Additive, digital, automation, multitasking, hybrid…you will see them all at IMTS
There is every reason to believe that IMTS 2018 will be the largest version of the biennial manufacturing exposition yet, based on the number of exhibitors, expected attendance from early bird registrations, floor space, and the level of advanced technology. Public awareness of the vital role that manufacturing plays in the economy and a good job market have raised manufacturing’s profile. The big challenge is finding a skilled workforce, especially in view of a perceived skills gap and the need for STEM education to fill that gap.
In McCormick Place’s South Hall, it won’t be too difficult to get lost in the canyons of towering boring and milling machines, CNC vertical turning machines, and machining centers of every size and stripe. The overwhelming exhibitor emphasis will continue to be on the traditional subtractive machining processes of turning, milling, and drilling as standalone, multi-machine or cellular machining process solutions for job shops, contract manufacturers, and OEMs. But disruptive technologies like additive manufacturing/3D printing technology and the omnipresent role of digitalization have succeeded in redirecting machine tool builders into virtually every aspect of machine operation and performance.
Data, the life blood of Industry 4.0 interpretation, are being collected from machines and from end products from cradle to grave and are likely to transform our understanding of the best practices to minimize downtime through predictive maintenance and maximize OEE (overall equipment efficiency).
“Among our customers, we’re seeing a hunger to invest in new technology,” said Tom Clark, president and CEO, Index Corp. (Indianapolis). It’s the story of the past decade. Everyone is facing pressure to do more with less and to do it twice as fast. With a deficiency of up and coming skilled labor, the only answer is to adopt technology that increases output without increasing labor hours. Most manufacturers get that and are taking a hard look at the machines and processes that will allow them to continue to thrive as more of our workforce retires.”
The Future Is Now
“AMT has broadened the scope of IMTS well beyond the machine tool builders to include suppliers of advanced technology that affects manufacturing,” said Brian Papke, Mazak Corp. (Florence, KY). “We’re seeing so many more companies that believe that the future is here and now. We don’t have to go offshore to manufacture, but we do have to address the workforce problem. Looking at the need for a skilled workforce from a positive standpoint really opens the door for new advanced technologies that will be exhibited at IMTS.”
To Papke and Mazak, multitasking is the first level of automation, with the ultimate goal of combining processes on one machine for “done in one” production. In addition to its usual booth full of multitasking machines, Mazak will sharpen its focus on hybrid machining technology at IMTS.
“We’ll have a hybrid machine in our large core booth [in the South building] with friction stir welding [and subtractive machining],” Papke said. “In a second booth, we’ll have two new machines, a hybrid that incorporates hot-wire laser deposition with another machine, the VC-500A/5X AM HWD multitasking machine that incorporates new and innovative hot-wire additive manufacturing technology that Mazak developed in collaboration with Lincoln Electric.”
The VC-500A/5X AM HWD not only offers a high-speed additive solution and programmable welding automation but also full five-axis machining center capabilities for applications to repair costly complex components such as impellers and turbine blades along with tool and die parts.
“The digital side of our exhibit goes hand in hand with some of the things we’re doing with hybrid machining, automation, and analytics for OEE performance evaluation. In the middle of our booth there will be a digital solutions plaza that will present wide-ranging digital solutions, starting at the Smooth control level, moving up to MT Connect, and to our Smart Box with cybersecurity emphasis,” said Papke.
Workhorse Gets Electrified
Rodger Boswell, vice president sales project management, Hydromat Inc. (St. Louis) points to IMTS as the premier event for showcasing his company’s products, and services. “We expect to create excitement, spark interest and open up numerous lines of communication with our visitors and we literally have been in preparation since the trucks arrived back from IMTS 2016. It’s an on-going effort preparing for this event every two years.”
Hydromat will introduce the Eclipse 12-100 rotary transfer machine, a redesign of its traditional Hydromat with all-new components, including electric servo-driven tool spindles. “The Eclipse features a heavy-duty cast iron frame with 12 horizontal machining positions suited for producing parts from bar stock up to 65-mm diameter and a chucking system with 100-mm clamping capacity. The three- or four-axis electric servo-driven tool spindle modules are designed with hefty castings, linear guides, and large bearings for maximum performance and precision.
Also making its IMTS debut is the EPIC II control platform for traditional Hydromat CNC machines. This second iteration EPIC control is a centralized CNC/PLC Bosch control. The EPIC II CNC control provides improved accuracy with absolute scale positioning and utilizes a common servo valve that allows tool spindle replacements to be locally configured and programmed without Hydromat’s assistance. “This control offers expanded canned cycle selection to generate programs easier and faster, as well as enhanced operations, trouble shooting and PM intervals. EPIC II features a dual-Sercos three-ring communication system for both single- and multiple-axis unit configurations and Ethernet for Machine I/O. The main design change is that the previous PMAC and Profibus are no longer part of the control system,” Boswell said.
