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 FCS modular clamping system was designed to minimize setup times, enable machines to access five sides of a fixtured part and provide highly repeatable positioning so parts can be removed and accurately refixtured as needed.
FCS Moulds, now Elmann S.R.L.U., is an Italian moldmaker that sought to develop a standard means of fixturing mold components that would minimize setup times, enable its machines to access five sides of a fixtured part, and provide highly repeatable positioning so parts could be removed and accurately refixtured at the same zero reference points as needed. Ultimately, its goal was to increase its machines’ spindle utilization so it could be more competitive with foreign moldmakers.
The solution it developed eventually turned into a product line that’s well-suited for clamping big, bulky components. Learn how you might benefit from it.
"Nano-onions” are spherical, nano-scale carbon structures. When blended with coolant available from Tool-X, their physical properties are said to enable the coolant to provide increased tool life and overall cutting performance when machining ferrous and nonferrous materials. Learn how.
Carbon nano-particles in the SS-500 coolant absorb and then release liquid under the pressure of cutting. In doing so, the liquid is released directly at the ideal location of the tool/workpiece interface.
The industrial benchtop CNC mill that Dan Rosenthal installed in his garage is no toy. It has a range of optional features, including a 10-station ATC, 60,000-rpm spindle, toolsetting probe, touch-trigger probe and fourth-axis rotary table (not installed in this photo).
On one hand, this story, which appears in Modern Machine Shop’s June 2014 issue, is not the normal type of feature article we run. On the other hand, it most certainly is.
The story describes how Dan Rosenthal, a retired engineer who had no machining experience, is learning to become a good machinist. He’s largely a hobby machinist working out of his garage, which is why this story is atypical for our magazine. However, he has one customer for whom he produces prototype parts. In fact, that customer is sending him increasingly difficult work, which is what has driven him to become more deft at machining.
With that said, as you read the article, you’ll find that it’s remarkably similar to other articles we’ve written that describe how production shops have leveraged technology in some way to become more effective at machining. Dan’s story is interesting in that it demonstrates how new machining technology—CAM in particular—is becoming more capable and easier to pick up and apply. And while his current goals might be different than that of a production-oriented shop, those shops can just as readily apply new technology in the same way not only to be more successful, but to grow the talent level of their existing workforce and bring new shopfloor hires up to speed more quickly. This is pretty much what Dan is doing for himself.
Results from our 2014 Top Shops benchmarking survey indicate an increased use of machine-tending robots among successful U.S. shops. (We’ll provide a full report about this year’s survey in a few months.) This parallels statistics recently provided by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), which reveal two consecutive years of record robot shipments in North America. In 2013, 22,591 robots valued at $1.39 billion were shipped to North American companies, beating the previous record of 20,328 robots valued at $1.29 billion in 2012.
FANUC is no stranger to the advantages of automated processes. During a recent visit to its expansive manufacturing campus in Japan, I chatted with Rick Schneider, president of FANUC America, who continues his “Save Your Factory” campaign urging North American manufacturers to recognize that automation, robotics and lean manufacturing can enable them to be more cost-effective. In this article, he points to the following factors indicating that robots will become more commonplace in U.S. manufacturing facilities: