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).
ITAMCO’s Joel Neidig shows how the mobile application on his smartphone enables it to capture shopfloor date. The smartphone reads bar codes with its built-in camera.
EMO, the giant machine tool show that took place in September, 2013, cast a spotlight on concepts such as Industry 4.0 and The Internet of Things. Industry 4.0 is a national initiative sponsored by government and university organizations in Germany. It seeks to promote the fourth phase of the Industrial Revolution in which manufacturing is based on technology that is thoroughly computer-integrated and Web-enabled. The Internet of Things is a similar concept that focuses on instant access to manufacturing data for distributed, collaborative production.
An article prepared for publication at the show examines the achievements of two manufacturing companies in Indiana. It attempts to show how MTConnect-enabled systems have prepared these shops to realize the benefits and advantages set as goals for Industry 4.0 and The Internet of Things.
Fastems has constructed flexible manufacturing systems for more than 30 years. The winners of a conceptual design competition held in honor of this milestone produced this imaginative (and fun to watch) video that visualizes how parts might be produced looking ahead another thirty years. Especially significant about the futuristic vision of the student team that won is the two-level approach to technology this vision entails—the machine level using robots for additive and metalcutting manufacturing processes, and the system level using cloud-based integration and communication.
Two FANUC robots programmed with Delcam’s PowerMill Robot Interface
work together to produce this rhino head at the recent EMO show.
Several exhibitors at the recent EMO show in Hannover, Germany, featured demonstrations of robotic arms wielding live cutting tools such as end mills or face mills. Perhaps the most dramatic demo was presented by Delcam to showcase this CAM developer’s PowerMill Robot Interface. The interface is designed for programming robots to do multi-axis machining operations. The demo consisted of two FANUC robots working together to carve the rhinoceros-like head of a greatly enlarged fantasy action figure. On robot manipulated the pallet-mounted workpiece, while the other robot maneuvered the powered end mill.
Simulation of robotic motion enables the programmer to optimize machining operations.
This new robot interface is an application embedded inside the company’s PowerMill CAM system as a plug-in. This approach makes it as easy to program a robot for machining as it is to program a five-axis machine tool, the company says, as demonstrated in this video.
The core functionality of the interface consists of three main steps: programming, simulation (including analysis) and creation of the robot programs. Robots can be programmed for tool-to-part applications, such as machining large parts or trimming composite panels. Robots can also be programmed for part-to-tool applications, such as grinding or finishing. The interface can then be used to simulate the complete machining operation and to control the robot’s movements through different variables, such as axis limits, axis priorities and workplane constraints. The simplified workflow makes it easy to program, simulate, review and refine tool paths, while enabling the robots to achieve levels of accuracy similar to many CNC milling machines when cutting softer materials.
Once the results of the simulation have been reviewed, and modified if necessary, the program can be output in the appropriate robot native language, including KUKA, ABB, FANUC, Yaskawa Motoman or Stäubli equipment. This eliminates the need for third-party translation software.
The rhino head machined at EMO is a copy of the one that tops this completed piece produced by CNC Polystyrene, a model studio in the UK.
GEAR Production is a new publication offered as a supplement to Modern Machine Shop and Automotive Design & Production. Now anyone who wants to see the first edition of this supplement can open its electronic version here for free.
This new publication is a supplement in the sense that it brings additional, "bonus" content about gear production to subscribers of these magazines. However, there is another way to look at this first issue. It's about seeing a gear production as a supplement to your manufacturing operations.
For automakers and their suppliers, meeting the demand for more and better gears will require an expansion of gear production in this country. These companies will have to aggressively supplement current capacity with more and better gear production equipment to keep up. Likewise, all companies that perform metalworking operations now have new options for producing gears on machining resources such as multitasking machining centers. These developments represent an opportunity to supplement, even transform, their businesses.
Read this issue to discover....
- The new technology that is transforming the process and business of making gears.
- The proliferation of hybrid vehicles and step-gear transmissions.
- Three approaches to making high-quality, cost-competitive gears.
- The changing landscape of small- and medium-batch gear production.
- The promising results of replacing steel with carbon fiber composites in hybrid gears.
Also included is a special “Products on Display” section for the Gear Expo, September 17-19, 2013 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
Strong bonds formed by advanced adhesives have enhanced machine tool construction, improved part assembly and made structural fabrications lighter and stronger. These are a few of the applications that have given machine shops and other manufacturers attractive alternatives to using welds, rivet, bolts, gaskets and other techniques or materials.
In this article, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, a leader in adhesive technologies, reviews current and promising uses for adhesives and sealants capable of joining and sealing components. Superior performance, lower cost and greater versatility are some of the benefits that favor these technologies.