MMS Blog

In choosing DP Technology’s Esprit CAM software to write programs for its CNC grinders and wire EDM, MCC Tooling found a CAM system so user friendly that the owner’s young grandchildren sometimes use it. More importantly, Esprit’s efficient programming saved MCC Tooling time and money getting up to speed with an advanced wire EDM and now positively impacts both machining and quoting.

MCC Tooling makes and resharpens custom cutting tools, step drills, form tools and dovetail cutters in quantities ranging from one to as many as 100 pieces for customers in the oil, airline and medical industries. Marcus Alexander founded MCC Tooling in 1984 in the Dallas suburb of Garland, Texas, with leased space and a single grinder. The company has since grown into a 10-person business with a variety of machines, including 17 grinders working with carbide, stainless steel and high speed steel parts.

Sandvik Additive Manufacturing has assisted sister company and cutting tool maker Sandvik Coromant in the redesign of a milling cutter to be made through additive manufacturing (AM). Making the tool additively allows for substantially lighter weight, and light weight will lead to more productive milling because the lighter cutter can be run at higher spindle speeds without vibration. The new milling cutter is 80 percent lighter than the original tool made conventionally.

In this video filmed at Formnext 2018, I talk through some of the steps Sandvik took toward realizing that weight reduction, from lattices to topology optimization to a change in material. The last of these steps is perhaps the most striking. Titanium is not typically thought of as a material for making cutting tool bodies, but it was the right material for making this tool additively. AM not only enables these radical design changes, it also enables the exploration of these changes by making iteration easy.

Organizers of the 2019 edition of India’s IMTEX metalcutting exhibition expressed one regret: not thinking bigger. Had the India Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA) built a sixth hall in addition to the recently completed fifth hall of its privately funded, 80,000-square-meter Bengalaru International Exhibition Center (BIEC), the show likely could have been even bigger.

Nonetheless, the 50th edition of IMTEX was the largest yet, drawing more than 91,000 attendees and more than 1,200 exhibitors to the BIEC January 24-30. The state of the show reflects the state of the Indian manufacturing industry, with the IMTMA projecting both production and consumption of machine tools to expand by more than 25 percent this year.

Scott and Cheryl Larson chalk up their shop’s success over the course of 20 years to establishing relationships with key people who have helped grow the company and make it more efficient. “You have to know when to ask for help,” Scott says.

The husband and wife team are co-owners of Colburn Manufacturing, a Fridley, Minnesota, shop that serves a range of industries and specializes in CNC Swiss-type turning. The Larsons have reached a point in which they are ready to retire and hand the business to their son Clint (application engineer) and daughter Liz (director of operations). In fact, they are a little more than one year into their five-year succession-planning process.

The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking registered 53.6 in February, marking the fourth consecutive month in which the Index has moved in a very narrow growth range. The latest reading is marginally lower than the range of readings recorded earlier in the current business cycle. As compared to the same month one year ago, the Index is 13.2 percent lower; however, this comparison gages the latest month’s data against the February 2018 record-high reading of more than 61.0. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying data for the month observed that the Index (calculated as an average of its components) was supported by supplier deliveries, production and employment. The components that lowered the Index included new orders, backlog and exports. Backlogs reported a very small contraction, while exports reported its third consecutive contractionary reading.

February recorded the weakest expansionary reading for new orders since late 2016, registering slightly below 53.0. In contrast, the expansionary readings for both production and supplier deliveries were more comparable to earlier quarters when the economy was growing faster. February’s contraction in backlogs is consistent with an expansion in production and slowing in new orders.

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