Every other year, manufacturers in the Southeast get to shine and showoff at SOUTHTEC. More than 5,900 manufacturing professionals and leaders descended on Greenville, S.C., for this year’s event, held October 22-24. There, they could interact with 495 exhibiting companies across 82,700 ft2 of show floor featuring the latest equipment, tools, software, training and technologies driving manufacturing today.
Highlighting the importance of manufacturing in the region, South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette and Greenville Councilmember George Fletcher attended the show’s opening day. And much like manufacturing in the Southeast in general, the show grew in every way, with an increase in square footage, attendance and exhibits when compared to 2017.
SOUTHTEC 2019, produced by SME and AMT, offered attendees not only the opportunity to see the latest manufacturing products, but also attend featured keynote presentations each morning, evening networking events, free educational presentations throughout the day, panel discussions and a full lineup of speakers in the Smart Manufacturing Hub.
Introduced at HOUSTEX 2019, the show continued SME’s new tradition of the SME ZONE, the “nerve center” for everything happening at the event. In addition to the keynotes, panel discussions and industry experts that went on at the theater, visitors could network with fellow attendees and exhibitors during hosted events, learn more about SME and see the next generation of manufacturers at the Student Summit right next door.
Committed to offering manufacturers more than a place to see the latest industry wares, SOUTHTEC kicked off three days of free educational presentations with an opening keynote by George Barnych, VP & CTO, National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), Blairsville, Pa., titled “Incremental Approach to IIoT for the Small and Medium Manufacturer.”
Barnych’s focus was on how manufacturers of less than 250 employees, or about 57 percent of US manufacturing companies, can deploy and benefit from digitally connected systems. The key themes? Don’t boil the ocean. Digitally connected systems are affordable for manufacturers of all sizes. Themes driven home by real world examples of how manufacturing operations have been digitally integrated for just a few thousand dollars or less.
Wednesday’s keynote by Alan Beaulieu, President, ITR Economics, Manchester, N.H., brought a bit of humor and good news. While he expects GDP will go negative in the beginning of 2020, it is only for one quarter and the United States will remain the dominant economy through 2050 according to ITR’s farthest looking predictions. However, Beaulieu urged attendees to find their “Bassett Hound” – the product, process or person they keep around but should “ditch.” Even sharing ITR’s program to reward employees who identify a “Bassett Hound” in their own organization.
On Thursday, Christopher Saldana, PhD, associate professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, opened the show for the day with a presentation on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and big data. With sensors available for nearly everything imaginable, Saldana helped attendees wade through the technology available to them and the opportunities and value propositions that come along with it.
Beyond the educational sessions, SOUTHTEC had more than 70 exhibitors showing off new products, a handful of which you can read about below.
ATAGO Shows Off Digital pH Meter
ATAGO, Bellevue, Wash., showcased its new PAL-pH meter. The new all-in-one digital pH meter features a special flat sample stage that provides easy cleanup after each use and can be stored away without submerging the electrode in a buffer solution, according to the company. By eliminating the need to dip an electrode directly into the sample, ATAGO claims to guarantee you’ll never have a broken probe in addition to cutting down the risk of contamination. The PAL-pH requires a 0.6mL sample, provides the measurement within three seconds and has a pH range from 0.00 to 14.00 with a resolution of 0.01 and ±0.10 accuracy. Temperature compensation eliminates the need for manual adjustment and NFC wireless communication allows users to transfer data from up to 100 measurements with date stamp to Android or iOS devices and computers.
The company also showcased its updated PAL-1 digital handheld refractometer, which now features NFC transfer of measurement data straight from the PAL-1 unit to a phone or any NFC equipped device. As well as the CM-TANKα FER, which enables users to monitor Brix concentration automatically and continuously. The unit can be installed directly to the tank with ferrule type.
