MMS Blog

Machine-tending automation solutions vary in sophistication and price points. In any case, many machine tool builders report an increased interest in automated systems. For example, Franz-Xaver Bernhard, member of the board at Hermle AG in Gosheim, Germany, says the company has been offering both advanced pallet changers and robotic handling systems for many years. It currently sells approximately 20 percent of its milling machines with automation, and the demand is increasing. However, he notes that there are many shops that don’t require such a high-end solution. Some might only need automated machining from time to time and don’t have the budget for an expensive robotic system.

According to Mr. Bernhard, Hermle, known for precise three- and five-axis milling machines, talked to many existing and prospective customers and saw a market for a part-handling system that is competitive with lower-priced systems from third-party suppliers. “There are many advantages to buying automation solutions and machine tools from one source,” he explains. “One of the reasons is safety. If a shop acquires a machine from one supplier and connects an automation system from another, then neither supplier is responsible for the safe operation and compatibility of the two systems. It is the user who has to make sure that all emergency stop systems and so on work.”

Manufacturing News of Note: May 2017

Allied Machine & Engineering (AME) has opened its new engineering training department, which provides comprehensive, hands-on education programs for new employees, end users and distributors from around the world. The training department instructs new associates in the proper use and application of the company’s tooling in all phases of holemaking solutions in metal. Trainees participate in a three-month technical and hands-on training program focusing on how the tools work and where to apply them in various applications.

For end users and the distributors who support them, the company offers an intense two-and-a-half-day technical educational seminar (TES) featuring classroom and metalcutting demonstrations. These seminars, limited to groups of 15 to 30 attendees, are designed to keep participants abreast of the latest industry trends and the technology offered.

The Larger the Part, the Larger the Need for Volumetric Compensation

Oftentimes, when manufacturers produce smaller-sized parts with wide manufacturing tolerances, the overall geometric accuracy of the machine tools won’t prevent those parts from being machined to specification. However, for shops that produce small batches (think one to two parts) of large, precision parts made from expensive materials, a machine’s accuracy within its entire available workzone becomes crucial. The accuracy becomes tough to maintain though, because large parts require cutting in the far corners of the workzone. This is where volumetric compensation—a way of capturing and compensating for possible distortions to a machine’s structure—comes into play.

In this case study, Präwest Präzisionswerkstatten of Germany uses six-axis milling machines with parallel axes to machine dimensionally accurate parts that measure longer than 2 meters while meeting accuracy tolerances of ±0.05 mm (±0.002 inch) in six axes of movement. To do this, the company captures its machine tools’ volumetric deviations with the LaserTracer-NG, a self-tracking laser interferometer from Etalon AG (which has a North American subsidiary in Kirkland, Washington) and compensates them through the KinematicsComp software option in Heidenhain Corp.’s machine controls. Using this method, the company can provide dimensionally accurate workpieces without any readjustments. Read the case study to learn how.

By: Steven Kline, Jr. 8. May 2017

GBI Metalworking April 2017 – 54.8

GBI Metalworking April 2017 – 54.8

With a reading of 54.8, the Gardner Business Index showed that the metalworking industry grew in April for the fourth consecutive month. While the rate of growth slowed slightly, the industry grew faster from January to April than in any month since May 2014.

New orders increased for the sixth straight month, although their rate of growth was the slowest of 2017. The same was true for the production index. The backlog index grew for the third month in a row, and a fast rate compared with one year earlier. This trend in the backlog index shows that capacity utilization should increase this year. Employment increased for the sixth time in seven months, but the rate of increase slowed slightly in both March and April. Exports continued to contract; their rate of contraction has remained relatively flat since November 2016. Supplier deliveries continued to lengthen at their fastest rate since April 2012.

Walmart Open-Call Event Invites Manufacturers to Pitch U.S.-Made Products

Do you manufacture a consumer product that might be a candidate for sales through Walmart?

To meet its commitment to purchase an additional $250 billion in U.S. products through 2023, the company is hosting an open call for U.S. products in Bentonville, Arkansas, on June 28.

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