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All Alternative Machining Articles

EMAG's Laser Lab Support for Gear Welding Operations

Executive Editor James D. Sawyer


EMAG LLC (Farmington Hills, MI) is working to position itself so that no matter who—or what—drives a vehicle in the future or how vehicles are powered, the company will have a hand in the production of the gears and shafts that make cars and trucks move. To that end the company has opened a Laser Welding Laboratory to support the laser welding technology it is using as a quality and productivity enabler in some of its machines. Full Article

GF Machining Solutions to Acquire Microlution

Press Release - GF Machining Solutions


GF Machining Solutions has announced an agreement to purchase 100 percent of the shares of Microlution Inc, a Chicago-based developer of micro-machining products incorporating milling and laser technologies.
Full Article

Waterjet Builds Fitness Maker’s Speed and Agility

Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


As a leading manufacturer of commercial and consumer cardio and strength equipment, Life Fitness depends on tradeshows for business growth and continued success. These events are where gym and fitness club owners, equipment dealers and other potential customers gather to evaluate and actually purchase products. So needless to say, new product development and production schedules at Life Fitness revolve around and are meticulously timed according to several key industry tradeshows for unveiling all its new units/pieces, systems, and equipment. Full Article

Raising Efficiency Levels in the Machining of Blisks

By Jonathan Chomicz, ECM/PECM Technology Specialist, EMAG LLC


According to the energy efficiency report from the German Airline Association (the Bundesverband der Deutschen Luftverkehrswirtschaft), a modern airplane uses just three liters of fuel per passenger per 100 km of flight route. The consumption level has been falling for years now, made possible by a multitude of measures including designers developing increasingly efficient jet engines consisting of high-performance material components. Full Article

Advanced Machining at Advanced Machining

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson from information provided by GF Machining Solutions


The complex contours and tight tolerances of critical aerospace components often require the use of full simultaneous five-axis machining. However, for one Longmont, CO, high-precision aerospace shop, the advantages of five-axis technology extend way beyond that. The shop combines planning, training and an innovative mindset to fully exploit the capabilities of its five-axis machines. And as a result, it increases efficiency and cost savings across much of its part production operations. Full Article

Small Composite Shop’s Royal Success

Carroll Grant, Aerospace Contractor, Aerospace Composites Consulting


During the tough economic times in recent years, we have heard a lot in the news about small companies providing a large percentage of jobs in the USA. According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), small firms employ half of all private sector employees, pay 44% of total US private payroll, hire 43% of high-tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, computer programmers, etc.), and small business generated 65% of net jobs over the last 17 years. Full Article

High-Tech Lasers at Hi-Tek Manufacturing

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson from information provided by Prima Power Laserdyne


“Constantly improving,” is a term Cletis Jackson, president, and Gary Griessmann, vice president and engineering manager, might refer to when they talk about the future of Hi-Tek Manufacturing Co. (Mason OH). Founded in 1980, successful and rapidly growing Hi-Tek Manufacturing has invested consistently and heavily in the latest and best capabilities to address the complex and changing needs of their customers in the aerospace and gas turbine industries. Full Article

Fiber Lasers Continue to Gain Market Share in Material Processing Applications

Bill Shiner, Vice President Industrial Lasers, IPG Photonics


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Precise, Clean, Lightweight Joining with Laser Welding

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


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

Oil Patch Risks and Rewards

Executive Editor James D. Sawyer


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

AccuteX GE Wire EDM Machines From Absolute Machine Tools

Press Release - Absolute Machine Tools


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


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


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


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


“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


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


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)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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