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Achieving Quick And Easy Machining

Achieving Quick and Easy Machining

In choosing ESPRIT to write programs for its CNC grinders and wire EDM machine, MCC Tooling found a CAM system so user friendly that the owner’s young grandchildren sometimes use it. More importantly, ESPRIT’s efficient programming is saving MCC Tooling time and money.

MCC Tooling makes and resharpens custom cutting tools, step drills, form tools and dovetail cutters, in quantities ranging from one of a kind to as many as 100 pieces, for customers in the oil, airline and medical industries. Marcus Alexander founded MCC Tooling in 1984 in Garland, Texas, with leased space and a single grinder. It has since grown into a 10-person business with a variety of machines: a Mitsubishi MV1200-R wire EDM with B-axis, a Walter Helitronic Vision CNC grinder, a Walter Power CNC grinder, a Walter Mini CNC, a TRU TECH grinder, 10 K.O. Lee grinders, a Harig surface grinder, a Gallmeyer surface grinder and a Cincinnati #2 centreless grinder. The company works with metals including carbide, stainless steel and high-speed steel.

MCC Tooling began using ESPRIT in 1999, when it purchased its first wire EDM machine, a Mitsubishi FX 10. “After hours of extensive research and vetting different programs and software, we felt ESPRIT would fit our needs and our price range perfectly,” Marcus says. “ESPRIT is user friendly, works seamlessly with our machines, and it integrates well with SolidWorks. It’s so easy that my grandchildren have come here and programmed their own things for us to cut out for them.”

In 2013, ESPRIT helped the shop move to a Mitsubishi MV1200-R with B-axis, which Marcus purchased because it could hold closer tolerances. Initially unfamiliar with the ins and outs of programming it, MCC machinists resorted at first to trial and error. ESPRIT enabled them to get up to speed quickly with the machine.

“One thing that helped us was being able to see the heads moving on the simulation in ESPRIT before running it on the EDM. This ensures we don’t waste time running an incorrect part and saves us money by not scrapping parts,” says Marcus.

The B-axis, a MMK Matsumoto, changed MCC’s world, making indexing from tooth to tooth far more accurate. MCC cuts a lot of multiple flute form cutters. Before the B-axis, making these parts took the shop several operations on different machines and a longer setup time on the EDM. Now, it takes less than two minutes to set up the B-axis, and using ESPRIT, MCC can program tools in only four additional steps.

“We can mount the tool in B-axis and walk away knowing that we’ll get the perfect tool every time,” Marcus says. “Also, with ESPRIT, we can check all the clearance and rake angles on tools to make sure they will work well and that the dimensions are correct.”

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Walter Holds Online Tech Talks 2.0

Walter Holds Online Tech Talks 2.0

The better qualified employees ensure higher productivity and thus increase the success of a company. However, competence in machining is in short supply and the demand for training is increasing.

Face-to-face training is still not easily possible at the moment and with the overwhelming response from the last online tech talks, Walter would like to offer the new series of Tech Talks – Walter Online Tech Talks 2.0.

Register today and have a tour of different tools and machining strategies being used in the industry today. Walter will also give some insight into what the company is working on to stay ahead of the competition.

Here are the dates and subjects for Walter Online Tech Talks 2.0.

Click here to register now!

Productive processes reduce unit costs and increase productivity in production facilities in the long term

In order to make this a reality, you need qualified employees who know how to fully utilise the potential of modern cutting tools as efficiently as possible in their work. Knowledge of tools and their applications is key to successfully achieving increases in productivity whilst reducing costs. We will help you to overcome these challenges with qualified technical training for your employees.

Highly-qualified staff will help to lower your costs

If you want to use high-calibre tools efficiently and would like to guarantee reliable processes, you have to have excellent specialist knowledge at your disposal. Only with sound knowledge of machining, processes and strategies will your employees develop long-term expertise, which will give your company a competitive advantage.

Small application with a big impact

On average, tool costs in a modern production environment account for around four to six percent of the total production costs. However, tools have an effect on the majority of production costs and therefore offer the greatest potential for optimisation.


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Machining Precise Parts

Machining Precise Parts

Hydrostatic spindle bearings ensure maximum part precision, excellent tool life and high machine availability with low servicing costs. Article by Hyprostatik Schönfeld GmbH.

In turning, grinding or milling machines, spindle bearings with roller bearings have been used predominantly up to now. Growing demands for shaping accuracy, dimensional stability, surface quality and removal rate, however, are bringing spindles with roller bearings ever closer to their limits.

