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All Alternative Machining Articles

Fiber Lasers Continue to Gain Market Share in Material Processing Applications



Bill Shiner, Vice President Industrial Lasers, IPG Photonics

2/1/2016

The first kilowatt-class fiber laser for material processing was introduced by IPG Photonics in early 2002. Since that time, the adoption of fiber lasers for production applications has grown at a rapid rate. Today, fiber lasers are becoming the choice for most major production laser applications as well as converting traditional welding and cutting processes to fiber laser technologies. This is best evidenced by the double-digit year-over-year growth that IPG has experienced over the past several years. Full Article

At Okuma, Evolving Workforce a Factor in Emerging Technologies



Michael C. Anderson Senior Editor

12/11/2015

Okuma America Corp. and their Partners in THINC held an event on applying emerging technologies to aerospace manufacturing at their Charlotte, NC facility on December 8. One of the topics that the presenters as well as the visitors talked about, in a variety of ways, was the challenges involved with getting a new generation of manufacturing workers in the door and up to speed on manufacturing technologies. Full Article

Makino EDNC6, EDNC8 Sinker EDMs: Competitive Precision, Speed and Ease of Use for Large Workpieces



Press Release - Makino

11/4/2015

Makino introduces its EDNC6 and EDNC8 sinker electrical discharge machines (EDM) that combine rigid and precise construction, simple touch-screen programming and advanced performance features for accurate and fast cutting of large work pieces.  Makino’s proprietary technologies included on the EDNC6 and EDNC8 ensure the ideal mix of speed, surface finish and reduced electrode wear. Full Article

New Technologies Raise the Global Bar in Moldmaking



Gisbert Ledvon, Director of Busines Development, GF Machining Solutions

11/1/2015

The business of global moldmaking is extremely competitive and constantly changing—case in point, the return of high-end moldmaking to the United States from overseas. Reasons for this include reshoring initiatives, requirements for higher precision on certain parts, logistical issues and rising costs of parts made overseas. Full Article

Versatility of Abrasive Waterjet is a Game Changer



Dr. John Olsen, Vice President of Operations and Company Co-founder, OMAX Corp

11/1/2015

Speed is paramount in every phase of bringing a product to market today. Pressure is on engineers and product designers to shorten design times and on manufacturers to accelerate production cycles. Abrasive waterjet is answering the call by delivering the versatility needed to quickly make parts of all shapes and sizes. Full Article

New Technologies Raise the Bar for Abrasive Waterjets



Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak

11/1/2015

As price pressures squeeze manufacturing margins, new abrasive waterjet technologies are enabling job shops to cut components faster and more accurately, getting parts to customers more quickly and lowering overall production costs. The abrasive waterjets boast an ability to cut a very wide array of materials, ranging from thick, hard metals to stone, granite and glass, while leaving no heat-affected zone (HAZ) on the workpiece with this inherently cool manufacturing process. Full Article

Programming Robots Gets Faster, Easier



Edited by Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak

11/1/2015

Manufacturing Engineering: How difficult is it to program robots for machining parts? Chahe Bakmazjian: Current technology typically requires hours, or even several days of programming before a robot is ready to perform its task. The problem lies primarily in the ability to integrate the right technology into a robotic application.

Full Article

Laser Versatility Marks Technology’s Growth



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

11/1/2015

It has been more than 50 years since Goldfinger’s “more practical toy”—an industrial laser—threatened Sean Connery’s James Bond as he was strapped to a table of faux gold. A little trickeration freed the fast-thinking Bond, but it has been the magic of the laser, then just in its infancy, that would make it a versatile manufacturing process. CO2 laser technology has proven itself to be a workhorse, especially for cutting medium-to-thick sheet and plate for industries including automotive, appliance, office furniture, general manufacturing, and job shops. Full Article

EDM’s Home Field Advantage



Senior Editor Bill Koenig

11/1/2015

It used to be that EDM, or electrical discharge machining, was known more for making things that are used to make things, such as molds and dies. Increasingly, EDM is being used to produce final parts. The highly automated process—where electrical discharge sparks are used to cut and shape parts—is viewed as dependable, able to produce quality parts time after time. “A correctly equipped EDM machine has the ability to not only do several EDM processes without operator intervention,” said Bob Ianitelli, president and chief operating officer of Madison Heights, MI-based Belmont Equipment & Technologies. Full Article

