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Helping Customers Move Towards Industry 4.0

Helping Customers Move Towards Industry 4.0

Amolak Preet Singh, Managing Director of Haimer talks about how the company is helping its customers move towards process improvement and automation.

Amolak Preet Singh

Haimer is a family owned company based in Igenhausen, Bavaria in Germany. Established more than 40 years ago, the company designs and produces high-precision products for metal cutting as well as for other branches including automotive, aerospace, energy, rail, and general machining.

In addition to its large offering of tool holders, shrinking and balancing machines, as well as 3D sensors, Haimer is now also offering tool presetting machines. On top of that, the company has an entire tool management program, and solid carbide end milling program for machining centres.

READ: HAIMER To Showcase Latest Technologies And Solutions At EMO 2019

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News recently sat down with Amolak Preet Singh, Managing Director, SEA, NZ and India, Haimer, to talk about the company’s Thailand market, how they are helping customers improve their processes, and the company’s strategy towards Industry 4.0.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN THAILAND?

Amolak Preet Singh (AS): Thailand has been a great market for us in the past two years since we started to revamp our operations here. The business has grown three times in the last 2 years. We are seeing great opportunity not only in the aerospace industry, which has been growing here, but also the die and mould sectors, and the automotive sector. Worldwide, there is a greater push that is happening now towards Industry 4.0, and Thailand has started to take the first steps towards the direction moving towards it. We can see a lot of companies who are really talking about it.

There is also the emphasis being given now on improving machine efficiencies. That opens completely new doors for us from a business point of view. And I think the requirement for reducing the cost and improving machine efficiency is growing tremendously, so we are trying to partner with the industry on their overall processes to reduce their manufacturing costs.

READ: Optimised Tool Management Through Integrated Process Chain

Although the automotive industry is not growing in a big way, from a Haimer perspective, it is a great opportunity because the customers are still looking at major process improvements to reduce their costs. That’s where we are coming in as a partner—so from our perspective, the opportunity for us to grow in the automotive sector is massive here.

WHAT MANUFACTURING CHALLENGES ARE CUSTOMERS COMING TO YOU FOR?

AS: Most of the customers still look at Haimer as a supplier of world class tool holders and 3D sensors. That’s a perception that we are trying to change, especially in the past two years. And honestly, that’s our challenge—to change customers’ perceptions, from looking at Haimer not just as a company that supplies world’s best quality tool holders, but as an integrated supplier for all requirements around the machine. That’s where we are adding a lot of value to our customers.

And we are already seeing great success with the customers we are working with, in that once they start to use one Haimer product, they invariably start to use the other one because, at the end of the day, it is helping them reduce their costs.

READ: Haimer: Microset Tool Presetters

We have made good inroads into our customers, especially in the aerospace, automotive sectors, and die and mould sector, when it comes to improving their throughputs and production, or reducing their throughput costs. And we have unique products which, keeping everything constant, can help them either improve their productivity or reduce their consumable costs by 30 to 50 percent.

HOW DO YOU HELP CUSTOMERS MOVE TOWARDS INDUSTRY 4.0?

AS: Industry 4.0 is a very big subject. Sometimes a little bit vague, I would say. It means different things to different people. But to put it in a very simple way where the manufacturing process is concerned—I would say, can we help them reduce their dependence on people, improve their processes, and in that process, improve their machine efficiency, so that costs could come down? That’s where we are trying to focus at the initial level.

A very simple example is our shrink machine. A lot of people have huge issues in operating shrink machines—they need to train their people, the same as with the pre-setting machines.

Now, our new machines come with a QR code and RFID, so you don’t even need an trained operator to be running those machines. You just scan it, and the machine does everything automatically.

We are looking at Industry 4.0 more on automating the process, reducing the dependence on people, because getting skilled operators is becoming a huge challenge. We also have high-end software to link different machines, but I would say that’s at a second stage right now.

YOUR TOOLS ARE QUITE ADVANCED. ARE THEY SUITABLE FOR THE MARKETS HERE IN SEASIA?

AS: That’s a very good question, and that’s where I think we, being the technology leaders and worldwide leaders in most of the fields we operate in, have a bigger responsibility as regards helping the industry transit into the new mode.

When we started this new concept, this journey of moving towards the process for improvements last year, the response for the first six to 12 months was very slow. But we are really feeling that traction building up towards the last half of the previous year and continuing into last year, that people are very much interested in improving their processes and reducing their costs, because as the world becomes more globalised, or I would say, as the world shrinks, the only way to reduce your costs is to have strong processes, which will help you reduce your manufacturing costs on a continuous basis year in and year out. Those are the challenges that the industry is facing right now. And I think we are a very big catalyst to a lot of our customers, helping them in their journey towards automation—towards better quality, better processes, and cost reduction.

WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR 2020?

AS: The market continues to be challenging, especially in Singapore and Malaysia for the semiconductor industry; though we are seeing some early green shoots coming in that indicates that the market might have bottomed out. If you look at Thailand, the automotive industry has been a little bit challenged, but our general feeling is that the worse may be over. I think we have seen the bottoming out of the worst phase of this industry, so we are hopeful that the end of the first quarter, things will be much better.

 

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Powering Additive Manufacturing With Data Analytics

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ITAP 2019: Stay Ahead, Stay Relevant

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ABB Supports Growing EV Market In Indonesia

Leveraging Human-Robot Collaboration

 

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Machining For The Aerospace Industry

Machining for the Aerospace Industry

The aerospace industry is one of the most important driving factors for cutting tool development. Here are the recent tool developments to address the challenges in aerospace parts manufacturing. Article by Andrei Petrilin, ISCAR.

The aerospace industry is not only one of the largest consumers of cutting tools but also one of the most important driving factors for cutting tool development. The aerospace industry features continuous efforts aimed at improving aircraft component manufacturing efficiency, increasing flight safety, and reducing potential environmental damage.

