Up until now, tool and die processing required large components to be transported to the respective machine. The start-up company Picum MT is presenting its system for the mobile machining of workpieces at this year’s EMO Hannover. A spin-off of the Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Machine Tools (IFW) at Leibniz University Hannover, Picum MT developed the lightweight and compact Picum system that is designed to handle all necessary work, including machining and build-up welding directly on the component itself. Picum is especially useful for revisions, tool adjustments or repairs. In line with the concept “machine to the workpiece” instead of “workpiece to the machine,” the use of large conventional machine tools and time-consuming transport is no longer required.
All Key Machining Processes With One Machine
The extremely compact and lightweight Picum system is based on conventional 5-axis serial kinematics. The machine is mounted on the workpiece and positioned over the machining point. Before processing starts, the system automatically detects the exact position and orientation of the workpiece in relation to the machine and adapts an NC code to the current situation. An innovative quick-change system makes it easy to switch between machining processes, for example from build-up welding to milling.
The axis system is attached using an adaptive framework. This ensures maximum rigidity at low weight. Various compensation methods enable Picum to achieve a level of precisions that meets the highest toolmaking standards. The system can be easily repositioned for machining extremely large surfaces. The software recognises the new situation and automatically transforms the NC code.
The compact Picum system can be transported to the deployment site in a small van, trailer, or airfreight container. Unlike transporting a very large tool or die, users benefit from lower transport costs and save a significant amount of time. Picum MT is marketing a system that combines the accuracy of a machine tool with the flexibility of a robot and the mobility of a drilling machine. Typical applications can be found in industries that manufacture large parts, including aerospace, automotive, energy technology, mechanical and plant engineering, shipbuilding, and process engineering.
There are plenty of potential benefits in making good use of standardisation concepts when sourcing a mould base. Article by Lung Kee Group (LKM).
Injection moulding is one of the key processes in today’s manufacturing industry, enabling manufacturers to achieve economy of scale in production of high-volume plastic or metal parts. The quality of the mould, usually defined by its precision and overall reliability, plays a critical role in determining the success of the final product.
In very simple terms, a mould base is a semi-finished mould. The basic structure of a mould base consists of several drilled or machined mould plates assembled together with mould components. Modern mould makers tend to purchase mould bases from specialist mould base suppliers, in order to reduce overall manufacturing time and the costs associated with machinery and raw material investments. Perhaps most importantly, using a mould base enables the mould maker to focus on the high value-adding portions of the mould manufacturing process, such as design, polishing and final production tests.
Just like many industrial processes, there are plenty of potential benefits in making good use of standardisation concepts when sourcing a mould base. The most obvious one is cost, as standard mould bases can be ordered from catalogue, offering good price transparency. The leading suppliers in Japan, Europe and Asia all have highly engineered production lines to achieve a high level of machining precision on a consistent basis—so, by making use of their standard products, mould makers can also enjoy the economy of scale in terms of competitive pricing. Standardisation also helps mould makers’ internal workflow by speeding up the design process. In fact, many CAD packages contain libraries of common mould base standards.
A good standard mould base has three defining qualities: reliable material, reliable precision, and reliable availability. The importance of raw materials should not be underestimated, as moulds made with poor materials risk plate deformation or even fracture due to metal fatigue. Reliable precision is quite often easier said than done, as the quality from small scale manufacturer tends to highly depend on individual workmanship.
And of course, good quality products mean nothing if one cannot buy them easily. Leading mould base suppliers tend to have superior financial strength to invest in good material procurement capabilities, strong CNC machine portfolio and large inventory, and above all, they tend to have a commitment to high quality.
LKM Discusses Benefits of Standard Mould Bases for Vietnam Manufacturers
Established in 1975, Lung Kee Group (LKM) is one of the leading mould base manufacturers worldwide. The company is headquartered in Hong Kong, with product lines ranging from standard and custom-made mould bases, to precision machining and mould components. LKM is also a distributor of quality tool steel brands such as Japanese Daido, Assab Uddeholm, Arcelormittal, Bao Steel, and its own brand ‘LKM Special Steel’.
For the past 40 years, LKM is instrumental in the growth of the mould making industry in Asia. Through commitments to quality and integrity, and a relentless drive to excellence, LKM has developed from its modest beginning into an industry leading powerhouse in mould base manufacturing. In fact, LKM was the first Hong Kong company to introduce CNC machining centres for mould base manufacturing. LKM’s reputation as an industry leader in the mould base industry was further solidified through its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1993.
At present, LKM manufactures over 55,000 complete sets of mould bases per month. In term of custom-made mould base, the company has world-class machining capacity, powered by a team of engineers and machine operators with over 30 years of combined experience in making complex custom-made mould base for the automotive industry and precision machinery.
In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), Cyrus Lau, assistant manager of Lung Kee Metal Japan Co. Ltd (HCMC Office)—LKM’s Vietnam office—talks about Vietnam’s mould & die industry and what’s driving growth in the market.
Q: How would you describe Vietnam’s mould and die industry?
Cyrus Lau: Vietnam is one of the biggest centres of manufacturing industry in Southeast Asia. Its mould & die market is comprehensive, ranging from sheet metal dies, die casting dies, and forging dies, to jigs, fixtures, gauges, and more. Key factors driving the market include the growing support from Japanese moulding companies. Overall, there is a large number of local manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors operating in Vietnam’s mould and die industry.