JACQUET Midwest Highlights 5-Axis Waterjet Cutting Services in New Video



Press Release - Jet Edge

8/5/2015

JACQUET Midwest and Jet Edge, Inc. have produced a new video highlighting JACQUET’s new 5-axis waterjet cutting capabilities at its metal service center in Racine, Wisconsin. Watch the video on Jet Edge’s YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/jetedgewaterjets. JACQUET’s Jet Edge EDGE X-5 5-axis waterjet features a 21’X13’ work envelope and dual 5-axis waterjet cutting heads to double productivity. Full Article

Shop Solutions: Waterjet Finds its Groove in Autodesk's Maker Culture



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

8/1/2015

One might describe software developer Autodesk’s Workshop at Pier 9 as a traditional communal workspace. In reality, it is a highly advanced maker space where artists, engineers, designers, architects and others network and share resources and knowledge that blur the lines between art and manufacturing. It is here where creativity and advanced technology foster innovative designs and transform how things are made. Full Article

Annette Doyle Assumes Role of Managing Director at TRUMPF Limited, UK



Press Release - TRUMPF

6/24/2015

Annette Doyle will take on the role of Managing Director of TRUMPF Limited, the UK subsidiary of the TRUMPF Group, located in Luton, Bedfordshire. She succeeds Mr. Scott Simpson who will leave TRUMPF after more than 20 years to pursue his own individual projects. Annette Doyle leaves her position at TRUMPF Inc. in Farmington, CT where she most recently served as Assembly Manager for TRUMPF machines produced in the U.S. Full Article

Shop Solutions: One Snowflake Too Many Leads Shop to Advanced EDMs



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

6/1/2015

That’s how Henry Kalkman describes the snow on the roof of his shop, JK Machining Inc., the day it collapsed in February 2014. Kalkman can make light of the incident now, but without proper insurance and good industry connections, the calamity could have shut down the Kalamazoo, MI, mold-and-die shop permanently. Instead, JK Machining weathered a long year of rebuilding and continued to meet customer delivery dates with help from neighboring shops. Full Article

Shop Solutions: ERP System Tracks EDM Jobs, Grows Shop's Business



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

6/1/2015

When your job shop is running 80 electrical discharge machines (EDM), 24 hours-a-day with an output of more than 5000 jobs a year, keeping track of every aspect of your business might seem impossible. But the team of Carl Sommer and his sons at Reliable EDM (Houston, TX) have not only kept track, but also managed to build Reliable into North America’s largest EDM job shop. Full Article

Laser Technologies Offer a Growing Array of Choices



Contributing Editor Bruce Morey

2015-05-01

Lasers first started making a significant impact for manufacturing in the early to mid 1970s. Since then, a number of advances, both evolutionary and revolutionary, have made lasers a common tool of choice for applications such as cutting, welding, drilling, brazing, and cladding. They are often easier to automate than many of their mechanical competitors. No moving part contacts the metal, so no tool wears out that needs replacement. Full Article

Stefan Fickenscher Named Managing Director, TRUMPF Canada



Press Release - TRUMPF

3/30/2015

Effective April 1, 2015, Stefan Fickenscher will become Managing Director of TRUMPF Canada. He succeeds Stefan Schreiber who returns to TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG in Ditzingen, Germany as head of central sales subsidiaries in the machine tool division.Fickenscher joined TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG in 2002 as International Project Manager, 2D lasers. Full Article

NanoSteel Expands Material Capabilities for Additive Manufacturing



Press Release - The NanoSteel Company

3/4/2015

The NanoSteel® Company today announced the expansion of the company’s additive manufacturing (AM) material capabilities to support metal 3D printing of complex high hardness parts and the ability to customize properties layer-by-layer through gradient material design.The company leveraged its 2014 breakthrough in AM wear materials to print a bearing and impeller using the powder bed fusion process. Full Article

United Grinding Focuses New Laser System on Diamond Tool Processing



Press Release - United Grinding

3/3/2015

UNITED GRINDING has extended its line of WALTER EWAG technologies for cutting tool production to now include the LASER LINE ULTRA 5-axis machining center that incorporates ultra-short pulse laser technology. Full Article

Is Additive the New Twist that Electric Motors Need?