To achieve these goals, the aerospace industry must constantly improve the design of aircraft engines and airframe structural elements, to increase the protection of the aircraft from the damaging action of such dangerous factors as lightening and icing. This, in turn, has resulted in a series of  industry demands, including the introduction of engineering materials that require new production technologies, developing appropriate machinery and cutting tools. The aircraft manufacturer has to deal with complex parts, which are produced from various materials with the use of different machining strategies. This is why the aerospace industry is considered as a powerful and leading force for progress in cutting tool development.

Many materials used for manufacturing aircraft components have poor machinability. Titanium with its impressive strength-to-weight ratio, high-temperature superalloys (HTSA) that do not lose their strength under high thermal load, and composites, are difficult-to-cut materials. In order to increase output rate and improve productivity, aerospace component manufacturers must use machine tools capable of implementing advanced machining operations. In such conditions, the role of cutting tools is significantly increased; however, cutting tools can represent the weakest link in the whole manufacturing system due to their low durability as a system element, which can decrease productivity. Customers from the aerospace sector expect higher levels of performance and reliability from cutting tools. Tool manufacturers now are being challenged and inspired, in terms of developing and integrating sometimes unconventional solutions into their products, to meet these expectations.

READ: Five Stars for Effective Chamfering

READ: ISCAR CTO Stresses On Productivity Improvement

Basic Materials

Figure 2: ISCAR’s F3S chipformer was designed specifically for finish turning high-temperature nickel-based alloys and exotic materials.

Most cutting tools continue to be manufactured from cemented carbide. Over recent years, ISCAR has introduced several carbide grades designed specifically for aerospace materials, including
IC 5820. The grade combines the advantages of a new submicron substrate, a progressive hard CVD coating, and a post-coating treatment to substantially increase impact strength and heat resistance. The inserts from this grade are intended mostly for milling titanium. Pinpointed wet cooling and especially high-pressure coolant (HPC) significantly improve grade performance.

Ceramics, another tool material, possess considerably higher hot hardness and chemical inertness than cemented carbides. This means that ceramics ensure much greater cutting speeds and eliminate diffusion wear. One of ISCAR’s recent developments, a family of solid ceramic endmills, is intended for machining HTSA. These endmills are made from SiAlON, a type of silicon-nitride-based ceramic comprising silicon (Si), aluminium (Al), oxygen (O) and nitrogen (N). When compared with solid carbide tools, these endmills enable up to 50 times increase in cutting speed, which can drastically save machining hours.

For turning applications, the company expanded its line of indexable SiAlON inserts for machining HTSA materials. The new products (Figure 1) have already proven their effectiveness in turning aero engine parts from super alloys such as Waspaloy and different Inconel and Rene grades. In contrast to other silicon nitride ceramics, SiAlON possesses higher oxidation resistance but less toughness. Therefore, a key of a SiAlON insert reliability is additional edge preparation. ISCAR’s new TE edge geometry has been developed to increase tool life in heavy load conditions during rough operations and interrupted cuts.

Advanced Geometry

Figure 3: The recently launched modular drills for multi-spindle and Swiss-type machines combine the SUMOCHAM design with a FLEXFIT threaded connection.

Improving a cutting geometry is an important direction in the development of cutting tools. Cutting geometry is a subject of theoretical and experimental researches, and advances in science and technology have brought a new powerful instrument to aid in tool design: 3D computer modelling of chip formation. ISCAR’s R&D team actively uses modelling to find optimal cutting geometries and form the rake face of indexable inserts and exchangeable heads.

READ: Not A Small Challenge: Cutting Tools for Miniature Dental and Medical Parts

The F3S chipformer for the most popular ISO inserts, such as CNMG, WNMG and SNMG, was designed specifically for finish turning high-temperature nickel-based alloys and exotic materials (Figure 2). It ensures a smooth and easy cut with notable chip breaking results. The remarkable working capability of the designed cutting geometry is a direct result of chip flow modelling.

In hole making, applying modelling to the design process significantly contributed to creating a chip splitting geometry of SUMOCHAM exchangeable carbide heads for drilling holes with depth up to 12-hole diameters in hard-to-cut austenitic and duplex stainless steel.

Flexible Customisation

Figure 4: The need to increase productivity and boost metal removal rates for milling aluminium workpieces, especially large parts of aerospace structural components, has led machine tool builders to develop milling machines with a powerful main drive—up to 150 kW—with high spindle speeds of up to 33,000 rpm.

Aerospace products can vary immensely in material, dimensions, shape , complexity, and more. To make such a diverse range of products, the product manufacturer needs dozens of machine tools and technological processes. Not every standard cutting tool is optimal for performing certain machining operations with maximum productivity and, consequently, the aerospace industry is a leading consumer of customized tools.

READ: Addressing Temperature Effects In Turning

READ: High Speed Accurate Machining

A customer producing titanium parts might be interested in solutions comprising indexable shell mills and arbors from the standard line; while another customer producing similar parts might prefer special milling cutters with an integral body, for direct mounting in a machine spindle.

ISCAR developed the  MULTI-MASTER and SUMOCHAM families of rotating tools with exchangeable heads and different body configurations to ensure various tool assembly options that simplify customization and decrease the need for costly tailormade products.

A further example of simplified customisation can be found in ISCAR’s recently-launched modular drills for multi-spindle and Swiss-type machines. The drills combine the SUMOCHAM design with a FLEXFIT threaded connection (Figure 3). Multi-spindle and Swiss-type machines typically have a limited space for tooling, which means that the tools in operation need to be as short as possible to avoid collisions and facilitate easy set up. A wide range of FLEXFIT threaded adaptors and flatted shanks has been designed precisely to fit the drills and maximally shorten an overhang.

Responding to demands from the aerospace sector, the company also expanded the MULTI-MASTER family by introducing a new thread connection to increase the diameter range for the exchangeable endmill heads to 32 mm (1.25″).

Aluminium Machining

Although machining aluminium might appear to be an extremely simple process, effective cutting of aluminium actually represents a whole field of technology with its own laws and challenges.

