Posted by: Chris Koepfer 21. August 2015

Rack 'em Up

Probe changes can be incorporated into fully automated measurement sequences.

A new version of Delcam’s inspection software makes it easier to complete fast and accurate inspection of complex assemblies. Nobody likes to have to inspect parts and assemblies, so any progress in making the process more efficient is welcome.

An improvement for CNC CMM users in this new version is the addition of support for MRC20 and FCR25 probe rack changes. Delcam’s PowerINSPECT now incorporates probe changes into fully automated sequences. Enhancements to the probe database allow for definition of probe tools in terms of subassemblies, which can be docked in rack ports located on the CMM work table.

Once they are created, the subassemblies are allocated to specific ports in the probe change rack, and the physical location of the rack is programmed so the CMM knows where it is and which rack is being called for. The inspection software carries out the probe change and keeps track of the subassemblies as they move between the probe head and the rack.

Click here to learn more about PowerINSPECT from Delcam. 

Posted by: Chris Felix 19. August 2015

Okuma Launches Industry Parts Viewer


Okuma America Corporation has announced the launch of its interactive “Industry Parts Viewer” that provides users with a view of industry-specific assemblies and parts. Originally showcased at IMTS 2014, the viewer is now part of the Okuma website and allows users to choose from automotive, aerospace and oil and energy industries to explore component parts and the CNC machine used for cutting each specific part.

Users select an industry, choose a particular assembly, and then click on a part to learn more. Once a part is selected, it’s shown in a three-dimensional view and rotates 360°, allowing it to be explored from various angles. The Okuma CNC machines used to cut the part are also listed on a menu detailing machine and partner value added features, specifications and Intelligent Technologies.

Various assemblies are included in the program:

  • Automotive – engine, brake, suspension, drive-train
  • Aerospace – environmental, flight control, landing gear, structural, engine
  • Oil/Energy – oil rig, hydraulic fracturing, pump jack

In addition to sourcing technology for parts, the Industry Parts Viewer is also a useful tool in educational settings where it can be used to see how CNC machine tool manufacturing contributes to everyday life.

Posted by: Lori Beckman 18. August 2015

See How You Stack Up


What’s Top Shops? Top Shops is the annual benchmarking survey conducted by sister publication Modern Machine Shop.

Why’s it important? The survey enables machine shops to compare their metrics and practices with the country’s top-performing shops in categories including machining technology, shopfloor practices, business strategies and human resources.

How can I find results? This Executive Summary compares responses from this year’s benchmarking group (calculated by totaling the points assigned to select survey questions) with the other shops that participated in the survey.

Where can I find more information about this survey? Visit the magazine’s Top Shops Zone for other articles and to access past survey data.

Posted by: Miles Free 17. August 2015

6 Lessons I Learned about our Machining Business

Horn adds a new building on Dusslinger Way in Tübingen, Germany.

Last month, I was privileged to attend Horn Technology Days. Here are six lessons learned.

Lesson 1: It’s not one thing. There is no magic bullet. There is no miracle pill. Machining is a system. Understand the system, and address system weaknesses.

Stop looking for magic answers. There is seldom a single change you can make that will optimize your process. You must consider the entire system. I took in every technical session while I was there. I expected to be told that “Whatever it is I’m showing you” is the answer to your machining problems. I was not told that at all. In all the sessions, the focus was on optimizing and understanding the interactions of the system and its components, which was refreshing.

Lesson 2: In our business, success is defined by sustainability, not lowest price. By sustainability, I do not mean “greenwashing.” To be sustainable, a company must learn to solve problems. Problems unsolved have the potential to bring your company down.

How to become more sustainable:

  • Solve problems first.
  • Solve the problem for good.
  • Understand that the lowest cost over the long term is not the lowest price over the short term.
  • Spend less time on maintenance by planning it.
  • Spend more time on production.
  • Spend more time on innovation.

This is why we have root cause analysis. We should only have to solve a problem once. Assure organizational learning takes place. And move forward.

Lesson 3: Pay attention to energy. This one was a complete surprise. Who knew that 37 percent of machine tool energy consumption is related to coolant and lubricant? Through-tool coolant typically runs at a rate of about 1 liter per minute (about a quart here in the U.S.) Traditional flood coolant is typically 18 liters per minute. (That’s about a 5-gallon bucket.) And the through-tool coolant is applied exactly where it is needed.

I’m not quite convinced that MQL is the answer for production machining, but I saw some demonstrations that continue to make me think.

On another note, typically utilities run from 6 to 10 percent of sales dollars in our shops. We’ve seen estimates that shop lighting can run as much as 37 percent of the electrical consumption in Warehouses and light manufacturing shops. Even if you cut that in half, it is probably wise to evaluate your current shop lighting. We can talk about compressed air another time. If you hear compressed air in your shop, you are listening to dollars floating away.

Lesson 4: Conventional milling equals conventional rubbing. All of the programs on milling at Horn showed climb milling as the preferred practice. I’m not going to pretend expertise here, but what I thought I knew is no longer what I think I ought to know in regards to cutter rotation and material feed. Climb milling is the preferred way in modern shops today.

Lesson 5: Be optimistic. Horn is expanding again. Another new building was being built down the road. Why be optimistic? How can you be optimistic? It is easy to be optimistic if you are a private company. If you believe in continuous improvement, then you want tomorrow to be better than today. Today is today, but our way is the future. Our way is going forward. Do it today, for tomorrow. Can’t argue with that. That is why Horn has a class of apprentices in development. How about you?

Bonus Lesson 6: “The Best People are the Basis of the Future.” Lothar Horn shared this thought with me in a private conversation. It really fit hand in glove with Horn’s optimistic approach to the future. By training the people and making available opportunities to learn and grow, the company is preparing its team for an anticipated, but not yet understood, future.

“There is a continuous demand to upgrade our tools. We can only meet that demand by upgrading the skills of our workforce and the technology they apply.”

When that future arrives, they know they have done their best to be prepared for that day and its challenges.

That future will arrive. It arrives every day. What have you done to prepare your shop for the future that will soon arrive?


Originally posted on blog. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 13. August 2015

VIDEO: Hard to Visualize? Animate It

The cover feature of our September issue of Production Machining is about an application story on the use of CNC multi-spindle machines. In this case, eight-spindle machines are being used for complex parts and for double-drop production applications. The featured shop, Alpha Granger, purchased and applied Index MS 22-8 multis for its complex production work and is using these machines to profitably compete with single-spindle and Swiss-type machines.

This video, produced by Index, gives excellent insight into the complex workings of these machines, which can be difficult to visualize in real time. We thought those of you interested in multi-spindles might enjoy watching this before your copy of PM hits your desk. 

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