MMS Blog

“Progressive and disruptive” is how Robb Hudson, CEO of Mitsui Seiki (U.S.A.) Inc., characterized AeroEdge during a visit to the aerospace manufacturer’s facility in late 2017. The startup is located in Japan, where manufacturing tends to be conservative, and Mr. Hudson’s description was meant, in part, to underscore what sets the company apart in its geographic region.

But what AeroEdge is achieving in aerospace manufacturing could be considered progressive and disruptive for any part of the globe. Using a mix of customized equipment (including Mitsui Seiki machine tools), a tooling program developed in house and advanced inspection techniques, the company is one of just two manufacturers in the world providing the titanium aluminide low-pressure turbine (LPT) blades used in the Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion (LEAP) jet engine.

The January issue of Modern Machine Shop describes R&D Manco’s ongoing shift from machining castings to greater machining of hogouts. One significant detail the article did not have the chance to address is the growing significance this shift brings to having complete and precise CAD data from the customer. In short, before R&D Manco could help its customers by streamlining its manufacturing, it first had to have conversations with customers about obtaining these reliable digital models.

Five-axis machining is part of the reason. Machining castings need not be as complex as machining from solid. The machining of castings is liable to include milling mating surfaces and drilling and tapping holes. This machining might be multi-face or multi-setup, but not five-axis. By contrast, programming the five-axis contour-machining cycle for a part with the organic, complex form of a casting obviously requires an accurate part model from the customer. In hogout machining, the digital model rather than the physical casting is the shop’s starting point.

By: Julia Hider 10. January 2018

An Adaptable Automation System in Action

This article from our January issue describes how a job shop increased its capacity by using a flexible, easy-to-program system for automating part loading and unloading. Kilgore Manufacturing in Columbia City, Indiana, was looking for automated part-loading option adaptable to small-batch production, and the shop found it a robot system from Halter. These videos illustrate how the adaptable robot works.

The LoadAssistant from Halter works with any CNC lathe or mill. The operator interface uses a 12-step, icon-driven process to quickly and easily set up new jobs.

Single Source Technologies (SST; Auburn Hills, Michigan), a global distributor of machine tool and consumable brands, has announced its collaboration with SmalTec International to bring the EM203 and GM703 micro-precision EDMs to SST’s West, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Based in the Chicago area, SmalTec is a micromachine manufacturer known for high- and ultra-high-precision equipment and providing comprehensive, turnkey solutions.

“This complementary partnership signifies our commitment to offer a range of solutions specifically for extreme precision in micro-size components,” says Mark Logan, SST’s director of business development. “We recognize that many manufacturers consider micromachining to be difficult, if not impossible, to manufacture commercially. For that reason, we are pleased to bring technologies that deliver on accuracy and surface finish requirements to these customers through our partnership with SmalTec.” Read more.

Brought to you by Modern Machine Shop, the Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking registered 56.2 in December. It expanded faster in December than it did in November, and it grew by more than 12 percent over December 2016. The Metalworking Index’s average of 55.8 for all of 2017 slightly exceeded the average expansion rate seen in 2011.

Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying data for the month of December indicates that new orders, production, employment and supplier deliveries lifted the Metalworking Index higher, while backlogs and exports, which expanded for the month, pulled the index lower. In fact, the exports reading closed at its highest level for the entire calendar year. The last time that exports registered such a rate of expansion was May 2014.

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