Derek Korn

Derek Korn joined Modern Machine Shop in 2004, but has been writing about manufacturing since 1997. His mechanical engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Applied Science provides a solid foundation for understanding and explaining how innovative shops apply advanced machining technologies. As you might gather from this photo, he’s the car guy of the MMS bunch. But his ’55 Chevy isn’t as nice as the hotrod he’s standing next to. In fact, his car needs a right-front fender spear if you know anybody willing to part with one.

Posted by: Derek Korn 27. September 2016

Using Collaborative Robots for Laser Scanning

collaborative robots

The AutoScan system combines laser scanning technology and collaborative robot automation to enable part measurement routines to be performed alongside people without the safety fencing that’s required for conventional robots.

Collaborative robots vary in design, but they all feature some combination of sensor technologies that enable them to function safely alongside humans in a shared area, unlike conventional industrial robots that operate autonomously inside a safeguarded cell. The common application for these in a shop is loading/unloading parts from machine tools.

However, this device from Perceptron is said to be the first programmable laser scanning system to enable automated 3D scanning, dimensional measurement and dimensional gaging leveraging a collaborative robot platform. Its scanning sensor is mounted to the arm of a six-axis collaborative robot, which uses built-in force-sensing technology that causes it to stop its movement if it makes contact with a person.

Posted by: Derek Korn 22. September 2016

Video: What the Heck Is “Dengeling?”

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“Dengeln” is a German word meaning sharpening or honing. It’s typically a manual process whereby a hammer and anvil are used to smooth and sharpen the blades of scythes or sickles. Machine tool builder Starrag has developed what it calls its “dengeling” process, which is a more advanced version of this concept. The process enables a five-axis machine to mill and then finish turbine blades in one setup, eliminating secondary polishing, grinding or shot peening operations. Learn more in this article.

Posted by: Derek Korn 15. September 2016

Why You Should Be Excited about a Boring App

The app enables machine operators to log all cutting-diameter changes on all Big Kaiser digital boring heads and also helps them determine optimal cutting parameters and tool assemblies.

Big Kaiser says the company’s new line of EWD Evo digital boring heads was designed to make a machine operator’s life easier. This you’ll be able to see for yourself in the company’s Booth W-1600, as units will be synched with a smartphone/tablet app developed to enhance user friendliness while assembling and running those tools.

The app enables operators to read the cutting-diameter change and also helps them determine optimal cutting parameters for their tool assemblies. It can log historical adjustments for all tools ever synched with it, too, which is critical for shops working to establish a smart facility.

A number of other new products are on display (and some in action) in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Big Kaiser’s parent company, Big Daishowa Seiki. For example, the HSK-E25 line of toolholders now includes Big Daishowa’s low-runout hydraulic chucks. Available in 3- and 4-mm clamping diameters, these holders are designed for precision finish-milling work using very-high-speed spindles on small-envelope machines. You can see these chucks in action on a five-axis Microlution 5100-S machine, one of two machines in the booth. The 5100-S with a 50,000 rpm HSK-E25 spindle is performing micromilling, engraving and drilling with Sphinx tools (including the new 80×D micro drill).

Also featured is the expanded line of Smart Damper toolholders, which now includes a solution for lathe applications. The Smart Damper boring bar features three modular insert holders, optimized for ID turning with common inserts.

Additional technology you’ll find in the booth includes the Speroni Futura tool presetter with pneumatic, quick-change spindle adapters for fast, one-handed exchange of adapters, and multi-axis clamping solutions for the Unilock Zero-Point workholding system that enable a clamped workpiece to be flipped into new orientations for subsequent operations without unclamping it.

This story was originally written for the IMTS ShowDaily.

Posted by: Derek Korn 14. September 2016

The Story Behind the Aluminum Top Shops Logo

Shown left to right are Applied Engineering’s Rory Hamilton (operator who machined the logo), Brad Bohnet (shop projects manager) and Chad Harris (CAM programmer for the logo).

A key component of Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops display in Booth W-10 is a Hall of Fame, where company logos machined by past winners of the magazine’s annual benchmarking program are displayed. Also included is a machined version of Modern Machine Shop’s new Top Shops logo.

“Given that our annual Top Shops benchmarking survey is on its sixth year, the time was right to freshen its logo,” says Derek Korn, the magazine’s executive editor and manager of the Top Shops program.

Once the new logo design was finalized and the decision made to have it machined for IMTS, Derek set out looking for a shop to take on this job. “Being that contract shop Applied Engineering, located in Yankton, South Dakota, was last year’s Top Shops winner in the machining technology category, it made sense to first approach those folks to see if they’d be willing to take on the job,” he says.

Shop projects manager Brad Bohnet agreed to help, putting programmer Chad Harris in charge of the endeavor. After the new 2D logo design was completed in Adobe Illustrator, a .dxf file was exported to simplify the creation of a 3D CAD model. That file was sent to Chad on Tuesday, July 5, so he could start building the model. Less than 24 hours later, he sent Derek screen captures of what he had created based on his perception of what the machined 3D logo might look like, adding depth and dimension to various individual elements, such as the Modern Machine Shop logo and the banner that wraps around the shield.

After CAM programming, including the removal of a good deal of material from the back side of the workpiece to lighten it, Chad used SolidWorks to approximate the final weight at just a little more than 45 pounds. He then turned the job over to Rory Hamilton, the operator who machined the logo on one of the shop’s HMCs. The shop left most of the toolpath witness marks as instructed, but took the initiative to polish the Modern Machine Shop logo to make it pop. The result is an attractive workpiece that is the centerpiece of the Top Shops attraction in the West Hall.

“The people at Applied Engineering did a fantastic job machining our new logo, and we couldn’t be more pleased with it,” Derek says.

Posted by: Derek Korn 13. September 2016

What’s Photo-Activated Adhesive Workholding?

Photo-activated adhesive workholding can simplify clamping of complex-shaped parts and provide increased tool access during five-axis machining operations.

Strolling the aisles of IMTS offers an opportunity to discover atypical manufacturing technologies. When you find yourself in the West Hall, venture to Booth W-1392 to learn about one such workholding example offered by Blue Photon Technology & Workholding Systems (Shelby, Michigan).

The company’s booth theme is “Become a Workholding Hero,” highlighted by a huge a comic strip mural (about the size of a billboard) on its conference room structure that illustrates the challenges engineers and designers face when addressing complex workholding issues. The Blue Photon System is one way to mitigate those issues, using devices such as vises and clamps that a machine shop likely already has.

The Blue Photon System is photo-activated adhesive workholding solution designed to simplify fixturing for delicate and complex-shaped machined ceramic or metallic parts, including castings. It also offers increased cutting tool access for five-axis machining operations. Primary components include an ultraviolet light source with a light guide, a specially developed workholding adhesive, and grippers that act as lenses through which the UV light passes to cure the adhesive and bond the part to the fixture.

The system is compatible with many workholding platforms. In fact, the company displays how it works in tandem with fixturing components from Erowa, Te-Co, Raptor and Mpower. Once machining is completed, the mechanical adhesive bonds are simply broken and the workpiece can be removed from the fixture.

Originally written for the IMTS Show Daily.

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