Spindle Bearings with Rolling Bearings Quickly Reach Their Limits

While new high quality spindle bearings with roller bearings can achieve concentricity qualities of approximately 1 µm, the running quality decreases rapidly at high stresses and speeds. This means that the bearings in fast-turning interior grinding spindles have to be replaced after only a few months.

Spindle bearings with roller bearings are only slightly damped. This has direct effects on the surface quality of the part. It also means that tool working lives and the boundary cutting line are somewhat limited.

In addition, fast-running spindle bearings with roller bearings frequently develop very high temperatures, through which the thermal stability of machine suffers, despite costly cooling measures.

This is where hydrostatic spindle bearings come into their own. If spindle bearings with roller bearings are compared with hydrostatic spindle bearings, hydrostatic embodiments achieve the following advantages:

  • Freedom from wear

Hydrostatic bearings are contactless and therefore free from wear.  The properties therefore remain unchanged regardless of the duration of use, stress and speed.

  • Concentricity

Depending on the spindle size, maximum speed and spindle configuration, the concentricity of hydrostatic spindle bearings and turntables is between 0.03 µm and 0,3 µm, typically 0.1 µm – and this regardless of the duration of use.

  • Damping 

Ideally designed hydrostatic spindle bearings have damping that is many times greater than roller bearing spindles. In addition to longer tool lives, better surface qualities and lower shaping errors are achieved. Chattering only occurs at significantly higher cutting rates. 

  • Temperature behaviour

With hydrostatic bearings, frictional power only occurs in the oil. As this is transported very quickly from the bearing with less wetted surfaces, the bearing remains cool even at very high speeds. The bearing fluid is cooled outside the bearing.

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Automatic Calculation And Transfer Of Tool Correction Values To Machine Tool Control

Automatic Calculation and Transfer of Tool Correction Values to Machine Tool Control

This article discusses a reliable, standardised and automated process for tool correction adjustment based on the calculation of statistical indicators, to sustainably increase product quality and to further optimise process stability. Article by Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.

With its expertise in machining and automation technology as well as process development, BOOSTER Precision Components (Schwanewede) GmbH produces compressor wheels in Germany, Mexico, and China, for the local markets. The compressor wheel is one of the core components in the turbocharger and compresses the supply air for the combustion process. This increases performance and improves emissions values.

Identifying Goals

BOOSTER Precision Components implements the highest quality requirements in the manufacture of compressor wheels. To monitor the required product quality, random samples are taken at defined intervals and measured in production at manual measuring stations as well as in the measuring room with automated measuring technology. A direct feedback in the production is done by means of visualization of the Measurement results at the production machines, in order to enable a corresponding small control loop and tool corrections.

In the large control loop, defined key figures are automatically reported, cause-and-effect relationships analysed, production anomalies automatically identified and communicated as well as visualized in the web control centre. Of course, previous qualification measures for equipment and processes form the basis of an automated monitoring system.

BOOSTER has continuously developed this system using Q-DAS statistical software products and optimised it over time.

One of the key points and potential weak points identified in the process, especially in the small control loop on site (shop floor), was the individual tool correction adjustment based on Q-DAS statistics. This happened due to personal, and thus, individual decisions made by the respective employee. As a result, this led to differing procedures and thus different process behaviour and tool management within the different shifts.

The objective of the project was to introduce Q-DAS IMC (Intelligent Machine Control) to achieve a reliable, standardised and automated process for tool correction adjustment based on the calculation of statistical indicators, to sustainably increase product quality and to further optimise process stability. Furthermore, Q-DAS IMC allows tool corrections to be traced back.

Overcoming Challenges

The already implemented Q-DAS system for continuous qualification and monitoring of the running production has already laid the important basis for the application of Q-DAS IMC: A clean data structure for the transmission of the Measurement results with relevant trace information (line, machine, tool, spindle, measuring system, …) to a direct assignment of relevant feedback information for Q-DAS IMC. Immediate online visualisation of measurement results for over 40 machine tools has been implemented since many years now and is thus the basis for further development.

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Machines That See More

Machines that See More

When asked which of the traditional five senses they would most regret not having, human beings generally choose sight. Is the same true for industrial equipment? In this article, John Young of EU Automation looks at some of the latest trends in machine vision in metalworking.

The global machine vision market is worth approximately $9.6 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1 percent over the next five years, according to research by MarketsandMarkets. In the APAC region, demand is being boosted by manufacturers turning to artificial intelligence (AI), Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), all of which benefit from machine vision capabilities.

