Peter Zelinski has been a writer and editor for Modern Machine Shop for more than a decade. One of the aspects of this work that he enjoys the most is visiting machining facilities to learn about the manufacturing technology, systems and strategies they have adopted, and the successes they’ve realized as a result. Pete earned his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and he first learned about machining by running and programming machine tools in a metalworking laboratory within GE Aircraft Engines. Follow Pete on Twitter at Z_Axis_MMS.
Matt Guse, the owner of MRS Machining in Augusta, Wisconsin (a company we’ve written about), took this photo of a moment that struck him in his shop, when the early morning sunshine streamed in.
“I came up with this photo when I was reflecting back on my dad,” Mr. Guse says. His father, who was a part of the business with him, recently passed away.
He says, “Some people like waking up to a natural, beautiful setting, but I like waking up to a great team of employees at MRS Machining giving it their all to help support manufacturing. I truly believe this was how my dad felt each day he came to work.”
Could this be a sign of the times? The notion of manufacturing in the United States is now so favorable—so cool, in other words—that automotive floor mat maker WeatherTech made this bragging point the theme of its clever TV commercial.
Representatives of Fives Cincinnati say the company’s new five-axis, five-spindle “super profiler” is “the stiffest five-axis profiler we’ve ever seen in action.” Fives expects it to exceed 100 cubic inches per minute of metal removal in machining titanium aircraft components, once it is married to its dedicated foundation and high-pressure coolant system at the customer’s site.
“The industry needs to set new standards for producing titanium parts at the lowest cost per piece,” says Chip Storie, Fives Cincinnati executive VP. Features contributing to the stiffness and the resulting efficiency of this machine include a frame designed for dynamic stiffness, including a massive cross rail, as well as a robust spindle design. Learn more.
At IMTS, the Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine developed by Cincinnati Incorporated and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be used to 3D print the major structure of the car. Rather than being made of metal, this structure will be printed in ABS that is 15 percent filled with carbon fiber. Local Motors advanced manufacturing engineer James Earle says this might be the first car to have a structure made entirely from carbon-fiber-reinforced material.
The moving components of the car will not be 3D printed. The motor (the car is electric) and powertrain will be assembled within the printed structure. In attempting to get Mr. Earle to catalog how much of the car will be 3D printed, I asked him, “The chassis, the body panels?”
Wrong question. Additive production enables manufacturers to rethink their designs, and part of that rethinking is replacing assemblies of discrete components with monolithic printed pieces. In the case of the car, that means the distinction between chassis structure and exterior panels goes away, says Mr. Earle. It’s all just one big piece. This monolithic car form is what will be generated at IMTS, in a 3D printing cycle that he guesses will take around 40 hours.
(Interested in learning more about additive manufacturing at IMTS? Check out the show’s Additive Manufacturing Workshop, co-produced by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.)
XOEye is developing industrial eye wear with real-time data and video streaming capability. The live video (which generally can be turned on and off by the wearer) could be used to communicate shopfloor problems to engineering. Or, it could be used to let a manager look in on the work of an operator who is still in training. The footage above was recorded while an operator wearing the glasses performed a quick inspection of a workpiece at Peak Manufacturing (sister company to XOEye). Read more about the video- and data-enabled glasses.