The demand for titanium components by the aerospace industry began as a whisper about 15 years ago and steadily grew to a sustained, raucous shout over the last five and likely won’t quiet for several more.
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Shops today must track or measure their manufacturing operations to improve them. This need drives the growing use of MTConnect—an open, royalty-free protocol for extracting data from practically any piece of equipment, including machine tools and other manufacturing systems. The integration of MTConnect is a major undertaking, and can be a bit challenging unless certain preparations are made ahead of time.
Tool presetting machines are a wise investment for machine shops that want to increase their machine utilization. Idle machine tools are often indicators of inefficient machining operations, and stopping a machine tool for any reason is synonymous to losing profits.
The first kilowatt-class fiber laser for material processing was introduced by IPG Photonics in early 2002. Since that time, the adoption of fiber lasers for production applications has grown at a rapid rate. Today, fiber lasers are becoming the choice for most major production laser applications as well as converting traditional welding and cutting processes to fiber laser technologies.
In the early days at CNC Software, we saw that our Mastercam CAD/CAM system was only part of a larger manufacturing solution and that an open architecture foundation could allow seamless data communication with complementary devices and systems across the shop floor.
I’m among the first to dive into the latest manufacturing innovations and see how they can improve our customers’ operations. Yet, I’m also among the first to advise them to pause and ensure that the fundamentals of their manufacturing processes are in place before adding something new into the complex mix of functionality and desired outcomes.
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.
Although laser welding is a well-established manufacturing solution, many sheetmetal fabricators have been hesitant to implement the process at their shop.
More shops than ever are embracing waterjet cutting systems. And for the most part, the reason is that a number of customer-driven improvements/innovations to waterjet technology make it even more user friendly, productive and appealing to an ever-broadening array of manufacturers.
Manufacturing Engineering asked thought leaders at five companies for their views on challenges and trends facing the metalworking industry.