Despite falling oil prices, the investment valve in the oil and gas industry remains on—for now—as manufacturers continue their race to provide large, precision parts for fracking, subsea drilling and other related activities. But as anybody in the energy sector knows: this is the land of boom or bust.
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Interesting changes have been happening at Haas Automation, one of the few American machine tool builders left standing after scores have been displaced over the decades by Japanese, German and Korean builders.
Digitization of industry has become an established global trend. Despite all the enthusiasm of visionaries, the machine tool is, was and will remain the core element in production.
Mention automation and most people think high-volume production environments in which millions of parts are pumped out on a regular basis. While that may be true in many instances, it is definitely not the case at Choice Precision Inc. (Whitehall, PA).
Titanium aluminides possess many characteristics that make them highly attractive for high-temperature structural applications in automotive and aerospace industries. Their high specific strength, high-temperature stability and oxidation resistance relative to conventional titanium and nickel alloys make them beneficial for use in low-pressure turbine blades for aerospace engines, as well as turbochargers and exhaust values in automotive engines.
While high-end metrology devices like advanced laser scanners or precision CMMs garner a lot of attention, it is hard to imagine any industrial setting without the presence of work-a-day hand-held, contact metrology tools such as calipers or micrometers. That is what Justin Frazzini, quality manager for A.A. Jansson (Waterford, MI), retailer and calibration and repair service provider, observes in his practice.
Advanced simulation, new toolpath techniques aid programming of highly complex machinery. CAD/CAM software developers continue to refine simulation capabilities and toolpath techniques that enable programming highly complex equipment including multiaxis and multitasking machine tools.
Thermo Fisher Scientific, a leading manufacturer of laboratory technology, designed new incubators to cultivate human and animal cells. With 55,000 employees worldwide and group sales of $17 billion, Thermo Fisher Scientific is one of the world’s largest providers of laboratory and analysis technology. The company headquarters are located in Waltham, MA, near Boston.
New retrofit systems make it possible to quickly, easily and cost effectively transform the standard external-coolant live tooling heads on turning machine turrets into those with through-tool-coolant capability. And shops that have done the retrofit are experiencing longer tool life, more efficient chip control and less heat generation.
Whether the process is cylindrical or profile grinding, automation, which can increase cycle time, throughput, consistency of part quality and taking real-time in-process measurements, is once again in demand. The reasons can be found in the benefits found in typical applications and the innovative and effective forms of automation available from machine builders like United Grinding Technologies Inc. (UGT; Miamisburg, OH), and their automation integrator of choice, Matrix Design Inc. (Elgin, IL).