MMS Blog

Select Machining Technologies, a division of Morris Group Inc. (Windsor, Connecticut), has signed an agreement with Soraluce (Bergara, Spain), part of the Danobat Group, for exclusive rights to distribute the company’s product line throughout the United States. The agreement was made public during the Soraluce Summit March 20-22 at Soraluce’s new portal factory.

Soraluce manufactures large milling, turning, boring and multitasking machine tools, with work envelopes ranging to 8 meters high and 90 meters long. Larger work envelopes are available on request, as the company specializes in custom and turnkey solutions. Its primary markets are Germany and Italy, but its machines are used around the world for large-part machining applications such as oil and gas equipment, industrial vehicle engine blocks, and tool, die and moldmaking equipment.

When writing about a machine shop’s workholding solution that involves a cleverly designed 3D-printed box, the author’s path is lined with low-hanging puns. I will indulge just this once to get it out of my system: When engineers at Precision Metal Products (PMP) started thinking “inside the box” about 3D-printed tooling, the results were enough labor, time and cost savings to warrant a full explanation of what this shop achieved.

For 40 years, Milford, Connecticut-based PMP has served a range of industries, including medical, defense, microelectronics and commercial. Today the woman-owned shop has 135 employees and is certified to AS9100D, ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2003 standards, with core capabilities including CNC milling and turning, Swiss-type machining, metal stamping, wire electrical discharge machining (EDM) and light assembly work. PMP traditionally takes on high-volume contractsa condition that stakes a premium on throughput and spindle uptime—especially for PMP’s variety of three- and four-axis CNC machining centers.

To many in manufacturing, “automation” means fleets of robots, unattended machine tools and autonomous material handling systems. But what if there were another type of automation, one that provides similar results—the ability to produce more with less—yet looks very different from electromechanical systems?

Josh Bryant, a programmer, will readily agree that there is. 

Lenses, mirrors, optics and the mold inserts that enable making such parts at scale have long been machined with tools made of solid diamond. Despite a well-deserved reputation for precision, however, diamond machining can be painstakingly slow, says Dr. Christian Wenzel, CEO of diamond machine tool builder Innolite.   

When surface form accuracy is measured in microns and roughness is measured in nanometers, the CNC becomes a bottleneck, he explains. In any application, fluid, precise motion depends on lookahead functionality to scout ahead of the cutter and ensure ample reaction time to adverse conditions, all while the control is simultaneously engaged in other tasks. Diamond machining applications can require plotting motion in such detail that slowing down is the only way for the CNC to keep up.

By: Udo Jahn 5. April 2019

Machining, Disruption and the Years Ahead

The machining industry sits on a precipice—an edge, a turning point, a revolution—one that is coming whether we want it or not. We’ve seen it before, and it has everything to do with technological advancements. They are already here, challenging old-school thinking and disrupting the industry in ways that force us to change our thinking. But there is a divide between those who embrace change and those who dig in their heels. The challenges of the future are not going away—just look at how much the industry has changed in the past 20 years. In order to exist rather than become extinct, we need to look at the greatest disruptions to machining.

3D printing has flooded the machining industry causing some causalities for those who haven’t been able to tread water. It’s hit areas like prototyping and pattern makers with devastating force. Those who didn’t update their equipment and processes are closing their doors, yet this is just the beginning. As the technology becomes more robust in the coming years, it will take over other areas causing more companies to close up shop. Will it take over everything? I don’t think so, not in the next five to 10 years. However, the technology is still evolving. We would do well to monitor 3D printing’s advancements and make sure not to discount it.

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