Machine manufacturers are working to streamline the gear-making process, to deliver a more highly finished gear in fewer steps.
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Additive manufacturing lets companies think “outside the box.” Engineers can now start to look at a part without restrictions on size, shape or material. Instead of taking 15 different CNC milled parts and brazing them together, these companies have reimagined the part entirely—to be built as one part.
Demand for machining titanium for aerospace applications won’t abate any time soon. It is driving OEMs and the supply chain in the commercial airplane market to find ways to dramatically increase machining output. Whatever date you pick from now until 2030, there’s a sufficient backlog of commercial airliners for both structural and jet engine applications to keep spindles humming around the clock cutting titanium.
The challenge of machining hip replacement implants out of cobalt chrome
When sizing up an application for a milling toolholder, it is necessary to consider the materials being machined, how aggressively metal is going to be removed, and any machining conditions that are likely to present a challenge to tooling security. By now, the pros and cons of hydraulic, mechanical, and heat-assisted shrink-fit systems are well known and results well documented.
Modern manufacturing is rapidly adopting model-based definition (MBD). When employing an MBD strategy, the CAD model becomes more than the nominal to which all parts are measured and inspected against. MBD keeps the all-important digital thread intact—from design to manufacturing to inspection and quality reporting.
Micro components continue to shrink in size, demanding ever-greater precision and improved handling of parts with sub-micron-sized features. New approaches in micro machining technology include higher-precision systems from traditional micro machining developers, as well as techniques using additive manufacturing processes and semiconductor wafer-scale technology on the smallest of micro parts.
“Metrology and its relationship to manufacturing is rapidly evolving,” Ken Woodbine, president, Wilcox Associates, a brand of Hexagon Metrology (North Kingstown, RI), recently observed. “We are seeing larger quantities and faster speeds of measurement data collection. The next challenge is what to do with all that data.”
“We are developing solutions for power workholding such as hydraulic swing clamps and block clamps, because the real estate on a fixture is so valuable,” says Jason Betz, product specialist for Carr Lane Roemheld (St. Louis). “This pushes the use of smaller workholding components as much as possible because the more parts on the fixture the greater the productivity.”
When you walk into the Redeye On Demand facility in Eden Prairie, MN, you enter into one version of the factory of the future. There you will see a bank of 100 high-end Fortus fused-deposition modeling (FDM) machines from Stratasys that provide the capacity to build real, functional parts with production-grade thermoplastics directly from CAD data.