Russ Willcutt

Russ Willcutt joined Gardner Business Media as associate editor of Modern Machine Shop in January of 2014. He began his publishing career at his alma mater, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he produced magazines for the Schools of Engineering, Business, and Medicine, among others. After working as group managing editor for the HealthSouth Corp. he joined Media Solutions Inc., where he was founding editor of Gear Solutions, Wind Systems, and Venture magazines before heading up the Health Care Division for Cahaba Media Group.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 23. June 2016

Innovations in Tube Processing

Those attending Tube Innovation Week, presented by the BLM Group, watched live machine demos, discussed equipment specifications with company experts, and saw a wide variety of the parts it is capable of making.

Tube Innovation Week, presented by the BLM Group USA, revealed a variety of new tube-processing equipment to its customers, representatives and members of the trade press June 6-10 in Wixom, Michigan. More than 100 guests attended to learn about BLM’s latest technologies.

They included the LT8.10 fully automated 3D fiber laser tube cutting system for workpieces made of brass, copper and aluminum up to 9.5 inchs in diameter. The system can process round, square, rectangular, flat oval and D-shaped tubes, as well as open profiles such as C- and U-shaped channel bar. The 3D cutting head provides the necessary agility for producing these shapes, including tilt cutting of thick-walled steel. The LT8.10 is available in a number of load/unload configurations and includes features such as Active Marking for part marking and tracking and Active Scan, which detects material variations.

The LT8.10 fully automated 3D fiber laser tube cutting system can handle workpieces made of brass, copper and aluminum up to 9.5 inch in diameter. The system can process round, square, rectangular, flat oval and D-shaped tubes.

The 3D cutting head on the LT8.10 provides the ability to perform tilt cutting of thick-walled steel.

Also on display was the LT Free, a five-axis fiber laser machine for cutting 3D formed or shaped parts such as bent tubes and welded assemblies. The machine allows traditional cutting, drilling, punching and milling to be performed on one machine instead of sequentially. Other equipment on view included the LC5 laser machine, which is capable of switching from tube to flat sheet and features automatic loading and unloading, and the E-Turn all-electric tube bender. The E-Turn series can bend tubes that are round, square, rectangular, flat-sided, oval or elliptical, and it is available in four models: the E-Turn 32 (up to 1.18 inch in diameter); the E-Turn 35 (1.38 inch); the E-Turn 40 (1.63 inch); and the E-Turn 52, for tubes up to 2.0 inch in diameter.

During the event, BLM marked 15 years in the U.S. market and also announced that it will be moving into a new 75,000 square-foot facility—basically doubling its size—in 2017.   

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 21. June 2016

Launching a Laser Welding Lab

Emag celebrated the launch of its new Laser Welding Laboratory June 8 at its U.S. headquarters in Farmington Hills, Michigan, spotlighting the ELC 250 Duo compact laser welding system.

Emag hosted an open house along with the launch of its new Laser Welding Laboratory June 8 at its U.S. headquarters in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The event was an opportunity for the company’s customers, representatives and distributors to witness live equipment demonstrations along with technical presentations made by Emag executives and members of other industry groups.

The centerpiece of the new lab is the ELC 250 Duo compact laser welding system for machining gear components. This twin-spindle, two-station machine allows for loading and unloading the spindles during the cycle. Primarily targeting the automotive industry, the lab will provide services including weld-seam-design consultation, pre-turning and weld-prototype support, among others.

The ELC 250 Duo compact laser welding system is a twin-spindle, two-station machine for manufacturing gear components.

In addition to the ELC 250 Duo, live demonstrations were conducted on the VL 2 and VL 4 vertical modular turning machines, offering high production performance and featuring integrated automation and space-saving vertical lathes. Demos were also performed on the VT 2-4 and VT 4-4 machines for shaft production with high-speed loading and unloading processes.

Jeff Moore, regional sales manager at Emag, discusses the capabilities of the VL 2 vertical modular turning machines with an Open House

Peter Loetzner, CEO of Emag LLC, made opening remarks, followed by Andreas Mootz, managing director of Emag Automation, Jens Standfuss, with Fraunhofer, and Achim Feinauer, COO of the Emag Group.

