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Taiwan Mould And Die Machine Industry Strengthening Capabilities To Address Manufacturing Recovery

Taiwan Mould And Die Machine Industry Strengthening Capabilities To Address Manufacturing Recovery

Mould and die machine manufacturers in Taiwan are firming up their solutions and technologies in preparation for the anticipated strong demand in line with the global manufacturing recovery.

The mould and die industry is a good indicator of the overall health of the global manufacturing sector, as it serves multiple industrial markets—from the aerospace to automotive, to the home appliances, electronics, and food and beverage, to name a few. For example, one of the biggest mould and die markets is the automotive manufacturing industry. Each car requires 1,700 sets of stamping die, 500 sets of plastic injection mould, and 1,000 sets of casting mould.

The global mould and die market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% from 2019 to 2025, according to Infinium Global Research. Mainly driving this growth is the implementation of automation in the die casting process, and the benefits offered by dies and moulds such as increased efficiency, enhanced flexibility and enhanced precision—which are, in turn, propelling the sector’s increasing adoption in the manufacturing industry.

One of the leading providers of machineries for the mould and die industry is Taiwan. Over the past six decades, the country’s mould and die industry has been a key sector that has made a critical impact on the development and expansion of its technology industries.

According to The Bureau of Foreign Trade, MOEA, the total export value of Taiwan’s machine tools reached US$1.27 billion in the first half of 2021, up by 14.4% compared with the same period last year.

In terms of exports, mainland China continues to be the top destination for Taiwan’s machine tools, with an export value of US$443.85 million, or 34.9% of total exports in the first half of 2021. The United States came in at second, followed by Turkey, Russia, and India. Thailand ranked sixth, with an export value of US$44.83 million. Vietnam ranked seventh, with export value of US$44.68 million, followed by Malaysia, with export value of 32.57 million. Rounding of the top 10 export destinations are Netherlands and Japan.

Taiwan’s machine tool exports is expected to grow by 15–20% yearon-year in 2021 amid the continuing recovery of the automotive industry, the slowdown of the pandemic situation due to continuing vaccination drives, and the opening up of more markets.

To strengthen Taiwan’s position in the global machine tools supply chain, the government is encouraging manufacturers to take advantage of the country’s technology knowhow to support the trend towards automation, smarter manufacturing, and digitalisation, as the global manufacturing industry recovers from the impact of the pandemic over the past year.

The following are some of Taiwan’s key mould and die machine manufacturers that are creating more advanced machineries and solutions to help manufacturers address issues such as fluctuating raw material costs, automation, and ramping up of capacities to address the anticipated demand growth, driven by industries including electric vehicles (EV), electronics, and medical equipment.

 

Kao Ming Machinery Industrial Co. Ltd (KMC)

Founded in 1968, Kao Ming Machinery Industrial Co. Ltd (KMC) is a leader in gantry type processing centre in Taiwan. With 53 years of experience, KMC provides their services across Asia, Europe and America at over 200 local service centres with more than 40 global agents.

While the ongoing pandemic has impacted the mould and die industry, KMC continues to provide support for its customers through adapting and innovating, bringing hope for its customers. Not only has the company lowered costs by introducing a one-flow manufacturing process, which cuts down processing time by four times, but it also connected with their customers via online social platforms and conducted virtual workshops to help manufacturers in need.

KMC machines are equipped with a wide variety of head attachments for multifunctional manufacturing purposes. “The essence of our machines are diversity and flexibility,” highlights Chiang. They serve a wide range of applications and industries including the aerospace and automotive industries. For example, the KMC-G Series gantry type machining centre is designed and engineered for heavy cutting capacity and high efficiency machining for large workpieces in these industries.

“The key considerations to investing in a machine includes speed of the machine, rigidity, precision, and quality. At KMC, we pride ourselves with prioritising and understanding our customers wants and needs—and providing the best service and experience for them,” concludes Chiang.

