MMS Blog

Control over how a tool meets metal is often left solely to CAM system output that has been translated (often imperfectly) into G code by a postprocessor. That might be enough to produce the part to specification, but not necessarily as efficiently as possible, particularly with sophisticated five-axis equipment.

So says Gisbert Ledvon, business development manager for Heidenhain Corp.’s TNC line of computer numeric controls (CNCs). Whereas CAM software is generally designed for flexibility and applicability across a variety of equipment, the CNC provides a direct interface with a particular machine tool’s axis drives, scales and other mechanical elements, he explains.  Some of the finer fine-tuning facilitated by the more intimate CNC-to-machine connection can even be performed in real time, whether to avoid the need for additional programming or to enhance toolpath strategies programmed well in advance.

While there certainly is value in collecting and displaying this data gathered from machine monitoring, identifying and tracking green time is only part of the continuous improvement initiative for J&R Machine. The company uses the machine data it collects to develop a monthly productivity index: a ratio of machine green hours to the payroll hours of the person tending the machine. In essence, this metric demonstrates how well the shop uses its payroll hours compared to its machine hours. It helps shape a number of key business decisions and ultimately reveals true shop costs and profit.

Also in this issue of Modern Machine Shop:              

For Andrew Tordanato, Diversified Manufacturing Technologies president, getting into 3D printing was a natural evolution. His family owns Mohawk Manufacturing, a metal stamping operation that has been in business since 1921. In 2015, the company added a metal 3D printing division in response to changing customer demands. Diversified Manufacturing Technologies grew out of that experience, along with the desire to further “diversify” into plastics and carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) as well as metals. Things are coming full circle now, as Diversified not only prints parts but also helps manufacturers who are thinking about adding their own additive manufacturing (AM) equipment to their shopfloor operations.

Today, Diversified Manufacturing Technologies manufactures parts for customers ranging from small job shops to large original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The equipment at its Middletown, Connecticut, facility includes metal 3D printers such as a 3D Systems ProX 300 as well as half a dozen polymer 3D printers from MarkForged capable of laying a continuous thread of fiberglass, Kevlar or other fiber along with plastic filament to increase part strength. Diversified is also equipped with CNC machining and EDM capability, primarily used internally for finishing 3D-printed parts.

3. February 2018

Cybersecurity for Job Shops

Managers of small and medium-size machining companies often wonder what precautions they can take to protect their computer networks from hackers and other online threats. Even with limited resources and capabilities, they should follow the following steps to create a workable cybersecurity plan.

A plethora of government resources are freely available and can provide a good overview of cybersecurity for manufacturing companies. A good document to start with is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publication SP 800-82 Rev. 2 Guide to Industrial Control Systems. NIST provides other resources for shops through its Manufacturers Extension Partnership.

The image gallery above, based on Modern Machine Shop magazine’s Modern Equipment Review Spotlight, features a range of additive manufacturing equipment covered recently by our sister publication, Additive Manufacturing.

Swipe through the gallery for details, and follow the caption links for more information about each item.

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