A Virtual Visit to the TIMTOS Manufacturing Trade Show

Posted by: Derek Korn 12. June 2019

This post originally appeared on the blog of MMS Online.

Before leaving for a Taiwanese machine tool trade show a few months ago, I forced my own @MMS_Derek Twitter hand(le).

Knowing many of my Twitter followers might never attend the Taipei International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS) — or visit Taiwan for that matter — I tweeted prior to my trip that I would capture some of my experiences (silly or otherwise) from the time I left my house to when I returned home one week later. My goal was to offer a taste of what it is like to travel halfway around the world seeking insight into the latest machining and manufacturing technology. You can find all those tweets (and video) here. You’ll also find fun facts about traveling in Taiwan.

This exercise in social media helped shape this article. Here, I present five interesting booth demonstrations, including links to video, that I thought would draw your attention had you been walking TIMTOS with me, although there was plenty more to see. The addition of a fourth show hall enabled this year’s event to accommodate more than 7,000 booths, making biennial TIMTOS the world’s third-largest manufacturing trade show. So, at best, the following five demonstrations (video of each included in the link above) offer just a taste of what I saw there.

Facial recognition for CNCs

Artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven manufacturing are common themes of manufacturing trade shows. TIMTOS 2019 was no different. For example, Hartford demonstrated facial-recognition technology that ensures only authorized operators can take control of a machine’s CNC. A manager would have the new operator stand in front of the CNC, select “operator” from an onscreen menu, and then click to take a photo for the facial-recognition app to process. From that point on, the operator can access the CNC by looking into the camera and pressing the “access” button. This is one example of more than 40 other apps the company offers for this control.

Unattended five-axis machining

Quaser manufactures automation-friendly five-axis machines as well as vertical machining centers, horizontal machining centers (all with hand-scraped ways) and flexible manufacturing systems (FMS). The company opened its U.S. location in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in late 2016 after using an importer for a number of years. One of its booth demonstrations showed technology to maximize the potential of unattended five-axis machining on the company’s UX500APC machine. For example, the machine’s tilting rotary table is not a trunnion design supporting the table on two sides, so it offers more open access for an integrated pallet changing system to swap pallets in 12 seconds. A laser probe on the side of the table helped track wear through automated measurement of the barrel cutters demonstrating how the part would be cut. These tools have a larger radius than ballnose end mills, which reduces the cycle time by reducing the number of step-down passes required down a part feature. Automatic tool measurement and breakage detection is performed using a laser probe mounted on the side of the tilting rotary table.

AIVs for part handling

Campro offered its spin on smart flexible manufacturing systems with a robotic cell incorporating the company’s U255C five-axis (4 + 1) machine and NT208 turning center. An Omron self-navigating autonomous intelligent vehicle (AIV) was topped with conveyor rollers to accept pallets of parts and part blanks. The AIV delivered fresh workpiece blanks to the five-axis machine, moved work in process from that machine to the turning center, and delivered completed parts to a storage rack. AIVs such as the Omron unit feature software and controls that enable intelligently navigating around people and unplanned obstacles. In fact, these types of robotic-loading/AIV demonstrations are becoming more commonplace at manufacturing trade shows such as TIMTOS.

On-machine probing

A demonstration on Palmary ’s VIG-50 vertical cylindrical grinding machine demonstrated the value of in-process probing, in this case to check the inner diameter (ID) of a customer’s landing gear component after grinding. The machine also had a ground master artifact with known ID and made from the same material as the part. This artifact was mounted near the wheel dresser, where it would react in the same way as the part to any temperature or other environmental changes. The demonstration showed how periodically probing the artifact and comparing that measurement to the known ID value enables adjusting the grinding process to account for fluctuating environmental conditions. 

Automated tube bending and measurement

Soco is well known in the United States for its CNC tube sawing, bending and laser machining equipment. In fact, the United States was the company’s first export target. At TIMTOS, the company showed an automated cell to cut, bend and measure tubular frames for automotive headrests. The cell featured an all-electric, eight-axis SB-22x8A CNC tube bender that can perform both left- and right-side bends to produce U-shaped parts. Its Direct Gear Transmission (DGT) system, which features a gearbox with direct connection to the servomotor, offers angular tube bending accuracy ranging from ±0.05 to ±0.1 degree. The critical dimensions for the headrest frames in this demonstration are the diameters of the tube ends where they insert into the seat and distance between the two vertical tube sections at the top inverted “U”. After bending, the cell’s Yazkawa robot delivers each frame to a gaging station for automated measurement.



More Machine Tool Specs from Yong Ju Precision Technology

24. May 2019

Techspex has added a bunch of updated machine specs to our database of Yong Ju machine tools, which are distributed in the United States by J2 Machine Tool Group LLC. The updates include specs on the company’s large, gantry-style milling machines, such as:

  • The FD series, featuring fixed double columns
  • The FDW series, featuring fixed double columns as well as a moving cross-rail (W axis)
  • The HRP series, designed for highly efficient machining with two independent gantry spindles enabling “merge machining” 

The OEM has over 80 machine tools in our directory, so you’ll want to go to the full list in order to compare among models

While you’re taking note, be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter and follow us on Twitter @techspex to stay current on additions and updates to the Techspex database.


