourist destination, it is also home to a company that doesn’t settle for small steps. Cutting tool manufacturer Paul Horn GmbH employs more than 900 people in Tübingen and 1,400 worldwide, and has been producing precision cutting tools and accessories since 1969. Due to its rapid growth, Horn added a third production plant to its Tübingen-based facilities in 2016, covering a total area of 20,000 square meters. After touring all three locations dedicated to toolholder production, insert machining, coating, logistics, administration and carbide-blank production during the company’s latest Technology Days open house in May, my sore feet certainly reflected the site’s size after our 2.5-hour walk.

Industry events have always been about making connections, but making connections these days is about more than just networking. Consider DMG MORI’s recent “Innovation Days” open house, where conversation revolved largely around means of connecting traditionally disparate machining operations, both in the physical sense and the virtual sense.

As for the former, visitors to the company’s Hoffman Estates, Illinois, U.S. headquarters May 15-18 were the first in North America to see a DMC/DMU series Duoblock machine with grinding capability. Grinding is a new addition to the the turning and milling functions previously available on this five-axis machining platform. Another notable example of connecting operations in one platform is the Lasertech line, which integrates subtractive five-axis machining with additive laser deposition technology. Automated means of linking operations were also common, ranging from multi-pallet changers on five-axis horizontal machining centers to robot-fed turn-mills.

There Are Benefits to Being Social

Is your shop using social media channels to market your business? Top Shops benchmarking survey data shows that leading machining businesses are increasingly using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for that reason. In fact, I’m tracking social media more these days in an effort to identify shops to profile in our magazine. Here are a couple examples from the February issue of Modern Machine Shop.

Buying a VMC: The Basics of Spindle Speeds and Tapers

Whether it’s for a toolroom, a job shop or a production house, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to acquiring a vertical machining center (VMC). Key preliminary considerations include the intended application and workpiece(s) and the needs of a shop’s various departments. And then there’s the research and data-gathering process.

In addition to characteristics like structure and stability, potential VMC buyers should be aware of machine spindle considerations.

Flat Honing Advances with In-Process Measurement

Historically, single-sided abrasive machining was performed by lapping and polishing because fresh abrasive materials, such as silicon carbide, aluminum oxide or diamond, could be added while keeping the grinding pressure fixed. This approach enabled the process to create a consistent stock removal rate. According to Matt Huff and Timon Reamy, both part of the Stahli Lapping Technologies team (Lake Zurich, Illinois), single-sided abrasive machining with a grinding wheel now offers a more productive alternative.

They explain that flat honing (fine grinding) with planetary kinematics using cubic boron nitride (cBN) or diamond wheels is practical if variable pressure can be applied to adjust for dulling of the grinding wheel. Without means for this adjustment, a flat-honing machine cannot be operated solely by setting the grinding cycle time, because the stock removal rate will vary between grinding wheel sharpening intervals. Therefore, an in-process measurement system is needed so the machine control unit can increase pressure on the parts to compensate for a decline in the stock removal rate. By varying pressure, the grinding wheel can be held at the optimal sharpness point. This approach enables the wheel to be self-sharpening, thus minimizing the rate at which the wheel becomes dull. The newly released Stahli FH-602 machine now provides the necessary highly precise, highly accurate in-process measuring system for this process, the men say.

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