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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 11. June 2014

Got “Nano-Onions?”

"Nano-onions” are spherical, nano-scale carbon structures. When blended with coolant available from Tool-X, their physical properties are said to enable the coolant to provide increased tool life and overall cutting performance when machining ferrous and nonferrous materials. Learn how.

Carbon nano-particles in the SS-500 coolant absorb and then release liquid under the pressure of cutting. In doing so, the liquid is released directly at the ideal location of the tool/workpiece interface.

Posted by: Derek Korn 9. June 2014

Retired Engineer Turns Machinist

The industrial benchtop CNC mill that Dan Rosenthal installed in his garage is no toy. It has a range of optional features, including a 10-station ATC, 60,000-rpm spindle, toolsetting probe, touch-trigger probe and fourth-axis rotary table (not installed in this photo).
 

On one hand, this story, which appears in Modern Machine Shop’s June 2014 issue, is not the normal type of feature article we run. On the other hand, it most certainly is.

The story describes how Dan Rosenthal, a retired engineer who had no machining experience, is learning to become a good machinist. He’s largely a hobby machinist working out of his garage, which is why this story is atypical for our magazine. However, he has one customer for whom he produces prototype parts. In fact, that customer is sending him increasingly difficult work, which is what has driven him to become more deft at machining.

With that said, as you read the article, you’ll find that it’s remarkably similar to other articles we’ve written that describe how production shops have leveraged technology in some way to become more effective at machining. Dan’s story is interesting in that it demonstrates how new machining technology—CAM in particular—is becoming more capable and easier to pick up and apply. And while his current goals might be different than that of a production-oriented shop, those shops can just as readily apply new technology in the same way not only to be more successful, but to grow the talent level of their existing workforce and bring new shopfloor hires up to speed more quickly. This is pretty much what Dan is doing for himself.

Posted by: Derek Korn 20. May 2014

Automation Moving Forward

Results from our 2014 Top Shops benchmarking survey indicate an increased use of machine-tending robots among successful U.S. shops. (We’ll provide a full report about this year’s survey in a few months.) This parallels statistics recently provided by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), which reveal two consecutive years of record robot shipments in North America. In 2013, 22,591 robots valued at $1.39 billion were shipped to North American companies, beating the previous record of 20,328 robots valued at $1.29 billion in 2012.

FANUC is no stranger to the advantages of automated processes. During a recent visit to its expansive manufacturing campus in Japan, I chatted with Rick Schneider, president of FANUC America, who continues his “Save Your Factory” campaign urging North American manufacturers to recognize that automation, robotics and lean manufacturing can enable them to be more cost-effective. In this article, he points to the following factors indicating that robots will become more commonplace in U.S. manufacturing facilities:

  • Reshoring is real.
  • ​Robot technology continues to advance.
  • Automation creates a higher-quality workforce.
     
Posted by: Derek Korn 15. May 2014

Video: Installing a Right Angle Head on a Machine’s Toolchanger

Angle heads enable machine tools to perform milling, drilling and tapping operations in areas where a machine’s standard spindle can’t access. But how do you set up an angle head to work with a machine’s automatic toolchanger? Heimatec, manufacturer of live tools, angle heads and multi-spindle drill heads, takes you through the process for a standard right angle head in the video above.

Posted by: Derek Korn 6. May 2014

What Is Arbitrary Speed Threading?

Arbitrary speed threading enables operators to use the spindle override function to minimize chatter during threading operations while maintaining the correct thread lead.

Arbitrary speed threading is a CNC function that enables a turning center operator to adjust the spindle speed during thread cutting to reduce chatter. It ensures that the cutting tool remains coordinated with the spindle speed at all times during threading to produce the programmed lead. Controls that don’t offer arbitrary speed threading do not allow an operator to change the spindle speed during threading because that would change the thread lead and possibly damage the part. This function is particularly helpful for thread repair of components such as oilfield pipes because chatter is more likely to occur with the small amounts of material that’s typically removed.

Arbitrary speed threading automates the rethreading process that used to be a highly skilled manual process. It also provides the functionality to pick up and repair an existing thread, making it easy to use and fast to set up and reproduce original threads. FANUC America now offers the arbitrary speed threading option on its 0i-TD and 0i Mate-TD CNCs for new turning centers. (When purchasing a new turning center, specify this option on the FANUC CNC to the machine tool builder or distributor.) The thread repairing process can be simplified further using the company’s Manual Guide i conversational programming, enabling operators to use straightforward graphical screens to answer simple questions to generate a suitable thread repair program. Therefore, knowledge of G-code programming isn’t necessary.

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