Horizontal machine tools (HMCs) have typically been used for longer run production jobs. But as lot sizes decrease, machine builders and their partners have introduced new technologies that speed setups and generally make HMCs nimbler. So much so that one should probably rethink the role HMCs serve.
The three-axis vertical machining center (VMC) has long been the go-to machine tool for many small to medium-sized shops. Their use is well-understood. Compared to more complex machinery, it’s easier to find operators for three-axis machines.
Driven spindles are the technical core of a machine tool, supplying the power to turn the cutting tools that shape our products and our world. Attaching one to a five-axis movement creates an advanced CNC machine.
A few years ago, two companies joined forces to greatly enhance productivity in heavy milling and crankshaft machining. Their combined efforts resulted in solutions to improve throughput and reduce costs by a factor of four in some cases.
Those who manufacture precision workholding systems have the same goals and challenges as the machinists who use them. Both groups strive to reduce setup times and optimize cutting cycles. Secure, consistent, and accurate gripping is paramount.
Manufacturing technology is constantly changing, both in terms of the types of products produced and the ways those products are made. As we ease into 2021, here are some interesting trends I’ve heard about.
Alan Rooks - Editor in Chief, Manufacturing Engineering
The North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME (NAMRI | SME) brings together researchers from leading companies, government laboratories, academic institutions and industrial think tanks located around the world for the purpose of advancing the scientific foundation of discrete-parts manufacturing.
Lihui Wang, PhD, FSME, PE - 2020-21 President, NAMRI | SME, SME Member Since 1999
The word “reconditioned” can ignite visions of worn, overworked products inferior to new ones. The reality is as long as you purchase from a reputable supplier, reconditioned cutting tools will deliver the same consistent results as they did upon initial purchase.
Jill Glynn - Commercial Services Manager, Sandvik Coromant
I have been confused lately by contradictory messages coming from people and news sources I pay attention to. On the one hand I hear and read—from knowledgeable sources—that manufacturing in the U. S. is becoming “hollowed out.”
Bruce Morey - Senior Technical Editor, SME Media