The need to increase productivity and boost metal removal rates for milling aluminium workpieces, especially large parts of aerospace structural components, has led machine tool builders to develop milling machines with a powerful main drive—up to 150 kW—with high spindle speeds of up to 33,000 rpm. To meet this demand, ISCAR has expanded its family of 90° indexable milling cutters by introducing new tools carrying large-size inserts that enable up to 22 mm (.870″) depth of cut (Figure 4). The tools have been designed to eliminate insert radial displacement, which might occur due to high centrifugal forces during very high rotational speed. This concept facilitates reliable milling in a rotational speed range of up to 31,000 rpm.

In hole making, the company developed new inserts for drilling aluminium with indexable drills from the DR-TWIST drilling tool range. The inserts are peripherally ground and feature sharp cutting edges and polished rake face for light cut, preventing adhesion.

ISCAR’s cutting tool program for the aerospace sector is based on several principles: the complex needs of this industry, taking into consideration trends in metalworking, and the drive to strengthen partnerships with tool consumers. ISCAR believes that such a tri-pronged approach ensures the successful realization of innovative ideas for efficient machining of the difficult-to-cut materials that characterize this challenging and dynamic field.

 

Increase Your Productivity Through Knowledge

Connect to ISCAR WORLD is the virtual ‘one stop shop’ app that features all ISCAR’s online apps, interfaces, and product catalogues in a single space. Discover ISCAR WORLD and its added value in providing you a rich experience to review, compare, check, and select the tooling solutions that are right for your needs.

ISCAR WORLD is simple to use and can easily be downloaded for IOS and Android platforms from the online stores.

App Store (IOS)

Play Store (Android)

 

Check these articles out:

Better Surface Finish With Linear Technology

Walter: Machining Titanium Quickly And Safely In Aerospace

Cutting Tool Inserts To See Ballooning Sales

Vietnam To Remove Import Tax For Auto Materials

Coronavirus Hits Automotive And Aerospace Supply Chains

Kennametal Makes Hard Turning More Cost-Effective

ISCAR Launches Chipformer For Finish Turning On Superalloys

Germany’s Precision Tool Industry To Grow 5% In 2018

EOS Launches New P 810 Polymer Industrial 3D Printing Platform And HT-23 Material

The Metal Machining Versatility of Abrasive Waterjets

 

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Five Stars For Effective Chamfering

Five Stars for Effective Chamfering

Although seemingly simple, the design of effective chamfering tools needs to take into consideration various factors, including whether the chamfers are external or internal, breaking sharp edges and removing burrs, chamfers in holes, productivity, and versatility. Article by Andrei Petrilin, ISCAR.

Figure 1: MULTI MASTER HCD head.

Chamfering is perhaps the most common operation in metal cutting. It may be found practically in every machining process. Chamfers and, to a lesser degree, fillets feature on almost all external and internal corners of parts. Chamfers are simpler to manufacture than fillets, which explains why they prevail. We are so accustomed to the presence of chamfers at the edges of various products that sometimes we do not think about the importance of these relatively small sloped surfaces. They prevent hand injuries, make assembly easy, reduce stress concentration, and constitute necessary elements of a product design.

Traditionally, chamfering is considered as a simple operation. Usually, it is performed by different cutting tools, which are not very sophisticated. A straight-turning tool or a milling cutter featuring a 45-deg cutting edge angle or a drill with a 90-deg-point angle are typical representatives of such tools.

At the same time, the application field of rotating chamfering tools is not limited by typical operations but also includes deburring and bevelling, countersinking and undercutting, back chamfering in holes and along edges, undercutting and V-cutting, spot drilling and centre drilling. A rotating chamfering tool is extremely versatile and, in an ideal scenario, should be capable of performing all the mentioned machining operations effectively and efficiently.

However, various objective limitations, primarily dimensional, place serious obstacles in creating this perfect tool and the existing solutions tend to be far from ideal. Understanding the most preferable features of the tool from the customer’s point of view is critical for designing modern chamfering tools to overcome these challenges. Especially here, which seems so simple as to be sometimes disregarded, manufacturers look to cutting tool producers for a simple, productive, cost-effective, and versatile solution.

Such an approach resonates with ISCAR’s concept of advanced intelligent tools. Following this principle, the company has developed various rotating chamfering tools.

Figure 2: MULTI MASTER GRIT 28K-45D-6T10 ‎head

MULTI-MASTER, ISCAR’s family of assembled tools with exchangeable cutting heads, provides several options. The economical two-flute MM H heads and fully ground multi-flute MM E heads ensure effective chamfering and removing burrs, particularly when applied to cutting relatively small-size areas or workpieces. One of the heads, the multi-functional MM HCD (Figure 1), is suitable for efficient machining external and internal chamfers, burrs, centre- and spot-drilling, and countersinking. The secret of the head success is a cutting geometry that features combining negative and positive axial rakes. Together with a positive radial rake,  the design principle results in a strong cutting edge and excellent chip former to guarantee a smooth and light cut—even in hard machining conditions—and reliable chip flow.

The dovetail-shape heads (Figure 2), another MULTI-MASTER product, are available with 45 deg, 60 deg and 75 deg entering angles. They are capable of both generating dovetail groove or slots and perform back chamfering; the multi-tooth design of the heads ensures high productivity when performing this operation.

Drilling a hole with a chamfer by one single pass, for example in pre-thread drilling, is a preferable option for every manufacturer. The operation can be performed by applying a combined hole making tool that combines drilling and countersinking features (Figure 3).  However, an almost endless number of hole depths significantly limits tool capabilities and technically necessitates the manufacture of many special tool versions, each adapted to a specific hole size. This problem is overcome by mounting a chamfering ring in the body of a standard ISCAR CHAMDRILL drill, in the desired position according to the drill tip, to configure a tool that can perform drilling and chamfering in one operation.

Figure 3: DCNT combined drill

One tool design is intended especially for small manufacturers and maintenance departments. This is a versatile chamfering endmill with an adjustable cutting edge angle. The endmill features a rotatable cartridge that carries an indexable insert. Due to adjustability of the cutting edge, the tool enables milling chamfers with various angles and eliminates the need for different tools for different chamfer angles. The angle scale, engraved on the cartridge, makes adjusting simple and friendly. Nevertheless, the ‘cost’ of high versatility is a single chamfering edge—the multi-functional adjustable design provides only one cutting tooth.

