PM Blog

Sponsored Content 27. September 2018

The Case for Multi-Spindles

Traditionally, many view multi-spindle machines as requiring long setup times and complicated programs, limiting their suitability to jobs with large lot sizes. Current technology has largely eradicated those concerns.

With quick-change tooling, offline presetting and adequate planning, modern multi-spindles can be changed over within an hour or two. They have also become extremely simple to program. In short, many companies experience cost benefits on lot sizes as low as 2,500 pieces.

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The LNS Group has acquired ChipBlaster Inc., the maker of high pressure coolant systems, coolant chillers, cyclonic filtration systems and other machine tool peripherals.

“ChipBlaster is a market leader in the U.S. high-pressure coolant industry and is a natural fit into our machine tool peripheral product portfolio,” says Jeff McMullen, LNS North America CEO. “At LNS we plan to leverage our global sales and service network to sell ChipBlaster’s technologically advanced products on a worldwide basis. A common thread running through both companies is the goal of helping manufacturers optimize the efficiency of their machine tools to improve performance, productivity and profitability.”

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The manufacturing industry is interconnected in such a way that oftentimes, problems that affect one company affect all of them. One issue that has been plaguing all aspects of the industry is the so-called “skills gap,” the lack of skilled workers to fill manufacturing jobs. This is persistent enough that industry members have banded together, forming a grassroots movement to help solve it.

Manufacturing Day was started in 2012 by a group of industry organizations with the goal of correcting misperceptions about manufacturing and connecting with younger generations. They sought out to accomplish this by organizing local events for students, parents and educators. These events can take many forms, including open houses like the one being hosted by CNC Software Inc. (creators of Mastercam), facility tours, job fairs and other events. The idea is that by opening their doors and engaging with the community, companies feeling the effects of the skills gap can show the public what modern manufacturing is really like.

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The entire manufacturing community is affected by skilled worker shortages, but not everyone is actively involved in doing something about it. There are some who stand out in the crowd, though, such as Aaron Wiegel, president of Wiegel Tool Works Inc., who has led his company to growth, while contributing much of his time to promote manufacturing and break misconceptions about the industry.    

Aaron has developed training programs for the next generation workforce for manufacturing and has been an ambassador for manufacturing to students interested in a trade. He has served on the board of directors for banks and manufacturing associations and was the most recent chairman of the board of directors of the Technology and Manufacturing Association, representing about 1,000 member companies.

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Time in the cut is a universal measurement for any metalworking shop. The longer a machine tool is making chips, uninterrupted, the more productive that machine is.

This article, “Rotary Transfer Reduces Manufacturing Steps and Opens Opportunities,” looks at an automotive aftermarket supplier that consolidated its multi-machine process into a single machining cell. This move has opened up additional capacity for the shop to take on more work for its customers.

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