It’s difficult to imagine a more interesting choice than John Ratzenberger as keynoter for the UBM Advanced Design and Manufacturing (ADM) event held in Cleveland. Ratzenberger could have mailed it in and milked the character role for which he is most recognized (Cliff Clavin) for a cheap laugh. But he didn’t. In fact, he talked passionately about the challenges facing manufacturing today.
Ratzenberger it turns out is a skilled tradesman, a carpenter who worked at his trade when he was younger both here and as a “chippy” in England. He is an enthusiastic advocate for hands-on making things, especially by children as they are growing up. That thought is based on his own childhood memories of making things like a kid’s treehouse or street racer, and later making things together with his own children. He was a particularly enlightened choice by President Trump to serve on his Apprenticeship Task Force as he travels widely, speaks about the regulatory challenges facing manufacturers, and works with both parties (he’s a staunch Republican) in crafting legislative initiatives to promote apprenticeships and STEM workforce development.
Ratzenberger also found time in between his acting roles in movies and doing voice characterizations for Pixar (his voice has been in every one of Pixar’s movies) to become a manufacturer, an entrepreneur who developed eco-friendly packaging and founded the company to manufacture and sell it. Ratzenberger grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he learned about machine tools and his uncles worked at the company that gave birth to the industry’s famed workhorse knee mill. Some of his earliest acting opportunities came because he happened to be working as a carpenter on the sets in the theater. He also worked on the staging at Woodstock. It isn’t a coincidence that he credits most of society’s current ills on a drug culture and a philosophy of life that Woodstock represented.
UBM’s expositions focus on the latest developments in automation, 3D Printing, design, packaging, and medical manufacturing in seminars and exhibits. ADM Cleveland was no different. Advanced technologies that garnered the most attention were automation and collaborative robots, 3D Printing, and quality measurement and control. Among the challenges presented by these advanced technologies, panelists explained how collaborative robots can take their place in the ranks of the smart manufacturing workforce. In 3D Printing the greatest challenge for applications in the aerospace industry is variability of part quality from run to run, machine to machine, and day to day, according to Dr. James P. Nokes of the Aerospace Corporation, the Federally Funded Research Development Corp. (FFRDC) charged with evaluating available 3D Printing and other technologies for aerospace OEM manufacturing.
High tech measurement systems required to verify the quality of parts were among highlights. Mitutoyo America Corp. exhibited its new HR-530 series Rockwell Hardness Tester. The HR 530 series features electronic control that gives testers capabilities for Rockwell, Rockwell Superficial, Rockwell testing of plastics (A & B) and Light Force Brinell hardness testing. Features include inside ring hardness testing of an inside ring wall without cutting the ring and touch screen with direct hardness scale selection, curved surface compensation and measurement, and statistical analysis.
Proto Labs, which has acquired Rapid Manufacturing and expanded its service offering to include rapid sheet metal fabrication as well as enhanced CNC machining capabilities, featured its digital manufacturing capabilities including 3D Printing and injection molding, as well as CNC machining. Operations are handled in a dozen or so manufacturing facilities located around the world.
Kyocera SGS Precision Tools (KSPT), manufacturer of round solid carbide cutting tools, introduced its expanded lineups for the T-Carb and Z-Carb HPR series. The company has added 58 items for the T-Carb which now includes a corner radius; the Z-Carb HPR has been expanded in ½ inch and 12-mm diameters with a coolant-through hole.
Promess, which is widely known as a manufacturer of complete turnkey monitoring and motion systems using a variety of assembly and test applications, exhibited various devices, including pressure, flow, laser and temperature transducers to measure and react to process variables. Process control involves capture, gaging and computation of assembly data adjusting the process in real time to produce good parts each and every cycle.
Universal Robots 3D Pick-it sensor was shown by integrator Crum Manufacturing in a demonstration where a UR5 robot arm used the sensor to pick up exhaust parts of various shapes and forms. The 3D Pick-it sensor is an out-of-the box 3D camera and software solution that integrates directly onto the UR robot arm through the UR+ integration handshake with all programming happening directly through the UR teach pendant. In another demonstration, UR distributor Electro-Matic showed a UR3 with a Siemens PLC and Datalogic Laser Marker marking pens with customer’s names based on the information entered into the Siemens operator interface and PLC.
FARO introduced the next generation FARO Design ScanArm 2.0 specifically designed to address the most demanding challenges and requirements faced by product design and product engineering professionals. The redesigned arm provides a combination of flexibility, reliability, values, and performance through best in class accuracy, resolution and ergonomics, the company said.
ZEISS Industrial Metrology O-Inspect multisensor measuring machines enable manufacturers to optimally measure each characteristic-optically or through contact measurement. The O-Inspect series of machine features the VAST XXT contact scanning sensor using minimal probing forces with small stylus tip diameter and optional white light sensor for contactless measurements of small and sensitive workpiece surfaces.