Definitions of machine vision vary, but most involve the idea of using technology to extract information from images on an automated basis. Machine vision does not refer to a single piece of technology, but rather to multiple technologies, hardware, software and integrated systems.

Deployed in the right way, machine vision can help automate the repetitive and dull tasks traditionally carried out by human workers. For example, sorting parts on a conveyor by colour. Machine vision allows these jobs to be performed at higher speed and with greater consistency, resulting in more efficient quality control, reduced waste and higher yields for manufacturers.

Machine vision technology has been used in manufacturing applications since the 1980s, but there have been barriers to more widespread adoption. Traditionally, perhaps the two key difficulties for manufacturers contemplating adopting machine vision have been cost and the difficulty of installation. As well as being prohibitively expensive in many instances, the equipment often needed a trained and specialized system integrator to set it up.

The latest generation of machine vision technology has gone a long way towards solving these dilemmas by providing systems that are vastly less expensive and much quicker and easier to install. Furthermore, while some machine vision systems might have required hours of ‘training’, which involves feeding images of defective and non-defective parts to the system to allow it to improve its identification capacity, modern technology incorporates machine learning algorithms. This introduces a substantial level of automation into the process.

Another traditional hurdle for the adoption of machine vision in quality control has been the complexity of identifying defects. Take aluminium as an example. Distinguishing between genuine defect and an appropriate level of variation in this alloy is more difficult because of variations in colour and other properties of the material. Many manufacturers would persist with manual inspection, even when inspection errors were made in a quarter of all cases.

Today, machine vision technology is sophisticated enough to make it a commercially viable alternative to human inspection even in more difficult scenarios such as these. Although well-suited to inspection and quality control, modern machine vision systems are multi-purpose and multifunctional. Machine vision can simultaneously offer other benefits like checking OCR codes or monitoring factory equipment as part of a predictive maintenance program.

Enter Cobots

Automation in metalworking is growing and this growth is strongest in the APAC region. Cobots, or collaborative robots that can work safely alongside human workers, are a good example of this. Cobots are a key area of development in metalworking and are finding new uses in applications like welding, assembly and sorting.

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Manufacturing Capacity Doubled

Manufacturing Capacity Doubled

British luxury watch manufacturer Bremont made the most of Sandvik Coromant and DMG MORI’s strategic partnership as it introduced a turnkey manufacturing cell to double capacity at its factory.

The NTX 1000, a state-of-the-art 5-axis machining center from DMG MORI, was is equipped with tool packages from Sandvik Coromant.

​​​Luxury watchmaker Bremont Watch Company is a true British manufacturing success story. Founded by brothers Nick and Giles English in 2002, the company specialises in the manufacture of certified chronometers for the aviation sector. These watches are assembled, as well as shock and quality tested, at the manufacturer’s dedicated headquarters in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, UK. Production of the main components, such as stainless steel backs and casings, takes place just a few minutes’ drive away.

High demand and the launch of six new watch designs meant that Bremont’s production capacity had to be increased. To achieve this, the company purchased an NTX 1000, a state-of-the-art 5-axis machining centre from DMG MORI, which is equipped with tool packages from Sandvik Coromant.

The project was six months in the making, explains Mathew Bates, a machine tool investment specialist from Sandvik Coromant’s UK Machine Tool Solutions team. “From the beginning, the objective was to deliver a ‘right first time’ solution,” explains Bates. “We wanted Bremont to be able to use the new system straight away.”

Close collaboration with application technicians from DMG MORI was needed, with regard to the selection of suitable tools. 

“We knew that we had to produce six new watches,” says Bates. “As soon as the drawings were ready we met with specialists from DMG MORI to compile a list of standard tools and to determine which special tools would be needed.”

Integrated Automation for 24/7 Operation

The DMG MORI NTX 1000 is equipped with a magazine for 38  Coromant Capto tools, with the option of expanding the capacity up to 76 tools. The turn and mill machine is suitable for turning and high-speed milling in five axes, simultaneously. 

Thanks to the bar loader, the machine produces the different stainless steel components around the clock without any operator intervention. 

Everything from a Single Source—Tools, Machine, Automation and Programming

Even before the installation of the machine, Frederick Shortt, application technician at DMG MORI, and his development team created and simulated the numerical control (NC) programs with the Vericut computer-aided manufacture (CAM) system.

“Together with Sandvik Coromant we optimised all programs in such a way that as few tools as possible are needed,” says Shortt.

In other words, Bremont only bought what they really needed. As this all took place before the installation, so Bremont was able to start producing from day one.

