Smarter, faster nesting software programs with better automation and other major improvements are helping fabricators and metalcutters at job shops and other builders inject a jolt of productivity into their factory operations.
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While 3D scanning has already been adopted by many automotive part manufacturers, the use cases in Quality Control (QC) have been limited.
In the 1955 short story “Autofac,” Philip K. Dick envisioned a world dominated by self-replicating robots that work incessantly, eventually depleting the planet’s resources.
As automation technology becomes more effective, cost effective, and easier to implement, job shops are automating more and more of their processes. In this episode, Alan Rooks, editor in chief of Manufacturing Engineering magazine, talks with Michael Gaunce, group manager, stationary workholding for Schunk Inc., about what a small to medium size job shop should consider when starting and exploration into automation; the particular machines or jobs that are easier to automate over others; why high part quantities are not needed in order to automate a job; what types of skills a shop should look for in employees working with automation; and how to define categories for the different styles of automation used in machine tool tending.
As the automotive industry’s reawakening continues, less-expensive high-payload robots are gaining traction over more conventional fixed tooling among automakers focused on cutting costs while improving manufacturing productivity and processes.
M. Eugene Merchant began his career in 1936 at the Cincinnati Milling Machine Co. (later Cincinnati Milacron), where he went to work analyzing the nature of friction between the cutting tool and the chip. The young engineer eventually developed a mathematical model of the metalcutting process that is still taught and used today.
Last year’s surge in medical machining and firearms manufacturing could well be joined or even eclipsed by this years’ reemergence of production for applications in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, and hydraulics industries, generating increased interest in Swiss-style machining. This isn’t news. But what may be surprising is that the venerable, tried and true Swiss automatic CNC lathe coninues to evolve, adding bells and whistles where needed, or conversely stripping one—like a guide bushing—away to maximize its efficiency in machining parts complete.
Mention automation and most people think high-volume production environments in which millions of parts are pumped out on a regular basis. While that may be true in many instances, it is definitely not the case at Choice Precision Inc. (Whitehall, PA).
Speeding the flow of jobs through the shop, while maintaining top quality, ranks among the hallmarks of any successful manufacturing operation’s goals.
There are plenty of manufacturing catchphrases: the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0 and the Digital Factory. “Sometimes it’s a lot of buzzwords. Sometimes there’s a lot of reality behind it,” said Roger Hart, research and development manager of Siemens (Berlin and Munich, Germany).