MMS Blog

By: George Schuetz 17. October 2018

Documenting Your Data Collection

About 30 years ago, the concept of data collection for process control took a major leap forward. This was about the time that a combination of electronic technology and economics enabled gaging to become digital. With a digital signal available, it became possible to transfer information via cable directly from a hand tool or digital indicator to the data collector. This made it much more practical to document and monitor the manufacturing process.

These days, checking parts at a gaging station with a hand tool or a dedicated fixture gage connected to a computer via a cable for data collection is the norm. Today's hand tools and digital indicators have built-in data output, making data collection quick, easy, cost effective and reliable. It provides a great solution for many process or quality-control applications.

“Metal serial production is the holy grail,” says Matt Petros, chief executive officer of Gardena, California-based 3DEO. “We intend to deliver hundreds of thousands of parts, creating additive technology at scale.” 

3DEO is just one of a growing number of manufacturers applying additive manufacturing (AM) to provide end-use parts at production scale. But rather than using a supplier’s 3D-printing technology to produce those parts, 3DEO’s founders elected to develop their own AM process. Today 3DEO manufactures thousands of small, repeatable metal parts using this technology. Its goal is not to compete with other metal AM processes, but to win work that would otherwise be made via machining or metal injection molding (MIM). The speed of the process and its lack of tooling make it possible for 3DEO to compete on price versus these more conventional technologies. 


Randy Makee quips that the job quotes Comstock Industries’ previous management team made were often haunted by the “ghosts of implied operations.” By those, he means operations that were not considered during the quoting process that were ultimately necessary to complete a part .

By: Barry Rogers 14. October 2018

Buying a Wire EDM: Speed, Accuracy and Finish

The two things every wire electrical discharge machine (EDM) user wants are speed and accuracy. Unfortunately, these objectives are usually incompatible. You don’t get speed with precision, and you can’t achieve high accuracy without also achieving a fine surface finish. Accuracy and surface finish go together. Speed and accuracy do not.

EDM units from the early 1980s might achieve cutting speeds of 3 to 4 square inches per hour. With changes in machine design and power supplies, speeds of 17 square inches per hour became attainable in the 1990s. Today, with improved power supplies, working in conjunction with sophisticated adaptive controls, it is not uncommon to achieve 24, 37 and in some cases 45 square inches per hour.

I recently had the chance to work with TechSolve, the machining consulting firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio, on filming some really ugly machining passes.

The point was cutting force analysis. Watching poorly performing cuts while also seeing the corresponding cutting force profiles illustrates what force measurement can reveal about the process. In many cases, force monitoring is limited to the machine’s spindle-load monitor, but TechSolve can bring more than this. It can measure forces more specifically and directly using a three-component dynamometer.

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