Emily Probst is the associate editor for Modern Machine Shop. She joined the staff in the summer of 2006 as the editorial intern editing product releases for the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). Hired full-time in 2007 after graduating with a B.S.J. from Ohio University, she edited product releases and columns until 2012, when she moved to her current role of writing and editing case studies for both print and online media channels. In this role, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world as well as visit some interesting shops and trade shows in the United States. She also administers Modern’s blog as well as its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.
Schunk’s Synergy Machine display is designed to show all of the company’s products, including toolholding/workholding and automation, and how well they work together.
When you think of Schunk, you might think solely of workholding solutions. Or, you might even think of automation. However, many IMTS attendees don’t realize that Schunk offers both. This year’s “Synergy” theme in Booth W-2000 is designed to show visitors who might only know one side of product offerings the complete scope of what Schunk has to offer and how perfectly these different products can work together in harmony. The synergy theme carries throughout the booth with different pedestals that show the different product groups working together, as well as videos.
To further illustrate this theme, Schunk created what it calls the Synergy Machine. This display is essentially an assembly line that includes a lathe and machining center. It also demonstrates machine loading and ends with modular assembly. The idea behind the Synergy Machine display is to show all of the company’s products, including toolholding and workholding as well as automation products.
The booth features five interactive hands-on displays featuring all of Schunk’s products for its employees to demonstrate, and visitors can try them out for themselves. One of these products includes the Pronto jaw, which is making its North American debut at the show. This quick-change jaw enables 5-second change-overs.
Schunk is giving away soccer balls in its booth as part of a secondary theme revolving around soccer goalie Jens Lehmann, who played for Germany during the 2006 World Cup. As a goalie with an amazing grip, Lehmann was a clear choice when it came time to choose a brand ambassador for the German company’s gripping products.
This video takes a deeper look at the trend of additive manufacturing, answering questions such as: Does additive manufacturing replace machining? What are its limitations? What kinds of parts can be produced this way? Watch the video to learn more.
Also, be sure to stop by the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) Booth W-10 to learn more about additive manufacturing. On Tuesday, September 9, at 10:30 a.m., Greg Morris of GE Aviation is presenting questions and answers on the topic of Additive Manufacturing.
Starting NOW, we are blogging live from the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), which runs September 8-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. The show features more than 1,900 exhibitors from 112 countries and occupies 1.2 million square feet of floor space. If this doesn’t demand a week’s worth of coverage, I don’t know what does.
While machining large workpieces made from ductile iron for the heavy truck and military drive train markets, Acurate Gage of Rochester Hills, Michigan noticed an iron sludge buildup in its coolant tanks that required frequent maintenance and machine downtime. By incorporating four Chip Disc Filtration (CDF) conveyors from Hennig to run in tandem with its Niigata SPN 701 HMCs, the company was able to reduce downtime for maintenance.
Hennig’s magnetic chip disc filtration system caught the attention of the team at Accurate, because change-over seemed relatively easy compared to the traditional drum screen filtration systems. As Accurate’s Engineering Manager Mark Tario says, “Replacing the drum filter screen is not an easy task, in fact, it can be downright miserable. The Hennig disc arrangement seemed much easier to operate and maintain. The incorporation of rare earth drum and scraper assembly inside the conveyor appeared to be a great solution for minimizing the amount of cast iron fines reaching the coolant tank side of the system.” Mr. Tario notes the heavier-duty mechanical components and drive chains used on the Hennig conveyor could provide greater wear life and reduce likelihood of downtime.
Downtime for maintanence was perhaps Accurate’s biggest challenge. Machining cast iron creates considerable problems, such as the frequent need to replace conveyor chains, drum screens and other mechanical components that get infiltrated by the iron files and lock up.
Accurate found Hennig’s conveyor chains to be stronger and not need frequent repair and replacement. The discs can be removed and cleaned on a workbench rather than reaching through narrow access ports to wrestle with a drum-style filter. This entire process takes as much as two hours and screen replacements can be done in 30 minutes or less, Mr. Tario says.
Accurate has already installed four Hennig systems, just received an additional three and plans to purchase two more in the near future.
According to Roush Industries Operations Manager Mel Koslowski, one way to address the skills gap is to expose kids to programs in high school that will pique their interest in manufacturing careers. Roush is also investing in training its current employees to operate machines such as the Makino Machining Complex (MMC) cell above.
What matters most to Roush Industries is its people, so it bothers Operations Manager Mel Koslowski that in five to 10 years manufacturers are expected to experience a critical lack of skilled machinists. It is especially worrisome as the seasoned veterans who are currently leading companies begin to consider retirement.
“We definitely require high-tech machining systems like those from Makino for our production operations,” Mr. Koslowski says, “but we must also train people to use them. Even with automation, there will still be a need for a core group of people to engineer the parts, program and set up the machines to develop the prototypes that will eventually end up in production. We are seeing a growing gap between the availability of these jobs and the workers who possess these skills.”
Mr. Koslowski says that he has been to community colleges with impressive machine setups and great programs teaching the fundamentals of machining, but where these schools fall short is in recruiting high school students to join them. That is mostly because these days no industrial education courses are being taught in high schools—classes that traditionally piqued student’s interests and fed the career pipeline.
“Back in the day, I loved metal shop,” he says. “We learned the basics all through high school, and I really enjoyed that. It is the reason why I went into the machining industry. These days, high schools have closed their metal shops, so students have no idea that there’s another way to earn a living.”
Mr. Koslowski believes that there’s still a future in machining, and that students need to be informed of this—that they don’t necessarily have to go to college to be an administrator, businessperson or information technology professional.
“There are kids in this country that have natural talent with their hands,” he says. “They just need the exposure and to realize that these programs exist at their community colleges. They need to know that they could make a good living doing these types of jobs.”
In the meantime, Roush’s partnership with local schools and in developing its own training program has been successful, and Mr. Koslowski continues to challenge other industry leaders to help find a way to address the skills gap.