Contributing Editor Ed Sinkora

3/2/2015

To many, powering cars and trucks with internal combustion engines is hopelessly outdated. The technology goes back to the 19th century. It relies on a finite source of fossil fuels. And it contributes to global warming. So beyond attempts to make such engines more efficient and the vehicles lighter, there’s also a huge push to produce vehicles with electric or hybrid forms of propulsion. Full Article

MC Machinery Systems Announces Agreement with AKS Cutting Systems to Manufacture and Distribute its Waterjet Product Line



Press Release - MC Machinery Systems

2/20/2015

MC Machinery Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of MITSUBISHI Corporation, and one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial machine tools, announced today that it has entered into a multi-year, definitive agreement with AKS Cutting Systems of Cleveland, Ohio to license, manufacture, market and distribute the MC Machinery waterjet product line throughout North America. Full Article

Variations of Waterjet: Robotic and Abrasive



Senior Editor Ellen Kehoe

2/12/2015

No sooner had waterjet cutting gone mainstream did someone think of adding an abrasive to the water flow and integrating a robot into the system. From SME Technical Paper TP85PUB248: "High pressure waterjet machines capable of cutting relatively soft materials such as paper, cloth, wood, and fiberglass can now cut ceramics, metal composites, and tough metals such as Inconel and titanium because of a recent design innovation which induces abrasive grit into the water jet." Full Article

Tracing the Flow of Waterjet Processes



Senior Editor Ellen Kehoe

2/10/2015

What’s able to cut steel, disposable diapers, composites, newsprint, titanium, ceramic tile, wood, cloth and even cake? With apologies to Superman, it’s waterjet, of course. Although “a modern waterjet system can slit a mile of newsprint in a minute using only a cup of water,” the history of using water for washing away material goes way back. Full Article

Oil Patch Risks and Rewards



Executive Editor James D. Sawyer

2/1/2015

Two of the key drivers of the oil & gas industry are demand and gears. Demand travels in essentially two directions: up and down. If you ignore the obvious—that gears go around—in the oil & gas industry as in almost all manufacturing, gears only go in one direction: They get better, i.e., stronger and more reliable. And stronger, more reliable gears are extremely important because downtime is extremely expensive in the oil patch. Full Article

Precise, Clean, Lightweight Joining with Laser Welding



Contributing Editor Bruce Morey

2/1/2015

Welding with lasers is a key enabler for a growing number of applications, such as lightweighting. Take, for example, tailor welded blanks (TWB), in which sheets of steel are tailor welded with different thicknesses, strengths, or coatings prior to stamping into formed parts. TWB was first introduced using lasers, and it allows designers to put thicker material where needed for strength, with thinner gages elsewhere. Full Article

AccuteX GE Wire EDM Machines From Absolute Machine Tools



Press Release - Absolute Machine Tools

1/29/2015

The new, affordable AccuteX “Great Economy” (GE) Wire EDM machines from Absolute Machine Tools combine high cutting speed and accuracy. The line also features automatic wire threading (AWT) that provides fast submerged rethreading at the break point. Full Article

What Non-Chipmaking Cutting Technology to Use?



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz from information provided by Hypertherm

1/28/2015

Here’s the short answer from Hypertherm (New Brighton, MN). Certain processes will only cut certain types of materials. For example, oxyfuel can only cut carbon steel and plasma can only cut electrically conductive metals. This means if you need to cut more than just metal, you can immediately cross those two processes off your list and focus instead on laser or waterjet. Full Article

The Heat Is On Difficult-to-Machine Metals



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

1/1/2015

Cutting tool manufacturers call on a lot of tribal knowledge to help their customers find the most productive machining solutions for processing difficult-to-machine materials. Manufacturers in industries that are big users of titanium, stainless steels, Inconels, and other high-temperature heat-resistant superalloys (HRSA) are increasingly seeking machining solutions that extend tool life, improve productivity, deliver consistent part quality, and take advantage of the latest advances in machine tool technology—all at the same time. Full Article

Innovative Tooling Puts Security into Tough Machining



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

11/1/2014

Nobody likes the thought of cuts or smashed fingers tooling up a job—before the machine is up and running, or tool and spindle-damaging crashes afterwards. “Getting the tooling right is the most important part of running any job,” said Steve Rose, CNC training consultant and former Swiss machine shop owner. Full Article

What’s New on the Wire? EDM Machines Offer More



Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff

11/1/2014

“You guys are crazy!” That’s what Makino EDM product line manager Brian Pfluger was told—loudly—by a medical-industry customer after Pfluger recommended he use coated wire to make a custom housing for cancer treatment machines. Coated wire costs twice as much as uncoated, standard brass wire, so its use in the client’s application would increase manufacturing costs by about $100. Full Article

