Machining pros from shop floors at contract manufacturers and thousands of job shops had a chance to walk deep into the heart of precision machining territory for the 2019 biennial edition of the Precision Machining Technology Show and annual PMPA technical conference.
“With shops operating near capacity, people took time out from their busy schedules to come to the exposition with questions, looking for solutions and technology that can make a difference in their operations, getting more conforming parts out the door,” said Miles K. Free, PMPA interim director. “It means doing things better and finding the best technology from the leaders in every facet of precision machining.
Discussions and recommendations about best machine technologies and best practices for everything from parts cleaning to coolant delivery on machines were well-attended and delivered by industry leaders in virtually every product or process category,” said Free.
There was standing-room-only attendance at the best practices conference where presentations were delivered by people comfortable on the shop floor with practical knowledge and expertise. “How much of the 8,760 hours available for production in a year are spindles turning on your machines? one presenter asked attendees,” said Free.
Exhibitors at PMTS form the bedrock of suppliers to what has historically been referred to as the high-volume production screw machine industry. But today’s screw machine industry isn’t your “mom-and-pop’s” industry. CNC technology has almost universally transformed machine technology and the related ancillary technologies into a more flexible and more productive segment of manufacturing.
The challenge to precision machine shops is to meet demand for increasingly complex parts produced in shorter production runs, often in families of parts for the automotive, aerospace, hydraulics, medical device, energy and electronics industries as well as general engineering. The machine tools include a long list of Swiss-style sliding headstock and fixed headstock automatic CNC lathes with bar-fed automation, CNC multi-slide and live tool mill/turn machines, multi-spindle, multi-slide CNC screw machines, CNC rotary, and linear transfer machines, and increasingly robot-fed CNC milling and mill-turn machines.
Today’s precision machined parts wouldn’t meet the standards of precision machining applications without considerable attention being paid to parts cleaning, coolants, tooling, workholding, and programming software. Topics at the technical conference ranged from safety in shop operations, becoming proof against ransomware to maxing production performance on Swiss automatics with the right tooling and employing the latest techniques in deburring and parts finishing with honing and lapping.
PMTS 2019 was so successful—drawing record numbers of attendees, exhibitors, and square footage—that PMTS 2021 will have a return engagement in Cleveland, Ohio, in two years, according to the sponsors.
PMTS is presented by the Precision Machined Products Association and co-presented by three Gardner Publications.