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 12. September 2016

Technology That Enables You To Get A Grip

As sure-handed German soccer goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is Schunk’s brand ambassador its range of workholding, toolholding and gripper products, it makes sense that the company is giving away soccer balls in its Booth W-2000.

Since 2012, German soccer goalkeeper legend Jens Lehmann has acted as brand ambassador for precise gripping and safe holding from Schunk Inc. (Morrisville, North Carolina). In keeping with that theme, the company is again giving away it signature blue soccer balls in its Booth W-2000.

Schunk’s new workholding, toolholding and robot gripper technology on display parallels Lehmann’s sure-handed keeper technique on the pitch. For example, the Rota NCX power lathe chuck with quick-jaw-change system is designed to reduce setup and change-over time, and is available in sizes ranging from 165 to 315 mm. The company says the jaw set can be changed out with a repeat accuracy of 0.02 mm and it decreases setup time by as much as 80 percent. It features a large through-hole and has been optimized with reduced weight in order to preserve bearing lifetime and the efficiency of the machine. The chuck can be integrated with machines that are equipped with short stroke cylinders.

In addition, the Tendo E compact toolholder eliminates the need to use different holder technologies for milling, drilling and reaming. This hydraulic expansion toolholder can safely transfer torques ranging to 384 foot-pounds at a 20-mm clamping diameter and is well-suited for high-volume cutting. Common spindle connections are available, including HSK-A63, SK40, BT40, CAT40 and CAT50 interfaces.

Plus, Schunk offers its newest generation gripper, the PGN-Plus-P. This two-finger, universal pneumatic gripper is designed for workpiece handling in a variety of applications in clean to slightly dirty environments (with special versions available for dirty environments). Permanent lubrication is provided through continuous lubrication pockets in the guidance system. For short strokes in particular, this principle of minimum quantity lubrication is said to ensure quick and even distribution of the lubricant, making the gripper nearly maintenance-free. The PGN-Plus-P is available in grip sizes ranging from 50 to 125 mm.

This story was originally written for the IMTS Show Daily.

Posted by: Derek Korn 31. August 2016

Video: Five Top Shops Technologies

This year marks the sixth edition of our Top Shops benchmarking survey. As a result, we’ve been able to identify trends in terms of the types of machining technologies and practices that leading shops are leveraging to their advantage. In this video, I highlight five: five-axis machining, on-machine probing, ERP systems, robotic loading and cutting tool vending systems.

Posted by: Derek Korn 23. August 2016

“Pay as You Go” Probing?

The tool-setting probe automatically measures a tool’s length when the tooltip contacts the probe axially.


Shops can benefit from on-machine probes in multiple ways. Setups can be faster by probing to establish the location of a workpiece fixtured on a machine so the part program can be aligned to it. Probing can also be used for process control, whereby cutter compensations can be applied based on part measurement data. Plus, a tool-setting probe can automatically measure tool length and tool diameter to further speed setup time for a new job.

Renishaw offers a new twist on the on-machine probing concept: minimizing upfront costs by using a “pay as you go” model, whereby users purchase a six-month credit token that enables unlimited use of a probing system during that period.

Posted by: Derek Korn 16. August 2016

Tools to Help Traverse IMTS

IMTS is expansive, covering 1.3 million square feet of floor space at Chicago’s McCormick Place. However, there are a variety of tools available to help you prepare and plan for it. This article highlights three: Modern Machine Shop’s August and September issues, the show website and the Show Daily newspaper. These resources will help you more easily tool around at McCormick next month.

Posted by: Derek Korn 27. July 2016

Newsletters for New Ideas

There are two newsletters that Modern Machine Shop emails to subscribers that serve as nice complements to the print magazine. Twice a month, we send out our “MMS Extra” newsletter that builds on the magazine by offering additional insights into the work and business of machining. Regular topics include unique shop innovations, newly posted products, the latest videos and more.

We also offer a weekly blog wrap-up newsletter that emails each Friday, as we don’t expect that you’ll have time to visit this blog every day. “The Shop” weekly newsletter gives you quick descriptions of the blog posts that appeared that week so you can read them at your own convenience. Topics include breaking industry news, road reports from tradeshows and additional insights that we can’t squeeze into our monthly print magazine.

Sign up to receive these free newsletters. That page also includes descriptions of newsletters from other Gardner Business Media brands covering additive manufacturing, automotive, composites, moldmaking, plastics and other industries and technologies.

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