MMS Blog

The annual Formnext show, which took place last month in Frankfurt, Germany, is the world’s leading exposition on additive manufacturing (AM) technology. Yet one of the sights that caught my eye at the show this year was the presence of metalcutting CNC machine tools. This additive show had examples of live “subtractive” metal removal.

To be fair, there always have been CNC machine tools at this show. That is, there have been CNC machines adapted for AM, including hybrid machine tools performing both additive metal deposition and subtractive metal cutting in the same cycle. But this year, there were CNC machines doing just the subtraction and nothing else, just the cutting and nothing else — just the work we associate with machine tools. This is because CNC machining is a complement to metal AM as a means of postprocessing, of realizing the final dimensional and finish tolerance of additive parts, and the ongoing advance of AM into production is making postprocessing an increasingly important part of Formnext’s exhibits.

The spirituality of manufacturing is not a topic you’ll come across very often in Modern Machine Shop, at least not directly. However, a recent article by Editor Emeritus Mark Albert offers a compelling argument that the technology facilitating today’s interconnected, data-driven shop floors also helps manufacturers tap into the tangible benefits of a more spiritual approach to work. In the spirit of the holiday season, this thesis is worth summarizing here.   

I appreciate Mark’s definition of spirituality because it is broad enough to appeal to those who follow any religion or no religion. He describes it as “an awareness of and responsiveness to God or some sacred dimension.” My interpretation of this is that one’s approach to work can be called “spiritual” when it is mindful of life’s greater context and energized by causes greater than oneself. As for the tangible benefits of such an approach, Mark says a “higher calling” can make manufacturers more productive, more creative, more capable, more ethical and more team oriented. Even beyond manufacturing, the more we feel connected with what incites us to passion and inspires us to action, the better we are likely to perform.

By: Mike Lynch 12/12/2019

5 Things New CNC Operators Must Know

Today’s manufacturing companies find it nearly impossible to find and hire qualified CNC machinists. Indeed, most find it difficult to find people that have any shop experience at all. Instead, they must hire people who simply show an interest in and (hopefully) have aptitude for manufacturing – and train them from scratch.

Given this, there are five subjects that would-be CNC machinists must understand before they can spend meaningful time on a specific CNC machine tool.

If you want to learn what major events will impact the automotive industry in 2020, then listen in on a free webinar on December 17 by Modern Machine Shop columnist Michael Guckes. The presentation takes a look at what next year may hold in store for automakers and manufacturers.

“A Deep Dive of the Automotive Industry: a 2020 Outlook” will be presented by Mr. Guckes, the chief economist and director of analytics for Gardner Intelligence, the research arm of MMS publisher Gardner Business Media. The webinar will be hosted by Gary Vasilash, editor of Automotive Design & Production.

Cleaning specifications can be more stringent for hydraulic and pneumatic components, automotive transmission components, pump and valve housings, nozzles and so on. Burrs, swarf or debris left behind after machining or grinding parts like these can lead to product failure during use, which is why secondary finishing processes are often necessary prior to assembly. 

Traditionally, multiple pieces of equipment —sometimes from multiple suppliers — have been required to perform all the necessary finishing work. However, as I saw at the EMO trade show in Hannover last September, the EcoCvelox from Ecoclean combines high-pressure waterjet deburring (in five axes) with low-pressure parts cleaning and drying in one compact unit. This eliminates the need to use various equipment suppliers, and a modular design enables future expansion as needed.