MMS Blog

Some people mistakenly think five-axis technology is only for the most complex parts. While it certainly excels at that, a significant majority of the applications are simply used to enable the machining of five sides of a workpiece in a single setup.

With three-axis machining, jobs might require two, three or more setups to get at all the features of the part. With the done-in-one approach, those additional setups are eliminated in addition to potential for error each time you reposition a part.

Specialized airfoil cutting machines attracted significant attention at the April 25 opening of GF Machining Solutions’ new Aerospace and Energy Center of Competence in Huntersville, North Carolina. However, the overall takeaway was the value of bringing to bear a diverse range of capabilities and perspectives to address any given challenge, particularly those associated with manned flight.

That point was driven home the night before at the opening reception at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte. There, attendees had dinner under the wing of the Airbus A320 made famous by the 2009 “miracle on the Hudson,” when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger guided U.S. Airways Flight 1549 safely past New York City skyscrapers to plunge tail-down and nose-up into the icy river after an act-of-God bird strike on takeoff. Testimony from survivor and guest speaker Dan Vinton made clear that along with Captain Sully’s heroism, keeping everyone alive that day required similar focus and discipline from the entire flight crew, and from New York and New Jersey first responders.

Data-driven manufacturing is one of the most discussed, yet most difficult-to-define topics in manufacturing. With concepts including Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things, the digital factory and big data, it is hard to know what they all mean. More importantly, what does a roadmap to data-driven manufacturing success look like?

Join Modern Machine Shop and MEMEX Senior Sales Manager John Rattray for a free webinar detailing a five-step strategy for successfully leveraging data-driven manufacturing to achieve operational excellence, greater efficiency and profitability.

2017 was a particularly trying year for Dotson Iron Castings. Yet, it was that year that the Mankato, Minnesota, foundry’s character and resiliency shined through.

A fire started around 11 p.m. Friday, September 22, destroying and damaging equipment and sections of the building’s molding area, where sand molds for iron castings are made. Three molding lines were lost as well as all electrical, pneumatic, water-line and sand-conveyor systems. The final tally for damages was more than $5 million. Thankfully, none of the 12 employees working that evening were injured.

By: Anthony Staub 30. April 2018

Using Advanced Manufacturing in Your Machine Shop

Labor is always an important topic of discussion in manufacturing circles. I contend that embracing technology and advanced manufacturing is the best defense against a labor shortfall. I decided back in the ‘70s that I would leverage the talented employees that I have rather than focus on people that I don’t. It made sense then to use advanced manufacturing methods to increase productivity and efficiency. And while advanced manufacturing means so many things today, the purpose remains the same. Here are some drivers that led me down this path:

Our road to advanced manufacturing started with a determined (or stubborn) mindset, and the fact that I was excited to explore the advances in technology. I was not afraid of the new stuff as long as it made sense. I jumped on numerical control (NC) in 1980 when I purchased a paper-tape (remember that?) series II Bridgeport. I added a Mazak Quickturn 10 lathe in 1982 that gave us computer numerical control (CNC) technology. In 1987, I invested in a Monarch vertical machining center that cost twice as much as my house. More importantly, I studied and purchased the accessories I needed to advance. I purchased the machine with two pallets. If we were in the middle of a job and couldn’t go any further, off came the first pallet and on went the second pallet (an idle spindle makes no money).

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