 

Ying-Han Technology (YLM)

Founded in 1987, Ying Han Technology Co. Ltd (YLM) has been one of the leading suppliers of advanced solutions for the metal tube forming industries, as well as in the manufacture of machine tool accessories and CNC machines. The company went public in 2017 and has grown to 400 employees across the world.

“Our motto is: provide immediate and reliable sales and technical services to customers,” said Tsai. With branch offices and a service network across the globe, YLM commits to technical developments and reliable services.

During these unprecedented times, YLM’s non-stop 24 hours global service is providing real-time difference, especially for rapidly changing industries. And in the future, YLM’s machines, combined with intelligent components and sensors, will feature capabilities such as self-processing accuracy, automatic parameter adjustment, and maintenance reminders, and help customers eliminate processing problems, reduce manpower maintenance cost, and achieve global uninterrupted operation.

For the medical industry, multi-cavity moulds require high precision accuracy and high dependence on the equipment. YLM ensures that the maximum error is in range to maintain accuracy and quality in mould manufacturing.

The company’s horizontal machining centres are helping automotive part manufacturers in their challenges. For one, the YMH630/800 has dual worktables to make the clamping method more flexible and can be used in unmanned automatic continuous processing.

 

Jainnher Machine Co. Ltd

Established in 1982, Jainnher Machine Co. Ltd is one of the leading manufacturers of highprecision grinding machines in Taiwan. For almost 40 years, the company has developed a complete machine series to cater to the many different grinding requirements in industries ranging from aerospace, automotive, bicycle, and other transportation industry, cutting tools, and medical parts.

Around half of Jainnher’s clients are automotive parts manufacturers, for which the company provides cost effective and more-advanced automated systems. While the company designs its machines inhouse, it also helps customers build automated equipment for mass production, based on their requirements and budgets. According to Export Manager William Lee, customers’ requirements—in almost every industry—are mostly focused on accuracy and grinding speeds. Either way, the company can provide solutions for both needs.

“It also depends on the workpiece type, as some parts need CNC machining,” said Lee. He noted that the company provides finishing services as a way of adding value to the service.

Jainnher went online to help customers address issues such as machine installation or troubleshooting and repair during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lee said they had to develop new ways to address their customers’ problems.

Jainnher usually delivers in just four months. Now, it may need to add two more months because of the delays in parts. Which is why, if customers want a machine, they should book it now. “Raw material and shipping costs increase every day. If customers need a machine, they should order immediately,” Lee concluded.

 

Sigma CNC Technology Machinery Co. Ltd

Established in 2000, Sigma CNC Technology Machinery Co. Ltd manufactures CNC machining centres and custom grinding machines. It has 16 patents for CNC double column machining centres and eight patents for custom CNC grinding machines. Its products are sold to more than 30 countries through its more than 40 sales locations worldwide.

According to Daniel Chuang, Marketing Director, most machining companies in Southeast Asia lean towards vertical machining centres (VMCs) as compared to double-column machining centres, especially when it comes to motorcycle parts manufacturing in Vietnam and Indonesia. He also noted that some parts makers are moving from Thailand to Vietnam.

One future trend he is seeing is the need for spatial grinding machines, which Sigma has been selling to HIWIN and THK for 10 years now. “Five years ago, some Korean and Chinese manufacturers wanted to buy this machine because they want to manufacture linear guide inhouse to lower the cost,” said Chuang. “We even have customers from the UK who are building linear guides to be sold locally.” He said linear guides are expensive because they are high-precision components.

“We believe machine makers in Southeast Asia will want to manufacture their own linear guides,” Chuang said. “Just like in India, manufacturers are building machines domestically—therefore, this key component is very important for them. Which is why we want to promote spatial grinding machines.”

Because Sigma manufactures double-column machines, delivery to customers require disassembly for the machine to fit the containers, and assembly on the customer side. Amidst the movement restrictions due to the current pandemic, Sigma has been creating video tutorials on how to reassemble the machine to help customers, as well as train them on repairs. Its local agents help customers online or by providing video trainings as well.

