At trade shows, some machine tool builders have displayed demo parts like the one above with long, small-diameter pins. YCM created this video showing its FP55LX VMC linear motor machine milling 25-mm-long pins that have 0.5-mm diameters. Linear motor machines are good candidates for such work because they have no ballscrews (hence, no backlash) and also provide smooth movement with minimal vibration. For this demo, a 10-mm-diameter end mill runs at 4,000 rpm and a feed rate of 2,000 mm/min.
Click on the photo above to read the digital version of the full survey report.
The results are in. The fourth annual “Media Usage in Manufacturing” survey of industry professionals was conducted by Gardner Research, a division of MMS publisher Gardner Business Media, from Nov. 20 to Dec. 20, 2013. The full report, including complete survey results, insights on industrial marketing trends and buyer behavior is available here in digital, PDF and PowerPoint formats.
Pulling some key findings from the report, we found that more than 70 percent of manufacturing buyers look for products or services at least once a week, and the majority (68 percent) of manufacturing purchases are influenced by at least three people. We also found that search engines are an essential research component of the buyer, and brand recognition dominates search engine selection, as 86.3 percent reported first selecting results from companies/sources they recognize.
As far as media usage is concerned, manufacturing professionals use at least five types of media to find information. Websites and trade magazines are the two most accessed and most effective information resources for manufacturing professionals.
Social media adoption has increased for the third consecutive year (44 percent use social); however, the perception of its usefulness remains flat. LinkedIn and YouTube continue to be the most useful social media sites for manufacturing buyers.
Overall mobile adoption remained relatively flat (88 percent carry at least one device), but significant gains appear in laptop and tablet usage. Also, manufacturers prefer browsers to apps (72 percent versus 8 percent) when accessing Web content on mobile devices.
Speaking on key findings from the report, Rick Kline, Jr., group publisher and vice president, says: “Brand remains the most influential factor impacting the industrial buying cycle. Whether it’s reviewing search returns, evaluating vendors or considering information sources, manufacturing buyers rely on brand reputation to form and make decisions. As a result, a marketing mix integrating multiple media remains the most impactful means to reaching today’s active, evolving technology buyer as they progress from awareness to vendor selection.”
Egon Jaeggin’s attention wasn’t always on the acting when he and his wife went to see the film, Gravity. During certain crucial scenes, he says he thought the star of the show was the pistol-grip cordless drill being used by Sandra Bullock’s character. Mr. Jaeggin’s shop, Numerical Precision, built that tool for NASA in 2009.
The tool was designed for that year’s mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. According to Mr. Jaeggin, the “Mini Power Tool” incorporates an extra-large trigger, thumb release and “wrist kickout” to stabilize the tool in one hand. “Performing a Hubble upgrade is like opening a computer and replacing a board while wearing thick gloves and a fishbowl over your head,” he says. Along with the awkwardness, tight quarters and time restrictions faced by the astronauts, NASA’s design of the tool also had to consider temperature swings of 500 degrees from direct sun to “frigid shade,” as well as the potential peril to the telescope if a fastener got loose and found its way in.
While it was fun to see the tool in the movie, what was truly gratifying was to see the tool used successfully in television feeds of the 2009 Hubble mission, he says.
The shop machined components and performed the assembly for seven of these power tools, six of which went to NASA. The seventh is displayed in Numerical Precision’s lobby.
April’s Modern Equipment Review Spotlight focuses on turning centers and lathes, and many of the machines highlighted have features designed to ease turning operations in some way. A few examples include the integrated conveyor seen in the Emag VL 8 pick-up turning center (left); right- and left-hand Emco Maier VT160 Duo models that can be easily joined into a cell (upper right); a simpler spindle design that doesn’t require an adapter for collet use in the Hardinge GS 51 (middle right); and a removable guide bushing in the Nexturn SA 38PY Swiss-type lathe from Absolute (bottom right).
The 2014 R2 release of PowerMill CAM software from Delcam includes new utilities that enable the programmer to more quickly find the most advantageous workplane orientation, cutting tool tilt angle, and tool length. This speeds the process of optimizing the 3 + 2 program, and makes checking for collisions faster and more thorough. One of these utilities, Dynamic Machine Control, enables the programmer to simulate the motion of the tooltip dynamically and instantly evaluate the effects of program edits to avoid collisions in the tool path. The video above gives a step-by-step demo of the utility in action.
When a toolpath simulation stops where it detects a potential collision, the Dynamic Machine Control toolbar enables the user to adjust any axis position in an existing tool path in order to avoid the collision. The programmer can test and evaluate these adjustments instantly by dynamically moving the repositioned tooltip around that tool path while it remains in constant contact with each toolpath segment. If this movement of the tooltip detects further collision points, the programmer can click on graphical “grab handles” that enable the tool to be tilted and rotated manually into a new position that avoids the problem area. For each repositioning, the software can create a workplane that is aligned to the adjusted cutting tool axis and machine tool orientation.
When finished making whatever adjustments in the tilt and rotation of the cutting tool are necessary to avoid all potential collisions, the programmer simply updates the tool path and runs the simulation as an additional check.