Industries in the Machinery Manufacturing subsector create end products that apply mechanical force, for example, the application of gears and levers, to perform work. Some important processes for the manufacture of machinery are forging, stamping, bending, forming, and machining that are used to shape individual pieces of metal. Processes, such as welding and assembling are used to join separate parts together. Although these processes are similar to those used in metal fabricating establishments, machinery manufacturing is different because it typically employs multiple metal forming processes in manufacturing the various parts of the machine. Moreover, complex assembly operations are an inherent part of the production process.
Nakamura Tome Plant Tour
Heavy Engineering: The Complex Logistics of Moving Large Machine Tools
One of our fascinations with large-format machine tools has little to do with their capabilities, but everything to do with the logistics involved with getting them up and running. Here’s how one of the world’s oldest builders of giant machine tools, Waldrich Coburg, tackles the challenge.
“Most of our most challenging transport situations don’t involve relocating a machine from an existing facility to a new one,” he says, “but are instead customers that bought a used piece of equipment.” It is not uncommon that these used machines — machines that are intended to last a lifetime — need to be retrofitted with new controllers or spindle units, then moved to a storage facility while the customer works on the foundation.
Compact, Flexible System Assembles Transmission Pumps
To stay on the leading edge, Eclipse engineers constantly research new technologies to help their customers succeed. “We test all kinds of new technologies, including artificial intelligence, remote training, virtual reality for maintenance systems, and any components that add precision and flexibility,” says Jeff Werner, general manager for Eclipse, based in Cambridge, ON. “One technology that has proven particularly important to us is linear transport systems.”
To make this advanced functionality possible, TwinCAT 3 automation software was critical. The universal engineering and run-time platform from Beckhoff allowed Eclipse engineers to program G code that enables the XTS and Beckhoff AM8000 servomotors to perform coordinated motion for high precision dispensing. In addition, Eclipse took advantage of the capability to program with the object-oriented extensions of IEC 61131-3, predefined and custom function blocks, and computer science standards found in Microsoft Visual Studio.
New Ultrasonic Welder Mode Uses Real-time Adjustments to Improve Welds
Ultrasonic welding, including the single-parameter weld modes, let electronics manufacturers meet high levels of assembly quality, especially for products built from rigid, molded plastic components. But companies that assemble products from components with more dimensional, flexural, or material-related variability have faced a tougher challenge, one typically met by in-house modifications to ultrasonic welding equipment.
To use a welder equipped with dynamic mode, operators select the single-parameter weld mode that provides the best application results to date. Then, they enter two application-specific “scores,” which act as limits for dynamic mode activity. The first is a material “density” score that characterizes the hardness or resistance of the material that is to receive the welded, staked, or inserted part. Low density scores equate to harder, more resistant materials. The second, the “reactivity” score, affects the reaction time needed to get the desired density setting. In operation, dynamic mode monitors each weld cycle, using the density and reactivity limits to adjust and improve the cycle in response to specific part-to-part variabilities throughout the production run.
The Culture Change of Large-Part Machining Automation
Skilled workers — the lack of whom arguably form the biggest hurdle facing U.S. manufacturing today — are as hard to recruit to a perks-galore company like Major Tool as they are almost anywhere. This shortfall is leading machining businesses to confront the problem through automation.
Major Tool’s roster of large-format CNC machine tools includes those for which the X, Y and Z travel capacities are often measured in feet, not inches. At this scale, even the company’s fastest machines require long cycle times to produce large-format parts. Human interventions that risk introducing errors need to be minimal. Since Major Tool often works with aerospace-grade materials like titanium, Hastelloy and Inconel machined from solid blocks, the concern is typically tool degradation which, when coupled with variations in the natural material hardness of a workpiece, can result in painfully expensive scrapped parts. Tool monitoring adaptive control, or TMAC, is one strategy that Major Tool is using to mitigate these risks and decrease cycle times.
Concept Prove-Outs Prove Their Worth in Robotic Finishing
During shop visits, Modern Machine Shop editors have gotten used to seeing rows of people huddled over benches with spotlights, scopes and hand tools. In fact, the sight is so common that the odd juxtaposition of tedious manual work and sophisticated, automated CNC machining processes can be easy to overlook.
Different automated material removal applications teach similar lessons about the value of early testing, close collaboration and adventurous thinking.
