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.
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.
Every two years, we do something special with our August issue and devote it entirely to promoting the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). This year is no different. With 1,900 companies exhibiting in 1,240,863 square feet of space at Chicago’s McCormick Place, this show is worth the extra attention we provide in both print and online editorial.
The feature story, “Five Trends to Watch at IMTS 2014,” goes beyond the products that will be on display at the show and delves into five “Big Ideas,” trends, patterns and emerging developments. These ideas cover additive manufacturing, automation, data-driven manufacturing, benchmarking for optimization and automotive.
Of course, this wouldn’t be our biennial show issue without hundreds of pages of the magazine being devoted to new products and technology that will be on display.