If you’ve ever seen industrial wind turbine components on the back of a flatbed truck rolling down the highway, you have a good idea of what a large, heavy, difficult-to-handle workpiece is. For example, with a single blade on the GE 1.5 mW turbine being almost as long as a football field, the entire blade assembly weighs about the same as 36 small cars.
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At the Nirvana Machine Shop on planet Perfection, every workpiece is clamped to a custom-built fixture mounted on a dedicated machine tool. Each workpiece is dimensionally identical to the one before and the one after. All the fixtures are totally automatic—instantly positioning, clamping, machining, inspecting, and releasing the part with the ultimate precision.
With the number of offline and in-process toolsetting options on the rise, developing a way to efficiently utilize this technology can be confusing. Which presetter should we buy? What about the software that’s so often part of these systems—do we really need it?
Do you have what it takes to raise your milling productivity to the next level? In addition to the requisite know-how, you need cutters and machine tools that will allow you to employ milling techniques that exceed what’s normally possible. Aided by the right hardware, you may soon be performing feats like pushing your feed rates to new highs and cutting harder materials than ever before.
If you’re looking for new solutions to tooling and workholding challenges, IMTS was a great place to start. The bi-annual trade show, held this past September in Chicago, allowed shops to browse for the “latest and greatest” technologies.
For today’s industrial cutting tool manufacturers there is a continuous and increasing demand for faster cycle times, better asset utilization, tighter tolerances and improved quality. Running a successful manufacturing facility takes more than acquiring the latest state- of-the-art equipment and the most advanced grinding technology.
Today, the productivity needed to be globally competitive requires ever increasing metal-removal rates during operations such as roughing and high-speed slotting. Process reliability is paramount, especially when working with difficult-to-machine materials.
“Five years ago, our fit and finish was below average,” said Dr. Raj Kawlra, director of dimensional strategy and management of Chrysler Group (Auburn Hills, MI). “To be the future world-leaders, we knew that we had to focus on all aspects of quality … vehicles that look good, feel good, sound good, and are reliable.”
It’s been almost two decades since the C5 Corvette hit the streets with its groundbreaking chassis built around hydroformed steel bumper-to-bumper frame rails. The technology gave engineers a chance to create components that were both lighter and stiffer than traditional stamped and welded assemblies.
US machine shops are potentially underutilizing the machinability of brass by as much as 85 percent in their part processing operations, reports a recent study from the Copper Development Association Inc. (McLean, VA).