The May 2018 edition of Manufacturing Engineering is available as a digital magazine. Links to individual articles are below:
The concept of untended machining for making molds, once inconceivable, is now a reality. Back in the mid-1990s, untended, or lights-out, machining seemed as alien as the idea of autonomous cars; something out of science fiction that would result in disaster if no human was present to avert the outcome. Since then, lights-out machining in mold shops has become more prevalent.
Moldmakers are under constant pressure to speed up the moldmaking process, improving their processes and product quality while boosting productivity. To meet their goals, moldmakers employ the latest moldmaking software, leveraging new techniques in CAD/CAM and CAE, with vastly improved simulations for conformal cooling and othttps://advancedmanufacturing.org/micro-cutting-tool-options-expand-as-applications-increase/her key features in mold-and-die manufacturing.
The number of parts requiring tiny holes, channels and other features is growing, and the tools capable of creating those features are getting more capable and more sophisticated. Solid-carbide micro cutting tools about the diameter of human hair or smaller—some producing parts visible only under a microscope—are making a huge impact on manufacturing highly advanced electronics, automotive and aerospace fuel injection systems, and medical instruments and implants.
Manufacturing for the oil and gas markets is in a transition. The oil market has firmed up after prices plunged earlier this decade. That’s helping suppliers of machines used to produce parts for oil and gas exploration and distribution, as well as the companies that make those parts. At the same time, there are new challenges as difficult-to-machine materials are used more frequently.
The mindset that should accompany decision making about how best to deburr parts should depend on establishing a target for cost per part. That’s the sage advice of LaRoux Gillespie, Dr. Eng, FSME, CMfgE, PE, a past president of SME and author of 13 books on burrs and deburring. Gillespie, the author of the Economics of Burrs and Deburring, explained that “the most basic question that must be asked in assessing a shop’s deburring requirement is what is the most economical way of achieving the result that I want. What’s my target for deburring cost because I want the cheapest way of achieving it?”
Oak Ridge, TN, may be known as the “Secret City” for the classified research conducted there to develop nuclear weapons in the 1940s, but Tennessee Tool and Engineering, a company founded there in 1972 by Larry Palmer, is well known as a machine shop. Its customers include manufacturers servicing the automotive, commercial equipment, agricultural, medical, and defense industries.
There is no better way to resolve a problem than by eliminating it entirely. At least that’s how KTH Parts Industries Inc. (St. Paris, OH) regarded its decision to automate a manual equipment changeover process for its robotic welding cells.
For the aerospace industry, great care and planning in the aerospace machining process are required to achieve desired accuracies and overall production efficiencies. Typical components produced include those made from lightweight but hard materials, such as titanium and related alloys as well as aluminum workpieces, where substantial volumes of material removal occurs. Due to long cycle times and other high raw material costs, the machining of such components is challenging.
As we all have heard many times, there is a shortage of manufacturing workers in the US, and companies are trying many ways to recruit, retrain, and retain workers. But how long with this skills gap last? Will automation and robotics eventually decrease the number of manufacturing jobs held by humans to a minimum? Will the jobs that are left involve anything other than monitoring computers?
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING NOW
When the Italian company JDeal-Form (Oleggio, Italy) started using additive manufacturing to apply a micronized polymer coating to the underwire tips and bra straps it sold to brassiere makers, CTO Davide Ardizzoia grew frustrated with his AM vendor’s constant lateness. Ardizzoia, a textile engineer, searched for but couldn’t find an affordable industrial-grade 3D printer for his factory, so he designed and manufactured his own machine to bring the polymer coating operation in-house.
Technology is changing ever more rapidly. Sometimes this means topics learned in engineering or technical school become obsolete. Whole new fields emerge within a few years, so that even those with freshly minted educations suddenly find themselves faced with new challenges. Webinars, books, and, heck, even magazine articles can help engineers and shop-floor technicians keep up. But there comes a time when in-depth learning in a well-defined course of study, tailored for specific manufacturing functions, is vital. That is where certifications enter the picture.
Brock T. Strunk, chief structures engineer for Epic Aircraft and SME member since 1999 has been involved with SME for over 19 years—first as a scholarship winner and then as a student member at the Oregon Institute of Technology. Little did he know that he would go on to become even more involved in SME both locally and nationally. Strunk writes about key areas members can be active in, including volunteering for local chapters and recognizing industry peers.
Manufacturing has been a way of life since the first industrial revolution. By the 1980s, advanced factories created products in ways never before imaginable. That same decade, a new form of manufacturing with the promise to revolutionize the way we make things was born—additive manufacturing (AM). Today’s metal additive machines are more accessible to manufacturers than their predecessors but remain a more significant investment than many polymer systems.
Patrick Waurzyniak, senior editor, interviews Diego Tamburini, principal industry lead for Azure Manufacturing, Microsoft Corp., about why manufacturers should care about the cloud, what they can do in the cloud, and the difference between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.
Clemson University (Clemson, SC) takes a fresh approach to manufacturing education for the nation’s future automotive engineers. Melding advanced manufacturing research with shop-floor technical skills, the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), home to the nation’s only graduate department of automotive engineering, brings together an interesting mix with teaching practical shop-floor skills to both graduate research students and technical students from the nearby Greenville Community College.
In a rapidly changing world economy, success is increasingly dependent upon the development of a strong, skilled workforce. To prepare residents for careers that not only provide jobs today, but will continue to support them and their families for decades to come, a collective effort—spanning government, education and industry—is required.
Intelligent factories have existed since manufacturing’s historical inception, but intelligence—defined as the acquisition and application of manufacturing knowledge—resided only with the factory’s staff. In spite of limitations, centralized factory intelligence has been achieved at modest scales through a deterministic low-level set of digital commands and responses.