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.
The parent company to RPM Innovations has been additively manufacturing metal parts this size for years on machines built in-house.
Robert Mudge, president of RPM Innovations, will be one of the speakers at the upcoming Additive Manufacturing Conference. Read here about his company’s additive production of large metal parts. The conference—October 20-21 in Knoxville, Tennessee—focuses on industrial applications of additive manufacturing. Learn more and register to attend at additiveconference.com.
Manufacturing Day this year is October 2. On that date, businesses and schools across North America will respond to the misperceptions about manufacturing and reach out to the next generation of manufacturing talent by opening their doors to let the public see modern manufacturing from the inside. Hundreds of manufacturing tours, open houses and related events are being planned for that date. (Find the events near you by searching here.)
For a manufacturing business, the hardest part about participating in Manufacturing Day likely is not having something to show, but instead planning how to show it. Manufacturers are not event organizers, and they don’t necessarily have the resources at hand to engage and inform a crowd of visitors. The creators of The Edge Factor Show have responded to this with a free Manufacturing Day kit that includes promotional material, main event presentation media, interactive activities and resources for following up after the event.
In the video above, Edge Factor’s Larissa Hofman describes the kit’s contents.
The team also produced this teaser for prospective Manufacturing Day attendees.
Face grooves in circular flanges are often turned, but turning is a challenging way to produce the special grooves in oil-industry valve bodies. The American Petroleum Institute (API) requires this groove to fit tightly with its sealing ring by means of a ±15-minute tolerance on its 23-degree walls and finishes of 32 and 63 microinches RMS. Those tolerances can be hard to hold when plunging the turning tool into the material rapidly wears the cutting edge. In addition, the valve bodies themselves are simply awkward to turn.
Cutting tool maker Sandvik Coromant has developed an alternate system for API seal ring groove machining that does not use turning at all, or at least not turning on a lathe. The company’s “SpiroGrooving” system instead uses an adjustable toolholder to make face grooves on a machining center. Two turning and boring inserts are simultaneously rotated and helically interpolated to generate the groove.
The toolholder in this system positions the two V-style inserts at a distance appropriate to the groove diameter. The other important component of the system is a software code generator in which the user inputs the groove diameter and the desired cutting pitch and chip thickness (both dependent on workpiece material) to obtain the NC code particular to this groove.
The tool path is not a simple helix. Instead, as the spindle spins the custom toolholder in time with the helical orbit, each of the two inserts alternates between cutting the inner and outer wall of the groove, and the diameter of the helical path tapers to create the 23-degree walls. Sandvik calls the resultant path an “intelligent spirograph.” Watch slow-motion footage in the video above.
Dr. Lonnie Love, group leader of the Manufacturing Systems Research Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will be one of the speakers at the upcoming Additive Manufacturing Conference. At an event earlier this year, he discussed additive manufacturing’s need for “moon shots.” The conference—October 20-21 in Knoxville, Tennessee—focuses on industrial applications of additive manufacturing. Learn more and register to attend at additiveconference.com.
Two “Baxter” collaborative robots from Rethink Robotics are helping to disrupt what third-generation shop owner Bill Marcell describes as the previous “old school mentality” of Standby Screw Machine Products, the 76-year-old contract machining business in Berea, Ohio. Today, one of the new robots does packaging, freeing an employee from this work by packing two boxes at once, while another robot loads a milling machine in an automation application likely to save the company 1,000 person-hours per year.
Collaborative robots are easily redeployable robots that work safely close to people. Mr. Marcell and project manager Jess Horvath describe their experience with the new robots in this video produced by Rethink.