Smart conveyors streamline wet wipes packaging challenges
Wet wipe manufacturing automation can produce up to 500 stacks of wipes per minute, in counts ranging from 20 to 100 single-ply sheets per stack. At these high throughput levels, downstream systems for primary and secondary packaging like shrink wrappers and case packers cannot handle the volume of product flow unless it is split into multiple packaging machinery lines.
No matter how efficient shrink wrappers, labelers and case packers may be, if the wet wipes packaging line does not use conveyors adequately designed for the handling of fragile products like wet wipes, and precisely stage these products for infeed, the product quality, throughput speed and cost-efficiency of the entire production and packaging line will be compromised.
Why Tesla Needed The Giga Press
Circular Economy 3D Printing: Opportunities to Improve Sustainability in AM
Within the 3D printing sector alone, there are various initiatives currently underway to develop closed-loop manufacturing processes that reuse and repurpose waste materials. Within the automotive sector, Groupe Renault is creating a facility entirely dedicated to sustainable automotive production through recycling and retrofitting vehicles using 3D printing, while Ford and HP have teamed up to recycle 3D printing waste into end-use automotive parts.
One notable project that is addressing circular economy 3D printing is BARBARA (Biopolymers with Advanced functionalities foR Building and Automotive parts processed through Additive Manufacturing), a Horizon 2020 project that brought together 11 partners from across Europe to produce bio-based materials from food waste suitable for 3D printing prototypes in the automotive and construction sectors.
How Materialise Research Makes Multi-Laser 3D Printers Accessible with Future-Proof Software
A major goal for many in the 3D printing industry is boosting productivity to ultimately scale operations. Materialise’s software research team predicts that multi-laser machines will be key in enabling 3D printing factories to accomplish this goal.
In this blog, we’ll dive into this topic with Tom Craeghs, Research Manager within our Central Research & Technology department. Read on to discover the advantages and challenges of multi-laser machines, as well as how advancements in software will enable these printers and their associated productivity to become a reality.
Complex machine validations performed with multiphysics simulation
When new materials and methods are applied to manufacturing, it increases product complexity. But the benefits can be significant: Products are now lighter, smaller and more easily customizable to meet consumer demands. Multiphysics simulations enable machine builders to explore the physical interactions complex products encounter, virtually. It tracks interactive data of product performance, safety and longevity.
Innovation Fuels Stanley Black & Decker's Transformation
With more than 100 manufacturing plants globally, the 178-year-old Stanley Black & Decker (SBD) has entrenched itself one of the world’s most recognizable and innovative brands.
A key component of the company’s staying power? The company has stayed on a clear journey of continuous improvement with dedication to innovation that includes regularly applying advanced technologies across the company’s operation, ultimately resulting in a culture dedicated to seeking “game changing solutions” that consistently yields an impressive number of new products and world firsts each year.
Robotic Flexibility: How Today’s Autonomous Systems Can Be Adapted to Support Changing Operational Needs
While robots are ideally suited to repetitive tasks, until now they lacked the intelligence to identify and handle tens of thousands of constantly changing products in a typical dynamic warehouse operation. That made applying robots to picking applications somewhat limited. Therefore, when German electrical supply wholesaler Obeta sought to install a new automated storage system from MHI member KNAPP in its new Berlin warehouse as a means to address a regional labor shortage made worse by COVID-19, the company specified a robotic picking system powered by onboard artificial intelligence (AI).
“The Covariant Brain is a universal AI that allows robots to see, reason and act in the world around them, completing tasks too complex and varied for traditional programmed robots. Covariant’s software enables Obeta’s Pick-It-Easy Robot to adapt to new tasks on its own through trial and error, so it can handle almost any object,” explained Peter Chen, co-founder and CEO of MHI member Covariant.ai.
Start-ups Powering New Era of Industrial Robotics
Much of the bottleneck to achieving automation in manufacturing relates to limitations in the current programming model of industrial robotics. Programming is done in languages proprietary to each robotic hardware OEM – languages “straight from the 80s” as one industry executive put it.
There are a limited number of specialists who are proficient in these languages. Given the rarity of the expertise involved, as well as the time it takes to program a robot, robotics application development typically costs three times as much as the hardware for a given installation.
