It is reported that, not too long ago, before the current precipitous decline in machine-tool shipments, the number of 30-taper machines that were being manufactured and sold in Japan had surpassed the numbers of 40-taper and 50-taper machining centers.
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“Metrology and its relationship to manufacturing is rapidly evolving,” Ken Woodbine, president, Wilcox Associates, a brand of Hexagon Metrology (North Kingstown, RI), recently observed. “We are seeing larger quantities and faster speeds of measurement data collection. The next challenge is what to do with all that data.”
Why use a metrology device on or near a machine tool? It isn’t just useful for making sure a tool is present or monitoring tools for wear or breakage. On-machine measurement technologies can save time and money, by speeding up processes and eliminating extra personnel, and they are a critical step in the movement towards “lights-out” manufacturing.
Today’s products require high finishes, burr-free edges, freedom from contamination, and often close tolerances. Electropolishing provides all of those conditions and more in a matter of seconds for many metal parts. It is a process that has been used for more than a hundred years. It is widely known and the science is widely discussed, but its ability to run job shop lots and high-precision high-volume parts in the same equipment makes it a bit unique.
Dau Thermal Solutions Inc. (Macedon, NY) was finding that its spindle speeder was definitely not up to speed when it came up against the test results for NSK’s HES510 series electric spindle.
The use of electrical discharge machining, or EDM, is spreading as manufacturers need more precisely cut workpieces, often made from tough to machine materials.
Many precision grinding machines on the market already offer their users near-perfect tolerances, leaving one to wonder: What’s next in grinding? But tool builders still have plenty of room to add valuable new improvements, machine shop owners say.
Metalworking fluids have never been the most glamourous part of manufacturing. That’s been reserved for areas such as additive manufacturing, where complete parts are printed from a digital file, one layer at a time. However, most manufacturing today still consists of parts being cut, shaved or otherwise machined.
There have been many process improvement trends in manufacturing over the decades, and none have had more significant ROI than machine monitoring. The increase in machine monitoring is owed in large part to the rise in popularity of the open and royalty-free interconnectivity standard MTConnect.
Machine tool suppliers, builders, and distributors are adopting aggressive ways to support their customers’ efforts to improve productivity and profitability in especially trying economic times.