Posted by: Chris Felix 18. February 2015

Joel Rutzen to Present at PMTS Knowledge Center


At the Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS) on Thursday, April 23, at 10 a.m., Joel Rutzen, vice president, technical support, of SPC Innovations, will present “In-Machine Gaging and Process Monitoring.” In this Knowledge Center presentation, Mr. Rutzen will discuss the benefits of in-process gaging, broken tool detection, and process monitoring. Discussion will include the types of equipment available, along with advantages and limitations. Practical applications will also be covered.

PMTS Knowledge Centers are brief, interactive presentations held on the show floor. Intimate and limited in size, Knowledge Centers are led by industry experts and leading equipment suppliers. They offer unique opportunities for deeper learning about specific products and process technologies.

Knowledge Centers are easily accessible for PMTS attendees, so make sure you’re at the show! Registration is now open for this 8th edition of the biennial gathering of companies focused on the manufacture of precision machined parts.

Posted by: Miles Free 17. February 2015

Accommodating Unleaded Brass

Our cheat sheet for moving from leaded steel to unleaded steel provides a roadmap for adjusting to unleaded brass.

Unleaded brasses are not necessarily harder to run than leaded brass. They are just different. By recognizing and accommodating for  their lack of lead, and the different thermal conductivity, differences in chip forming, and the need to up-tool for heavier feeds rather than higher speeds, your shop can also be successful at making parts from these newer, more challenging grades.

It is widely acknowledged that lead promotes machinability. To get the maximum production from automatic machines, additions of lead have been commonly used in metals, particularly steels and brasses. In brass, dispersed in the grain boundaries, lead acts as an internal lubricant: It reduces friction, and thus heat. By reducing the heat, lead allows the metals to which it has been added to be machined at much higher speeds than the comparable non-leaded grades. These higher speeds (rpm or surface feet per minute) result in shorter cycle times to produce each part. Short cycle times mean less expensive parts.

Leaded brass offered these historical advantages:

  • Excellent surface finish
  • Forgiving of machine mis-adjustments
  • No thermal issues
  • Fast cycle times
  • No chip control issues

When machining non-leaded materials, we have to somehow maintain surface finish, get to commercially feasible cycle times, and deal with less than ideal chip characteristics.

What are some strategies for machining the new unleaded brasses?

Increase the feed. Since we lost the lead and the ability to run at higher speeds, increasing the feed can help us get to equivalent cubic inches of removal rates.

Improve the machine rigidity. Heavier feeds mean that your machine needs to be adjusted and solid. It also means more horsepower required— again mandating a rock-solid setup.

Improve the tool. 4 percent lead is very forgiving of tool quality; the new nonleaded grades are the opposite—they present a number of challenges to your tools. Improved materials, geometry and coatings are key to machining unleaded brasses with minimum issues. Also, they will require fewer replacements, helping to get more net production at the end of the shift.

Improve the chip management. Some unleaded grades replace the lead with zinc, resulting in a grade with a type III chip—stringy and bird’s-nest prone. With these grades, pay special attention to drills selected, and try inserts with chip control features to help you manage that chip.

Deal with the increased heat. The lead helped to reduce friction and heat in the leaded grades. With the lead removed, you will have increased heat generated. Carbide is more forgiving of heat, as are tool coatings. Talk to your supplier of metalworking fluids. Chances are, they will have a fluid that will help manage those extra BTUs and maintain your tools’ edges.

Change your ideas about machining brass. Unleaded brass machines more like steel than brass as long as you think of it like leaded brass, you will fight it. Instead, think of it as just a yellow version of 1215 steel or stainless and your expectations will be much closer to reality.

Unleaded brasses are not necessarily harder to run than leaded brass. They are just different. By recognizing and accommodating for their lack of lead and the resultant different thermal conductivity, differences in chip forming, and the need to up the tool for heavier feeds rather than higher speeds, your shop can also be successful at making parts from these newer, more challenging grades.

The market for our precision machined parts continues to be evolve. Evolve your thinking and processing to adjust to the realities of unleaded materials to remain a viable and preferred supplier.

For more details on grades and recommendations, read Adjusting to Unleaded.


Originally posted on blog. 

Posted by: Lori Beckman 16. February 2015

Medical Machining Challenges and Solutions

Complexus delivers devices completely machined, laser-welded, laser-marked and assembled to its customers, keeping some secondary processes in-house while outsourcing others to trusted local vendors. 

Every shop has its challenges, and every shop must find ways to overcome these obstacles. One manufacturer in Mishawka, Indiana, that machines medical components has been affected by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that includes a new tax on medical devices. Therefore, medical device OEMs are looking for suppliers that offer competitive cost advantages for the parts and assemblies they provide.

This is one of many challenges for these manufacturers, however. The changes have impacted not only the equipment Complexus Medical has purchased through the years, but also the shopfloor practices and business strategies it has adopted to become more competitive. To read about several of the specific challenges this company has experienced as well as the actions the shop has taken to address them, read “Making it in Medical."

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 13. February 2015

Rich Henning to Present at PMTS


Coming in April to the Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS), presentations from industry experts will be part of festivities through Knowledge Centers. On Tuesday, April 21 at 2 p.m., Rich Henning, president of Henning Software, will present "Provide Your Employees an ERP Portal Using Mobile Devices."

Mr. Henning's Knowledge Center presentation will explain how iOS/Android devices can be used in shops as a portal for employees to access the company’s ERP data.

The ability to access performance metrics, job assignments, work instructions and clock in and out of jobs using mobile, paperless devices is increasingly being used by manufacturers. Mr. Henning will lead discussions on how to move a business to this next level.

The knowledge centers will be held on the show floor and are accessible to all attendees. But you must be at PMTS in Columbus, Ohio. Click here to learn more and register.   

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 12. February 2015

Join Your Peers in San Antonio

Join your peers in precision machined parts manufacturing at the Management Update Conference in San Antonio, February 27-March 1.

From February 28 to March 1, the PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association) is holding its annual Management Update Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Since 1933, this trade association has represented the precision machined parts industry.

Association members and non-members will gather to hear presentations from industry and business experts on a range topics germane to the operation of manufacturing enterprises. It’s an excellent opportunity to network with your peers and learn about this association’s work representing the precision machined parts industry.

Click here to learn more. 

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