MMS Blog

The January 31 deadline is almost here for the Second National Reshoring Award hosted by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, NTMA (National Tooling and Machining Association), the Reshoring Initiative and PMA (Precision Metalforming Association). This award is open to both OEMs/branded product companies and job shops/contract manufacturers.

To be eligible for the award, the work must have been reshored between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2018, from outside North America to within North America. Product, parts or tooling reshored must be made primarily by forming, casting, fabricating or machinining, including additive manufacturing.

Grinding is an abrasive machining process capable of achieving tolerances and surface finishes unattainable by any other process. When dimensional accuracy is unobtainable with milling, turning or electrical discharge machining (EDM), or when tolerances below ±0.0002 inch are required, grinding steps in. Grinding can repeatedly deliver accuracy as tight as ±0.00003 inch and do so repeatedly and reliably under proper conditions. Only honing can produce bore sizing tolerances below that which grinding can deliver.

Automotive, aerospace, medical, machine tools, die/mold, energy, tooling and general products are but a few industries that utilize grinding daily. The type of grinding machines available in the market vary by design, based on the specific parts or components being produced. Machine types include surface grinders, cylindrical, tool and cutter grinders, thread, gear, and cam and crankshaft grinders. Grinding machines can be further divided by the type of grinding they perform, such as surface, form, inner diameter (ID), outer diameter (OD), thread, plunge, centerless and through-feed grinding. Although manually operated toolroom grinders are still available, full CNC machines are now the norm, largely because of their high productivity and capability for unattended operation.

Digital manufacturing promises to improve productivity on the shop floor, offering manufacturers sensors, software and connectivity to capture and leverage data about their operations. However, truly digital manufacturing extends beyond the shop floor; it follows and encompasses the entire product lifecycle.

A panel presentation at last fall’s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), hosted by Identify3D, explored how digitalization affects manufacturing across its many stages. Moderator John Barnes, founder and managing director of Barnes Group Advisors,  joked in his introduction that the organizers had “assembled a supply chain” onstage, with speakers representing expertise ranging from design to materials to inspection.

You may not feel that you need to be able to talk to your machine tools. But voice-activated human-machine interfaces (HMIs) are coming to the machine tool industry, and the advantages probably are going to be greater than you think. Makino already has the technology in beta testing, and the application in standard products is just around the corner.

For now, it is a hands-free way to execute a number of control and information display functions—one operator to one machine—with commands like, “run part program 208 . . . stop coolant . . . change tool to T-15,” and so on. It can also serve up critical job documentation such as setup sheets.

“When in doubt, tell the truth.”

The first time I met Mark Albert in person, he had this motto taped to the wall of his office. He had printed a page with those words in large letters. I knew just enough about writing then to understand why that motto was worth displaying, and why a writer—a writer in his heart—would care about the importance of that motto.

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