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 9. October 2015

Gleason Gear Solutions Forum: 2015

Gleason’s 2015 Gear Solutions Forum attracted approximately 300 guests to the company’s global headquarters in Rochester, New York. View a short slideshow of the event by clicking on the photo above.

It was standing room only in the Gleason’s spacious auditorium during President and CEO John Perrotti’s remarks opening the 2015 Gear Solutions Forum September 23-24 at the company’s headquarters in Rochester, New York. More than 300 attendees toured Gleason’s manufacturing facility, mingling in areas such as the Bevel Gear Village—blade sharpening, testing, grinding, etc.—and the Cylindrical Gear Village, with displays devoted to power skiving, cutting tools, rack milling and plastic gears. Visitors glimpsed the future at the Research & Development Technology Exhibit, with exhibits on bevel gear software, soft and hard machining processes, and ultra-high bevel gear reducers.

Education was the emphasis during two days of lectures, addressing subjects such as Industry 4.0, the Internet of Manufacturing Things, and the potential of virtualization in gear production by Gleason experts along with representatives of RWTH Aachen University (WZL), The Ohio State University, Ilmenau University of Technology, System Insights, Smart Manufacturing Technology, Penn State University and the Rochester Institute of Technology. See a short video about the company’s capabilities here. 

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 7. October 2015

Toyoda Hosts ToyoTech 2015

Toyoda experts were on hand to greet attendees and to answer their questions about the company’s latest machines and technologies.

Billed as an “open house and education forum,” Toyoda Machinery USA welcomed guests to its Arlington Heights, Illinois, headquarters Sept. 17-18, 2015, for ToyoTech: Tools and Techniques to Elevate Efficiency. The newly redesigned FH630SX-i horizontal machining center was on display, offering a standard 8,000-rpm, high-torque spindle and dual ballscrews on the Y and Z axes, along with the VTC1616 vertical turning center, featuring a hydrostatic table with C-axis indexing and a “live function” on the spindle that enables turning and milling operations to be performed in a single setup.

The company also introduced a prototype of its new TOYOPUC-TouchF2 control, which drew a great deal of attention. Scheduled for market availability in 2016, the accessible and user-friendly HMI features a 19-inch, high-resolution screen display with a variety of innovative technical assistance features.

Educational presentations on topics such as multi-axis and 3D dynamic machining and Manufacturing 4.0 were made by Forcam, Kennametal, Mastercam, Sandvik and Walter Tools. 

View this slideshow for more photos from the event.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 1. October 2015

SNK America Innovates, Educates

Crowds gathered for the world premiere of two machining centers, to watch cutting demos on titanium, aluminum and steel workpieces, and to attend a host of educational seminars. 

Those attending the SNK America Tech Center Open House September 16-17, 2015, in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, were introduced to two new machines, the RB-4M five-face machining center and the CMV-100 five-axis machining center, in a relaxed setting that mixed education with innovation and encouraged networking among the company’s staff, customers and corporate partners. In addition to live cutting demonstrations—see a variety of video demos here—educational sessions addressed topics including machining aerospace alloys (Kennametal), probing strategies (CNC Engineering), tool path optimization (Mastercam) and 3D process verification (CGTech/Vericut).

One guest was John Bruns, business unit director at the GMT Corp., a supplier to the agriculture, construction, energy and defense markets that is based in Waverly, Iowa. “When I attend an event such as this, I want to see what technological advances have been made over the past year,” he says. “SNK America never lets me down.”

View this slideshow for more photos from the event.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 29. September 2015

Grinding Spiral Bevel Gears

Thomas Alaniva, vice president of the gear division at Rave Gears, has spent nearly three decades studying and improving the closed-loop manufacturing process for spiral bevel gears.

In a tiny town by the name of Seguin, Texas, about 35 miles east of San Antonio, you’ll find a gear manufacturing company without a single machine for cutting teeth. That’s because Rave Gears has embraced grinding technology to the extent that it’s grinding the spiral bevel gears it manufactures directly from a blank, taking it all the way to the finished product. I visited Seguin last spring to learn about how the relatively new company—founded in 2012—has come so far, so quickly, about its approach to grinding gears, and also about the “closed-loop” machining process. It was quite an experience, which you can read about in this article I wrote for Gear Production, the supplement to Modern Machine Shop.

What I found most interesting was the energy level inside the shop. It was so high it could be used to run a machine tool if they could find a way to harness it. Instead, they’re training it toward an intense desire to manufacture the highest-quality spiral bevel gearing to be found, and to manufacture it in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible. That’s really the whole goal behind the concept, which is also known as the “closed-loop digital topography process.” Stated simply, it involves returning measurement data to design software that automatically adjusts for deviances and sends revised code to the machine tool so that the end result matches the geometry of the intended goal. It can be applied to a wide variety or machining applications, so it’s a good thing to know about no matter what you’re producing in your own machine shop. Learn more by watching this video describing the company’s origins and dedication to continuous improvement. 

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 23. September 2015

Removing Burrs Can Be a Blast

An oxidized part immediately after undergoing TEM deburring. The residue will be removed during post-washing in a neutral solution.

Lubos Hanulik, product line manager at Danfoss Power Solutions in Ames, Iowa, is an experienced engineer. But he’s also a pretty good teacher. I discovered this while visiting with him to learn—and write an article—about a highly automated cell he helped develop using the Thermal Energy Method (TEM) to burn away burrs in the internal chambers of two components of a hydrostatic transmission. I found this to be a fascinating experience because, not only did I get to learn about TEM deburring, which ignites an oxygen/methane mix that removes burrs via oxidation, but also about the thought process behind creating a machining cell from scratch.

In short, the cell incorporates Mazak HCN 6000 horizontal milling machines, FANUC robots and a custom-designed washer and a P400 five-station TEM machine from Kennametal Extrude Hone to carry castings all the way from initial machining to the finished product. The parts—an end cap and a connector—are then ready for final assembly about 50 yards away. The entire operation is overseen by a single operator.

Although you may have a completely different application, much can be learned from Mr. Hanulik’s approach to developing this cell. Also take a few minutes to watch this video on TEM deburring

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