ISCAR’s recently launched CHAMFMILL family of indexable milling cutters is designed for front and back chamfering (Figure 4), with applications including machining small outer and inner chamfers and removing burrs. The key element of the family is a pentagonal insert carried by the cutters. The star-like shape features 10 cutting edges: five for front and five for back chamfering.

Although seemingly simple, the design of effective chamfering tools needs to take into consideration various factors, including whether the chamfers are external or internal, breaking sharp edges and removing burrs, chamfers in holes, productivity, versatility, and more. To the question of which tool would be considered as a five-star product, one could answer that the best tool is the one that the customer has chosen according to their needs.

 

Increase Your Productivity Through Knowledge

Connect to ISCAR WORLD is the virtual ‘one stop shop’ app that features all ISCAR’s online apps, interfaces, and product catalogues in a single space. Discover ISCAR WORLD and its added value in providing you a rich experience to review, compare, check, and select the tooling solutions that are right for your needs.

ISCAR WORLD is simple to use and can easily be downloaded for IOS and Android platforms from the online stores.

App Store (IOS)

Play Store (Android)

 

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FOLLOW US ON: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter

 

 

Sutton Tools Discusses Automotive, Aerospace Trends

Sutton Tools Discusses Automotive, Aerospace Trends

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News sat down with Jeff Boyd of Sutton Tools to talk about trends and opportunities in the cutting tools market, and some of the product innovations at the company. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

Established in 1917, Sutton Tools is a family owned company manufacturing cutting tools for the metal cutting industry. The company supplies tools to end-user markets including automotive, medical, mining, power generation, aerospace, defence, and the oil and gas industries. Founded by William Henry Sutton, the company is currently managed by the fourth-generation Sutton family.

At the recent EMO Hannover 2019 trade fair in Germany, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News sat down with Jeff Boyd, export manager at Sutton Tools, to talk about trends and opportunities in the cutting tools market, and some of the product innovations at the company.

Tells us about yourself and your role in the company.

Jeff Boyd (JB): I have a background in product engineering and technical R&D. That kind of matured into a more of a technical role in the field. In 2011, I headed up to Singapore, where I ran the company’s operation and distribution centre. I was there for nearly five years, running the Asian markets. Currently, my role is to support our teams globally, and bring the necessary market information back to our head office to support our production facility.

We offer a wide range of solutions for the metal cutting industry. We have a division in Europe, based in the Netherlands, which supplies the European region; and then from our Melbourne, Australia headquarters, we are very focused on the Asian market, where we supply various engineered cutting tools, to increase the end-users’ productivity. We have salespeople located in all the major markets in Europe and Asia. And for a company our size, that’s probably where we mainly focus on. In these markets, we have a particular focus on aerospace machining of difficult high strength materials and automotive tapping.

What challenges are you seeing in the industry?

JB: Every market has a different challenge. If I bring it down to one thing, it is finding the right people in those markets. People that are engaged in the market, and have very good relationships, because, we know we have a very good, very stable product at a competitive price and the right quality. But at the end of the day, you really need the right people that you can trust to be able to really find the right solution to offer the customer, to bring the benefit to the customer; to bring these products to them.

What opportunities are you seeing in southeast asia?

JB: I would say Southeast Asia has a very strong aerospace/aviation market. Our experiences and successes in the machining of titaniums and Inconels, particularly in the French aerospace markets over the past few years, have allowed us to leverage this knowledge and open up a number of new opportunities for Sutton Tools in Southeast Asia. That said, automotive tapping applications in Thailand and Indonesia is also of particular interest, when it comes to thread forming of forged steel components.

 

 

What can you say about e-mobility?

JB: We have a number of customers, particularly in China, for electric vehicles (EVs), and, you know, a lot of materials there are silicon-based aluminium. We have very good solutions for producing threads when it comes to forming taps for those materials. As the internal combustion engine is seeing a demise, we are focusing on EVs, and diversifying our offer; focusing from an engineering point of view on those materials necessary to produce the electric vehicles.

What products are you highlighting here at the show?

JB: We are highlighting industry-based solutions here, so we have a program for super alloy materials for the aerospace industry. In terms of machining, we have a very good carbide grade and geometry ideal for high metal removal rates with dynamic type machining strategies. We have done a lot of independent testing with our tools, and we have about three sales guys in south of France supporting the market there for the subcontractors to Airbus, which is really seeing a lot of growth in the market, particularly this year. That’s a very important area for this exhibition for us.

But we are also showcasing some new products ready for 2020. We’ve recently purchased some new equipment to produce extra-long series carbides drills. We’re releasing a range of 15xD, 20xD and 30xD carbide drills in 2020, as well as a lot of our taps for automotive tapping applications.

The cutting tools market is very competitive. what makes your products unique in the market?

JB: Sutton Tools is flexible in the way we go about our business. We really like to work with the customers, and the end-users. We are very focused on talking to the end user, understanding what their challenges are, and we try to be flexible enough to offer a solution in that way.

You mentioned you were in philippines recently. what are the opportunities you are seeing in that market?

JB: I was in the Philippines for the PDMEX 2019 event, to support our distributor there. We have a couple of aerospace customers and a few automotive customers in the Philippines. It is kind of similar, the aerospace companies based there are very much machining exotic materials including titanium; and we have a very good relationship with them for many years. There are also quite a few automotive customers, again for tapping. And they are our two strengths, really. We like to do things really well, and we put a lot of our resources into supporting the brand.

 

Check these articles out:

New Heights For Aerospace Industry

Kennametal Launches 3D Printing Business Unit

Gripping and Clamping Solutions for Process Automation

Global Metal Cutting Tools Outlook

Blaser Swisslube Discusses How Liquid Tool Achieves the Milestone

 

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Top 10 Metal Cutting Articles For 2019

Top 10 Metal Cutting Articles for 2019

As we move into 2020, we take a look back at the most popular metal cutting articles for 2019. For your enjoyment, here is the list of the top 10 most read metal cutting articles over the past year.

