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.
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Adaptive Milling. Dynamic Motion. hyperMILL. Profit Milling. VoluMill. Waveform machining. If you’re one of the lucky people who machines parts for a living, chances are about 50-50 that you’re using one of these or a comparable high-performance programming technology.
The world of additive manufacturing (AM), commonly referred to as 3D printing, is quickly changing. The technology allows companies to manufacture products faster, with greater variation, and often with entirely new forms and functions.
Structured light systems measure surfaces by projecting a pattern of fringes, then using cameras and sophisticated software to convert them into point clouds of metrology data. Accuracy can reach the single-digit microns over millions of points.
The U.S. auto industry has been automated for decades. Production of cars and trucks is associated with large, hulking robots fenced off from human employees. Inside those fenced off areas, tasks such as welding are performed. The industry, though, is advancing on the automation front.
My involvement in SME and its AeroDef event began in 2014, when I first presented an Adaptive Machining Overview at AeroDef 2014 in Long Beach, Calif. At the time, the conference was relatively small in terms of attendees and exhibitors in comparison to the explosion of other engineering conferences that began around that time.
The state of manufacturing is always a combination of tried and true methods; improvements (sometimes dramatic) in traditional processes; and brand new technology few people even conceived of a few years ago.
Tool coating is ubiquitous. The variations are dizzying. And, we’re at an inflection point in the technology in the U.S. So, whether you’re a tool user or a tool manufacturer, it’s a good time to dive into this topic.
Earlier this decade, the auto industry moved to lighten cars and trucks. It was supposed to be a competition between steel, long the dominant vehicle material, and aluminum. The latter got a boost when Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., bet big on aluminum, making aluminum bodies for its F-150 and Super Duty pickups.
Machinists and toolmakers are often confused for one another. Their expertise and job descriptions might seem similar to an outsider, but as Practical Machinist’s forum members like to point out, there is a significant difference between them.