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 9. September 2014

Can You Perform Under Pressure?

Doosan’s theme for this year’s show is “Performance Under Pressure,” and the machine tool builder has an interesting activity in its completely redesigned Booth S-8100 to support it. The company is hosting a pit crew challenge where attendees compete to change tires on a simulated NASCAR from Joe Gibbs Racing (Doosan has been a JGR technology sponsor for years).

David Barber, Doosan’s general manager of marketing, says this contest mirrors the company’s ongoing efforts to improve customer support. “Given NASCAR’s level playing field in terms of car performance, it really comes down to the support pit crews give their drivers by getting them in and out of the pits as fast as possible,” he says. “Similarly, Doosan continues to make strides to improve our customer support as evident by our recently launched 24 hour a day/5 day a week service program and increased spare parts inventory to enable quicker delivery of needed components to customers.”

Each pit crew challenge participant will receive a T-shirt or a 3D puzzle of the company’s new Puma SMX 3100 turn-mill, which makes its debut at the show. According to Mr. Barber, this turn-mill series distinguishes itself with a rigid, 90-degree vertical axis and forward-positioned automatic toolchanger for improved milling capabilities as well as enhanced operator ergonomics. In addition, contestants with the best daily time will receive a die-cast model of the new machine, and the person with the best overall time at the end of the show will receive two hot pass tickets to a NASCAR race of his/her choice.

Attendees will also notice a completely revamped booth design, featuring numerous elements playing off of the 18-degree “reliable edge” that Doosan calls the leading blue block in its company logo. Attendees will experience this throughout the booth with angled elements such as the 20-foot-high sign, interior aisles and hospitality structure. “This motif reinforces our efforts to be reliable partners with our customers and our willingness to perform under pressure to support their needs,” Mr. Barber says.

Posted by: Derek Korn 3. September 2014

Developing the Cover's Cool Caliper

The caliper rendering on the cover of our September issue (highlighting this Top Shops benchmarking results story) was produced by CAD specialists at Autodesk. What’s impressive is not just the end result, but also the speed at which they were able to complete this project.

Autodesk’s Sachlene Singh and Tanner Reid, Autodesk technical evangelists (awesome job title) along with Jay Tedeschi, technical marketing specialist for the manufacturing group, worked collaboratively on this project. They used a variety of Autodesk software design platforms to develop three different caliper concepts for us to consider. Tanner used Inventor (CAD product), Sachlene used Fusion 360 (cloud-based CAD product) and Jay used 3ds Max (3D modeling, animation and rendering software).

Because Fusion 360 is cloud-based product, it enabled the team to speed the design process by serving as a central repository where they could all access existing caliper models, in any number of file formats, rather than starting from scratch. Initial renderings were completed and presented to us in just two to three hours. In fact, those renderings were sufficiently detailed that they weren’t too far off from a final design. Once we picked the one we liked best, Jay spent a little more than a day tweaking the model in 3ds Max. This software effectively gives users the types of lighting, shading and other such tools that’d be used in an actual photo studio. The cool result is what you see on our September cover. Many thanks to our new friends at Autodesk.

Posted by: Derek Korn 26. August 2014

Okuma Launches “” App Store

The open architecture of Okuma’s THINC-OSP control makes it possible to easily install computer applications that allow for myriad conveniences right at the CNC. In fact, the company is introducing its new app store at Okuma users can download a range of helpful apps to their THINC-OSP controls that have been created by Okuma’s own engineering staff as well as its distributors’ engineers and customers.

The online store provides apps for CNC control functionalities that increase productivity and streamline machine tool processes. Apps will be added on an ongoing basis, and users can even create custom apps that address their individual needs. Examples include:

  • Machine alert. Monitors machine alarm status and automatically send an email, text or phone message to the user when an alarm condition is activated.
  • Part flip monitor. Checks the chuck clamp status to be sure the operator has opened/closed the chuck before cycle start is pressed for Op20 of the part flip program. This reduces the chances that a part will be scrapped.
  • Visual assistance support. Displays helpful on-demand images for the operator at any point in a part program or process. The images assist with machine setup, visual part inspection and other functions.
  • Scheduled maintenance. Shows a reminder of the scheduled maintenance needed for the specific machine where the application is installed. This prompts the user to complete daily inspection tasks that maintain optimal machine performance.

This new app store will be demonstrated in the company’s IMTS Booth S-8500. Attendees who participate in the app store demos will be entered to win one of six Microsoft Surface tablets (one winner each day).

Posted by: Derek Korn 19. August 2014

Extreme Part-Off Demos at IMTS 2014

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Nothing beats a wild, live cutting demo on the floor of a trade show. Iscar will deliver this at IMTS in Booth W-1800 by bringing back an extreme, attention-getting part-off operation it first featured at IMTS 1994. Plus, it has added a second one that’s just as impressive, as you’ll see (and hear) in this video.

In 1976, Iscar released its Self-Grip part-off system and followed that up in 1993 with the upgraded Do-Grip system. The company says the Do-Grip featured a proprietary twisted design and was the first to enable a depth of cut deeper than the length of the insert. At IMTS 1994, the company demonstrated how this part-off system could perform under extreme conditions by chucking a railroad rail in a lathe and parting off slices of it throughout the show. The rail material is challenging to cut because it work hardens, the interruption is severe and the workpiece cross-sectional area varies, creating difficult cutting conditions that would cause most tools to fail. The Do-Grip tooling showed little sign of wear or damage.

Iscar revisits this live demo at this year’s IMTS, using its latest Tang-Grip part-off system. The company says Tang-Grip is a single-sided insert with a unique shape and pocketing technology to further improve insert security and tool rigidity yet maintain simplicity of use. In addition to the rail demo, this system also performs another challenging part-off demo using a sledge hammer head as the workpiece (this operation is performed at 350 sfm/0.004 ipr). Like the rail, the sledge hammer head material work hardens and the cut is interrupted. Plus, its hardness varies from 30 to 50 HRc.

These hourly demos are viewable on the large LED monitors in Iscar’s “Machining Intelligently” booth in the West Hall. Be sure to check out these impressive part-off operations for yourself if you’re coming to the show.

Posted by: Derek Korn 14. August 2014

A Swiss-Type with a Laser

This new machine design extends a Swiss-type lathe’s inherent multitasking capabilities by integrating a laser cutting system. 

Swiss-type lathes are known for their multitasking capability. REM Sales, the exclusive
North American importer of Tsugami machine tools, now offers a Swiss-type that features an integral laser cutter. While originally designed to speed production of small, cylindrical parts such as stents for the medical industry, the Swiss Laser has potential applications for other industries that manufacture similar-sized parts. Learn more.

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