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Edge Prep Measured, Tool Life’s Extended

Tool life, geometry, and stability largely depend on proper edge preparation. Tool Flo, located in Houston, TX, is a manufacturer of carbide cutting tools such as inserts for threading, turning, and milling. The company uses optical 3D measurement systems from Alicona Corp. (Bartlett, IL) in the quality assurance of inserts.

Speeding Up Moldmaking Processes

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.

Full Stream Ahead: Waterjet Smooths Production

More shops than ever are embracing waterjet cutting systems. And for the most part, the reason is that a number of customer-driven improvements/innovations to waterjet technology make it even more user friendly, productive and appealing to an ever-broadening array of manufacturers.

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.

Coatings Expand Cutting Tool Capabilities, Reach New Markets

When first introduced in the late 1970s, cutting tool coatings—especially titanium nitride (TiN)—were embraced by tool manufacturers for their ability to extend tool life. As workforce materials have expanded from conventional ferrous and nonferrous metals to exotic alloys, composites, ceramics, and others, coatings have likewise progressed and, thanks to new formulations and deposition methods, are extending cutting tool capabilities as well as tool life.

Fast, Flexible Fixturing

Secure, accurate workholding sets the stage for consistent machining productivity. Depending on the parts and processes involved, workholding can be as simple and temporary as a plain vise or clamp or as complex and permanent as a machined and fabricated fixture that is custom-designed to hold a unique part.

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.

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.