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Mark Albert

Mark Albert is editor-in-chief of Modern Machine Shop Magazine, a position he has held since July 2000. He was associate editor and then executive editor of the magazine in prior years. Mark has been writing about metalworking for more than 30 years. Currently, his favorite topics are lean manufacturing and global competitiveness. Mark’s editorial activities have taken him to numerous countries in Europe and Asia as well as across the United States many times. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana).

Posted by: Mark Albert 31. January 2014

Helping the Bloodhound SSC Hunt for a New World Record

This video shows how Delcam and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Scheffield, UK, work together to manufacture the front suspension subassembly for the Bloodhound SSC (SuperSonic Car) using Delcam PowerMill’s Vortex machining strategy.

The Bloodhound SSC is hunting for a new land speed record that surpasses 1,000 mph. This video from Delcam, incidentally, also marks a record for the company. The Delcam Advanced Manufacturing Solutions YouTube Channel now contains more than 1,000 videos. This channel includes product demonstrations, tutorials on new features in recent software releases, and testimonials from customers and technology partners.

To make the “hunt” for the right video in this collection faster and easier, the videos are now grouped into sections by product. There are separate playlists for each of Delcam’s CAM products, PowerMill for high-speed and five-axis machining, FeatureCAM for feature-based programming, PartMaker for programming turn-mill equipment, Swiss-type lathes and bar-fed mills, and the Delcam for SolidWorks integrated CAM system, and for the PowerShape CAD system and PowerInspect inspection software. Similarly, the customer testimonials are separated by industry, with individual playlists for applications such as automotive, aerospace and medical.  

Posted by: Mark Albert 24. January 2014

Introducing GF Machining Solutions

Georg Fischer AG is a global industrial firm based in Switzerland. Georg Fischer, however, is not a name that is widely recognized among manufacturing companies in the United States. In fact, it's the parent of the companies that produce manufacturing equipment under brand names such as AgieCharmilles (electrical discharge machines), Mikron (high-speed milling), System 3R (automation and tooling) and Step-Tec (milling spindles). Georg Fischer AG is also a major player in piping systems and automotive components—two areas in which it is well-known, especially in Europe.

So even if the name isn't as strong as it could be in the U.S. and other regions of the Americas, the company is eager to promote its unified corporate identity without diminishing the value of its familiar brand names of manufacturing equipment. For this reason, Georg Fisher has given a new name to the division that offers these brands. As of January 1, 2014, the division is now known as GF Machining Solutions. A recent Webcast press conference with Glynn Fletcher, president of GF Machining Solutions Americas, revealed further details about the new name usage, logos and branding. For example, the corporate logo, +GF+, will appear on machine enclosures, nameplates and labels, along with the product-specific brand name such as AgieCharmilles for EDM and laser technology, Mikron for high speed milling, and so on. The Step-Tec and System 3R brand names will also still be used under the umbrella of the GF Machining Solutions portfolio, Fletcher explained.

“While EDM remains a vital part of our company, we have grown to offer a much more comprehensive portfolio of products and services. This change communicates to the market what our customers already know: that we offer world-class, comprehensive solutions for every aspect of their operations,” Fletcher said. In addition to the name change, Fletcher said a new design style will be implemented for the GF Machining Solutions website, sales literature, business cards and other external communications.

Posted by: Mark Albert 17. January 2014

Plan Now to Attend the [MC]2 MTConnect Conference

The [MC]2 2014 MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference will be presented in Orlando, Florida, April 8-10, 2014, by the MTConnect Institute. Registration is now open for this third annual event. The theme for this year’s conference is “Advancing Data-Driven Manufacturing.” MTConnect is an open, royalty-free standard that is intended to foster greater interoperability between devices and software applications used in manufacturing. The conference is designed for end users, equipment suppliers, software developers, distributors, integrators, students, professors and consultants.

Technical training will occur during the first day of the conference and will consist of approximately seven hours of hands-on workshops. One of the topics covered will be how to build an MTConnect adapter.

General sessions are scheduled for the morning of the second and third day of the conference. These sessions will cover topics that are applicable to a broad set of conference attendees and tend to be more business oriented.

Breakout sessions will run concurrently in three or four time slots during the afternoon of the second day of the conference. Topics for these sessions are likely to include cloud computing and security; productivity measurement, dashboards, and decision support; big data in manufacturing; predictive maintenance and machine monitoring.

The conference offers a special opportunity for attendees. The MTConnect Challenge 2 finalists will demonstrate their submissions at the conference for a chance to win one of many cash prizes totaling $255,000.  Conference attendees will then vote for the top three winners. 

Posted by: Mark Albert 10. January 2014

What’s Best for Boring Titanium?

In a joint research project, Kaiser Precision Tooling and Blaser Swisslube searched for the combination of metalworking fluid and indexable insert that showed the best results when boring titanium. The results underscore the importance of controlling vibration, friction and heat.

The companies tested five metalworking fluids and several indexable insert grades from competing suppliers. All of the inserts tested were recommended for titanium applications. Findings showed that certain inserts lasted 15 times longer than others, depending on the choice of metalworking fluid. With the same metalworking fluid, certain inserts lasted 20 times longer than others.

Overall, the best combination for boring titanium proved to be the Kaiser 655.389 insert (TC11, AlCrN coating, 0.016-inch nose radius) with Blaser’s B-Cool 755 coolant.

Posted by: Mark Albert 3. January 2014

Video: The Value of Machine Simulation

This video from Mastercam is a concise way to see that its Machine Simulation feature enables the programmer to see how a multi-axis part program will perform. The virtual, dynamic representation of the workpiece, cutting tool assembly, workholding fixture, machine spindle and other elements of the machine structure provide a better visualization of possible collisions or interference.

The company describes Machine Simulation as the bridge between generating tool paths in Mastercam and cutting them on the machine. To quote the video: “It’s another valuable tool in your toolbox.”

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