  1. Increasing Automation, Connectivity And Energy Efficiency In Metal Cutting
  2. The Perfect Combination for Structural Parts—Faster, Better, Lower Cutting Forces
  3. Adapting Cutting Tools To Changing Trends
  4. Efficient Machine Tooling
  5. Getting Ahead in the Medical Market
  6. Market Outlook 2019: An Insight Into This Year’s Industry Megatrends
  7. EDM: Past, Present and Future
  8. A Look at Walter’s Two-in-One Machining Concept
  9. Choosing the Best Machining Centre for Your Application
  10. New Demands, New Solutions

 

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Mazak: Addressing Labour Issues Through Machine Intelligence And Automation

Mazak: Addressing Labour Issues Through Machine Intelligence and Automation

K.S. Chong of Yamazaki Mazak Singapore Pte Ltd speaks about the impact of automation in the metalworking equipment industry. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

K.S. Chong

K.S. Chong, Senior Director, Solution Engineering, Southeast Asia Headquarters, at Yamazaki Mazak Singapore Pte Ltd, speaks with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News during the recent Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC 2019 event in Singapore, about the latest trends in the machine tool industry, and how automation can help solve bottlenecks and issues on the shop floor.

Give us a brief background on your company, and your role.

K.S. Chong (KS):  Yamazaki Mazak is a Japanese machine tool builder. We produce various types of CNC machines for the metal cutting industry, anywhere from two-axis to nine-axis machines, multi-spindle, multi-turret machines, serving various industries such as automotive, aerospace, semiconductor, and energy, to name a few.

My role is basically to help in before- and after-sales activities such as time study, demonstration, and also turnkey projects. I also help with the proposal of equipment and solutions for the customer’s manufacturing needs.

From your perspective, what are some of the top challenges being faced by manufacturers in the region?

KS:  At this moment, I would say manpower—getting skilled manpower is a big issue for most of the manufacturers in SE Asia. Though they have the jobs or the money to buy the right equipment, getting the skilled manpower or engineers to run the machines or to design or make the fixtures or the process—that is one of the big challenges today.

What about from a manufacturing or technology standpoint?

KS: It is manpower. Humans make machines work. Without good, skilled manpower, it will be difficult to run an efficient manufacturing operation.

What is Mazak doing to help customers alleviate this issue?

KS: We are well known for making machines with our own conversational type CNC controller. We understand that our customers are facing problems to find skilled machinist or engineers to operate eg complex five-axis machines. So, we are building a lot of intelligence into the CNC control to make the machine more intelligent and easier to operate and program. That way, the customer will not need to rely on very high-skilled or high-level engineers to run their manufacturing operations.

 

 

What are Mazak’s latest innovations in metal cutting machines/technologies?

KS: CNC control technology has now advanced to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) with deep learning capabilities; making the manufacturing process more intelligent and efficient. More sensors are being employed on machine tools to monitor the operating condition of the machines to improve manufacturing process

What is your approach when it comes to industry 4.0?

KS: Basically, we encourage our customers to try and adopt IoT solutions such as machine status monitoring, in order to collect data on their machine utilization, so that they could address issues such as machine downtime, so as to keep their machines in the optimum operating condition.

By adopting IoT or Industry 4.0 strategies into their manufacturing process or operations, they will be able to get a faster return on investment.

What new industries are emerging right now?

KS: I think at the moment, there’s been a lot of hype on 3D printing and additive manufacturing; this is a very new area. Traditional manufacturing industries who used to use metal cutting machines to produce their products are now trying to explore hybrid additive manufacturing technologies to manufacture those high-value or high-mix, low-volume products.

We saw that trend globally. Therefore, since 5 years back, our headquarters in Japan has already developed several new hybrid additive manufacturing machines.

What is your take on the e-mobility trend?

KS: Our core business is producing CNC metal cutting machines. As far as e-mobility trend is concerned, it is actually using less metal or plastic parts as the traditional engine is replaced by an electric motor.  This means the demand for machining becomes lesser. Actually, I would say it is something that we need to be concerned of—how we are going to find new segments to cover for this shortfall. The manufacturing landscape for the automotive industry will be quite different in the coming years due to e-mobility.

Talks about electric vehicles have been going on for a long time, but there seems to be no massive production or adoption of it especially in southeast asia. Majority of the vehicles will still be those driven by conventional engines.

KS: Correct. Most of these ASEAN countries do not have a good infrastructure yet, such as charging facilities. Also, due to the living conditions of Southeast Asia, which is much cluttered and high density, it is also difficult to implement those infrastructures.

What opportunities are you seeing here in the region?

KS: The opportunities, I would say, would be in the adoption of new technologies such as hybrid additive manufacturing and IoT to complement the current traditional manufacturing processes.

How would you describe the level of manufacturing technology for job shops here in ASEAN?

KS: In Singapore, I would say it is quite matured; but of course, this is a dynamic world. New technologies are coming almost every year, every day. So, industries or SMEs need to be dynamic to adopt these new manufacturing technologies.

What is your outlook for the industry over the next year or two?

KS: There will be a lot of challenges, especially now with this global uncertainty, slow down of the global economy. So, it is anyone’s guess what is going to happen in the next two years. As the saying goes, ‘what goes up must come down, and what goes down must come up’. So, there is a good possibility that those segments that are not doing well today or this year, will slowly recover in the coming years.

 

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Laser Cutting In An 8-metre Format

Laser Cutting In An 8-metre Format

Langen CNC Metalltechnik GmbH & Co. KG has been successfully processing metal for 30 years. Here’s how the company was able to further increase its cutting capacity by 35 percent by phasing out two equipment, while simultaneously reducing energy consumption. Article by Vanessa Salbert.

Franz Langen (right) in conversation with the operator of the ByStar Fiber 8025. The quality of the cutting edges is essential for the further processing of the parts. A high-quality laser cut eliminates the need for costly reworking.

In northern Germany, Langen CNC Metalltechnik GmbH & Co. KG has been successfully processing metal for 30 years. The family-owned company has continuously invested in state-of-the-art laser cutting technology and infrastructure. Recently, their production hall has become home to a ByStar Fiber 8025 with a customized automation solution from Bystronic.

