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Posted by: Mark Albert 25. July 2014

Useful Advice for CAM Software Users

In a new whitepaper, Mastercam calls useful advice for CAM software users “CAM Initiatives.” These initiatives are practical projects and procedural policies designed to help a machining company make more effective use of its CAD/CAM resources. Although primarily targeted to Mastercam users, many of these initiatives contain useful advice that benefits users of any CAM software system. 

Here are a few samples:

  • Say “no” to drawings. Don’t redraw parts until you are sure the customer does not have a usable CAD file to share. (They usually do.)
  • Fix what isn't broken. Empower everyone in the shop to be an improvement specialist.
  • Manage tool libraries. Find the cutting tools that work best in high-speed tool paths and use these tools exclusively where applicable.
  • Embrace five-axis machining. Follow this launch plan to ensure a successful transition.

Other initiatives have advice on 3+2 machining, programming templates, spindle probes, simulation and integrating safety habits.

For the complete whitepaper with all 15 CAM Initiatives, click here.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 24. July 2014

GE Brings Production-Volume Additive Manufacturing to Alabama

GE Aviation has announced that the LEAP jet engine fuel nozzle—the nozzle (shown) with a design made possible by additive manufacturing—will be mass-produced in Auburn, Alabama, starting next year. Up to 10 additive manufacturing machines will be installed at the company’s plant in Auburn, which was opened last year.

Additive manufacturing capacity will increase from there, the company says. Production demand for the new fuel nozzle is scheduled to ascend steeply, growing from an initial rate of 1,000 units per year to 40,000 per year by 2020. GE says the Auburn site could ultimately have more than 50 additive manufacturing machines, with nozzle production expanding to occupy a third of the facility.

Those nozzles will be sent to an even newer engine production plant in Lafayette, Indiana, that is scheduled to open next year. This $100 million plant, which will include both CNC machining and assembly, will be the seventh new U.S. manufacturing site in seven years for GE Aviation.

Posted by: Derek Korn 23. July 2014

Remember Fadal? It’s Back

We recently learned that Fadal Engineering and Merrill Technologies Group (MTG), both based out of Michigan, have joined forces to launch a new Fadal CNC machine tool product line.

Fadal was a leading VMC producer before closing its manufacturing facility in Chatsworth, California, in 2008. With this new endeavor, Fadal machines will be manufactured in Michigan and California and sold globally through a distributor network. The company will launch its new Classic series VMC at this year’s IMTS in association with Ingersoll Cutting Tools (Booth  W-1822). The Classic series, including the VMC2516, VMC3016, VMC4020, VMC6030 and VMC8030, is said to mirror the legacy boxway machine models for which Fadal was known. Fadal says it has updated these models with the latest in engineering enhancements, too.

Michael Naert, Fadal’s vice president of operations, says Fadal machines offer 220 foot-pounds of torque and a CAT-40 spindle that incorporates Big Plus technology. The new Fadal CNC-64MP control is said to function with the same language and compatibility of the legacy Fadal CNC-88, CNC-88HS and CNC-32MP models with greater processing power and speed. The company is also offering CNC horizontal turning centers including the FG5, FL6, FL8, FL8L, FL10 and FL12 models.

Later in 2014, Fadal will release its VMC Performance series, offering larger travels, greater weight capacity, higher rapid traverse rates and higher CAT-50 spindle speeds. In 2015, it will introduce its Heavy series with large machining and turning capacity, making it desirable for the energy, off-road, aerospace and defense markets.

“There is something kind of nostalgic about bringing a once family-owned company back to its roots,” says Robert Yackel, CEO of family-owned MTG and now Fadal Engineering. “The founding family of Fadal was a lot like my family. Entrepreneurial, hardworking, resourceful and determined. We’re proud to lead Fadal into its next era of success.”

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 22. July 2014

Video: Additive Manufacturing at Linear Mold

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Linear Mold & Engineering is a company realizing a range of possibilities for additive manufacturing. The company uses production 3D printing not only to “grow” metal parts that couldn’t be made any other way, but also to create mold inserts that have cooling lines conforming to the curves of the mold for superior heat transfer.

Christina Fuges and I (co-editors of Additive Manufacturing) visited Linear to film this video.

Posted by: Emily Probst 21. July 2014

Hexagon Acquires Vero Software

Hexagon AB, a global provider of design, measurement and visualization technologies, has announced the acquisition of Vero Software, a UK-based CAM software supplier. Vero’s software aids the design and manufacturing process with solutions for programming and controlling machine tools. According to Hexagon, the software addresses the rising challenge of achieving manufacturing efficiencies with high-quality output.

Vero Software’s brands include Alphacam, Cabinet Vision, Edgecam, Radan, SurfCAM, Visi, and WorkNC. The company has offices in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, United States, Brazil, the Netherlands, China, Korea, Spain and India, supplying products to more than 45 countries through its wholly owned subsidiaries and reseller network.

The acquisition is said to strengthen Hexagon’s software offerings, providing the means to close the gap of making quality data fully actionable by extending the reach of the newly developed metrology planning software (MMS) to include CAM (manufacturing planning software).

“Together with its unique suite of manufacturing software solutions, Vero Software has the expertise, knowledge and resources to deliver even higher levels of productivity to our customers,” says Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén. “Leveraging our global footprint, the synergies from our combined technologies will advance our strategy, supporting the growing need to integrate all data and processes across the manufacturing lifecycle.”

Vero Software will be fully consolidated as of August 2014 (closing being subject to regulatory approval) and will positively contribute to Hexagon's earnings, Hexagon says. The company's turnover for 2013 amounted to approximately 80 million Euros.

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