Pumping Up Productivity with Waterjet Machining



Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak

11/1/2014

Abrasive waterjet technologies continue to advance with steadily improving speed and precision, cutting an extremely diverse range of materials. Today’s abrasive waterjet machines are used to quickly and accurately cut a wide range of parts ranging from large aerospace and automotive metal components to stone and granite as well as smaller parts with tiny feature sizes used in tools, implants and medical devices. Full Article

NewsDesk: Manufacturing Day Roars Ahead



Edited by Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

11/1/2014

What started as a simple idea three years ago by Edward Youdell, president and CEO of Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Intl. (FMA), to combat old-fashioned stereotypes about manufacturing has skyrocketed to a sweeping North American event that promotes advanced manufacturing, especially to students. Full Article

Viewpoints: A Closer Look at Alternative Machining



Peter Loetzner, CEO, EMAG LLC (North America)

11/1/2014

New material substrates and an increasing number of compact designs in aerospace engines, automotive transmissions, medical devices and elsewhere have had the dual effect of stimulating more creative approaches to machining, plus a review of the many techniques long classified as nontraditional. Full Article

Laser Manufacturing Expands Its Reach



Contributing Editor Bruce Morey

11/1/2014

There are at least two factors that are making lasers more attractive than ever for cutting, welding, and other material processing tasks. One is increasing power and the other is their improved ruggedness, according to Jim Rogowski, director of machine & power tool sales for Trumpf (Farmington, CT). More power means more productivity, cutting thicker materials or cutting the same materials faster. Full Article

Mazak Introduces New HYBRID Multi-Tasking Technology



Press Release - Mazak Corporation

10/24/2014

Mazak Corporation has unveiled its new INTEGREX i-400AM (additive manufacturing) HYBRID Multi-Tasking Machine. As a fusion of additive technology and Mazak’s most advanced Multi-Tasking capabilities, the machine will significantly reduce part cycle times while providing high-efficiency Done-In-One processing. Full Article

Mix and Match for Lightweight Autos



Contributing Editor Bruce Morey

9/1/2014

It is common sense—a vehicle that weighs less requires less fuel to move it. A number of studies show that reducing the mass of a vehicle by 10% results in anywhere from 4.5 to 6% better fuel economy—well worth the effort. The dilemma for automakers is that mass reduction needs to happen without compromising safety, NVH, styling, or size. Full Article

Hurco Combines CNC Machine with 3D Printer



Executive Editor James D. Sawyer

8/13/2014

IMTS 2014 will see the debut of a new technology from Hurco Companies Inc. (Indianapolis) that combines 3D printing and CNC milling.The adapter allows Hurco machine tools to conduct 3D plastic printing directly on the machine tool without the need for a separate 3D printer. Full Article

IMTS 2014: Satisfying Abrasive Customers



Senior Editor Michael C. Anderson

8/1/2014

Users of CNC tool grinding machines can expect to see greater levels of automation, more sophisticated software that is easier to use than previous generations, an increased capability for multiple operations in one machine from grinding to inspection, and faster cycle times, according to the president of CNC tool and cutter grinder developer ANCA Inc. (Wixom, MI). Full Article

Mi-Light Photonics Industry Scholarships



Press Release from Mi-Light

6/11/2014

Mi-Light, the Michigan photonics industry cluster, announced the funding and award of $5,000 in scholarships to four in-state academic institutions. Baker College (Flint, MI), Grand Valley State University (Grand Rapids, MI), Michigan Technological University (Houghton, MI) and Northwestern Michigan College (Traverse City, MI). Each college or university was allocated $1,250 in funds to be awarded to students enrolled in a photonics programs.   Full Article

SME and 3D Systems Announce M.Lab21 to Transform Career and Technical Education



Press Release from SME and 3D Systems

6/11/2014

SME and 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced a collaborative initiative to enhance high school industrial arts and vocational education classes through the new M.Lab21 initiative. This program will offer starter kits to transform shop classes and incorporate additive manufacturing into curriculums. Full Article

Is 3D Printing Right For You?



