MMS Blog

High-efficiency milling has gotten a lot of attention in recent years as a way to substantially increase metal removal rates with solid carbide end mills on almost any kind of milling machine. With small stepovers, but faster feed rates and deeper depths of cut, this “constant chip load” cutting strategy can dramatically increase roughing efficiency compared to conventional machining.

However, extremely high efficiencies also can be achieved with new indexable cutters at shallow depths of cut, but substantially higher feed rates.

In machining facilities today, automation applications tend to call for robots that are powerful and perilous. That is, robots with a high payload and high speed, typically fixed in one place and operating behind a safety fence. By contrast, collaborative robots (cobots) are designed to be easily redeployable and safe for use near people, but this generally makes them payload-limited and slow to an extent that limits the machining jobs where they can succeed.

However, cobots are coming. Specifically, they are coming in increasing numbers to CNC machining applications. I drew this conclusion after attending last year’s Collaborative Robots, Automated Vision and Artificial Intelligence (CRAVAI) conference in Santa Clara, California, organized by the Association for Advancing Automation. Cobot technology is advancing, and trends in manufacturing favor their greater use, including in machining. We would do well to keep an eye on cobots and understand them better. Here are some of the points I took from presentations, conversations and general impressions of this conference emphasizing cobot technology:

Success in Formula One racing demands engineering and manufacturing prowess as much as it requires driving skill. F1 teams produce just a few cars per season (two that can race plus a third disassembled in spare parts), but these vehicles need to be manufactured to the technical regulations put in place by the FIA, the governing body of motorsports.

In addition to general shape and size restrictions, the FIA also places limitations on wind tunnel usage, allowing teams no more than 25 hours of wind-on time per week and the use of only 60 percent scale models. Teams need to produce scale models of their cars and prototype parts for wind tunnel testing, as well as the full-sized final car parts.

Charlie Mitchell, machinist for Andretti Autosport, has described the race shop thus: “It’s like a job shop—like a prototype shop—but faster.”

Actual machining accounts for just a fraction of the time involved with a part moving from concept to reality. Design, engineering, programming and setting up a job consume the bulk of Mr. Mitchell’s workday. This does not include the time it takes the design engineers to diagnose the need for a new part on a car after a race weekend and prescribe a part for the fix or upgrade. By the time the job gets to him, time is already short. 

By: Wayne Chaneski 24. December 2018

Change and Behavioral Styles

I recently reread the short, but powerful book “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. As someone who frequently helps organizations introduce change, I find this book to be a valuable reminder of how differently people react to change based on their individual perceptions. Although most of us are not qualified to know how people perceive change internally, we can observe their behavior as it relates to change. We may even be able to go a step further and see if there is a link between a person’s behavioral style and how that person deals with change.

As Mr. Johnson writes in the book, some of us are extremely comfortable with change and will seek it out whenever possible. These change promoters are not satisfied with the status quo and believe change is vital to any organization’s success. Others are uncomfortable with change and try to stop it. These change resistors spend time and effort focusing on the bad things that could happen to both themselves and the organization if change occurs. Finally, others find they can adapt to change over time. They learn to take change in stride, recognizing that it may not be such a bad thing, and it could actually benefit both the organization and themselves.  

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