MMS Blog

There were smiling faces all around in Mindelheim, Germany, last November 15 when Airbus landed its biggest-ever order with a $49.5 billion deal for 430 airliners, the same day Grob’s in-house exhibition kicked off there. Known for its flexible automotive production systems, the 6,000-employee company has been constantly growing its universal machining center business. Alexander Attenberger, head of Grob’s international universal machining center sales, said during the event that his segment of the company recently has been experiencing growth in the aerospace and tool and die industries.

While 35 percent of all globally sold automotive cylinder heads are said to be made on Grob’s production systems, which consist of modular machining centers and special-purpose machines interlinked with automation solutions tailored to each customer’s needs, the company has set its eyes on the aerospace industry and its universal machining center business, which currently accounts for 10 to 15 percent of global sales. “We certainly want to grow this product line and see huge potential in the aerospace and die and mold industries, as well as the growing importance of electromobility,” Mr. Attenberger said.

An aerospike rocket engine has the ability to maintain thrust efficiency from ground level into outer space, meaning it is capable of leaving the earth’s atmosphere without the need for multiple-stage boosters. But you may never have heard of it; despite the engine’s benefits and years of R&D work, an aerospike engine has never entered service because of manufacturing difficulties. 

The engine features an inverted bell shape with complex cooling channels that are difficult to produce through conventional means. Problems related to this design, coupled with organizational changes, forced NASA to abandon an aerospike engine project in the early 2000s. But recently, a partnership between Monash University and Amaero successfully built a functional aerospike engine using the design freedoms of additive manufacturing (AM).

Jesse Garant Metrology Center (Dearborn, Michigan) is announcing the launch of its new high-energy industrial computed tomography (CT) system. The company says it will be the only private lab in the world to provide this specialized inspection service, transforming the landscape for nondestructive testing and supporting advanced manufacturing.

The center’s capabilities are expected to directly benefit the metalworking industry, allowing for feasible internal inspection of castings made from ferrous and nonferrous materials. This includes the identification of defects like porosity and inclusions, weld inspection, wall thickness analysis, first article inspection, and actual to nominal comparisons for out-of-tolerance features.

Registering 59.1 for January, the Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking started off 2018 by setting a new record high. Compared to the same month one year ago, the Metalworking Index grew by more than 9 percent. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying data for the latest month indicates that strong increases in the expansion of new orders and production drove the business index higher. Although supplier deliveries and employment readings both expanded for another month, they did not raise the index. Yet backlogs, which increased significantly during the month, along with exports pulled the index lower. All components of the Metalworking Index expanded during January. For a second month in a row, new orders outpaced production. Gardner Intelligence’s review of past data trends suggests that when new order growth exceeds production, manufacturers can expect continued industry growth.

The index reading calculated among only metalcutting job shops increased greatly as well during the month, setting its own multi-year record high. Compared to the same month one year ago, this index grew by 8.3 percent. During January, metalcutting job shops reported very strong growth in new orders, production and supplier deliveries.

By: George Schuetz 8. February 2018

Checking Roundness Between Centers

A dedicated roundness machine is the method of choice for achieving the most proper and complete measurement of roundness. However, for some layout work or when an indication of the roundness of a part is required, the bench centers radial method is a useful plan B. This measuring method supplies the most important component in the measurement of roundness: the variation of the radius length around the entire perimeter of the part.

The process for measuring roundness is supposed to be based on the axis of the part and by mounting it on the same centers used to manufacture the part. This is correct according to general interpretations of the concept known as roundness. But what happens in principle and in reality can be different. Several factors influence the reliability of the roundness measurement; the major one is that the true axis of the part is most likely the one that will be established by mounting the part in centers. Whether it be a single factor or a combination of them, the result is a measurement that generally will be larger than the true out-of-roundness. 

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