Classify This Robot-Woven Sneaker With 3D-Printed Soles as 'Footware'
For athletes trying to run fast, the proper shoe can be essential to achieving peak performance. For athletes trying to run as fast as humanly possible, a runner’s shoe can also become a work of individually customized engineering.
This is why Adidas has married 3D printing with robotic automation in a mass-market footwear project it’s called Futurecraft.Strung, expected to be available for purchase as soon as later this year. Using a customized, 3D-printed sole, a Futurecraft.Strung manufacturing robot can place some 2,000 threads from up to 10 different sneaker yarns in one upper section of the shoe.
How Additive Manufacturing Adoption Brings Business Gains
Analysis from Jabil’s 2021 3D Printing Technology Trends survey revealed that additive manufacturing is already enabling unique and better ways for manufacturers to serve their markets. In the last few years, highly regulated industries with precise and rigid standards for safety and quality, such as healthcare, aerospace, defense and automotive, have positioned themselves enthusiastically among those championing the strategic benefits of additive manufacturing.
Integrated intelligent technologies optimize yield and increase profits for rice millers
The digitally connected technology provides mill operators with the insights they need to correctly adjust solution settings. Over time, the intelligent system is capable of adjusting autonomously. Where millers were once left to take corrective action after an incident occurred, they can now prevent costly reprocessing steps and proactively manage the entire process. With these advances, the miller can optimize operating costs, quality and yield, all of which have a direct impact on the profit of the mill.
The Electrical Heart of Manufacturing
Once, servo amplifiers were tuned with screwdrivers to adjust the motion of the motors, with say three potentiometers, one for each of the elements of a PID controller. “Today, most servo drives have algorithms that autotune adjustments,” said Nausley. Promess can now position its presses within a few microns. “A few years ago, there’s no way we could have done that.”
Cartesian robots: simple yet sophisticated packaging automation
For many packaging use cases, cartesian robots have the edge over 6-axis models. One reason relates to the robot density. A single long-travel cartesian transfer robot can tend multiple packaging machines—without any need to rearrange machines around the robot.
By installing the transfer robots above the machines they tend, you also won’t incur a floor space penalty. Safety guarding requirements are minimal too, at least compared to 6-axis models, since an overhead installation naturally separates robots and workers. Finally, cartesian robots have lower cost maintenance and programming requirements.
The Evolution of Robotics Force Control
Because repeatability was the most important characteristics of the first robots, they were designed from the start to be very stiff. Over the years, the designs were optimized for stiffness and the manufacturing cost and quality of the robot joints reached unprecedented heights. When targeting new applications that require adaptability instead, it was therefore more convenient to use a standard stiff robot equipped with a sensor at its end-effector (tool).
For example, a robot intended for assembly or finishing tasks would be equipped with a force sensor that continuously measures the contact forces. An algorithm would then compensate the robot motion based on these measurements.
Guide to Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D Printing
Selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printing is trusted by engineers and manufacturers across different industries for its ability to produce strong, functional parts.
In this extensive guide, we’ll cover the selective laser sintering process, the different systems and materials available on the market, the workflow for using SLS printers, the various applications, and when to consider using SLS 3D printing over other additive and traditional manufacturing methods.
Report: Innovative New Machinery at PACK EXPO Connects
As flexible packaging continues to grow in popularity partly due to its sustainability bona fides, it comes as no surprise that innovations in both vertical and horizontal form/fill/seal systems were on full display at PACK EXPO Connects. Here we take a brief look at seven notable developments.
Challenges of Automated Assembly
A product’s design determines its features, materials, performance, time to market and costs. Its quality, however, depends on the quality of the processes used to develop and make it. This doesn’t mean good designs only come from healthy design processes, but the odds of good results are surely higher if the processes are healthy.
So, how healthy are your product development processes?
Get ready for metamorphic manufacturing
A new wrinkle in blacksmithing is hailed as the third wave of the industry’s digitization.
Metamorphic manufacturing, also known as robotic blacksmithing, is poised to bring about faster time to market, less material waste, more available materials, less energy used and more control.
Speeding the Adoption of Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing offers a number of potential innovations in product design, while its flexible manufacturing capabilities can support a distributed manufacturing model - helping to unlock new business potential. However, when companies begin to consider all that is needed to make additive a reality— such as generative design, part consolidation, and topology optimization—it becomes clear that the traditional ways of designing and manufacturing parts are falling away.