MMS Blog

With a new North American headquarters, a new satellite office in Connecticut dedicated to aerospace, new hiring as well as new product offerings, Sodick Inc. has recently accelerated the pace of change within the company. While both Sodick Inc. (the U.S. division) and the Sodick Group (its publicly-traded entity) have long prided themselves on offering an EDM machine suited to every customer—including the VL600QH, a new high-column economy wire EDM that specifically targets postproduction for additive manufacturing—Sodick is seeking to expand its offerings in both its milling and additive technologies.

These efforts are on full display in its booth, where visitors can see Sodick’s latest hybrid metal 3D printer, the OPM350L. A larger-capacity version of the OPM250L that debuted at IMTS two years ago, the 350L direct metal laser sintering powder-bed printer combines a 500-watt ytterbium laser with a 45,000-rpm linear motor spindle, which can perform milling operations during pauses in the printing process that allow access to internal features that otherwise would be inaccessible when the part is finished. The OPM350L also includes parallel mode technology, a recent addition that optimizes the machine’s 500-watt laser path by allowing it to target four points simultaneously within a build. Available as a recommended option with the 350L is Sodick’s new materials recovery system (MRS). This system automatically delivers powder into the 350L’s’s material feeder for use in the additive manufacturing process. As excess powder is delivered to the powder receptacle, the MRS unit conveys this material back for sieving and return to the material feeder. By continually recycling powder, Sodick says that the MRS unit allows the 350L to run continuously for up to a week using just 30 kg of material.

Fives Giddings & Lewis has long had a sweet spot for vertical turning centers. Its VTC series of vertical machines established the company’s reputation for a solid machining platform and operational versatility, especially with shops that prefer to mount workpieces on a horizontal rotating table, which simplifies clamping and protects ring-shaped parts that might otherwise be distorted in a vertical chuck. For shops producing jet engine components, vertical turning represents an especially advantageous “sweet spot” among machining processes.

This week, Fives is introducing a Giddings & Lewis vertical lathe with a 1,600-mm table for its V series to complement the 800-, 1,000- and 1,250-mm models in this series. The rigidity and flexibility of these models make them popular with shops that must strongly consider value in machine purchases—that is, getting an affordable machine without compromising capability.

Erowa Technology Inc., a full-service supplier of palletization and automation systems for the North American manufacturing market, is sporting a fully redesigned booth with a more dynamic backdrop and large video screens running eye-catching multimedia displays. Bob Davila, sales and marketing specialist for Erowa, says it is all part of the company’s continuing focus on Industry 4.0 and the unveiling of its newest line of SmartChucks.

“SmartChucks combine Erowa’s renowned precision and stability with wireless signal transmission,” Davila says. The new design includes an integrated LED strip that displays the status of the chuck while it is in operation, letting the user know if the chuck is open, closed, improperly clamped or has insufficient clamping force—all at a glance. A mobile app developed by Erowa for the SmartChuck enables users to retrieve clamping equipment data from a smartphone or other smart device. “Status requests and additional information regarding the lifecycle can be checked at any time using Bluetooth technology,” he says.

Manufacturing professionals come to IMTS primarily as “doers,” that is, as individuals or teams there to accomplish something—find the best and latest technology, learn how to make processes more productive or discover fresh concepts in plant management.

Autodesk can show them new developments such as Fusion Production, a cloud-based system that combines scheduling, production tracking and machine monitoring on one platform. This is Autodesk’s offering in the “smart manufacturing” arena that is distinguished by a practical approach to integrating machine tool data correction, analytics and shop control functions, including access to CAD models and CNC program files. The latest release of PowerMill, the company’s flagship CAM programming system, is also on display.

If shop scheduling continues to be a pain point for your shop, a visit to Tarus’ booth may be worth your while.

Tarus is not only thrilled that it now has a complete ERP package that integrates with and covers its entire operations, but it is also excited to share it with other manufacturers at IMTS. All this week, Tarus is offering live demos and issuing surveys to enter visitors into two raffles for an Apple 32-GB iPad or a Samsung Galaxy 16-GB tablet along with a 30-day trial version of its TPI Shop ERP system.

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