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Lasers Target New Medical Applications

Lasers — well-established tools in the manufacture of medical devices—are continuing to break ground by producing smaller, more precise and more functional parts thanks to faster pulse speeds at lower cost, new applications and the marriage of laser processing to Swiss-style machining.

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.

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.

Micromanufacturing is Growing

Many industries have been making parts with micron dimensions for some time, but in the last few years, the market for miniaturization has expanded. The demand is not only for small parts, but also for small complex features on larger parts. This is due chiefly to the switch to modules in which the functions of several parts or subsystems are not handled by a single complex unit.

Standardized Work

Taiichi Ohno is often quoted as declaring: “Without a standard, there can be no improvement.” The principles of lean do not work well when everyone is allowed to choose their own work method or work sequence in which to do a job: the outcome is unpredictable; flow and pull are impossible. This reduces throughput and the carefully crafted process develops unanticipated outcomes.

Automation in Lean Manufacturing

Common misperceptions about lean manufacturing and automation systems lead many manufacturing managers to dismiss the use of automation in a lean setting.

Minimizing Tool Breakage Cost

When a tool breaks during a machining operation, the part being processed is often destroyed, and sometimes the machine is damaged. Aerospace parts are often complex shapes, manufactured from exotic materials that require prolonged machining cycle times. Therefore, a scrapped part is a significant loss in raw materials and value-added machining.

Simulation for the Shop Floor

Highly realistic 3-D simulation software can greatly improve manufacturing processes, lending sophisticated visualization tools that help increase manufacturing productivity and product quality.

Seco Opens Doors to Media for Niagara Cutter

Since acquiring Niagara Cutter in 2010, Seco has invested $7 million to upgrade Niagara Cutter’s manufacturing plant and equipment in Reynoldsville, PA, with another $25 million slated to be invested over the next three years.

There is No Hold on Innovation in Workholding

When it comes to creative workholding solutions, Kurt Industrial Products Division doesn’t hesitate to replace one or even two of its old vises with a new one to get a better product.