The Internet of Everything
JTEKT Toyoda Americas Corp. (Arlington Heights, IL) will combine lean thinking with cutting edge solutions and emphasis on smart manufacturing. It will show how its technology—six new machines of the 15 featured at IMTS—contribute to transforming shop floors into smart factories. Toyoda takes the fundamental approach of IoT (Internet of Things), combined with their automotive production history to encompass what they call IoE (Internet of Everything). IoE encompasses connectivity, data transmission and analytics of both people and machine—all fundamentals of Toyoda’s “Andon” system.
Featured will be live machine tools, automation, IoT solutions, and presentations. New machine exhibits include a five-axis VMC for titanium machining, universal grinding machines with adjustable wheelhead, a multipurpose turning center with twin turret and twin spindle, and a production type machine for gear manufacturing. Toyoda’s smart manufacturing product initiatives include the Toyopuc Plus and Nano PLC connectivity solutions; machine metrics, Toyopuc Touch HMI, and Signal Hop visualization solutions; and Toyopuc Touch AAA value solutions.
Still More Digital Connection
It is increasingly a digital world we live in and Mitsubishi Electric Automation’s company theme for this year’s IMTS is “Running the Smartest Machines in the World.” Through integrated products, including MES Interface, SCADA, MTConnect-compliant products, digitalization, and on-board product analytics, Mitsubishi Electric Automation provides the access needed for manufacturers and end users to leverage real-time production information to make smart business decisions.
“For OEMs and dealers, having a single-source provider makes it easier for them to design their machines and provide after-market support,” said Justin Kueker, business development manager. “Our system integrators and end users can benefit from our products’ ease of operation, high reliability, quality of service, and the flexibility to customize our solutions to easily adapt to their needs and requirements.”
Mitsubishi Electric Automation will exhibit its full range of single-source automation manufacturing solutions. Advanced, integrated factory automation products will be seen in action, including Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems, the M8 CNC series control platform, FR series robots, five-axis machining and a fully automated manufacturing (FAM) cell. “Our booth demonstrations will illustrate how Mitsubishi Electric can help manufacturers increase throughput, reduce waste and increase production efficiency through products, services and analytics,” said Scott Strache, product manager.
Precision Automated Turning
Murata Machinery USA Inc. (Charlotte, NC), known for its high-productivity, automated CNC turning centers that are marketed under the Muratec brand, will exhibit a variety of machines for producing small to larger precision parts. Two models, the MW120 twin spindle CNC turning center and the MD120 automated CNC turning center with live tooling, including drilling and milling on every turret position, will be showcased in a high-productivity turning cell configuration that optimizes production time. In the cell, a common integrated raw parts feeder system, transfer/turn-around unit, and post-process gage (PPG) service two turning machines in a single linear layout, demonstrating how space is saved due to single automaton components servicing multiple machines.
The MT100 features a built-in Y axis, opposed spindles for greater precision on complex parts and is designed so that each turret can serve either of the twin spindles. Upper and lower turret configuration allows the flexibility to manage two tools in a single cut while reducing cycle time. A variety of automation options, including an optional third turret and a three-axis gantry robot that optimizes production time, are available. A high-speed gantry loader and turret axes help to reduce cycle time drastically and production times as low as 16 seconds per part are possible. The MT200, similar to the MT100, can accommodate larger parts with a maximum turn diameter of 8.3″ (210 mm) and an 8″ (203-mm) chuck.
Precision Processes, Milling, EDM, Laser
Technology innovations are always the focus for GF Machining Solutions (GFMS; Lincolnshire, IL) at IMTS. But it doesn’t hurt to have a world-class NASCAR cup champion and car to highlight introduction of a machine. Visitors to GFMS’ booth will see the #78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry driven by 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex Jr.
Also, on display will be the TRD cutaway engine/powertrain display showing the complex movements of the championship winning engine produced by Toyota Racing Development in a fully automated Mikron MILL line. Making its North American debut will be the new Mikron MILL P 500 U high-performance milling solution. The Mikron MILL P 500 U enables continuous precision machining of complex forms and tough materials while shortening process time due to its dynamic material removal capabilities and high stiffness.
GF Machining Solutions will exhibit advanced machine technology for manufacturers in the automotive, aerospace, medical, information and communications technology (ICT), electrical components (EC), and mold and die industries. Included are high-speed milling, EDM, laser texturing, additive manufacturing, and micromachining machines.
Among its newest offerings for turbine machining is the Liechti go-Mill 350 five-axis machining center that provides the aerospace industry with the precision needed for blade and blisk applications. GFMS’ rConnect central communications platform for the company’s milling, EDM and laser texturing machines offers in-depth remote machine tool analysis—the cornerstone capability of tomorrow’s smart factories.
Large Scale Machining
Fives Giddings & Lewis (Fond du Lac, WI) will feature the V 1600, a mid-range 1600-mm table vertical lathe. The V Series product line includes machines offering chucks from 800 to 2500 mm that are designed to appeal to a wide range of manufacturers, including job shops. An important consideration is that no special foundation is required and the V Series incorporates a hydrostatic ram and adjustable cross rail to maximize rigidity for heavy-duty, chatter-free cutting and part finish. The G&L VLock tooling system provides a stiff interface and uses standard modular turning tools that more than double the taper stiffness compared to 50 taper tooling.