 

Ready for Recovery

The pandemic has significantly upended the global manufacturing industry—and manufacturers now are realising the importance of upgrading their systems to smarter solutions. Answering this need are Taiwan’s machine tool makers who can provide precision components, digitally controlled machine tools, automation equipment, and smart controlling systems.

Taiwan companies have long been supplying machineries to manufacturers in the ASEAN region. The government’s thrust toward developing a much deeper cooperation with the industry in Southeast Asia, and a potentially new global supply chain pattern emerging post-pandemic, are expected to open up more opportunities for manufacturing cooperation between the ASEAN region and Taiwan.

 

Tool And Die Shop Reduces Production Time To Machine Die Form Plates

Tool and Die Shop Reduces Production Time to Machine Die Form Plates

Here’s a look at how a tool and die maker reduced time to machine die form plates from 11.3 to 4 hours.

Burr OAK Tool Inc. produces dies used to manufacture two types of fins for window air conditioners: evaporator fins on the side of the air conditioner inside the window, which transfer heat from the inside air to the cold refrigerant flowing through the evaporator coil; and compressor fins located on the side of the air conditioner outside the window, which move heat from the now hot refrigerant to the outside air. Burr OAK Tool dies progressively stretch and reform the fins through a series of metal forming operations that extrude and reduce the thickness of the fins. The very complex geometry of the dies must be controlled within +5/-0 ten thousandths of an inch in order to meet fin tolerances.

Simulating machining operation with ESPRIT.

Simulating machining operation with ESPRIT.

Until recently, the company finished and semi-finished form plates on a grinding machine because its machining centres could not hold the required tolerances. It took 9.2 hours to produce form plates with a waffle form and 11.3 hours for sine wave form plates. Burr OAK Tool recently purchased a Mazak VTC-800 4-axis vertical machining centre with the goal of reducing machining time for these dies. The new machine is much more difficult to program than any of the machines used previously by the company. Adding to the challenge is the fact that parts are designed in 2D because they have so many holes and other features that it would take prohibitively long to design them as solid models.

David Schwartz, CNC Programming Manager for Burr OAK Tool.

David Schwartz, CNC Programming Manager for Burr OAK Tool.

Back in the mid-1990s, Burr OAK Tool used a CAM software package that did not accurately simulate machining operations. The company mounted many of the parts it machined on workholding devices called tombstones, and it was not unusual for a spindle driven by a new program to crash into a tombstone, which often required expensive repairs.

“We switched to ESPRIT CAM software from DP Technology because it accurately simulates the machine, spindles, tools and workpiece in real-time operation,” said David Schwartz, CNC Programming Manager for Burr OAK Tool.

After the purchase of a new 4-axis machining centre, Burr OAK Tool programmers attended ESPRIT training for the Mazak VTC-800 and the company purchased a Solid Mill Free-Form 3-Axis add-on for one of its ESPRIT licenses.

Completed fin die.

Completed fin die.

With ESPRIT, Burr OAK Tool programmers detect crashes and gouges during the programming process before downloading the program to the machine. ESPRIT’s simulation capabilities have eliminated crashes while substantially improving the productivity of the company’s programming team. Over the time it has used ESPRIT, the company has reduced its programming team from 13 to six people through innovation while substantially increasing its programming volume and capabilities.

The first step in programming the form plate is importing the 2D models that contain the part definition. Only a few clicks are needed to extrude the 2D models to create the 3D surface geometry. The next step is to define features such as holes and bosses which map into machining operations. Burr OAK Tool programmers currently perform this step manually although in the future they plan to investigate the automatic feature recognition capability of ESPRIT. Burr OAK Tool programmers use ESPRIT’s mill between curves feature to define the surface to be milled.

Fins produced on Burr OAK dies.

Fins produced on Burr OAK dies.

