Taking advantage of opportunities that will present themselves this year requires the right technology.With moldmakers continuing to busy as the New Year unfolds, we informally surveyed readers to find out in which technologies they are interested and investing—all in the name of remaining competitive—so we can bring those technologies to life on the pages of MMT as well as on the website.
What we found out is not surprising, but it does help us to plan our content for you for the upcoming year. Overall, moldmakers are searching for technology to optimize their processes and to help them get a part off the machine with a bench-free finish—saving time and money, but not sacrificing quality. That comes in the form of automation solutions, CAM software, cutters, CNC graphite machines, sinker EDMs, CNC lathes, mills, large 5 axis CNCs, programming solutions, advances in toolholders and fixtures; machine monitoring software and even additive manufacturing.
Moldmakers continue to be interested in high-speed, five-axis machining, but the key is also finding the right software and cutting tools, so they can use this process effectively. Automation seems to be very popular—as in unattended machining, pallet changers, part loaders/movers, robots, cell manager software, CAD/CAM to streamline programming, in-process inspection; and even software for monitoring bottlenecks as automation is added.
Other areas include CAD/CAM that is integrated to the machine for realistic simulations for testing of the machine tool and cutting tools; and, machine and spindle technology that delivers better accuracy for complex geometries and long continuous motion with high RPMs and high feedrates. In addition, advanced CNC controls to process greater volumes of information, faster. Also, tooling for hard milling—machining (rough and finish machine) molds in a hardened state (48-70 Rockwell); and, refinements in tool geometry, new insert grades and coatings to extend tool life and remove more material faster.
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Here’s to a Happy and Prosperous New Year!