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Manufacturing and AI: Promises and Pitfalls

We all know the buzzwords circulating around digital data and the factory. You have heard them—Industry 4.0, smart factories, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). The question we all have is how will this impact workers in the long term? What do these terms really mean? Nevertheless, both traditional software suppliers and makers of advanced manufacturing equipment are offering digital solutions.

Tool Presetters Take On Industry 4.0

For machine shops in a competitive global marketplace, keeping spindles running and making product is the only way to stay in business. Still, adding a new piece of equipment, even with the promise of improving the efficiency of your existing ones, may be a difficult sell to management.

New Approaches to Making Parts for the Oil Patch

Rod Zimmerman of cutting tool manufacturer Iscar Metals lives in a pleasant green zone in a Fort Worth suburb. Yet within a half mile of his home, an oil company has sunk a vertical hole 7,500′ (2,286 m) deep, from which it has splayed nine lateral lines, each going about half a mile.

Swiss Machining Made Simpler

Swiss-style machine tools can be a good choice for making complex parts. On the downside, however, Swiss machining itself has a reputation of being complex—and, therefore, more difficult to master than standard machining.

Artificial Intelligence Comes to CAD

The bane of modern engineering is complexity. One promise of artificial intelligence and machine learning is helping engineers to use complex tools and harness vast data sets effectively.

Optimization Module Tackles Tough Materials

Most anyone who’s worked in a machine shop for any length of time has at some point attended a trade show or machine tool distributor’s open house. There they see canned demonstrations of CNC machines busily carving up chunks of brass, mild steel, or aluminum into business card holders and tic-tac-toe games.

How to Automate to Efficiency Without Sacrificing Agility

There is no shortage of competition in a global market. As a manufacturer trying to get ahead of the pack, automation can help with problems like a limited skilled labor force, quality control issues and suboptimal throughput. But the high initial cost and extended implementation time can be deterrents.