Most machining operations are performed with the spindle tilted at 30 deg with respect to the workpiece because ball nose end mills perform better when cutting on their sides than on their points. The milling operation is typically run at a 250 inches per minute feed rate and produces an 8 ra finish, which matches or even exceeds the finish produced by grinding. This new procedure works so well, they were able to eliminate a separate roughing operation on the vertical machine centres and go directly to a tilted head semi-finishing operation on the VTC-800 that leaves only 0.002 in for the finish. A small ball nose end mill removes the last 0.002 in.

ESPRIT simulation automatically identifies any moves where the spindle or tool passes too close to the part or machine. The programmers closely compare the simulation results to make sure it matches the design spec. As a final step, programmers use the ESPRIT post-processor for the Mazak VTC-800 to produce code that runs perfectly every time. Thanks to its accurate simulation and code, Burr OAK Tool programmers feel confident enough to run lights-out even with high precision, single run, custom parts.

“We have reduced machining time to 3 hours on the waffle dies and 4 hours on the sine wave dies, substantially reducing the cost of producing these critical tools,” Schwartz concluded. “Programming the form milling operations on the dies takes only about 2 hours, which is remarkably low considering the complexity of the part. We are confident that once we fully incorporate the capabilities of ESPRIT into our programming methodology, we will be able to reduce fin die programming time to only 1 hour.”

 

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Hexagon: Time-Saving And Productivity Enhancements In Latest VISI

Hexagon: Time-Saving And Productivity Enhancements In Latest VISI

A raft of new and enhanced functionality features in VISI 2021 – the latest release of Hexagon’s specialist mould and die CAD/CAM software.

CAD:

CAD analysis benefits from a new function which improves the suite of analysis shading modes. Draft Analysis has been added to the existing Undercut and Accessibility shading, performing an on-the-fly analysis of the draft angle. This uses the same technique as in the undercut mode, but extended to more ranges. The colours and angular value of each range can be changed by simply clicking on the colours or numeric labels on the graphics toolbar.

Repair functions used in the Repair Invalid Faces of Bodies command are now integrated in the Validate command. It is now also possible to zoom in on any potential issues using the Auto Zoom function.

Developments to the CAD Reverse module enhance the Reverse and Casting processes. VISI Product Owner Marco Cattaneo explains that the scanning operation has been improved with the shaded view, giving better and faster feedback.

With Point Scanning, the shaded point cloud is now shown during the scanning operation, giving the operator an immediate view of what has been correctly scanned, and if anything is missing.

An additional option has been added to automatically create a mesh as a scanning result, which he says is particularly valuable when a quicker, rather than detailed, result is needed.

Enhancements to probing during the Reverse process now detect the correct diameter of the part in relation to the position of the probed points. A Circle/Slot probing feature has been added for probing and designing a circle or slot, giving several options to guarantee the probed element is the correct size and in the correct position.

MOULD – Body to Mould

Additional options to existing commands, along with new items of functionality, make part position management considerably easier.

With Body to Mould, there is a new option to select multiple elements, including solids and surfaces, and move the selected bodies to the mould position. During the part positioning, ‘non-uniform scaling values’ can now be defined by the user, and the system automatically sets the relative shrinkage data in a special Assembly Manager field (Bill of Materials).

With Mould to Body, the system allows multiple element to be selected, including solids and surfaces, and to move the complete mould back into Body position. “This will be valuable for operators using CMM to check tools in the body position. When they select the part to move back, they get an option to select multiple elements to go with the tool back to Body position,” says Marco Cattaneo.

PROGRESS – Part Unfolding

To provide a powerful and complete solution to this new unfolding approach, additional features have been included for flanges and non-linear bends.  The Part Definition feature has been improved, giving better and faster part analysis, identifying the different face types, defining material, and setting linear bends unfolding. Different colours can be set, relating to different neutral fibre values, giving quick identification for unfolded linear bends and fibre value.