Pat McGibbon—vice president of strategic analytics at AMT–The Association For Manufacturing Technology—spoke on “The Manufacturing Economy 2016 and Beyond.” He listed the primary challenges to the U.S. manufacturing technology market as taxes and slowdowns in the automotive and energy sectors. As for the path of trends in manufacturing technology, he cited Oxford Economics, which expects "a decline of 1.2 percentage points but a big finish to the year," ITR Economics, which sees a “rise in demand coming—be ready,” and Steven Kline, director of market intelligence at Gardner Business Media, who says “the downturn in manufacturing technology orders is average—both in duration and depth.”

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 1. June 2016

Redefining the Rustbelt

They’re called “driveway moments,” and fans of National Public Radio describe them as broadcast reports that are so captivating you end up sitting in your car once you’ve arrived home just to finish listening to it. My variation on that theme is the “parking lot moment,” which always seems to occur just as I’ve gotten to work. A recent example involved a segment on the Marketplace Morning Report during which Antoine van Agtmael—a trustee at the Brookings Institution—discussed the book he co-authored with colleague Fred Baker titled “The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts Are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation.”

Antoine van Agtmael has co-authored a book describing the transformation of rustbelts into “brainbelts” by harnessing the power of visionary thinkers, local universities, regional government initiatives, start-ups and big corporations.

A summary by Brookings states that “manufacturing has long held that the key to maintaining a competitive edge lies in making things as cheaply as possible, which saw production outsourced to the developing world in pursuit of ever-lower costs. [The authors] crisscrossed the globe and found that the economic tide is beginning to shift from its obsession with cheap goods to the production of smart ones.”

During the interview, the author described a combination of forces including visionary thinkers, local universities, regional government initiatives, start-ups, and big corporations that are transforming former U.S. rustbelts into “brainbelts.” Factors including a collaborative approach to working and a sense of freedom and trust are producing smart products that are transforming industries by integrating IT, sensors, big data, new materials, new discoveries and automation. Go here for a video of a panel discussion on the subject to learn more. Also read this blog post about an innovative approach to pumping life into small manufacturing communities in Kentucky. 

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 20. May 2016

Doosan Technical Center Offers Collaborative Environment

Those attending the grand opening of Doosan’s new Technical Center included customers, members of the trade press, the company’s U.S. distributors and industry partners.

Officials at Doosan Machine Tools marked the opening of its new Technology Center in Pine Brook, New Jersey, earlier this month. The event was attended by the company’s customers, members of the trade press, and representatives from many of Doosan’s official North and South American distributors, including Ellison Technologies, Doosan’s newest U.S. distributor. Technical presentations by the company and its partners—Samchully, Royal Products, Renishaw, MD Tooling, among others—were also conducted during the event.

Along with his colleagues at Doosan Machine Tools, Young Kyun Choi, CEO (at far right with microphone), made opening remarks to the crowd preceding the cutting of the ribbon.

According to Young Kyun Choi, CEO, the center will offer a collaborative environment in which customers and other industry partners can see more than a dozen machines in action and work with Doosan technicians and engineers on special projects. Among the machine tools on display were:

  • DNM 400 II 5AX—five-axis vertical machining center
  • HP 5100 II + LPS—horizontal machining center with linear pallet system
  • Puma MX1600 ST-735—multitasking turning center
  • Puma TT1800SY—multitasking mill/turn center

Mr. Choi says the opening of the Technical Center signals Doosan’s renewed commitment to its end-users throughout North America to develop new machining processes that are tailored to each customer’s specific applications.

Doosan experts were on hand at each machine to answer customer’s questions about machine tools as well as resources that will be available at the Technical Center.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 6. May 2016

Simplify Setups with 3D-Modeling Software

Renishaw describes FixtureBuilder as a 3D-modeling software package that enables offline creation and documentation of fixturing setups.

You can have the most powerful machine tool on the market, loaded with an array of advanced cutting tools, but if your workpiece isn’t held firmly in place, it’s all for nothing. New software not only allows for the creation of rock-solid fixturing configuration on your computer monitor, but also makes it easier to seek the quickest and most efficient setups as well.

The software by Renishaw is called FixtureBuilder, which is described as a 3D-modeling software package that allows for the offline creation and documentation of fixturing setups. Primary benefits include clear, well-organized component libraries; intelligent “drag and drop” functionality; quick manipulation of parts; and an easy-to-use constraint mechanism.

In addition to full CAD compatibility and the availability of custom libraries, the “build it” function automates the production of work instructions and a bill of materials for every fixture setup. This helps ensure compliance with quality standards and also assists with product ordering. Introduced at the Control 2016 show in Stuttgart, Germany, more information is available here.

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