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.
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.
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.
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.
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.