A new feature manages flange unfolding on the analysed part, and shows the result in preview mode, so the operator can evaluate the result and set different parameters, while preserving the link with the original part. This automatically recalculates the flanged part, meaning all linked parts can then be rebuilt in reference to a modification on the original.

CAM Simulation

An interface with Hexagon’s G-code simulator, NCSIMUL Advanced comes as a cost option in VISI 2021. Marco Cattaneo explains that NCSIMUL manages the complete machining process from the NC program to the machined part.

 

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

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The Global Aluminium Castings Market To Grow By US$32.1 Million Despite The Pandemic

The Global Aluminium Castings Market To Grow By US$32.1 Million Despite The Pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 crisis and the looming economic recession, the aluminium castings market worldwide will grow by a projected US$32.1 million from 2018 to 2025, driven by a revised compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1 percent, according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts Inc.

Die casting, one of the segments analysed and sized in this study, is forecast to grow at over 6.7 percent and reach a market size of US$51.3 million by the end of the analysis period. An unusual period in history, the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a series of unprecedented events affecting every industry. The die casting market will be reset to a new normal which, going forward in a post COVID-19 era, will be continuously redefined and redesigned. Staying on top of trends and accurate analysis is paramount now more than ever to manage uncertainty, change and continuously adapt to new and evolving market conditions.

The United States is forecast to readjust to a 4.9 percent CAGR, while within Europe, Germany will add over US$971.8 thousand to the region’s size over the next seven to eight years. In addition, over US$938.1 thousand worth of projected demand in the region will come from the rest of European markets. In Japan, the die casting segment will reach a market size of US$2.4 million by 2025.

Amid the growing push for decoupling and economic distancing, the changing relationship between China and the rest of the world will influence competition and opportunities in the aluminium castings market.

Against this backdrop and the changing geopolitical, business and consumer sentiments, the world’s second largest economy will grow at 10.2 percent over the next couple of years and add approximately US$8.5 million in terms of addressable market opportunity.

 

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Mouldmakers Turn To Process Automation In Race To Recover

Mouldmakers Turn To Process Automation In Race To Recover

As production begins to ramp up in some sectors, mould and die manufacturers turning to automation of design and manufacturing to regain lost revenues.

Swoosh Technologies & Solutions, a certified-Smart Siemens Digital Industries Software business partner, has noticed more interest in mould and die-specific programs that automate tasks in the design and manufacturing of moulds.

“By automating some of the more tedious and predictable steps in the production process like creating parting surfaces or feature recognition for CNC programming, manufacturers can step up the speed of production throughput with the workforce they have in place,” notes Dan Wibbenmeyer, Managing Partner at Swoosh Technologies.

“And in an industry like consumer products or automotive, speed of delivery and cost will determine who receives the order.”

A recent survey from the American Mould Builders Association found that most plant operations fared well during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic operating at full capacity, while only two percent had to shut down operations entirely. Those who specialise in the medical device market are seeing the highest production levels with 91 percent of companies reporting they are 90-100 percent staffed and 55 percent looking to add staff.

 

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DOST Metals Industry Research And Development Center Is Mass Producing 5000 Face Shields Daily

DOST Metals Industry Research and Development Center Is Mass Producing 5000 Face Shields Daily

The Department of Science and Technology – Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) is ramping up production of medical face shields to meet the Philippines’ demands for personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the frontline workers battling COVID-19.

Through its Additive Manufacturing Center, DOST-MIRDC was initially producing 50 3D printing face shields a day. To ramp up its production, DOST-MIRDC has fabricated a plastic injection mould at the Die and Mould Solution Center in its Bicutan, Taguig City compound. Using plastic injection technology, it has boosted its production capabilities to 2,500 face shields a day.

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Furthermore, DOST-MIRDC has partnered with Omnifab, which fabricated another injection mould, and Megasamsotite Plant in San Pedro, Laguna which serves as another site for mass production—totalling production of another 2,500 face shields daily.

