Had IMTS 2020 taken place as scheduled, it would have been clear that making parts as quickly and cost-effectively as possible remains as the primary goal in manufacturing.
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As part of its most recent $15 million investment in its Florence, Ky.-based manufacturing campus, Mazak Corp. has completed its newly expanded Spindle Rebuild Department, now located in the company’s South Building.
Danish company HACO A/S invested over $15 million in five Dörries vertical turning lathes (VTLs) from Starrag, Rorschach, Switzerland, which has helped HACO become the leading sub-contractor for large, relatively flat and round components in its Scandinavian location.
Most anyone who’s worked in a machine shop for any length of time has at some point attended a trade show or machine tool distributor’s open house. There they see canned demonstrations of CNC machines busily carving up chunks of brass, mild steel, or aluminum into business card holders and tic-tac-toe games.
Manufacturers are facing shrinking product lifecycles with frequently changing customer demands. As a result, they need agile production and flexible factory layouts that can easily be modified whenever needed.
There is no shortage of competition in a global market. As a manufacturer trying to get ahead of the pack, automation can help with problems like a limited skilled labor force, quality control issues and suboptimal throughput. But the high initial cost and extended implementation time can be deterrents.
Cyber criminals are increasingly setting their sights on today’s digitized manufacturing industry as an entry point into government and commercial supply chains.
Smart sensors, already an integral feature of many manufacturing plants that are integrating IT and OT, are now making their way into the supply chain where they monitor reliability and shipping conditions, improve predictive maintenance and make just-in-time delivery (the innovation from the 1980s) easier.
The U.S. needs to build a national infrastructure in engineering and manufacturing R&D that parallels its scientific infrastructure. While it makes all the sense in the world, it is not happening.
When I graduated with an engineering degree some decades ago, I learned that the organizations I was going to work for had internal communication problems. This was especially true for those that designed and manufactured complex machinery such as engines, aircraft, or automobiles.