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.
The NCMM offers students real-world experience in the business of operating a machine shop.
(Photo courtesy of NMCC.)
Most readers of this blog are familiar with Cardinal Manufacturing, the Wisconsin high school manufacturing program that functions as a student-run machining and fabrication business. Recently, I learned about a similar operation in Presque Isle, Maine.
Dean Duplessis is the manufacturing instructor for the Precision Metals program at Northern Maine Community College (NMCC). Like Cardinal, the NMCC program instructs would-be machinists by having them make real parts for real customers just like any job shop would. Dean says the program is non-revenue generating. Its customers pay for materials, tooling, shipping and the like. Its volumes vary from 250 to 1,000 pieces, and there’s a good deal of repeat work. All jobs have travelers, setup instructions, inspection instructions and so on, so students are fully accountable for all work.
NMCC doubles as a Haas Technical Education Center. Learn more about the program in this article found in Haas’s CNC Machining magazine.
The Recool system from Rego-Fix enables users to quickly replace the conventional spray-pipe coolant delivery system on their live tooling (left) to through-tool coolant delivery (right).
Through-tool coolant delivery is more effective at getting coolant to a tool’s cutting edge than spray pipes or nozzles. Knowing this, Rego-Fix has developed a retrofit through-tool coolant delivery system for live tooling on CNC lathes that is said to install in minutes.
The animation shown here demonstrates how simple it is to install this affordable system. Each Recool kit contains a special clamping nut with outer ring, a coolant pipe and a few fittings. The standard kit achieves maximum speed and pressure of 6,000 rpm and 300 psi, respectively, although higher speeds and coolant pressures are available upon request.
Kinetic displayed its K5000 machine that performs a wealth of operations, including milling, drilling, tapping, chamfering, boring, plasma cutting, oxy fuel cutting and beveling.
Last week, I spent a day and a half at Fabtech, held at McCormick Place in Chicago. This was the first Fabtech I’ve attended. It’s an annual show that rotates from Chicago to Atlanta to Las Vegas, highlighting metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing technology.
Three things stood out to me while at the show: automation, education and attendance. Read more and see a slideshow of highlighting some of the new equipment I saw there. Plus, learn about the fundraising campaign Fabtech partners have initiated to help victims of the severe storms and tornados that ran through Illinois on Sunday before the show.
Loc-Down units install in tapped holes in a subplate. The workpiece (shown here in gray) requires mating holes that have a machined internal groove to accommodate the units. Holding force is provided via the unit’s ball-lock mechanism.
Installing and removing conventional bolts used to secure workpieces to subplates can be time-consuming. Plus, protruding bolt heads often interfere with the cutting tool, preventing it from accessing all workpiece areas that require machining. As a result, Mitee-Bite has developed its “headless bolt” Loc-Down system so users can quickly attach and remove workpieces from subplates. Not only does this system enable faster workpiece change-overs compared to conventional bolts, but there’s less cutter interference thanks to its compact design. Learn more.
Yesterday, a robot rang NASDAQ’s closing bell, which is the first time a non-human has performed this task. The event marked the launch of the ROBO-STOX Global Robotics and Automation Index exchange traded fund (ETF). Appropriately enough, the ticker symbol is ROBO.
This ETF is the world’s first index to benchmark the value of robotics, automation and related technologies. The fund invests primarily in the equity securities of robotics and automation companies. It seeks to help investors take advantage of the robotics trend as it continues to grow through capturing a representative portfolio of the industry.
The robot that pressed the button activating the closing bell was a UR5 model from Universal Robots equipped with a three-fingered Schunk gripper. A design advantage of this company’s robots is that they can work alongside people and do not require safety fencing. If the robot comes into contact with an employee, its built-in force control feature limits the forces at contact and does not cause bodily harm, adhering to the current safety requirements on force and torque limitations.
The company says 80 percent of the more than 2,000 UR robots deployed globally operate with no safety guarding in the immediate vicinity of employees. In fact, here’s one application with video.