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.
“LaunchPoint” is a new TV show from the creators of “The Edge Factor” in which manufacturing professionals are the stars. The first episode tells the story of Martin Edge, an immigrant to the U.S. who found work he loves and a livelihood for his family by pursuing a career in CNC machining. Today, Mr. Edge is a production manager with Tempe, Arizona-based Nichols Precision.
“LaunchPoint” airs weekly on Arizona station Cox 7, though viewers everywhere can see the show’s episodes on the station’s website. The entire first episode is included here—with commercials. The commercials themselves are interesting, coming from supporters of the show such as Pima Community College, Mesa Public Schools and Haas Automation.
The VL 2 and VL 2 P are vertical pickup turning machines that could be incorporated into a modular gear-making line. Hobbing and deburring/chamfering machines with the same footprint could be linked to these machines via automation.
For Emag USA, this is an anniversary year. The Farmington Hills, Michigan, branch of the German machine tool maker was established 20 years ago. The company is known for customized gear machining systems, as well as for inverted vertical lathes for high-volume production in the automotive sector. At the company’s “Technology Days” event last week, presenters described how the company is building on and expanding beyond its success in these areas.
In gear making, engineering machines to customer applications remains an important part of the company’s business, but a lower-cost option that customers are increasingly choosing is to build a gear-making line out of standard modules. Small-footprint standard machines can be linked together through automation to perform a series of gear machining operations. For example, four standard machine modules for an op-10 through op-40 line could perform (1) first side turning, (2) second side turning, (3) hobbing and (4) deburring and chamfering.
In that sequence, Emag Koepfer machines would perform steps 3 and 4. Gear machine maker Koepfer was acquired nearly 10 years ago, and this line’s offerings now include modules designed to be similar and complementary to Emag lathes. A more recent acquisition, Eldec, supplies hardening equipment—suggesting that this capability will eventually be offered in a complementary module as well.
The modular approach of creating a custom line by assembling it entirely from standard machines saves cost and simplifies maintenance, Emag says. Yet another advantage is the high throughput that results from having multiple machines processing multiple workpieces simultaneously. Emag offers part-handling automation for linking these machines.
Also at the Technology Days event, another presentation described a new turning machine soon to be available. The company’s VM machine will be a non-inverted vertical lathe. That is, the machine is a vertical lathe with the spindle under the workpiece, a configuration that might be typical for vertical lathes in general, but represents a new expansion of the turning line for Emag. The machine will be available in the U.S. in about 3 months, the company says. The expectation is that it will expand the company’s activity with manufacturers outside of the automotive sector. Many aerospace parts, for example, feature thin walls that would preclude being clamped by an inverted vertical machine, though the same parts could be processed efficiently using a spindle-down vertical having the same small footprint as Emag’s established production-oriented turning machines.
Demonstrations and presentations at the recent Emag USA event covered gear making and production turning, as well as electrochemical machining, integration of turning and grinding, and machining brake discs and CV joints.
Vibration isolators are a specialty at Next Intent, a shop profiled in our May issue. A vibration isolator is a precisely engineered solid component that protects a sensitive instrument during an aircraft flight or rocket launch by mitigating vibration. Because each isolator is essentially a complex spring engineered to achieve precise stiffness and damping properties, its dimensions have to be precisely controlled. The isolators are machined from solid titanium alloy or steel, and Next Intent has learned how to prevent these strange machined parts from minute distortions resulting from machining or clamping. See just how strange these parts are in this slideshow of vibration isolators the shop has successfully made. Learn much more about Next Intent in this article.
The cover story of the latest issue of Additive Manufacturing describes why a third-generation contract manufacturer in the defense industry sees its investment in additive manufacturing as key to the company’s continued success into the fourth generation. Also in this issue, we return to a leading additive manufacturing business, Linear Mold & Engineering, to see how much farther the company has now taken its application of AM. The digital edition of this issue is available now. To subscribe to Additive Manufacturing, go here.