Q: How does LKM position itself in the Vietnam mould & die market?
CL: We are a mould base manufacturer and machinery specialist. We don’t think any company in our industry can claim to produce over 100 tonnes of metal chips like we do! But most importantly, our LKM standard is known to be very reliable, and is one of the most popular mould base brand in the world. When customers buy LKM, they know they get good and reliable quality. We have a large number of Japan-made machining centres, and we can cut over 100 tons of steel materials a day. In addition, we work with customers and provide them with materials and processing advice.
Q: How are you helping your customers address their manufacturing challenges?
CL: For Vietnamese mould makers, reliable quality and speed are very important—and the easiest way to improve this is by adopting standardisation in mould bases. This will improve lead time, quality, and make mould designs easier. Of course, standard products also tend to be cost efficient, which is clearly beneficial for mould makers.
With global interest in additive manufacturing technologies on the rise, TRUMPF presents its new 3D printing applications that can drive advances in various industrial sectors.
Additive manufacturing processes enable the creation of unprecedented complex shapes that are both light and stable. With the benefit of digital connectivity, they fit seamlessly into state-of-the-art manufacturing systems in use today. The 3D printer is a key tool for many manufacturing processes ranging from mass customisation to one-off builds. It can print anything from bespoke facial implants to special parts for cars or airplanes. Able to print components in one piece, these systems often spare vendors the effort of multiple manufacturing steps.
“Interest in additive manufacturing technologies remains high because the process’s benefits are proving their merits in more and more practical applications. This applies as much to conventional metalworking companies as it does to future products in the aerospace industry,” said Thomas Fehn, general manager at TRUMPF Additive Manufacturing.
Three examples of TRUMPF 3D printing in industrial manufacturing:
Personalised Craniomaxillofacial Implants
Russian medical device manufacturer CONMET has been using a TRUMPF 3D printer to produce craniomaxillofacial implants since early 2018. 3D printed implants are ready for insertion, precisely fitted and cleaned, before the procedure begins. This enhances patient safety while cutting costs and speeding up surgery. Furthermore, it can print parts that are sturdy and durable while still cushioning against blows. The implant’s porous structures facilitate the ingrowth of healthy tissue. CONMET has managed to reduce the cost of manufacturing craniomaxillofacial implants by around 40 percent.
A Lightweight Mounting Bracket For Communication Satellites
TRUMPF has been commissioned by the space company Tesat-Spaceroom to produce a 3D-printed mounting structure for Germany’s Heinrich Hertz communications satellite, which will be used to test the space-worthiness of new communication technologies. In collaboration with the company AMendate, TRUMPF engineers succeeded in optimising the geometry of the mounting structure and reducing its weight by 55 percent. This optimised mount is both lighter and more robust. During the launch of the satellite the new mounting structure will withstand the same high forces and will hold its shape better.
“This is just one example of how we can use additive processes in satellite construction to reduce weight and increase payload capacity,” says Matthias Müller, industry manager for aerospace and energy at TRUMPF Additive Manufacturing.
Easy-To-Make Sewer Cleaning Nozzles
TRUMPF joined forces with USB Düsen and Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences to demonstrate the benefits of 3D printing in the fabrication of cleaning nozzles for sewers.
The 3D-printed variant eliminates the need for milling and gluing. The component can be printed without any supporting structures, so there is no finishing work to be done afterwards. The software-driven process is far more accurate than manual gluing. Measurements have shown that printing cuts production time by 53 percent. For the first time, this will allow up to 10,000 parts to be manufactured per year. Another benefit is a smoother flowing jet of water. TRUMPF engineers expect the new nozzles to reduce water consumption and boost cleaning performance.
Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence has upgraded its VISI CAD/CAM software, enhancing the mould and progressive die design processes, along with improvements to the Reverse module.
Designed for the mould and die market, VISI 2020.0 features a new unfolding technology, giving users the ability to work directly on the original solid part without needing to extract the model’s skin. The sheet metal part recognition, meanwhile, now provides an improved graphical representation of the part analysed, by identifying bends, planar faces and features.
Enhancements to the Reverse module provide new functionalities for both reverse and casting processes, giving greater flexibility for both processes. Features such as clipping plane management for point scanning, planar face and draft analysis on mesh data, adapting a mesh to a boundary, and best fit, improve the reverse process from point scanning to solid model generation, and manufacturing.
The software’s new Compare feature lets user compare two entities, such as a point cloud, mesh, or solid, by checking the relative distance. The graphical results show different colours in reference to the distance ranges. Also, additional Meusburger Mould Tool templates (FB, FM and FW types) are now incorporated. VISI’s Flow Analysis has been improved by a new mesh group technology specifically designed for FEM analysis. The flow lines in VISI 2020.0 can now be shown, highlighting possible ‘hesitations’ of the filling from isochrones.
With thermal analysis becoming increasingly more important in optimising mould cooling, the Flow Thermal function has been enhanced by improved coolant flow rate suggestions, giving an indicative value for a single cooling circuit, and an improved solid mesh definition for the mould cavity block, along with each axis, to offer more accurate results.
With the new direct interface between VISI and MSC Software’s Digimat, data showing material local rigidity can be exported into Digimat for the structural FEM analysis process.