“With the mass production of the medical face shields being done simultaneously in Laguna and in Taguig, we can assure the enhanced protection of our frontliners,” said Engr. Fred P. Liza, Chief of the Materials and Process Research Division, and Project Leader of the DOST-MIRDC’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCen).

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In addition, the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), another DOST R&D institute has 3D printed 100 face shields for Philippine Heat Center.

“As we make change happen through research and development, we find ways in helping out our new heroes facing COVID-19. We shall continue to look for better means to support our frontliners through research and development,” said Rowena Guevara, DOST undersecretary for R&D.

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Machining: Achieving Perfect Moulds

Machining: Achieving Perfect Moulds

Here’s how to bring out the best of a machine in any machining scenario while efficiently meeting workpiece accuracy requirements. Article by Heidenhain.

The Dynamic Precision package of functions for the TNC controls perfectly combines a high level of accuracy with dynamic motions.

In tool and mould making, dimensional and contour errors need to be so low as to be barely measurable and must certainly never be visible. These requirements are increasingly at odds with demands for higher productivity and lower costs.

Here are some common user questions when it comes to getting the most out of a milling machine, and how Heidenhain’s TNC technology can help solve those issues.

 

How can I optimally tune my machine to the given machining conditions?

In Cycle 32 Tolerance, the TNC user can precisely tune the machine setup by adapting the contouring deviation T to the task at hand, thus individually specifying the path width that is available to the control. The user can so directly influence the maximum attainable contouring feed rate, and therefore also the machining time, in particular for contour elements with numerous changes in direction—a common characteristic of free-form surfaces.

Some machine tool builders also offer their own cycles based on Cycle 32. These are often designated Cycle 332. In addition to the contouring deviation T that the TNC user enters, these cycles make further modifications to the machine setup that the OEM had programmed for specific machining operations, such as roughing, finishing, or pre-finishing.

The Advanced Dynamic Prediction (ADP) function offers another possibility for optimizing the machining process. It starts with the data quality of the NC program and enables optimized motion control for feed axes in three- and five-axis milling. An insufficient quality of data frequently causes poor motion control, leading to inferior surface quality of the milled workpieces.

With ADP, the TNC control can dynamically calculate the contour in advance and adapt the axis speeds in time for contour transitions using acceleration-limited and jerk-smoothing motion control. As a result, clean surfaces can be milled in short machining times even for contours with highly irregular point distributions in neighbouring tool paths. The strengths of ADP are apparent, for example, in the resulting symmetrical feed behaviour on forward and reverse paths during bidirectional finish milling and in the form of particularly smooth feed-rate curves on parallel milling paths.

KinematicsOpt and 3D-ToolComp make it possible to efficiently create a highly accurate workpiece using the true accuracy of the machine and tool.

How can I take full advantage of a milling machine’s dynamics?

The Dynamic Precision package of functions for the TNC controls is a collection of functions that combine high accuracies with dynamic motions. These functions minimize not only forces that affect the mechanics of a machine tool during operation, but also the resulting deviations at the tool center point.

The Cross Talk Compensation (CTC) function compensates for forces that are introduced by dynamic acceleration processes and that briefly deform parts of the machine, leading to deviations at the tool center point. Regardless of the actual acceleration, CTC makes either more precise production with better surfaces possible, or it significantly reduces the machining times by increasing the jerk.

Active Vibration Damping (AVD) suppresses dominant low-frequency vibrations and permits fast, vibration-free milling. This makes it possible to set high jerk values. Machining times can be reduced without compromising surface quality. In particular, the combination of CTC and AVD helps reconcile the contradictory requirements of accuracy and speed. In practice, this functionality provides greater efficiency during the milling of high-quality, free-form contours.