“This joint optimisation meant that any teething problems were reduced to a minimum and the investment quickly paid off for Bremont,” explains James Rhys-Davies, Strategic Relations Director, Northern Europe at Sandvik Coromant.

“The call for such turnkey solutions will increase steadily. Although the preliminary costs are sometimes a little higher, the benefits of a fast return on investment (ROI) and maximisation of machine availability make such turnkey production cells a very attractive option, as cost per part is generally much lower.”

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Dry Cooling Method To Replace Metalworking Fluids

Dry Cooling Method to Replace Metalworking Fluids

There is now a proven green and clean method to cool and lubricate workpieces and cutting tools in the machine tool industry. Article by Oy ECE EcoCooling
Engineering Ltd.

Metalworking fluids are no longer needed to cool and lubricate workpieces and cutting tools in the machine tool industry. Instead, there is now a proven green and clean method that uses only ionized and cooled air and has none of the environmental hazards and costs related to oil-based fluids. 

EcoCooling is the result of long-term, interdisciplinary R&D from the same team that developed the optical technology behind Amazon’s ground-breaking family of front-lit Kindle devices. 

Now, the group of scientists, engineers and experienced businesspeople from various disciplines has developed a dry, clean and environmentally friendly method to cool and lubricate metal workpieces without using any emulsions.

“Workshops have wanted to get rid of the fluids and many have tried to find a solution to the problem, but with poor results,” says Leo Hatjasalo, co-founder and CEO of EcoCooling. “Now, we have the answer to this demand, since EcoCooling can be used when cutting and carving everything from high tensile steels and titanium alloys to plastics.” 

Big Market

The global market for metalworking fluids is estimated at about $12 billion this year. It is growing steadily, with estimates that the global market for machine tools is expected to grow from $120 billion to $150 billion in five years’ time. The growth is driven, for example, by the accelerating need for components in the aerospace, automotive and transport sectors.

”EcoCooling is not only a way to cut down the costs of emulsions, but also a way to boost productivity, minimize maintenance costs and improve occupational health and safety,” Hatjasalo says. ”Since the chips are not contaminated by the metalworking fluids, they can also be fully recycled without cleaning.”

The EcoCooling unit is very compact in size, and the system can also be easily retrofitted to older machine tools. The unit does not need any service and has been proved to prolong the lifetime of the cutting tools significantly.

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Are Machining Centres Taking Over Jig Bore Work?

Are Machining Centres Taking Over Jig Bore Work?

The escalating challenges of producing tight tolerance parts in a production environment and the growing need for cutting components with complex free-form surfaces are driving the demand for jig borer-like machines with high productivity. By William Malanche, Mitsui Seiki USA Inc.

In rare instances, machining centres can accomplish what would be considered jig borer applications, however that success revolves around the machine design and fitment, coupled with the requirements of the part and the tolerances to be achieved. For example, if the part is flat with little depth and it requires jig bore type positioning accuracies (typically 0.0002” and under) then most modern day controls have the capability to apply enough pitch error, inclination and/or straightness compensation to “laser in” a pretty good line at a specific height. But this assumes that engineers will use a machine that has a certain mass, structure, and design capable of repeating accuracy. Without that fundamental trait of repeatability, it is impossible to get consistent results using electronic compensation.

A good analogy surrounding machine tool accuracy and high precision manufacturing is the sport of target shooting with a rifle or handgun. If you hit the bullseye, is that accurate? Absolutely! But if you can’t keep all of the shots in a consistent grouping, you are far from precise. You can have a fancy scope with all kinds of adjustments for distance, elevation, and windage (like CNC control level compensations), but unless you have a solid stance or bench to shoot from (a good solid machine tool foundation), steady hands, or consistent trigger pull, among others, you can’t reliably expect to hit the target. There are the fundamental mechanics that need to be in place, so you can apply the technology effectively. The same applies to machines.

Legacy Jig Borers

In the early days, jig borers were designed to be built from the table surface. Builders began with a stable base material like cast iron, with a low CTE (Coefficient of Thermal Expansion) put it on a solid three-point footing, and hand scraped the table surface – which was essentially the gauge line of the machine. Every measurement was taken in relationship to that line and the machine built out from there. It took a lot of adjustments to make sure that everything stacked above and under the table was square and perpendicular to that gauge line surface. Typically, those adjustments were done by hand scraping, fitting, measuring the results with traceable gauges and squares, and then repeating the process to the required level.

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Screws For Endoprosthetics

Screws for Endoprosthetics

Machining high-tech materials such as high-strength aluminium and titanium alloys, implant steels and superalloys like cobalt-chromium require high-performance tools. Here’s how Hymec Fertigungstechnik GmbH are dealing with all that for its medical products. 

