The January 2018 edition of Manufacturing Engineering is available as a digital magazine. Links to individual articles are below:
An industry regarded as dirty, loud and dangerous must do more to attract young people with the skills needed for modern manufacturing, while companies should promote their technology in the 21st century as exciting, cutting-edge, clean, safe and fun, according to a panel of experts at Houstex 2017. Find out what best practices and initiatives can be implemented to recruit talented individuals into the industry.
Cutting tool manufacturers regularly test the waters with new product categories and new and innovative processes. The one common denominator is that suppliers are not bashful about making eye-popping claims about possible machining improvements. The problem is that manufacturers in shops of all sizes might be a bit slow to adopt the new tools. That being said, here are several current approaches to improving turning processes.
A year ago, Manufacturing Engineering noted that machining titanium had become “just another day at the office” (see “The Evolution of Titanium Machining,” Manufacturing Engineering, Feb. 2017). But although it might be routine, disagreements remain about the best machine configuration. Some excellent old ideas are often overlooked, and at least one potentially game-changing technology is just now being introduced commercially.
There are times when a machinist, while cutting a few parts or getting ready for an initial run, needs to check a few parts or a few critical features: surfaces need to be spot checked, roundness or concentricity confirmed. Sometimes a hand gage will work, but with parts increasing in complexity and schedules getting tighter, more capable machines are often needed. This is when a walk-up metrology instrument that is both adaptable and capable of running a wide range of measurements comes in handy.
Manufacturing is adding technology and seeking more precision, more output and less downtime. One of the most basic parts of manufacturing, parts cleaning machines, is on the same path. The industry is growing in sophistication to match its customers.
Rapid growth has spurred a cutting tool manufacturer to reach out to its community to grow the pool of young people available to join its workforce. You don’t have to look farther than the lobby of Midwest Industrial Grinding Inc. to find evidence of its commitment to workforce development.
The International Federation of Robotics forecasts that by 2019, 1.4 million industrial robots will be installed in factories around the world. Manufacturing organizations are looking to this technology as a way to streamline operations, improve safety on the factory floor and grow their business.
With each new contract and change order to increase part volume and improve delivery, Johnson Matthey Medical Components expanded capacity and capabilities by purchasing more equipment. The tactic was effective, but costly, and when senior leadership changed, so did the company’s approach—it is now outfitted with Swiss screw machines for primary machining of components used in catheters, surgical instruments and other medical devices.
Data, trade secrets and personal information are at risk every time you go on the Internet. So, what can you do? Play defense—and lots of it.Cybersecurity experts at EDGE2017, held in October 2017 in Knoxville, TN, offered good ideas. They noted cybersecurity is not a nuisance—it’s a necessity. While humans let the bad guys in, they can also help keep them out.
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING NOW
It is fascinating how inventive people can be, not only in creating things but also in how they adapt existing technology to their own use. Take the microtome, a device used in clinical pathology labs to slice very thin sections of tissue to determine various disease states such as cancer. It is typically used on skin, organs, or even “fresh” brains—anything a doctor would biopsy. Manufacturing engineers have figured out how to use these devices on mechanical parts. Who knew?
A fused filament 3D printer has saved a custom outdoor lighting manufacturer tens of thousands of dollars a year, improving operations and winning more business. The large-scale, industrial-class printer ensured customers who would have gone elsewhere to get their parts made faster now stay with U.S. Architectural.
Modern manufacturing facilities are high-tech, clean, and efficient. By modern standards, many idled facilities (that were once considered powerhouses of manufacturing years ago), were highly inefficient, polluted the world, and caused many short-term and long-term health issues for the workforce. The modern production facility is a high-tech, clean and efficient operation that not only produces quality goods, but is the backbone for society and economy.
A look at how machine monitoring and analytics have become more critical than ever in the digital manufacturing/Industry 4.0 era. Plus, Siemens PLM Software has agreed to acquire Solido Design Automation Inc., a developer of variation-aware design and characterization software to semiconductor companies.
Starting this month, TechFront has a new format that spotlights manufacturing research programs at key universities, followed by summaries of recent research in SME’s Journal of Manufacturing Systems, Journal of Manufacturing Processes and Manufacturing Letters, all published by Elsevier Ltd. This month’s university focus is on the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC).
Manufacturers are enjoying a period of demand and growth, but they face significant challenges. The majority of manufacturers have fewer than 100 employees and are battling a globally competitive environment while facing snowballing retirements and a shortage of skilled workers. The response to the challenge is: industrial robots.
For years, American manufacturing was defined by the might and capability of its automakers and the businesses that manufacture automotive parts and products. While US automakers face more competition today, they remain vital to the American economy. The US is still the world’s largest producer of cars and commercial vehicles, but there is a challenge facing the industry—US manufacturers are experiencing a shortage of capable, prepared workers.
Workforce development, like many economic factors, is subject to supply and demand. This is sometimes called the “push-and-pull equation.” The employers represent the “pull” and training represents the “push.” The good news for manufacturing, which has been pulling so hard the rope is fraying, is that the push for career and technical education is building and helping to put a little more slack in that rope.