Shop efficiencies start with the machine tool controller, as today’s CNC equipment offers machine operators myriad tools for improving part surface finishes, allocating machine time, and cutting job cycle times.
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For years, the manufacturing industry has debated the pros and cons of opening up manufacturing networks, but concerns over virus vulnerabilities and the stability of PCs on the network largely limited open-architecture PC controls’ progress and kept entrenched proprietary systems in place.
Workholding techniques using a magnetic field, a vacuum, or an adhesive can be effective alternatives to clamps. When these techniques are used, more part area is available for the cutting tools, thin parts can be held, and initial setup can be fast and simple. Plus, there is a potential for smoother surfaces and a shorter overall production cycle.
From Boeing 787s to new Navy destroyers, fiber-reinforced composites are gaining in use. As production scales up, more-efficient manufacturing remains a focus. One key to that efficiency is tooling for composites. These molds and forms give the final shape to a part, and are often integral to their final curing.
High-pressure water can simultaneously clean and deburr a workpiece, and hybrid systems can include mechanical deburring in the process.
New automation solutions have aerospace production humming, with automated-guided vehicles (AGVs) and mobile robotics solutions helping aerospace and defense builders meet demanding production schedules for delivery of new commercial and military aircraft.
There have been many process improvement trends in manufacturing over the decades, and none have had more significant ROI than machine monitoring. The increase in machine monitoring is owed in large part to the rise in popularity of the open and royalty-free interconnectivity standard MTConnect.
A recent effort by the Norton Advanced Applications Engineering Group demonstrates that for difficult-to-machine materials, grinding can be an economical alternative to other machining processes.
The additive manufacturing revolution is in full stride, flying in aircraft and giving manufacturers a robust tool for design and production
To stay ahead in the game, manufacturers constantly seek an edge over the competition. With today’s CAD/CAM software, the builders of aircraft, automobiles and other complicated systems get the innovative programming tools needed to coax the most performance from complex, expensive machine tools.