A green light behind a tinted window, the laser cutting head whizzes around in all directions. With precise and agile movements, it cuts contours out of a metal sheet. The ByStar Fiber 8025 has been in operation at Langen CNC Metalltechnik in the German municipality of Hilkenbrook since February.

“We wanted a machine that cuts efficiently and that is capable of processing large formats. We bend metal parts with lengths of up to eight meters and we, thus, also wanted to be able to cut parts of this size,” explained Franz Langen, Managing Director of Langen CNC Metalltechnik.

Since such a large laser cutting system in combination with an automation solution did not yet exist on the market, a lively exchange was initiated with Bystronic in Switzerland. The result is a powerful 10kW cutting system that cuts 8×2.5-metre metal sheets up to a thickness of 30mm like butter.

An operator from Langen CNC Metalltechnik monitors the cutting process on the ByStar Fiber’s two touch screens. Depending on the configuration, the screens show when which parts will be cut and display all the relevant details of the cutting jobs that are in progress.

Technology and on-site service

Another requirement Langen CNC Metalltechnik had for their ByStar Fiber solution was an automatic loading and unloading system that could handle the large-dimension parts cut by the laser cutting system. And that at any time, the huge cutting table should be able to accommodate either one large metal sheet (8×2.5m) or two standard metal sheets (for example, in the 4x2m format).

“With the Bytrans Cross 8025, we have a system that fulfils precisely these requirements,” said Langen. “The sheets are loaded onto the shuttle table in a fast and reliable process. This increases efficiency and ergonomics throughout the cutting process.”

However, not only the laser cutting machine is important, but also the production environment into which it is integrated. “We needed an alternative solution for the unloading of the trucks that deliver the sheet metal. Before we had the ByStar Fiber 8025, we used forklift trucks,” Langen added.

In order to save time and effort in the future, the company invested in a special magnetic handling technology that can lift sheet metal bundles of up to 5.0 metric tons. “We can now unload 25 tons of sheet metal in just 30 to 40 minutes,” he said.

Cutting capacity increased by 35 percent

The integration of the new laser cutting solution took several months. “We formed a working group for this phase,” Langen said. This was important to ensure everyone involved was on board to help achieve the optimal result for both the staff and the company.

The effort and motivation have paid off. The company currently cuts some 200 metric tons of material per week, which corresponds to 40,000 to 50,000 individual parts.

“Thanks to the new fibre laser system from Bystronic, we have been able to increase our capacity by 35 percent, in spite of phasing out two CO2 laser machines, while simultaneously achieving tremendous energy savings,” Langen said.

Langen CNC Metalltechnik has been manufacturing for more than 30 years. For the past 20 years, the company has relied on cutting technology from Bystronic. The company currently has some 220 employees at its 40,000 square meter site and trains apprentices in six different professions. Most of the parts they produce are used in the special machinery, vehicle, and shipbuilding industries.

“We work for approximately 20 large customers, but we are also pleased to accept small jobs,” Langen said. “We never decline an order.”

In general, the company maintains sustainable, long-term business relationships. “We have been supplying to our oldest customer for almost 30 years,” Langen concluded.

 

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Arrow Precision Relies On STUDER Grinding Tech

Arrow Precision Relies on STUDER Grinding Tech

Increasing global demand for Arrow Precision’s crankshafts recently prompted a search for a premium quality, highly-productive grinding machine that had the capabilities to grind crankshaft main bearing journals and pins to the company’s challenging dimensional and surface finish standards. Here’s what drove the company to select Studer.

StuderWIN software helps the operator achieve complex grinding tasks.

Established in 1974 by David Arnold, and currently under the direction of David’s son Ian, Arrow Precision continues to abide by the founder’s guiding principles of quality, innovation and service. The Hinckley, Leicestershire-based business’ highly skilled workforce have access to a wide range of premium quality machine tools enabling the company’s high-quality connecting rods and crankshafts to deliver ultimate levels of performance.

Having gained a global reputation for the components it produces, Arrow Precision now supplies three main automotive sectors. The company manufactures OE connecting rods and crankshafts for use in performance production road cars for prestigious customers throughout the world. In addition, a custom service is provided offering unique forgings, custom designs and the one-off manufacture of complete sets of rods for classic and vintage cars. Last but not least, the motorsport industry’s insistence on dealing with vendors with high-levels of technical expertise, flexible manufacturing process, and fast delivery times, means that Arrow Precision is now a major supplier to this most challenging of automotive sectors.

Increasing global demand for Arrow Precision’s crankshafts recently prompted a search for a premium quality, highly-productive grinding machine that had the capabilities to grind crankshaft main bearing journals and pins to the company’s challenging dimensional and surface finish standards. Having assessed several machines from leading manufacturers against a demanding list of criteria, a practical demonstration of a Studer S41 CNC universal grinding machine convinced Arnold that the advanced Studer offering was the ideal answer to the company’s requirements.

The S41

With distances between centres of 1,000/1,600 mm, centre heights of 225mm/275mm and the capability of machining workpieces with a maximum weight of 250kg, the Studer S41 CNC universal cylindrical grinding machine was designed to accommodate medium to large workpieces. While majority of daily grinding tasks can be efficiently performed on the machine, the S41 can also be configured for single-purpose use.

Studer’s S41 boasts a wide range of advanced technical features, such as the StuderGuide guideway system, high-precision axis drives with linear motors, and extremely fast direct drive of the B-axis, ensuring great flexibility, high precision and short auxiliary times. Given the diverse nature of the S41’s users, potential customers are able to choose from a large number of wheelhead variants. With up to four grinding wheels, the S41 fulfils virtually every requirement for complete machining.

The S41 is based on a robust Granitan S103 mineral casting machine bed. Developed and produced in the company’s own plant using the most modern industrial techniques, The advantageous material structure, has proven its value over many years. The excellent dampening characteristics of the S41’s machine base ensure outstanding surface quality of all ground workpieces. The use of Granitan S103 extends the service life of the grinding wheels, leading to reduced downtimes. In addition, temporary temperature fluctuations are compensated by the favourable thermal behaviour of this remarkable material.