“Standard modular tools offer significant cost savings over proprietary vertical lathe tooling provided on most vertical lathes, as much as $30,000 when tooling a new lathe,” said Peter Beyer, Fives Giddings & Lewis sales and applications director. “Following our introduction of the 800 and 1000-mm size lathes, job shops and manufacturers in several industries discovered the advantages of the G&L V series rigidity and flexibility. Jet engine builders in particular saw the benefits when machining hard aerospace alloys,” said Beyer.
Okuma America Corp. (Charlotte, NC) will be cutting metal on any number of its machines at IMTS. The Multus U5000, a two-saddle CNC lathe, is designed to handle large parts for the energy and aerospace industries. At IMTS, the machine will be equipped with a W axis and big-bore spindle and will be cutting a wind turbine crankshaft. The new 2SP-2500H lathe with two spindles on one machine for increased throughput of mass-produced parts will be shown cutting a bearing race for the automotive industry. The new LU7000EX two-saddle CNC lathe for handling large parts will be equipped with a bolt-on turret and long boring bar and will be shown cutting an oil pipe/flange for the oil and gas industry.
Also making its debut, the new MU-S600V five-axis vertical machining center with the ability to connect multiple machines to achieve untended and automated production line system will be cutting a manifold block for the auto industry.
A Strong Show On Tap
“We’re expecting a strong show. Market demand for advanced manufacturing technology has been exceptional over the past year and a half and the data points to that are continuing,” said Tom Clark of Index Corp. “We may see the growth rate slow in 2020, but there are no signs of a contraction. We’re obviously keeping a close eye on the situation of escalating tariffs on some of our trade partners and being mindful of the potential ramifications there, but the impact on IMTS should be minimal.
Index will be demonstrating the new Xcenter integrated six-axis robot cell paired with one of its Traub TNL20 sliding/fixed headstock automatic lathes. This compact automation solution uses stacked pallets to allow manufacturers to achieve significant periods of unmanned production of finished parts, including incorporation of a secondary process, such as cleaning, measuring or deburring.
Attendees will also have their first chance to see the MS40-8 at a North American trade show. This versatile eight-spindle CNC brings the benefits of multi-spindle production to an even greater range of parts by accommodating bar stock up to 40 mm in diameter. The machine features double synchronized spindles for backworking, allowing it to machine complex parts to completion with the shortest possible cycle times. The flexibility of the machine allows for double four-spindle operation for simpler parts, ensuring manufacturers can minimize cost per piece across a broad variety of work.
iXworld will also be a focal area within the booth. Launching in North America in early 2019, this new digital portal consolidates, adds to and evolves the suite of online tools available to Index customers. iXworld will help manufacturers minimize downtime, increase utilization, and achieve reliable unattended operations. The tools included in iXworld cover a broad spectrum, including production reporting, cycle time analysis, remote monitoring and diagnostics, and ordering of parts and services.
Stop By for a Cool One
As always, some demonstrations at IMTS exhibitor booths will be better than others. For Hurco Companies Inc. (Indianapolis, IN), celebrating its 50th anniversary will give it an opportunity to showcase not only its new technology but also that of its customers. It’ll be Bottoms Up for its customers, industry partners, and show attendees for beverages dispensed from a Bottoms Up Beer system, made by an Indiana company that is turning the beer industry upside down—quite literally. The 50th Anniversary IMTS gift was made by Bottle Breacher, an Arizona customer, Eli Crane, who used his winnings from the television show Shark Tank to buy his Hurco VM20i. Eli is a Navy SEAL veteran who turned his hobby into a thriving business.
“IMTS is the perfect venue to celebrate all of our loyal customers and all of the people who have been a part of Hurco’s success this past 50 years to help us fulfill our founder’s mission to make manufacturing companies of all sizes more productive and more profitable. It’s fitting that our year-long celebration will culminate at IMTS since our co-founder, Mr. Roch, exhibited the very first CNC machine at IMTS in 1974. As the inventor of conversational programming, his commitment to leverage technology that’s easy to use in order to make manufacturing more efficient continues to drive innovation at Hurco,” said Maggie Smith, Hurco marketing manager.
The Hurco booth will be divided into four quadrants: Automation, Five-Axis, Three-Axis, and Turning. In Automation, attendees will see Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) in action with Hurco CNC machine demonstrations in partnership with Erowa, Universal Robots, FANUC robots, Online Resources, and Industrial Controls & Automation. Five-Axis will feature the latest models and CNC technology that makes the transition from conventional three-axis machining to five-sided machining easy and straightforward. Three-Axis will feature Hurco’s most popular CNC machines, the VMX6030i and the new VMX42Di with a direct drive spindle. In Turning, attendees will see the latest control software release that streamlines turning and milling. Hurco will also premiere its 3D Import feature with 3D DXF. Hurco will showcase the next generation 3D print head adapter that was first introduced at IMTS 2016.