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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 23. July 2014

Remember Fadal? It’s Back

We recently learned that Fadal Engineering and Merrill Technologies Group (MTG), both based out of Michigan, have joined forces to launch a new Fadal CNC machine tool product line.

“Fadal was a global leader in the production of vertical machining centers before closing its manufacturing facility in Chatsworth, California in 2008,” says Tansel Avci, Chairman. “Fadal will manufacture in Michigan and California, and sell globally through a distributor network.”

“The new Fadal is all about bringing back to market an easy to use, CNC machine tool of sound design and state-of-the-art technology.” said Tim Consalvi, Director of Sales.

The company will launch its new Classic series VMC at this year’s IMTS in association with Ingersoll Cutting Tools (Booth  W-1822). The Classic series, including the VMC2516, VMC3016, VMC4020, VMC6030 and VMC8030, is said to mirror the legacy boxway machine models for which Fadal was known. Fadal says it has updated these models with the latest in engineering enhancements, too.

Michael Naert, Fadal’s vice president of operations, says Fadal machines offer 220 foot-pounds of torque and a CAT-40 spindle that incorporates Big Plus technology. The new Fadal CNC-64MP control is said to function with the same language and compatibility of the legacy Fadal CNC-88, CNC-88HS and CNC-32MP models with greater processing power and speed. The company is also offering CNC horizontal turning centers including the FG5, FL6, FL8, FL8L, FL10 and FL12 models.

Later in 2014, Fadal will release its VMC Performance series, offering larger travels, greater weight capacity, higher rapid traverse rates and higher CAT-50 spindle speeds. In 2015, it will introduce its Heavy series with large machining and turning capacity, making it desirable for the energy, off-road, aerospace and defense markets.

“There is something kind of nostalgic about bringing a once family-owned company back to its roots,” says Robert Yackel, CEO of family-owned MTG and now Fadal Engineering. “The founding family of Fadal was a lot like my family. Entrepreneurial, hardworking, resourceful and determined. We’re proud to lead Fadal into its next era of success.”

Posted by: Derek Korn 15. July 2014

Shops Serving Oilfield Customers Appreciate Retrofits

CNC retrofits are ideal for large machines in good overall mechanical condition such as this G&L 350T boring mill with 5-inch spindle diameter installed at KD Machine in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

There are a number of reasons why shops serving the oilfield industry see value in upgrading existing machine tools with a new control package. If price were no concern, these shops would more than likely choose to buy new machines. However, the cyclical nature of this industry combined with the size of the equipment required to machine some oilfield components has a number of shops eyeing more affordable CNC retrofits. This story cites examples.

Posted by: Derek Korn 7. July 2014

What Is Power Skiving?

Gleason’s 100PS power skiving machine offers an alternative to shaping and hobbing operations.

While attending Gear Expo last year, I sat in on a presentation by Gleason about power skiving, a gear production process. Although skiving was patented in 1910, recent advances in machine design, cutting tools and simulation software have overcome inherent process challenges to make it a more viable manufacturing option for gear producers.

Learn more in this article that article appeared in a recent Gear Production supplement to Modern Machine Shop. 

Posted by: Derek Korn 1. July 2014

Advantages of a B-Axis Swiss-Type

The signature element of this Swiss-type machine is its B-axis milling spindle. This differs from conventional Swiss-type designs that use gang-style tools that are fixed in their orientation with the part, either perpendicular to the face or diameter of the barstock.
 

When equipped with a B-axis milling spindle, a Swiss-type lathe essentially becomes a five-axis turn-mill with the bonus of a sliding headstock. The sliding-headstock is what enables the machine to effectively turn long parts with small-diameters, while the B-axis milling spindle can approach workpieces in the machine’s main or subspindle at a variety of angles. 

Magnus Precision Manufacturing leverages this technology to produce small batches of long, complex parts. Learn more in this story.

Posted by: Derek Korn 23. June 2014

A Modular Clamping System for Bulky Parts

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.

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