Stephanie Monsanty worked as a summer intern in 2012 and joined the Modern Machine Shop team as assistant editor later that fall. She edits product and industry news for the print magazine as well as MMS Online. Stephanie completed her M.A. in professional writing at the University of Cincinnati in 2013, and also holds a B.A. in English literature and history from the University of Mount Union.
This interior shot of AutoCrib’s TX750 tool vending system shows its vertical columns of adjustable shelves. To the left, you can see the inside of the system’s rolling dual-tambour door, capable of opening 2" to 60" to correspond with the selected bin.
Many industrial vending systems on the market today are based on pie-like trays divided into wedges. An operator calls up a tool or other expendable, and round carousels rotate until the appropriate wedge faces out. The operator can then open the door and remove the drill, insert or whatever it may be.
The system has its advantages, but according to Stephen Pixley, founder of AutoCrib, the wedge-shaped spaces also pose a dilemma. “Things come in rectangular boxes,” he points out, which means that in stocking the wedges, companies must waste either time (unpacking the boxes) or space (storing a square or rectangular box in a wedge-shaped hole).
Rather than pie-shaped trays system, AutoCrib’s TX750 vending system uses a carousel with slots more accommodating to box-shaped contents. The vending system features columns with adjustable shelving to accommodate boxes—as well as other objects of varying shapes and sizes. The slots can be adjusted to hold everything from a tiny insert to a 2-foot-plus fluorescent light bulb. The customizability of the slots reduces vertical bin height waste and increases the capacity that can be stored within a compact footprint. As many as 900 bins can be packed into the unit, which occupies 9.8 square feet of floor space.
The TX750 has another advantage that enables it to provide just the right product at the right time: rolling dual-tambour doors. When an operator calls for a product in a particular slot, the two doors rotate to the appropriate shelf and open only that slot. The doors can open to anywhere from 2" to 60" in half-inch increments.
The vending system is controlled by AutoCrib’s user interface with 19" touchscreen, and a native bin assignment process simplifies stocking the unit on the fly. Operators can identify themselves with an ID card or a fingerprint and search the system to retrieve items.
Waterjet technology is well-suited to cutting large 2D workpieces out of sheets of material, but Jet Edge’s Edge X-5 demonstrates how a waterjet can effectively cut three-dimensional parts as well. The waterjet’s five-axis Permalign Edge cutting head enables it to produce features such as weld bevels and countersink holes, as well as reduce tapering in the jet stream. The waterjet offers a Z-axis travel of 12" and is available with a work envelope ranging from 5 × 5 feet to 24 × 8 feet.
In the video above, the Edge X-5 is cutting Jet Edge-branded bottle openers out of 1/4"-thick aluminum using 80 mesh garnet abrasive. The piece showcases the waterjet’s five-axis capability with features such as the angled “Jet Edge” lettering and the chamfering around the outer edges.
“Hindsight is 20/20,” the saying goes—but that doesn’t mean manufacturers have to go into the future blindly. Self-knowledge, benchmarking data and strategic planning are tools available to help prepare for what’s ahead, if not predict it. The 2014 Global Forecasting & Marketing Conference (GFMC) is another such tool. The conference, taking place October 14-16 at the MGM Grand Detroit in Michigan will offer reports on past performance as well as industry outlooks to help attendees plan for future success.
Hosted by AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the GFMC includes a line-up of presentations by industry experts including Marc Raibert, founder and CTO of Boston Dynamics; Bill Horwarth, president of 5ME; Mike Warner, director of market analysis at Boeing; and Steven R. Kline Jr., director of market intelligence at Gardner Business Media. Networking opportunities will also be available throughout the three-day event. View the full schedule or register.
Modern Machine Shop is sporting a new look this month, with a custom cover depicting the Chicago skyline foregrounded by the Cloud Gate (also known as “the Bean”) and IMTS balloon. Artist Charla Steele created the collage from magazine pieces that she tore out of past MMS issues and glued to a 40" × 58" canvas. Her goal was to produce a complete, whole image while still honoring its various parts, which are representative of the equipment, companies and industries we cover each month. “As readers explore its details, I hope they will gain a new appreciation for what’s in Modern Machine Shop each month,” she says of the collage, which will be displayed in the Gardner Business Media booth (W-10) at IMTS 2014, happening September 8-13 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Charla will also be creating another collage on-site at IMTS. Stop by Booth W-10 Monday through Thursday during the show for a firsthand look at her creative process.
Charla layered more than 500 magazine pieces onto the canvas to create the cover image.
Unlike “turning” or “EDM,” there is no one process or type of equipment that defines “micromachining.” Instead, micromachining references the end result—the tiny workpiece or feature that is produced, regardless of how or with what that result was achieved. Therefore, our May product spotlight includes a variety of products ranging from a benchtop lathe to a wire EDM to a toolholder designed to clamp very small tools.