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.
Neway CNC-USA shares this facility with Neway Valve, its sister company that supplies industrial valve products to a variety of industries.
Neway is a machine tool builder that’s new to the U.S. market. Located in Stafford, Texas, Neway CNC-USA is the U.S.-based parts, service, sales and applications division of Neway CNC Equipment, established in 2006 in Suzhou, China. The company offers a variety of machine-tool platforms, including CNC horizontal turning centers, VTLs, VMCs, HMCs, bridge mills, gantry mills and ball-valve grinding machines. In fact, it shares a facility with sister company Neway Valves, which supplies valves for a wide variety of industrial applications.
Last week, I attended an open house at the company’s Texas facility. Nestled in oilfield country, Neway CNC-USA is currently building a national distribution network and web-based replacement parts management system. It is focusing not just on offering quality machines at an affordable cost (many having boxway designs), but also on providing quick and effective service and replacement parts delivery to its customers.
PIQ Machine (which stands for Partners in Quality) is an early adopter of Neway machines here in the States. During the open house, I chatted with Vicki Dodson, PIQ’s president, who says her newish company has two 15-hp Neway VM 1103S VMCs with X-Y-Z travels of 40" × 20"× 20". Vicki says her company had previously purchased used CNC equipment (you really don’t know what you’re getting with those), but appreciates the affordability of Neway machines as well as the fact that they feature familiar design elements, such as FANUC CNCs and Royal spindles.
Godwin Cheng, manager at Neway, explains the machine-tool company’s strategies and goals for the U.S. market at a recent open house. Travis Egan, publisher of Modern Machine Shop, followed Mr. Cheng’s address with a presentation of Gardner Business Media’s 2014 Capital Spending Survey, the largest, most comprehensive survey detailing future spending in the durable goods manufacturing industries (Gardner Business Media is the publisher of our magazine). Click here to see that survey’s Executive Summary.
Arguably, equipment that can perform both milling and turning is more valuable to shops that machine large workpieces than those churning out smaller ones. There are a number of reasons why multitasking is particularly valuable for the type of work Magna Machine performs. The most notable is reduced handling of bulky parts on the shop floor that no longer need to be transferred to multiple machines. Setups are often easier, too, because parts can be oriented in such a way that gravity is more a friend than a foe. (This also means fixturing is more robust to withstand heavier cuts.) Finally, delivery times to customers can be greatly shortened. Setups for large forgings, castings and weldments can take an entire shift or more compared to just a couple hours for more conventional workpieces.
Magna Machine has three big multitasking machines in what it calls its “super bay.” One is a Union horizontal boring mill that can also turn parts thanks to the addition of a Bost rotary table installed at one end of the machine’s X-axis travel. See it in action in the video above, and read this story to learn more about the shop’s move to massive multitasking.
Last month, FANUC invited me to the grand opening of the Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative (RAMTEC), located at Tri-Rivers Career Center in Marion, Ohio. This column describes what the RAMTEC training initiative is all about (FANUC is a partner company). In short, it brings together educators, area manufacturers and equipment builders, offering certified training programs whereby students get hands-on experience with the same type of sophisticated equipment they’ll encounter on the job. That way, they can hit the ground running in today’s advanced manufacturing facilities without significant hand-holding or follow-up training.
Here’s a glimpse of the RAMTEC facility:
The RAMTEC facility at the Tri-Rivers Career Center in Marion, Ohio offers students and adults the chance to become certified using the type of advanced CNC and robotic equipment found in today’s manufacturing facilities.
Training typically begins with computer work using software that simulates the functions of controls, equipment, and so on. Next, students work directly with the multiple robots, machine tools and welding equipment found on RAMTEC’s mock shop floor.
Machining equipment at RAMTEC includes an automated FANUC Robodrill as well as this Levil tabletop machine with FANUC control. This portable education cart was developed at a price point that is affordable for programs such as RAMTEC. Welding concepts can be taught on Lincoln Electric’s virtual-reality training device and robotic turntable welding system, as shown in the background.
The great joy attending the RAMTEC open house was seeing youngsters’ eyes light up as they watched robots and machine tools in action.
Gleason’s 100PS power skiving machine offers an alternative to shaping and hobbing operations. See the slideshow to learn about this and more gear-making technology.
Last week, I spent a day at the Gear Expo, held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indy. Presented by the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA), the biennial event is the world’s only conference and exposition designed exclusively for the gear industry. This year’s show featured more than 200 exhibitors—covering gear materials, machining and measurement—and is said to be the largest edition in more than a decade.
This was the first Gear Expo I’ve attended (it’s held every other year). I’m glad I did, because I was able to meet with some companies that I wasn’t as familiar with as I’d like to be. This slideshow highlights 10 things that caught my eye while I was there.
In this previous blog post, I introduced you to May We Help. MWH is a unique non-profit supported by volunteers who apply their design and manufacturing know-how to make assistive devices for disabled children and adults at no cost to them.
The Hendrick Motorsports engineer in this video faces similar challenges as those who MWH assists. However, he certainly doesn’t let those get in the way of doing what he loves.