“When machining cobalt-chromium alloys, we demand very high performance from the tool due to the high material costs,” explains Tibor Veres, managing director of Hymec Fertigungstechnik GmbH. Which is why the company relies on tools from Paul Horn GmbH to machine superalloys. The precision tools from the company are also used for shaping the hexagon socket of an implant screw made of cobalt-chromium. Together with HORN Technical Consultant Thomas Wassersleben, they transformed this demanding machining task into a reliable process.

“We see ourselves as a manufacturer that is able to accomplish high-precision machining to the highest quality,” says Veres. 

The company specialises in medical products, custom-made solutions and demanding low-volume production. Machining high-tech materials such as high-strength aluminium and titanium alloys, implant steels and superalloys like cobalt-chromium (CoCr) are part of Hymec’s day-to-day tasks. The range of activities includes the production of precision-engineered components and complete assemblies as well as providing technical advice from concept and design to quality audits.

Close Collaboration

Hymec has been working closely with HORN for 30 years. “The cooperation has been outstanding because they are always able to provide a cost-effective solution for our applications,” explains Veres. He attaches great importance to the selection of tools on offer and is always looking for the best tool solution for his machining tasks. He approached Wassersleben for technical support in the production of a hexagon socket in a screw made of CoCr. 

The screw is an implant and forms part of an artificial knee joint. Hymec manufactures the screws in various widths across the hex flats of 2.5 mm (0.0984″), 3.5 mm (0.118″) and 5 mm (0.197″). The hexagon socket is machined to a tight  tolerance so that the screw sits firmly on the hexagon key during insertion. The surface finish also needs to be of high quality as even small grooves and ridges can be a breeding ground for germs. The company produces around 5,000 screws like this every year. 

Broaching is Virtually Impossible in Series Production

“Machining a hexagon in titanium is relatively easy by profile broaching. Broaching in series production in cobalt-chromium is virtually impossible, however, due to its high strength, and the tool wear is significant,” says Veres.

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Advantages Of Collaborative Development

Advantages of Collaborative Development

The larger the series of parts to be produced, the more important cycle times and tool costs are. And the properties of both the machine tool and the tool itself need to be optimally suited to each other—and to the chosen manufacturing process. This article discusses the benefits of having a collaborative development partnership between a machine manufacturer and a tool manufacturer. Article by MAPAL.

“We have a unique approach when we receive customer inquiries,” says Meinolf Wolke, Sales Team Leader at Elha-Maschinenbau Liemke KG  in Hövelhof. The special machine construction company places the workpiece and its machining at the centre of development and devises an optimal solution perfectly designed for the process sequence.

“In doing so, we take all the technical and economic requirements into account,” clarifies Wolke. Only then do those responsible decide whether an existing machining concept can be used for the process or whether an individual, application-specific construction is required. Wolke explains, “As well as providing the machine, we offer services that stretch from process development and the construction of fixtures all the way through to complete, ready-to-operate solutions with automation and production support.”

Special Tools for Low Total Costs

“The machining tasks are often as unique as the parts themselves – including in terms of the workpiece materials,” adds Alexander Wiesner, Technical Advisor at MAPAL. “Of course, a lot of machining work on complex parts can be achieved with standard tools. But that often comes with significant drawbacks in terms of cycle times, quality, and cost-effectiveness, particularly when large quantities are being produced.” In these cases, special tools that are precisely calibrated by MAPAL for the machining task in question are preferred.

“During the tool design phase, it’s essential to determine the necessary parameters for the machining process,” says Wiesner, “particularly in the case of challenging geometries.” In order to design the process in the best possible way, MAPAL often makes prototype tools. These are then used to carry out extensive tests with the part to be machined.

“That, in turn, helps the equipment manufacturers design the machine with the values identified during testing,” continues Wiesner. He says that MAPAL has had a long-standing partnership with ELHA in this area. The following three examples demonstrate the resulting benefits to customers:

Solid Drills for the Machining of Suspension Arms

“We were dissatisfied with the solution that we had been using for drilling from solid in aluminium when machining a suspension arm, which included creating a fitting,” remembers ELHA Project Leader Friedhelm Dresmann.

At the time, the company was using tools with brazed PCD cutting edges. In order to keep the machining time as low as possible, these drills were being used with very high feed rates. The disadvantages of this solution were the high drive power required and the insufficient durability of the PCD cutting edges on the solid drill step.


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