VMCs have had a productive past, present and the future looks promising
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In auto racing, small details have a major impact on success—a concept very familiar to performance racing parts provider Oliver Racing Parts (Charlevoix, MI). Oliver produces performance connecting rods for the world’s leading engine builders.
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.”
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.
Why use a metrology device on or near a machine tool? It isn’t just useful for making sure a tool is present or monitoring tools for wear or breakage. On-machine measurement technologies can save time and money, by speeding up processes and eliminating extra personnel, and they are a critical step in the movement towards “lights-out” manufacturing.
Waterjet technology, cutting materials with a jet of water, is proceeding down two parallel paths. The first involves more advanced machines, operating with more sophisticated software finding the right mix of pressure and speed, producing parts faster.
Methods Machine Tools Inc. (Sudbury, MA), a leading supplier of precision machine tools, 3D printing technology and automation, recently introduced an automation cell designed to greatly boost 3D manufacturing throughput.
Unlike conventional turning operations–which have remained largely unchanged for decades—PrimeTurning™ allows machine shops to complete longitudinal (forward and back), facing, and profiling operations with a single tool.
Dau Thermal Solutions Inc. (Macedon, NY) was finding that its spindle speeder was definitely not up to speed when it came up against the test results for NSK’s HES510 series electric spindle.