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Change and Continuity in Manufacturing

Alan Rooks
By Alan Rooks Editor in Chief, Manufacturing Engineering

On May 9, I took a whirlwind tour of change in manufacturing by visiting several open house events. First up was BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc. in Hoffman Estates, IL, where Matt Tegelman, applications manager and product manager Kaiser, talked about the Industrial Internet of Things. He noted that machine tool builders have done a good job adding sensors that provide internal feedback, but other parts of machining, such as tooling and workholding, need to catch up. The industry “doesn’t have good communication between machinery and tooling and other accessory equipment,” but new technology is making progress possible, he said.

For example, a BIG Kaiser app with a wireless connection to an EWE boring head allows the operator to enter, program and control the bore size, making setup more efficient while creating an adjustment history and enabling traceability. In the future, data from the app will be transferred to the cloud, allowing the optimization of tool configurations and speeds and feeds.

Across the parking lot (literally) was DMG Mori, hosting its annual Technology Days. The trade press talked to Dr. Masahiko Mori, president and CEO, and I asked him about the most popular applications for the company’s CELOS Digital Factory module, as well as the multi-vendor maintenance platform DMG Mori acquired by purchasing WERKBLiQ GmbH in 2017. He said the CELOS machine vibration control and machine protection service were extremely popular, indeed becoming almost standard on new DMG Mori machines.

Also popular is 3D quickset, which measures and offsets geometric tolerances of rotary axes on five-axis machines, allowing automatic compensation. He predicted that WERKBLiQ will become “a big thing,” offering a common maintenance standard for DMG Mori machines.

The last stop was Haimer USA LLC in Villa Park, IL. I talked with Brendt Holden, president, who noted the open house theme was Industry 4.0. “Haimer products, which surround the machine tool, lend themselves to Industry 4.0,” particularly the goal of a consistent machining process. That process can include “elements such as Haimer toolholders that are all made in one facility, shrink-fit toolholding systems where someone who’s worked at a shop for two weeks can put a tool in the same place as someone who’s been doing it for 20 years, and balancing machines that send consistent tool assembles to the machines.” He noted that Haimer has introduced RFID read-write systems to some of its products, allowing them to send data back and forth to the machine tool.

As for continuity, I wanted to note that in mid-May, Darlene Pietryka, our assistant editor, retired after many years of service to ME and SME. Darlene was the continuity in our editorial department; she edited and helped produce our magazine and was the glue that kept us together, all the while earning our respect and admiration. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement, Darlene!

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