The Studer S41’s versatile universal workhead enables both live spindle grinding and grinding between centres. The machine can also be fitted with a specially designed chuck workhead for chuck applications. The workhead is mounted on low-maintenance roller-bearings that have an excellent roundness accuracy of below 0.0004mm (optional, 0.0002mm). Fine adjustment allows for cylindricity corrections in the 1µm range during live spindle operations. As with the machine’s tailstock, its workhead is also equipped with an air cushion lift-off to simplify movement during setup and resetting.

The machine’s direct-drive workhead is primarily used for live spindle grinding of heavy workpieces and for high-precision C-axis applications. When form grinding, the range of parts is expanded by the design configuration of the S41’s direct drive. This design also allows the installation of a high-precision measuring system directly on the spindle.

To an ever-increasing extent, the claim of ‘complete machining’ includes the ability to efficiently perform accurate form and thread grinding operations. These processes are made possible by the position of the S41’s speed-controlled C-axis. The standard C-axis with measuring system on the drive motor is suitable for thread grinding. A direct measuring system is mounted on the workhead spindle (C-axis) to ensure the highest form accuracy. Acceleration and grinding forces are absorbed without difficulty through the high dynamic rigidity of the axis drives.

The machine’s generously dimensioned tailstock barrel, designed for the deployment of Morse 4 taper centres, glides in the tailstock housing. Its centre pressure can be adjusted with the delicate precision required for grinding high-precision workpieces. If required, the tailstock can be equipped with a hydraulically actuated barrel retraction for workpiece changeover. Fine adjustment enables cylindricity corrections in the range below 1 µm when grinding between centres. An air cushion lift-off facilitates simple movement during setup and resetting. A cooling lubricant is passed through the tailstock and totally covers the barrel and diamond holder, to guarantee optimum thermal stability.

Arrow’s S41 is equipped with an Arobotech automatic 3-Point Steady Rest.

Promise delivered

The recently installed S41 is now fully operational on two-shifts and delivering on all of the claims made by Studer. Also, in some areas the machine is exceeding Arrow Precision’s expectations. For example, as the flexible machine can perform both external and internal precision grinding tasks, in addition to the external grinding of crankshafts journal and pins, the S41 is used to grind internal features such as flywheel location bores. Crankshaft bores that previously took 30 minutes to grind on a manual machine now take less than three minutes to complete. As well as producing outstanding levels of surface finish on crank journals and pins, the Studer S41 is now achieving sub-micron levels of diameter grinding accuracy.

“As demand for our crankshafts has grown to such an extent that a strain had been placed on our existing grinding resources, we decided to source a new, high-precision CNC universal cylindrical grinding machine,” Arnold explained. “As achieving the specified diameter and surface finish characteristics of crankshaft journals and pins constitutes, the most critical crankshaft machining process, the highest standards of precision grinding is of paramount importance, therefore our new grinding machine needed to be of the highest possible technical standard.”

Since the company manufactures crankshafts in series production and in short runs, in addition to producing runoffs, it re required a machine with great flexibility and quick change over times.

“Furthermore, as we are often tasked with manufacturing crankshafts with really short lead times by our autosport customers, we needed a fast, extremely efficient machine,” said Arnold. “In addition to the S41 proving its outstanding flexibility, speed and technical capabilities, it helped our purchasing decision that we were aware of Studer’s excellent reputation for the quality of the company’s machines and for if its levels of customer service. The assistance provided by Mark Maurice of UK Studer agent Micronz was invaluable in helping us to specify the machine, arranging a demonstration at Studer’s HQ in Switzerland, ensuring a trouble-free installation and organising our operators’ training.

“As our operators received excellent on-machine training, and as Studer’s controls and software is so intuitive, our staff soon mastered the S41. Although, it helps that on the rare occasion that we have a problem, Studer personnel are just a phone-call away and able to provide and instant solution.

“Not only has the exceptional speed and efficiency of our new Studer CNC universal cylindrical grinding machine removed the possibility of production bottlenecks from our grinding department, the extra capacity it has created and the additional capabilities it provides has opened-up addition commercial opportunities for us.

 

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Kennametal Releases HARVI I TE Four-Flute Solid Carbide End Mill

Kennametal Releases HARVI I TE Four-Flute Solid Carbide End Mill

Kennametal announced the latest addition to its best-selling HARVI line of high-performance solid end milling tools, the HARVI I TE four-flute solid carbide end mill. With a radical new design, the HARVI I TE delivers outstanding performance in a broad range of materials, including steel, stainless steel, high-temperature alloys and cast iron –with tool life to match. And thanks to significantly reduced cutting forces, this game-changing tool can be used on any machining center or mill-turn center in the shop.

“The HARVI I TE consistently outperformed competing four-flute end mills in both wet and dry machining tests on a variety of materials and applications, with unprecedented tool life in many cases,” said Bernd Fiedler, Manager, Solid End Milling.

“It performs exceptionally well on heavy roughing and finishing cuts alike – from deep cavities and full width slots to shoulder and dynamic milling.”

Kennametal engineers designed the HARVI I TE to address four key problems that plague more than 90 percent of all milling applications: chip evacuation, tool deflection, corner stability, and breakage due to radial cutting forces. The result is a tool that’s durable and versatile enough to tackle the lion’s share of milling applications.

Consider chip evacuation. The HARVI I TE has an innovative flute design that helps curl and break chips into manageable pieces, while a series of chip gashes within the flute lift those chips up and away from the workpiece. Both serve to promote coolant flow, eliminate chip re-cutting, and improve tool life. A twisted end face and unique gashing further promote chip evacuation but are also responsible for the HARVI I TE’s awesome ramping and plunging capabilities.

Tool deflection is reduced thanks to the tool’s parabolic core, as well as an eccentric, faceted relief along the entire flute length that significantly lowers cutting friction. This relief also increases edge strength, making the tool a versatile solution.