The Load Adaptive Control (LAC) function continuously determines the current mass for linear axes, or the mass moment of inertia for rotary axes, and adapts the feed-rate control to the values measured at any given time. This improves the dynamic accuracy of the axis for every situation under load, enabling the use of optimized jerk values for the feed axes on the workpiece side. The result is a shorter machining time, since the feed axes reach the desired positions sooner. In addition, LAC compensates for all changed friction values and therefore ensures higher contour accuracy.

Batch Process Manager and StateMonitor from HEIDENHAIN make process monitoring and automation easy.

How can I implement the accuracy requirements of a workpiece efficiently?

Accuracy requirements are becoming ever more stringent, particularly in the realm of 5-axis machining. Complex parts must be manufactured with both precision and reproducible accuracy, including over extended periods of time. During machining, however, machine components are subjected to relatively high temperature fluctuations. The kinematic transformation chain should therefore be adapted correspondingly. The KinematicsOpt software option not only handles the recalibration, but also saves all data regarding modifications to the kinematic configuration.

A triggering 3-D touch probe is used to measure the position of a precise calibration sphere at various rotary axis settings. The result is a report providing the current actual accuracy during tilting. If desired, KinematicsOpt also automatically optimizes the measured axes simultaneously, and requisite modifications to the machine data are also automatically implemented. The user needs no detailed knowledge about the kinematic configuration of the machine and can recalibrate his milling machine in just a few minutes. If the calibration sphere is permanently mounted on the machine table, then this procedure can even be performed as an automated step between the individual machining processes.

Radius cutters whose geometry deviates from the ideal circular shape also negatively affect the machining result, since the contact point of the cutter radius with the workpiece as calculated by the control does not match the value for that of the actual radius.

The 3D-ToolComp option and touch probe Cycle 444 together are a powerful method for three-dimensional tool radius compensation. A compensation table enables the specification of angle-dependent delta values that describe this deviation. The TNC control uses this data to compensate for the radius value defined at the current tool contact point on the workpiece.

For the contact point to be determined with precision, the NC program must be generated with surface-normal blocks (LN blocks) by the CAM system. These surface-normal blocks define the tool position and the contact point on the workpiece, and optionally specify the tool orientation relative to the workpiece surface.

 

How can I plan and monitor automated production with ease?

If the machine tool provides perfect machining results, then the associated processes should also run in an optimized manner. Intelligently networked systems for job planning, job management, and job monitoring should provide a comprehensive view of job lists, running processes, work progress, and any necessary interventions.

Batch Process Manager organizes pending jobs clearly and in a logical manner. To accomplish this, the user creates a lineup of jobs directly on the Heidenhain control. These might be jobs for the approaching night shift, for an entire day, or for the upcoming weekend. Batch Process Manager checks this job list and provides important information prior to machining, such as when manual interventions will be necessary and how long the machine will be utilized. Batch Process Manager thereby allows for precise planning of the machining sequence and facilitates the smooth execution of pending jobs.

The StateMonitor software gives a fast, real-time overview of the current machine and job statuses for all connected machines. This monitoring software enables machine data acquisition (MDA) and provides information about machine messages. The user thereby maintains an overview of his machine tools and jobs at all times. The user can access StateMonitor from any device featuring an up-to-date web browser, meaning not only PCs, smartphones, and tablets but also, of course, controls from Heidenhain and Extended Workspace.

Many powerful TNC functions of Heidenhain controls offer possible solutions to the key questions that arise between the conflicting demands of a production process that is highly precise and at the same time highly efficient. The user can take advantage of these functions that bring out the best of a machine in any machining scenario while efficiently meeting workpiece accuracy requirements.

 

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EMO 2019: Mobile Hybrid Machining For The Tool And Die Industry

EMO 2019: Mobile Hybrid Machining For The Tool And Die Industry

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.

 

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Standardisation Of Mould Bases

Standardisation of Mould Bases

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.

Basic Structure

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.

Defining Qualities

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.

 

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TRUMPF Is Expanding The Scope Of 3D Printing

TRUMPF Is Expanding The Scope Of 3D Printing

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

 

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