Approximately 1,500 attendees from 450 companies throughout North America gathered June 13 and 14 for Metal Storm, an open house event at Methods Machine Tools’ headquarters and northeast regional technology center in Sudbury, Massachusetts. With 50 machines under power, the event offered live cutting demonstrations on equipment including Matsuura five-axis VMCs and HMCs; Feeler milling and turning centers; FANUC RoboDrill five-axis machining centers; FANUC wire EDMs; Exeron die-sinking EDMs; Current EDM drilling machines; a Weiler USA semi-automatic lathe; various Carl Zeiss measurement equipment; and the VisionGuage 300 series of digital optical comparators. Attendees also viewed products from suppliers of tooling, workholding, software and other accessories, while a series of technical seminars covered topics ranging from lean manufacturing to making the most of turn-mill machines. To help address the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers, the company also hosted approximately 70 Massachusetts technical education students at its headquarters on June 15.
“Looking at market indicators, we saw the momentum building in manufacturing and timed Metal Storm to provide our customers the confidence to capitalize now on the opportunities to automate their production,” says Bryon Deysher, president and CEO of Methods. “Unlike traditional trade shows, an open house / technology event like Metal Storm offers a more relaxed environment with ample time to review applications, machine demonstrations and the latest technology.”
Metal Storm highlighted several Feeler models including the FT-Series Turning Centers with a new design, a new FVT-600 mm Vertical Turning Lathe and a 3-meter FV-Series Double Column Bridge Mill. Matsuura models making their northeast U.S. debut included the new Matsuura LX-160 two-pallet, 5-Axis vertical machining center featuring unmatched accuracies and cycle times, and the Matsuura MAM72-100H 5-Axis horizontal machining center, the largest in the MAM72 series. Matsuura’s CUBLEX-25 5-Axis Mill-Turn Center, ideal for multi-process production, was also demonstrated. Two new Nakamura models were showcased, including the new NTY3-250 three turret, three Y-Axis machine with an all new design and NT-IPS control, and the new WY-250L two turret, two Y-Axis machine with a long bed.
Five FANUC iE Wire EDM Machines were cutting parts, including one with a hollow-style, 2-Axis tilt / turn rotary table demonstrating recast-free cutting on an aerospace part, and another that covered the advantages of a PCD EDGE system designed for the high demand production of flat and rotating PCD cutting tools. Exeron GmbH Die Sinker EDMs highlighted the new exopuls+ liquid cooled generator technology, a break-through in the spark eroding process designed to increase cutting speeds and dramatically reduce electrode wear during the roughing and finishing of cuts, resulting in more accurate parts. In addition, the new Current EDM Model RT6050-5AT EDM drilling machine featuring controller and power supply upgrades was demonstrated burning precision angled holes for large aerospace and automotive parts.
Several pre-engineered automation solutions were also demonstrated at Metal Storm including a multiple machine cell featuring a rail-mounted FANUC 6-Axis robot servicing a Kiwa VMC, Feeler turning center, FANUC EDM and Zeiss CMM. The cell demonstrated the automated changing of chucks on the lathe and fixtures on the mill, as well as automatic loading / unloading functions and how measurement data is sent for machine offsetting.