Together with a variable helix angle and asymmetric flutes it dampens vibration before it can negatively affect machining operations.

“The HARVI I TE improves process stability, surface quality and chip evacuation,” said Fiedler. “Most importantly, it maintains these benefits even at increased feeds, speeds, and depths of cut – delivering maximum metal removal, tool life and productivity.”

 

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Ensuring High Precision

Ensuring High Precision

Ingun Prüfmittelbau GmbH relies on the high-precion SwissNano technology to ensure success in the world of test and measurement. Article by Tornos.

Ernst Dietrich

Any company claiming to be the ‘market leader in test equipment manufacturing’ really has to perform excellently. Ingun Prüfmittelbau GmbH has become a synonym for permanent innovation and top-quality products boasting absolute precision. Among others, the company owes this prominent position to an intelligent manufacturing strategy and to machinery that has been selected with due care. And here, Tornos’ SwissNano machines play a key role.

In 1971, Ingun Prüfmittelbau opened its doors for business with the production of test probes and test fixtures with only only seven employees. Almost 50 years later, the staff has grown to more than 300 employees worldwide, and Ingun is now one of the leaders in test equipment manufacturing, offering a range of test probes and test fixtures used to test the electrical function of electronic components such as PCBs.

Generally, products such as harnesses used in cars, battery packs for bicycles or state-of-the-art smartphones, laptops and PCs are tested for correct operation with an Ingun product. As devices are getting smaller and smarter, it is inevitable that their PCBs are getting smaller whilst featuring more functions and closed-loop control circuits. Examining and testing PCBs are becoming more and more complex, and Ingun is making every effort to continue coping with these technical challenges as they evolve. Its spring-loaded test probes ensure reliable and consistent contact security for more than 25,000 different types. Both standardised and customised test fixtures as well as an extensive range of fixture accessories for individual upgrade are the company’s second mainstay. The company’s R&D department is working closely with the production and assembly departments to provide the customers with tailormade solutions.

Infinite Diversity

The diversity of the components to be tested requires an appropriate range of products, and Ingun takes pride in finding the adequate solution for each task. In addition to standard probes, the company also offers high-frequency and high-current test probes. The latter ensures the safe transmission of high currents with little heating as well as precise measurement thanks to minimum internal resistances.

The complexity of the test probes is not evident at first sight. They generally consist of a barrel, a spring, a plunger and a probe with gold-plated tip. It’s getting really interesting, though, when it comes to the sizes and the material to be machined. For Ingun, outer diameters smaller than 0.8mm are already large and the turning of 0.12mm cross holes and of 0.19mm studs are usual tasks. For the most part, brass as well as copper-beryllium alloys are machined. Most recently, the share of Teflon and other plastics has also been increasing as these materials have inherent insulation.

Since the time slots between engineering, prototype construction and test phase were becoming smaller and smaller, and external suppliers weren’t able to supply in short term, Ingun established its own turning shop in 2012. Even if Ingun is operating on a global scale today, the company is acting on the maxim to exclusively produce in Germany to ensure its high-quality standards.

At the Forefront of Technological Development

From the very beginning, Ingun’s turning shop has been planned as a high-end solution for the development of new technologies. In close collaboration with design engineers, innovative solutions are sought and exceptional technologies are experimented with. The standard just isn’t good enough for Ingun’s turning shop. Here, the benchmark is set. Only until a process is running steadily will it be outsourced to external local suppliers, who then will produce about 80 million turned parts per year.

The fact that the turning shop is now equipped with 15 machines proves that this concept worked out. These machines already include six SwissNano machines from Tornos and two machines of this type will follow by the end of this year. The first SwissNano was purchased in 2014, when the turning shop had to manufacture a most challenging, highly complex test probe with a crown on its face. The technical parameters perfectly matched. The machine is small, compact, easily accessible, stable and precise. But was it able to prove this in practice? It was. In the course of elaborate turning trials in Pforzheim, Germany, the machine showed what it had to offer. In this context, Ernst Dietrich’s team unanimously praise the support offered by Tornos. Together, they developed solutions for process optimisation.

With a shortened bar loader, the vibration could be further reduced. In this regard, the specific oil extraction system and the pick-off device directly mounted on the spindle are some very interesting features. Such details emphasise the high demands Ingun makes on its machines. The company does not content itself with the standards and is always looking for improvement. At the same time, Ingun has shifted to the in-house production of its entire parts series, thanks to the use of the SwissNano machines, which provide the company with additional flexibility.

A Close Partnership

The SwissNano convinced the responsible Ingun managers from the very beginning—and they have not been disappointed to date. The machine is amazingly fast, highly precise, and is easily accessible and easy to convert. With an annual ratio of two thirds set-up work and one third turning work, the latter is a decisive aspect. For Dietrich, the turning shop manager, the optimisation of the set-up times is essential. That’s why the workplaces and processes are optimised accordingly in special workshops. The possibility to change over in ‘next to no time’ between turning with or without guide bush and the resulting flexibility of the SwissNano are features that are appreciated as well in this context. This is extremely important for a company that rarely has to machine the same part again. Another aspect applauded by Dietrich is the TISIS software.

“My colleagues have felt at ease with it from the very beginning. The machine is easy to program; important features are already registered, and the simulation function provides reliable protection against interference and opens up possibilities to further optimize the program,” he says.

This passion to permanently push the envelope is typical for Ingun. The company promotes junior staff members and gives them the opportunity to prove themselves. So, the team being responsible for the Tornos machines is still very young, yet very competent and is fully committed to the tasks on hand. In addition, these young employees can benefit from the wealth of experience of their older colleagues. In this department, cycle times of just 15s for extremely complex test probes are the rule rather than the exception.

Based on these positive experiences, the SwissNano machine will remain the machine of choice for Ingun. This, however, does not mean that they will rest on their laurels. The company is even thinking about a strategic partnership with the Swiss manufacturer. In the coming years, Ingun will continue to grow at a tremendous pace and will thus need machines on which the requested micro-precision can be achieved in no time and at high flexibility. Tornos’ SwissNano provides Ingun with the ideal basis for this.

 

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