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.
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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.
Nesting is the process of arranging parts to be cut from sheets of metal or wood in the most efficient manner possible in order to maximize yield and speed the cutting process. By reducing scrap and accelerating the cutting process, fabricators are saving on material cost while running more jobs.
Moldmaking is making a comeback, with more reshoring to North America of mold-and-die manufacturing that left for the Far East and other low-cost manufacturing centers. With faster metalcutting through high-speed machining (HSM) and improved EDM techniques, mold-and-die shops are finding innovative ways to compete with manufacturing operations in traditionally low-cost labor markets.
Cutting tool maker Shape-Master Tool Co. (Kirkland, IL) needed to expand its tool grinding capability beyond that of its conventional machines or run the risk of losing work to the competition.
Today, laser technology in manufacturing touches all of our lives on a daily basis; lasers cut air bag material and weld air bag detonators for our in-car safety; lasers weld the batteries in many of our mobile devices; lasers drill aero-engine components for planes; lasers cut the glass for our smart phones and tablets screens; lasers weld the drivetrains in our cars and trucks; lasers cut medical stents that increase and enhance our lives, just to name a few.
Many industries have been making parts with micron dimensions for some time, but in the last few years, the market for miniaturization has expanded. The demand is not only for small parts, but also for small complex features on larger parts. This is due chiefly to the switch to modules in which the functions of several parts or subsystems are not handled by a single complex unit.
When a tool breaks during a machining operation, the part being processed is often destroyed, and sometimes the machine is damaged. Aerospace parts are often complex shapes, manufactured from exotic materials that require prolonged machining cycle times. Therefore, a scrapped part is a significant loss in raw materials and value-added machining.
Highly realistic 3-D simulation software can greatly improve manufacturing processes, lending sophisticated visualization tools that help increase manufacturing productivity and product quality.
When work in the oil field dried up due to poor economic conditions, Knust-Godwin LLC, a Texas oil & gas supplier, faced new challenges following transitioning into small parts machining. Rather than hunker down and wait out the cyclical downturn as many shops would do, David Prickett, sales manager, and Knust-Godwin management agreed they should work to diversify the company’s customer base.