MMS Blog

Top Shops Conference Concludes on Themes of Communication and Connectivity

The third annual Top Shops Conference presented by Modern Machine Shop concluded in Cincinnati on September 11, 2019. The three-day event connected North American leaders in CNC machining including shop owners, presidents and managers. More than 100 companies came to share information, network and gain actionable insights to take back to their businesses.

The technical program, which was presented in partnership with IMTS 2020, was based on Modern Machine Shop’s annual Top Shops benchmarking program and highlighted presentations from several past and present Top Shops honorees. A range of topics were covered in two program tracks: technology insights and human resources best practices.

The Key to Repeatable 3D Printing? Materials

Both Modern Machine Shop and sister publication Additive Manufacturing have covered plenty of examples where 3D printing is being used to manufacture real, end use parts. It is already being applied to manufacture jet engine parts, medical implants, milling toolsrockets and more

But what’s holding additive manufacturing (AM) back from its holy grail, full-scale production? One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is materials. Reliable materials, with proven print profiles, will be needed — in adequate quantities — if AM is to reach this next stage.

Concours Mold Inc. (Ontario, Canada) makes it a priority to keep its machinery and equipment up to date to ensure competitiveness. From its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and advanced scheduling system, to its radio frequency identification (RFID) tool management system, to rigorous quality-check procedures, not to mention five-axis machining centers, the company does whatever it can to continually improve its processes. In fact, the company recently invested millions of dollars in new equipment, but one machine, the Unisig USC-M, has so improved Concours’ machining processes that, according to Ed Ergun, corporate sales manager, it has been a game changer.

Concours specializes in building small to very large injection, compression and hydroforming molds as a primarily Tier-One supplier to the automotive industry and has additional locations in Cullman, Alabama and Puebla, Mexico. All locations run 24/7. Molds built for interior automotive parts produce instrument panels; door assemblies; A, B, C and D pillars/assemblies; and much more. Molds for exterior parts produce such items as fascias, grilles, spoilers and rockers. The balance of the company’s business encompasses building molds for heavy-truck parts and consumer products.

CompositesWorld to Host Additive Composites Event at CAMX

Modern Machine Shop’s sister brands CompositesWorld and Additive Manufacturing will host an Additive Manufacturing Workshop for Composites at CAMX, the composites and advanced materials expo. The workshop takes place September 25, 2019, and will explore the evolution of 3D printing technology and fiber reinforcement. This half-day seminar will offer insight into the current state of the art in continuous fiber and large-format additive manufacturing (AM) and provide a glimpse of where and how these technologies are evolving to meet the needs of high-performance parts and structures.

“The use of fiber — whether carbon, glass or natural — is traditionally chopped, but several AM systems on the market or about to enter the market are applying continuous fiber, which opens the door to new applications and opportunities,” says Jeff Sloan, editor-in-chief of CompositesWorld and program director for the event. “This seminar will focus on those applications and opportunities.”

5 Ways the External Work Offset Can Help You

All CNC machining centers have some form of work coordinate system setting, commonly called fixture offsets, which are used to specify the location of program origin/s. The programmer chooses each origin, the position from which program coordinates are specified, based on how the workpiece is located during setup. Selecting logical program origin/s makes it easy for the programmer to determine programmed coordinates and the setup person to assign program zero during setup.

In normal use, each fixture offset is used to specify the distance and direction in each axis from the machine’s home position to the program origin. This often involves time-consuming measurements using a spindle probe, dial indicator or edge finder. If the workholding device for a repeated job is qualified, these measurements need be taken only once. If not, the measurements must be repeated every time the job is run.

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