What Happens When Machine Shops Pick Up Swiss-Type Turning

Posted by: Jedd Cole 21. May 2019

As an entry point to Techspex, a free machine specification directory designed to help users do the research they need to more easily and effectively acquire new machine tools, we thought that 2019 was a good time to provide readers of the Techspex supplement, Machine/Shop, with stories of shops getting into new machine technologies successfully.

The feature in the May 2019 edition of Machine/Shop highlights the story of a shop whose owner took it upon himself to learn how to use a Swiss-type lathe, having had only traditional lathe experience. The writers of Modern Machine Shop (where this story comes from) and Production Machining have written several stories over the past few years about machine shops adopting and finding success with Swiss-type lathes. 

Here are a few stories to look at in addition to the one republished in Machine/Shop:

1. New to Swiss-Type Turning

What are some nuances to training a person to effectively operate a Swiss-type lathe? Vallorbs, a shop in Pennsylvania, offers some advice: understanding the sliding-headstock concept, learning the difference between a headstock collet and a guide bushing, and taking care when offsetting tools are a few of the nuggets of wisdom this shop provides to those new to Swiss-type lathes. Read more at

2. Adding Swiss to the Machining Mix

Augmenting Advance CNC Machining’s machining center based-business with Swiss-type turning capability speaks to recent trends within the metalworking industry. Like many who adopt Swiss-type machining, the owner of this shop found benefit in the OEM’s training services to get his staff prepared to use the machines. Read more at

3. Why Shops Are Looking More to Swiss-Types

These days, more traditional job shops are installing—or at least eyeing—Swiss-types. Some reasons include the availability of Swiss-types in “tiered” price points and sophistication, the ability to turn parts with or without the guide bushing, and quick change-overs, among other reasons. Read more at

If you are thinking about diving deeper into Swiss-type turning, give these articles a read and be sure to register for a free Techspex account, where you can search and compare Swiss-type lathe specs to find the best one to start with.


VIDEO: An Inside Look at One of the Largest Five-Axis Machining Centers in the U.S.

Posted by: Brent Donaldson 2. May 2019

The PowerMill can maintain total error of 42 microns over the complete 46-foot length of the X axis. During my visit, the machine was drilling holes on eight steel plates for an undisclosed aerospace tool, a job that required more than a week to set up and a lot of forethought into how to ensure they were properly stress relieved before these drilling operations began.


Baker Industries, a subcontract manufacturer that primarily serves the OEM and Tier-One aerospace and automotive sectors, is located on a vast industrial campus housing several complexes in the sleepy Detroit suburb of Macomb, Michigan. But inside one nondescript building on the corner of campus you’ll find a true metal giant—a five-axis horizontal machining center with a build platform large enough to double as a car pad for a fleet of full-size SUVs. 

Baker Industries invested $3.4 million in the  Emco Mecof PowerMill to expand its capacity to serve its customers’ largest machining projects, typically for the aerospace and automotive sectors. The installation took roughly 11 months from beginning to end, starting with the removal of 1. 2 million pounds of concrete and earth to excavate a 45-by-75-by-7-foot pit. The pit was then filled with nearly 2 million pounds of crushed stone and concrete—the latter of which had to be individually sampled per truckload by inspectors to ensure it was the right consistency. 

The reinforced foundation was needed to guarantee stability while the overhead gantry—which itself weighs more than 100,000 pounds—travels along a 52-by-20-by-10-foot work envelope that can handle parts weighing up to 2.6 million pounds. 

Yet, for all of this mass, the machining center giant can achieve almost shocking precision, able to maintain total error of less than 42 microns over the complete 46-foot-long X axis. During my visit, the machine was drilling holes into eight steel plates for an undisclosed aerospace tool, a job that required more than a week to set up and a lot of forethought into how to ensure they were properly stress-relieved before drilling operations began. Four different cutting heads powered by spindle motors that reach up to 18,000 rpm enable the machine to handle operations from roughing to finishing all in one setup.

Check out this time-lapse video that in 60 seconds shows the entire four-month installation process of the PowerMill, and stay tuned to Modern Machine Shop for a deeper dive into the challenges and opportunities presented by working with giants.

This blog post originally appeared on MMS Online. 


New Specs: Machines from APEC, CNC-Takang, Litz Hitech and Yong Ju Precision

17. April 2019
Techspex new specs announcement

Techspex has added a large number of updated machine specs to our database of machine tools distributed in the United States by J2 Machine Tool Group LLC. Among the original equipment manufacturers involved are: 

  • APEC (Asia Pacific Elite Corp.), which manufacturers five-axis gantry machines for heavy-duty machining
  • CNC-Takang, known for its heavy-duty lathes made specifically for the oil and gas industry, in addition to machining centers
  • Litz Hitech, which manufactures turning, milling, tapping and grinding machines
  • Yong Ju Precision Technology Co., which specializes in large gantry-style machines for milling and boring

While you’re taking note, be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter and follow us on Twitter @techspex to stay current on additions and updates to the Techspex database.

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