Even though it’s been around since the 1950s, when engineering-grade resins were first introduced, many manufacturers still are not familiar with the many benefits that metal-to-plastic conversion provides.
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Automation in manufacturing is more important than ever, reducing costs and improving quality. While it is important in assembling cars, machining engines, or drilling holes in airframes, is it important to metrology operations as well? “Absolutely,” explained Michael Kleemann, engineering manager VRSI (Plymouth, MI).
Sometimes succession of a family business from one generation to the next doesn’t always go as planned. Take, for example, Laser Specialists Inc. (Fraser, MI). Incorporated in 1986, the company was positioned at the forefront of laser cutting technology.
Aircraft manufacturers are finding noncontact metrology ever more useful. Its inherent high throughput and decreasing cost is complementing the industry’s ramp-up to meet the world’s appetite for more airplanes.
Materials science has opened new possibilities for designers of cars, planes and other products. Metal alloys are now as precisely engineered as they are machined. The result is longer lasting, stronger parts. But with a wider selection of materials comes risk—how can you be sure that one piece of gray metal stock is different than another? Careful warehousing procedures and paperwork only go so far.
Glenn Bridgman describes the difference between his shop’s manual grinders and its newest state-of-the-art CNC ID/OD grinder, a Studer CT960 OD/ID from United Grinding (Miamisburg, OH), as “feel vs. facts.” Bridgman, president of Bridge Tool & Die (Buckley, MI), believes that manual grinding is a somewhat personal operation.
GE Appliances (GEA) has been designing and manufacturing consumer appliances for over 125 years. The iconic brand, headquartered in Louisville, KY, employs nearly 6000 people, a number that rose to 12,000 employed globally after its acquisition by Haier, making the company part of the largest appliance manufacturer in the world.
Sometimes, too many choices can be a problem. That might be the case today for manufacturers of medical devices, who are facing a host of challenges and opportunities. Devices are small and getting smaller. Their complexity is increasing. End users are demanding tighter tolerances.
I’m among the first to dive into the latest manufacturing innovations and see how they can improve our customers’ operations. Yet, I’m also among the first to advise them to pause and ensure that the fundamentals of their manufacturing processes are in place before adding something new into the complex mix of functionality and desired outcomes.
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) in 2016 showed unit sales figures in 2015 up 15% on the year before, reaching an all-time high of 253,748. Since 2010, technical improvements in robots and automation have turbocharged investment, according to the report.