The May 2019 edition of Manufacturing Engineering is available as a digital magazine. Links to individual articles are below:
The number of industrial additive manufacturing systems manufacturers was up 31 percent in 2018.
The aerospace, medical and automotive industries are embracing 3D printing amid advances in technology, materials.
Industry 4.0 is talked about much, but implemented little. Experts discuss lessons learned in introducing it to gain greater efficiency in manufacturing enterprises.
Tooling suppliers are advancing effective parting and grooving operations, including removing the pip and gaining chip control with high-pressure coolant.
The latest visualization systems enable manufacturers to design and make products faster and more efficiently than ever. These systems are being used everywhere, from machining on shop-floor CNCs to offline CAD/CAM programming of NC equipment.
Precision Shapes Inc. routinely takes on the tough stuff— such as Inconel. Thanks to expert help and great cutting tools from Sandvik Coromant, the shop has dramatically reduced cycle time and increased tool life on its Inconel jobs.
Meyda Tiffany Co. purchased a fiber laser from Prima Power North America that allows it to cut parts faster and more accurately for its renowned custom and decorative light fixtures.
A.R. Machining, a family-owned machine shop, added a new zinc phosphate process from Birchwood Technologies in order to improve product quality and turnaround time—including finishes on large steel downhole drilling components. The shop now gets same-day finishing at half the cost of outside finishing.
The state of manufacturing is always a combination of tried and true methods; improvements (sometimes dramatic) in traditional processes; and brand new technology few people even conceived of a few years ago. That is certainly true today, as manufacturers implement additive manufacturing (once emerging, now well entrenched) and take a close look at Industry 4.0 (still emerging, but with some key applications ready to roll).
Advanced Manufacturing Now
The bane of modern engineering is complexity. One promise of artificial intelligence and machine learning is helping engineers to use complex tools and harness vast data sets effectively. While this makes sense for areas like machine vision, I wonder if it applies to other disciplines. Like CAD for instance. Could AI or machine learning help?
One of the foundational aspects of Industry 4.0 protocols is the creation of electronic “digital twin” models of product data and production processes. This includes an exact replica of all machine tools, including complex work envelopes showing the particular spindles, fixtures, and cutting tools. Such cyber-physical systems bridge the gap between the real and virtual manufacturing environment.
Makerspaces rarely have the square footage or budget of traditional manufacturing facilities. Large industrial waterjet systems can require significant floor space and specific water sources. To meet the needs of this new market, machines must be small enough to fit through standard doorways and equipped with casters to make it possible to relocate them without a team of trained engineers and machine riggers.
Today’s tantalizing topic: blockchain. Smart Manufacturing magazine interviewed 20 experts on blockchain and manufacturing. The resulting special report, “In blockchain we trust,” takes pains to make manufacturers fluent in blockchain—so they can get in on the ground floor of what is sure to be a sea change in the way they interact with suppliers, for starters.
Jennifer C. Fielding, PhD, Section Chief, Composite Performance and Applications, Air Force Research Laboratory, and a SME Member since 2014, shares her experiences with RAPID + TCT, SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community and why collaboration is important to additive manufacturing growth.
The automation debate is a captivating one, but for some it conjures up images of a world where their roles become obsolete, superseded by the ruthless efficiency and unwavering energy of machines. Yet despite these fears, a future where people become obsolete is a very long way from reality. Manufacturing will always require the aptitude for innovation that only the human brain can provide.
Virtual reality (VR) technology transforms a headset and software into immersive, interactive experiences, letting the user join in the view. For machine tool manufacturers, VR offers two important opportunities—realistic training experiences minus the need for access to an actual machine and immediate enthusiasm for the manufacturing world in younger people.