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.
Fourth- and fifth-axis rotary tables bring added flexibility to conventional three-axis VMCs. At IMTS, Koma Precision introduced the Tsudakoma RG series of rotary tables that uses a ball-drive system for table rotation.
As shown in the photo above, both sides of each ball remain in contact with the system’s worm gear, and each ball is located to within 1 micron of each other. The company says this design offers zero backlash/reversal error while providing a maximum indexing speed of 140 rpm with high accuracy, rigidity and torque transfer. In addition, the device, which is available in three sizes, is said to require no adjustments over its lifetime.
Five-axis machining of long turbine blades can be tricky, especially in terms of securely fixturing them for effective milling. The Starrag Group demonstrates an interesting blade workholding system in this video. The clamping system is an automated steady rest with measuring system to stabilize the machining process. It offers adjustable clamping devices that can be used on raw and finished blade areas and can accommodate different blade families. The company says rigid clamping using this system results in longer tool life, lower tooling costs, higher material removal rates, improved contour accuracy and overall lower unit costs.
MQL offers economical and environmental benefits because just a small amount of coolant is required during machining.
What’s involved in through-tool minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) delivery? What does a tool designed for through-tool MQL look like? Unist, designer and manufacturer of fluid application systems for industrial markets, sheds light in a white paper called “Single Channel MQL,” which you can access here.
The 250-gallon centrifuge filtration system for this external thread grinding machine removes swarf as small as 5 microns from the full-synthetic oil coolant the machine uses.
B&R Grinding, located just south of Chicago’s O’Hare airport, specializes in precision thread grinding. Its latest CNC external thread grinder, a GS:TE 200 unit from Drake Manufacturing, offers a 1-meter grind length and180-degree grinding wheel power helix. This machine enables the shop to accommodate the longer, higher-helix-angle thread grinding work its customers are asking it to perform.
Another important component of this machine is its 250-gallon centrifuge filtration system that removes swarf as small as 5 microns from the oil. That prevents the swarf from being introduced between the wheel and the workpiece, which could create scratches. It also cools the oil to a consistent 70°F, and some of it is delivered through the machine’s headstock to prevent spindle expansion during grinding operations.
Learn more about how the shop leverages this machine capability and others in this article.
Sometimes shops have to get pretty creative when trying to figure out how best to fixture a part for machining. Precision Grinding and Manufacturing, in Rochester, New York, leverages an atypical technology to fixture parts such as thin-wall castings that are prone to flexing when conventional mechanical clamps are used.
In short, this technology, available from Blue Photon Technology and Workholding Systems, uses adhesive to temporarily bond a workpiece to numerous cylindrical grippers installed in a fixture plate. Once the adhesive is cured via ultraviolet (UV) light, the workpiece is securely held at a known datum location in an undistorted, free-state condition. After machining, the adhesive bonds between the grippers and workpiece are easily broken and any excess adhesive is removed from the completed part via a quick, steam-cleaning wash.
Read this story to learn how PGM is using this technology to its advantage.