Press Release from PwC

6/11/2014

3D printing (3DP), also known as additive manufacturing, is showing signs of triggering transformations in U.S. industrial manufacturing, from product design and production to restructured supply chains, according to a report released today by PwC US in conjunction with The Manufacturing Institute. The report, 3-D printing and the new shape of industrial manufacturing, which includes findings from a survey of over 100 industrial manufacturers, revealed that two-thirds (67 percent) of manufacturers surveyed are currently implementing 3DP either by experimenting with the technology or by already using it for prototypes or final products. Full Article

Machine Builders Dig Deep into Their Bag of Tricks



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

6/1/2014

The challenge for manufacturing today is to meet the demand for tighter tolerances, better finishes, and shorter leadtimes for workpieces—all at a lower cost. Grinding results have always seemed to depend on the skill of operators who were privy to the mysteries described as some mythical “black art.” Full Article

UNITED GRINDING Launches Five New Machines



Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

5/25/2014

During a packed press conference in an auditorium at the Thun Expo, Stephan Nell, CEO of UNITED GRINDING Group, painted a glowing picture of the company’s financial performance and laid out an exciting vision for the Group’s future – celebrating the launch of five all-new or updated advanced manufacturing machines at the symposium. What’s more, Nell said the company will expand on its leadership in grinding by strategically adding other non-grinding processes to its machines and portfolio in the future, part of its focus to offer more efficient, smart production solutions to its customers. Nell said the company was open to adding these technologies through acquisition in addition to its own development.    Full Article

Oxy-Fuel/Plasma Cutting System From ESAB



ESAB Cutting Systems

5/6/2014

ESAB Cutting Systems introduces Crossbow, a compact oxy-fuel/plasma CNC cutting system that is portable and economical. The machine’s size and weight make it easy to transport as the application requires. Automated functions and a user friendly CNC provide powerful, versatile, oxy-fuel or plasma processing in a value-minded package. Full Article

Improving Laser Technologies Driving Big Changes in Little Stents



Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff

5/1/2014

For about 20 years, medical device manufacturers have used continuous wave lasers to make permanent metal stents, first out of stainless steel and then out of alloys like nitinol and cobalt chrome. Doctors implant the devices to prop open blood vessels or help with other medical conditions.  But during the last two decades ultrafast, pulsed lasers have been perfected that can also produce stents made of polymers, which are bioplastics that dissolve in the body once they’ve done their job. Full Article

Next Generation MAXIEM Line From OMAX Corp.



OMAX Corp.

4/25/2014

OMAX Corporation takes the price-to-performance ratio in abrasive waterjet cutting technology a huge leap forward with the launch of its next generation MAXIEM machines. Now categorized as JetMachining® Centers, these significantly advanced versions pack even more productivity enhancing features that will further increase output and boost profitability. Full Article

Additive Joins Subtractive on Advanced All-in-One Machines



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

4/1/2014

The path of precision machining has taken a decidedly unexpected change in direction. Yes, machining centers, in their various configurations of horizontal, vertical, and universal, continue to hold their preeminent positions in shops for their ability to create value-added benefits to individual workpieces or parts in serial production. Full Article

Laser Welding Applications Expand



Contributing Editor Bruce Morey

3/1/2014

Lasers for welding have proven their worth in the last 35 years in select applications. Despite their high capital cost, the precise, intense heat source makes lasers the right choice where there are tight tolerances, close fit-ups, and thin materials. These are applications where lasers produce less distortion, with their smaller heat-affected zone (HAZ) around the weld. Full Article

ESAB Announces Colfax's Acquisition of Victor Technologies



ESAB

2/13/2014

ESAB, a member of the Colfax group of companies, today announced that Colfax has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Victor Technologies Holdings, Inc. (“Victor”).The acquisition brings together two leading organizations with world-class products, technologies and R&D. Full Article

A Network of Little Silicon Valleys



Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

1/31/2014

One of the biggest moments of the 2014 State of the Union was President Barack Obama’s announcement of six new manufacturing hubs, or innovation institutes. Two are already in the works, including “America Makes,” the additive manufacturing hub, in Youngstown, OH, and the recently announced wide bandgap semiconductor hub in Raleigh, NC. Together, these institutes, Obama said in his address to Congress, give us "the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs.”

Full Article

Mazak Introduces New Optiplex 4020 Laser-Cutting System



Mazak Optonics

1/22/2014

Mazak Optonics Corp. now offers their industry-leading OPTIPLEX CO2 laser-cutting system in a new 6’ x 12’ format. The new design incorporates all of the performance advantages of the original OPTIPLEX with an expanded workspace for larger jobs. Full Article



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