Expanded Milling Options
Over at the Scientific Cutting Tools, Inc., Simi Valley, Calif., booth, the company highlighted its expanded Single Point Thread Mill (SPTM) line. The line now offers #5 and 7/16 sizes for UN standards, as well as M3 and M11 sizes for metric. New extra long (XL) lengths were created for deeper threads and are available in both UN and Metric. Tools are available with AlTiN coating or uncoated.
Beyond new sizes and lengths, Scientific Cutting Tools recently launched its EXJ thread tools as part of the SPTM lineup for cutting external UNJ threads. The company claims the non-crest cutting design allows maximum flexibility for plated and non-standard threads and will cut any external thread of the pitch listed. The tools meet MIL-SPEC 8879 and AS8879 standards.
Scientific Cutting Tools also showcased its new high-performance helical chamfer mills. The variable helical flute design provides high sheer, reduced side cutting pressure, and improved chip evacuation, thus achieving extremely high performance, according to the company. Premium sub-micron carbide is used to make the tools in both three flute and five flute versions. The mills are available in diameters from 1/8” to 3/4” and 60, 90, and 120 degree included angle configurations. The company states the front of the tool is ground flat and the tip diameter is held to ±0.002-inch (0.05-mm) tolerance. The new chamfer mills are available with either bright finish or AlTiN coating
Stepping up to 5-Axis
Whether you’ve been using 5-axis machines for years or are looking to add one, Hermle USA, Inc., Franklin, Wis., is likely a name you have heard. The company claims 95 percent of the machines it sells are 5-axis. Hoping to give users the tools they need to succeed, the company also has released newer pallet and robot automation systems. Its HS Flex handling system is designed to allow stand alone machine use during the day, with fully automatic operations at night and on the weekends. Within the past few years, Hermle also launched its Performance-Line of machines for job shops not yet looking for the highest performance 5-axis machines. Hermle’s digital modules offer users an entry into Industry 4.0 with process and health monitoring, job management and more.
On the show floor, Hermle showcased its C22U machine. The company claims the C 22 features the largest working area relative to the installation area, the largest swiveling range of workpieces in the working area, utilization of the entire traverse range and a large collision circle between the table flanges. The machine has a traverse path of 450 x 600 x 330 mm, with spindle speeds of 15,000, 18,000, 25,000, 30,000 and 42,000 rpm. Maximum vertical table clearance is 470 mm and the table can support up to 300 kg. Heidenhain TNC 640 and Siemens S 840 D control options are available.
Lights Out at SW North America
SW North America, Inc., New Hudson, Mich., was demonstrating its BA W02-22i five-axis, two-spindle machine with integrated automation and a capacity of 8-24 trays – perfect for lights-out machining of non-magnetizable parts, according to the company. With a footprint of around 4 m2, the machine features linear drive and a max spindle speed of 25,000 rpm with 250 mm between spindles. The BA W02-22i has a z-axis working range of 300 mm, a y-axis range 350 mm and a tool change position of 525 mm. A double swivel carrier for torsion-free flow of force from tool to workpiece carrier, according to SW. For those looking for lights-out machining of magnetic components, the company recently launched its BA 322i.
CGTech Demos VERICUT 9.0
CGTech, Irvine, Calif., makers of the VERICUT CNC machine simulation and optimization software, offered attendees a chance to see the new features coming in its 9.0 version of VERICUT. The latest version of the software will enable users to: easily switch between workpiece and machine views, layouts and docking arrangements; use major functions such as Section, X-Caliper and AUTO-DIFF in any view; auto-configure VERICUT for optimization with improved connectivity to tooling websites and cloud repositories; and save time with instant access to viewing the workpiece, CNC machine, or both, according to the company.
2021: Not to Miss
For anyone located in or doing business in the Southeast, SOUTHTEC is an event you won’t want to miss. In 2021, the show returns to Greenville, S.C., from October 26-28. Manufacturing has a bright future and SOUTHTEC will continue to be a beacon for the latest technologies and opportunities. To stay abreast of the latest SOUTHTEC developments, click here.