The new Spirit AeroSystems facility for five-axis machining allows a small team to oversee a significant amount of machining capability. Is this the way of the future as machining systems become more automated?
Correct unloading of the parts affects part quality as well as the capacity of the unattended machining system. Here is more of the experience from our “168” shop.
Precision Tool Technologies found capacity for diversification not by adding machines, people or space, but by freeing up time. Running unattended—running so it can machine through all 168 hours in the week—has enabled this shop to use hours when staff is present to deliver work that lands outside its established specialty. To achieve unattended machining, some of the biggest challenges have related to basic details such as chips and coolant.
Topology optimization, 3D printing and a material change for this milling cutter resulted in an 80 percent reduction in mass.
Part of the strangeness is this: There is not much to understand! Cheap sensors, fast connectivity, and data storage and applications in the cloud all come together to simplify certain kinds of automation needs. A band saw in the lab at Georgia Tech illustrates how manufacturers might put this to use.
A hybrid system combining metal 3D printing with machining gives the Marine Corps perhaps its most effective resource yet for obtaining needed hardware in the field. It also offers an extreme version of the experience a machine shop might have in adding metal AM to its capabilities.
For machine shops, the transformation that data-driven manufacturing promises to bring begins with machine monitoring, and there is a human component to this.
Not just writing, but writing with integrity, is the work and the craft to which Mark Albert gave his career.