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.
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Demand for machining titanium for aerospace applications won’t abate any time soon. It is driving OEMs and the supply chain in the commercial airplane market to find ways to dramatically increase machining output. Whatever date you pick from now until 2030, there’s a sufficient backlog of commercial airliners for both structural and jet engine applications to keep spindles humming around the clock cutting titanium.
In 2006, Jim Pontillo, founder of TRA Medical Inc. (Placentia, CA), saw two distinct trends: his medical mold-making workload was diminishing and demand for guns and gun components was rising. Sizing up TRA Medical’s core competencies, Pontillo saw an opportunity for growth in the development and production of 9-mm handguns. Today, these guns are branded and sold under their own brand FMK Firearms, which is a stand-alone business.
Titanium aluminides possess many characteristics that make them highly attractive for high-temperature structural applications in automotive and aerospace industries. Their high specific strength, high-temperature stability and oxidation resistance relative to conventional titanium and nickel alloys make them beneficial for use in low-pressure turbine blades for aerospace engines, as well as turbochargers and exhaust values in automotive engines.
3D printing has become the medium of the new technological revolution as its applications diversify from printing food to weapons, from clothing to industrial products. It is also finding more uses in the medical space, including Orthotics and Prosthetics (O&P).
When sizing up an application for a milling toolholder, it is necessary to consider the materials being machined, how aggressively metal is going to be removed, and any machining conditions that are likely to present a challenge to tooling security. By now, the pros and cons of hydraulic, mechanical, and heat-assisted shrink-fit systems are well known and results well documented.
Today, laser technology in manufacturing touches all of our lives on a daily basis; lasers cut air bag material and weld air bag detonators for our in-car safety; lasers weld the batteries in many of our mobile devices; lasers drill aero-engine components for planes; lasers cut the glass for our smart phones and tablets screens; lasers weld the drivetrains in our cars and trucks; lasers cut medical stents that increase and enhance our lives, just to name a few.
New retrofit systems make it possible to quickly, easily and cost effectively transform the standard external-coolant live tooling heads on turning machine turrets into those with through-tool-coolant capability. And shops that have done the retrofit are experiencing longer tool life, more efficient chip control and less heat generation.
A 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 shown at the Detroit Auto Show was additively manufactured on a Cincinnati BAAMCI machine by DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), one of seven founding members of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation. The Detroit IACMI branch will get $70 million to develop a robust supply chain to improve materials, handling, and machining properties for automotive composites.
A recent effort by the Norton Advanced Applications Engineering Group demonstrates that for difficult-to-machine materials, grinding can be an economical alternative to other machining processes.