Posted by: Chris Felix 10. December 2014

December 2014 PM Digital Issue Now Available

The December 2014 digital issue of Production Machining is now available.

The digital December issue of Production Machining is now available, with emphasis topics of CNC Swiss-Type and Shop Management Software. For our cover story, we visit an Ohio shop that has augmented its machining center based business with Swiss-type machining capability. Our second feature article looks at the challenges one shop faced in selecting and implementing a new ERP software package.

A Tech Brief details how acoustic emission sensing can help to meet precise grinding tolerances. The Case in Point looks at a shop that found an effective way to produce an Inconel part when the plan to outsource the job fell through.

Our December issue also features our fourth Parts Cleaning section for the year. This section includes a feature article that discusses ways to customize the ultrasonic cleaning process to meet the needs of each particular precision cleaning operation. We also present a standard approach for burr classification that helps shops determine appropriate deburring solutions.

Be sure to check out our digital December issue today.

Posted by: Miles Free 9. December 2014

The Meaning of Ductility

Ductility arrives in our shops as indicated by burrs.

Ductility is the ability of a material to deform plastically without fracturing. In the materials usually machined in our shops, ductility is measured by determining the percent of elongation and the percent reduction of area on a specimen during a tensile test.

Ductility is often indicated by chip control issues in certain steels, as the chip readily deforms, but does not separate from the workpiece. This can result in persistent burrs attached to the work.

Ductility can also mean long, stringy chips that can form a dreaded “birds nest,” engulfing the tool and workpiece. Long necklace chips are another sign of ductile materials in machining (see below).


Short chips curled into “sixes and nines” showing a bit of heat discoloration are typical of less ductile materials and ductile materials machined at proper parameters using chipbreakers and high pressure coolant delivery.

Chips that look like sixes or nines showing a bit of heat discoloration are desired for safe practice.

In our machining practice, we would prefer materials that are “crisp” rather than ductile. In order to successfully deal with ductile materials, strategies such as chip control features on inserts, wiper style inserts, through-tool coolant, interrupted cuts, chipbreakers and high pressure coolant can be considered. Dialing in the appropriate feeds, speeds and depth of cut are crucial, too.

Posted by: Lori Beckman 8. December 2014

November Index Reflects Contraction Again


With a reading of 48.7, the Gardner Business Index showed that the production machining industry contracted at a relatively moderate rate for the second month. However, compared with 1 year ago, the index grew 0.4 percent. It contracted in October. The annual rate of change continued to grow at a strong rate, but it decelerated for the second month in a row.

New orders contracted for the second month in a row. The trend in new orders has steadily declined since January. Production expanded for the 11th consecutive month. It has steadily declined since March, but the down trend has not been as steep as it was for new orders. Backlogs have contracted 4 of the last 5 months. They contracted at their slowest rate since September 2013. Compared with October, the backlog index improved slightly. But, compared with 1 year ago, the backlog index contracted for the second month in a row. The annual rate of growth in backlogs is still very strong. Therefore, the trend in backlogs indicates significant increases in capacity utilization and capital equipment consumption this year. But, capacity utilization should see its peak rate of growth in the first or second quarter this year. Employment increased at its fastest rate since June 2014. The contraction in exports slowed somewhat in November, although the dollar continued to strengthen. Supplier deliveries have lengthened at a significantly slower rate the last couple of months.

While material prices were increasing at significantly accelerating rate earlier this year, the previous 4 months have seen a lower rate of increase. Material prices are increasing at their slowest rate since March 2014. Prices received have been virtually flat the previous 2 months. Future business expectations rebounded sharply in November. They were at their highest level since June 2014.

Shops with 50-99 employees expanded at the fastest rate by far in November. They have been growing at a significant rate since October 2013. Facilities with 100-249 employees contracted for the second month in a row, while shops with more than 250 employees expanded slightly after contracting in October. Shops with 20-49 employees contracted for the second time in 3 months. These shops have been the most significant reason for the lower index the last few months. Shops with fewer than 20 employees contracted once again.

The Northeast was the only region to grow in November. It had contracted the previous 2 months. The North Central – East contracted for the first time since December 2012. The North Central – West and Southeast contracted for the second month in a row. The West contracted at its fastest rate since August 2013.

Future capital spending plans for the next 12 months increased 14.1 percent compared with 1 year ago. This was the third month in a row that the month-over-month rate of change grew more than 10.0 percent. While the annual rate of change grew for the second month in a row, the rate of growth was a little slower this month.  


Posted by: Chris Koepfer 5. December 2014

4,000 Pages of Info in Your Pocket

Manuals you can carry anywhere. ​

Documentation has always been a big part of the technology side of manufacturing. Machine tool maintenance manuals, cutting tool manuals, training manuals, troubleshooting manuals software manuals are among a few of the binders that have populated shops and shop floors forever.

With the digital revolution, much of that clutter is being replaced by mobile devices that are easily transported wherever the information is needed. Recently, control builder Siemens has expanded its Easy CNC app to include Android devices.

Eliminating the heavy manuals, this app provides 4,000 pages of CNC instruction, content and troubleshooting instructions at your fingertips. In addition, a handy G-code compatibility tool allows quick access to compatible codes for Siemens and ISO G codes.

Access to this new app is free, and you can download it to your mobile devices by clicking here

Posted by: Chris Felix 3. December 2014

Mazak Unveils iSmart Factory Concept

Mazak plans to designate all ten of its manufacuring operations as iSmart Factories.

Yamazaki Mazak headquarters in Aichi, Japan, has recently announced its new Mazak iSmart Factory concept. This dynamic next-generation concept represents Mazak’s all-encompassing manufacturing vision. The company will eventually designate all ten of its manufacturing operations as iSmart Factories, the first being the Oguchi factory in Japan and now the North American factory in Florence, Ky.

The iSmart Factory uses advanced manufacturing cells and systems together with full digital integration to achieve free-flow data sharing in terms of process control and operation monitoring. In this concept, the MTConnect open communications protocol works with process support software and provides connectivity and the capability to monitor then harvest data from all the different production floor machines, cells, devices and processes.

Through PCs and portable electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets, both management and manufacturing access the same real-time manufacturing data to improve overall productivity efficiency and responsiveness to customer/market changes.

“For Mazak, iSmart Factory is a vision—the complete digital integration of the factory with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, automation and advanced manufacturing practices,” says Brian Papke, president of Mazak Corporation. “The name establishes a philosophy—a credo of sorts for Mazak that is unique to our operations but symbolizes our commitment toward the ultimate smart factory.”

In Kentucky, full simultaneous 5-axis, multi-tasking and Done in One machining technologies, advanced automation that allows for different machines within the same cell and innovative machining systems highlight Mazak’s North American iSmart Factory operations. Also, a fully automated paint line provides the versatility to completely change over from one color to the next very quickly and will be digitally monitored through the same technology.

Additionally, all the various manufacturing systems in the plant are designed for fast changeovers and allow for producing in small lot sizes and with a higher mix of components. The systems are also all integrated to the MTConnect standard, and further advances in 2015 will incorporate the factory floor data with Mazak’s ERP system.

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