MMS Blog

Mark Lilly, president and CEO of software developer LillyWorks, says his company is onto something. “What we have here could be as big as the invention of MRP (materials resource planning) or the creation of finite scheduling,” he says. 

Managing workflow is just one function of the LillyWorks’s cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. However, leadership sees enough promise in the roughly two-year-old Production Flow Manufacturing (PFM) scheduling system to offer it as a standalone module that integrates with any other ERP software. As the user base expands, the company has been investigating how machine learning might expand that promise by making the system’s predictive analytics capability more precise, more automated and broader in scope.

By: Mike Lynch 10/11/2019

Training CNC Machine Operators

Training CNC Machine Operators

Every manufacturing manager knows that finding and hiring experienced CNC machine operators in suitable numbers is nearly impossible. Consequently, companies are developing their own training methods to bring inexperienced people to a level at which they can be productive. My blended learning approach combines classroom instruction, on-the-job training and outside resources to address training needs.

If you want to minimize the amount of time your experienced people spend preparing and delivering curriculum, use outside resources to provide a foundation for training while reserving in-house classroom and on-the-job training for company-specific issues. External resources related to manufacturing and CNC include online classes, self-study materials, training consultants, machine builders and local schools. An appropriate combination can help your new employees achieve a common base. With this foundation in place, you can customize internal training sessions to fill any gaps, addressing any additional skills that are required. Let’s look at how this can be achieved with a few skills that all new CNC machine operators require.

Material Jetting: It's Like Printing, Just in 3D

Of the seven basic additive manufacturing (AM) processes available, material jetting is the AM technology that is closest to what we use for printing text and images on paper. This is because the printheads that are used for material jetting are very similar to those used for inkjet printing, except instead of dispensing ink, they are depositing droplets of material that create a 3D object layer by layer.

The origins of material jetting technology date back to the mid-1990s when Solidscape (initially called Sanders Prototype Inc.) commercialized “Drop-on-Demand” technology for 3D printing with wax. The company still specializes in material jetting systems for making very precise wax patterns for jewelry and investment casting, having being acquired in 2011 by Stratasys and then sold off in 2018 to Prodways.

By: George Schuetz 10/9/2019

Taking A Reading on Gages

These three display readings may be okay for many routine inspection jobs, but it just isn’t good enough when precision parts are required. Such a setup doesn’t take advantage of the benefits that can be realized when today’s data collection capabilities are teamed up with dimensional gages and hand tools.

Today’s gages not only make impossible measurements possible, they also overcome human errors such as misinterpretation, short memory, blurred vision or repetition errors. Because much of the data collection workings are basically transparent to the user, he or she is free from the mundane job of writing down or keying in numbers.

News of Note: Machine Redesign, CAM Credentials and Solar Energy

Ahead of EMO Hannover 2019, GF Machining Solutions announced a new modular design for its machines. Nearly two years in the making, the redesign is expected to improve the appearance of machines and be more immediately recognizable. 

The new design features, among other things, an orange band above and below the work area.