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Smart Factory Technologies Step Up at IMTS

Smarter factory systems connected via the cloud are the grand vision offered for the future factories that will fully leverage the best available tools from automation, software and machine tool builders.

Laser Takes Heat Out of Tough Tool Grinding

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.

Picking Up the Pace in Aerospace Production

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.

Laser Welding Applications Expand

Solid-state laser technology has matured, leading to development of new, cost-effective welding applications, such as hybrid welding

Oilfield Shop Gets into Small Parts Watchmaking

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.

Nano Molding and Tooling

The growing need for nano and micro components in the medical industries is challenging manufacturers to continually improve upon their manufacturing processes and take a scientific approach to injection molding and tooling.

Automation For Medical

While robots have been deployed in high-profile surgical applications in recent years, using a specialized apparatus like the da Vinci surgical system, the majority of industrial or commercial medical uses for robots are somewhat more commonplace.

Lean Automation

Lean manufacturing principles and automation systems can coexist, although many lean purists contend that lean goals conflict with using automation. Smart applications of automation, however, can result in deployment of systems that are both automated and lean, with flexible manufacturing systems that can be easily reconfigured as factory operations change.

CAD/CAM Software Advances

Speeding up programming tasks on CAD/CAM software ranks at the top of machine shops’ requirements when faced with making quality parts on a deadline. The more efficient a shop’s toolpaths are, the less chance that any programming problems result in wasting very expensive machine time on the shop floor.