Posted by: Stephanie Monsanty 20. April 2015

April 2015 Digital Edition Available

Click the cover image above to access a digital edition of this month's magazine.

The motorcycle part manufacturer featured in the cover story of Modern Machine Shop’s April issue struggled to keep up with the cyclical demand for its products—until it added the robot-tended cell visible in the cover image. Another shop featured in this issue shares its experience moving from manual to automatic pallet-switching and a third was able to reduce machine run time with an automated five-axis cell, additional examples of automation used to reduce setup time and streamline operations. Also look for stories on these topics:

  • How to make sure MTConnect is a good fit for your shop;
  • How a company made material handling safer by adding high-pressure coolant to its CNC vertical lathes;
  • Why a desktop 3D printer can be a valuable job shop resource;
  • How an EDM drilling unit improved part turnaround for an aerospace manufacturer; and
  • How abrasive waterjet can be used as an additive process.

And be sure to check out Deciding Factors, our brand-new column on data-driven manufacturing. You’ll find it on page 38.

Posted by: Mark Albert 17. April 2015

CNC and Additive are a Winning Combination

An innovative kit that enables a standard CNC machining center to integrate a metal cladding process via the automatic toolchanger makes great sense—especially when one of the leading developers states his case.

At last month’s MFG Meeting in Orlando, Florida, the inaugural International Additive Manufacturing Award (IAMA) was awarded to Hybrid Technologies Ltd. limited of the United Kingdom and Plano, Texas. The winning entry for the prize is described as a hybrid kit innovation that can be integrated into any CNC machine to allow for metal deposition (via laser cladding), finishing and inspection of parts on a single machine. The hybrid methodology integrates directed energy deposition into a multi-axis CNC machine, using a toolchanger to change between processes.

“Hybrid technology is exciting because it offers a new way to adopt additive manufacturing—as an upgrade to a CNC machine tool. Adding tool-changeable deposition heads to an existing CNC machine enables 3D printing of metal, without the need to buy a separate machine,” said Dr. Jason Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies. “This significantly reduces costs and provides an intuitive adoption path for CNC operators. The combination of additive with machining offers new capabilities, including in-process finishing, that cannot be delivered by either technology independently.”

Speaking at the reception during which the award was presented, Dr. Jones explained the process and describe the long journey he and his co-developers trod to make this innovation practical and effective. His remarks are clear and compelling—you can find a video of the presentation ceremony and listen to what Dr. Jones shared that evening here. Of particular value to any company interested in the experience of innovation is the advice he gives starting at 28 minutes in the video. He concludes that creativity and imagination are more important than amassed technical knowledge when forging innovation. You can also read a report about this technology here.

The IAMA is the result of a partnership between AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology and VDW—Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association). AMT and VDW, with media support from Gardner Business Media and VDI Nachrichten and sponsored by the European Machine Tool Association CECIMO, announced the annual IAMA at IMTS 2014.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 16. April 2015

FAA Clears First Additive Manufactured Part for Flight in a GE Commercial Jet Engine

GE Aviation has announced that the cobalt-chrome housing for a compressor inlet temperature sensor has become the first additive-manufactured part to be certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly inside GE commercial jet engines. The company has begun working with Boeing to retrofit more than 400 GE90-94B jet engines with this new part.

This housing won’t be unique for long, the company says. Flight tests are underway for the LEAP engine, developed through a joint venture between GE Aviation and France’s Safran, which uses 19 additively manufactured fuel nozzles. This engine is aimed at new, narrow-body planes such as the Boeing 737MAX and the Airbus A320neo, and GE says more than 8,500 orders for the engine have already been received.

Read more in this statement from GE.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 15. April 2015

Rebranding the Frontier Industrialists

Every company has its own story. Some are so interesting they seem tailor-made for a screenplay or a book. That’s certainly the case with L&H Industrial, whose remarkable history has been captured by Sam Hurst in the book “Frontier Industrialists: Fifty Years of Innovation at L&H,” available in print on Amazon and as a PDF at the company’s newly redesigned website.

Much more than a new online presentation, the website signifies the results of a year-long rebranding campaign, according to Jeff Wandler, vice president and director of sales and marketing. “After 50 years of enhancing mining equipment and heavy machinery, we’ve broadened the base of our operations,” he said. “The new branding will show how we’ve grown and how we’ll continue to provide the most innovative solutions to our customers in product, service and technology.”

Founded in Gillette, Wyoming—where it is still headquartered—in 1964 by Leon Wandler and Hank Barney, with six employees, the company has grown into a powerhouse primarily serving the mining, oil and gas, and railroad industries. Specializing in field services, design and engineering, and manufacturing and repair, L&H has locations throughout North and South America. It has recently undergone a major expansion of its gear manufacturing facility in Tempe, Arizona, which you can read about in the March 2015 issue of Gear Production, the quarterly supplement to Modern Machine Shop magazine.    

Posted by: Stephanie Monsanty 14. April 2015

Product Slideshow: Turning

This month’s product spotlight highlights turning equipment—lathes, turning centers, mill-turn machines and even a CNC specifically designed for turning. Many of the turning machines covered have features designed to make them more flexible. For example, the EcoTurn 650 turning center from DMG MORI can be equipped with an optional C axis for turn-mill machining. Meanwhile, the Hwacheon VT-1150 vertical lathe has a geared drive system that enables high-torque turning at low speeds as well as high-speed turning. Click the image above to access the slideshow featuring these machines and more.

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