Production Expands the June 2019 Metalworking Index

Posted by: Michael Guckes 10. July 2019

The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking registered 51.8 in June, signaling marginally greater business activity compared to the prior month.

Index readings above 50 indicate expanding activity while values below 50 indicate contracting activity. The Index is calculated as an average of its components.

Gardner Intelligence’s review of these underlying components observed that the Index was supported by expanding activity in production, supplier deliveries and employment. The reading for new orders registered slightly below the average of the components. The Index was pulled down by the ongoing contraction in exports and backlogs.

Metalworking Business Index: The Metalworking Index was supported by production, supplier deliveries and employment. New orders activity fell slightly below the average reading of the six components which constitute the total index.

Data collected in June extended many of the trends observed in the data over the last six to 12 months. Supplier deliveries in 2019 have continued to closely track with production activity readings. This comes after supplier deliveries expanded far faster than any other component during the second half of 2018, as manufacturers rushed to fill new orders. Similar readings for both the supplier deliveries and production components in 2019 suggest that manufacturers have astutely moderated their inventory levels, thereby preventing a glut of inventory.

The gap between production and new orders activity has widened since the beginning of 2019. This gap has been made possible as shops have drawn down their inventory of backlog orders.

Exports registered their fastest rate of contraction since August 2016. A June increase in production activity coupled with a simultaneous slowdown in new orders growth contributed to another month of contracting backlogs.


New Specs: Turning Machines from SMEC

2. July 2019
new specs from SMEC

Techspex has begun adding a number of updated machine specs to our database of machine tools from SMEC Co. Ltd., manufacturer of lathes and vertical machining centers based in Korea. Among the machines we’ve updated are:

  • PL 500AW, a turning center designed for producing wheels with high efficiency
  • IMT 420S, a nine-axis multitasking turning and machining center featuring high speed and rigidity
  • SLV 800, a two-axis vertical lathe 

You can see and compare among the 37 other SMEC turning machines in our database by visiting the company’s Techspex showroom

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.


New Specs: Lathes from Racer Machinery International and Standard Modern

20. June 2019
new specs

Techspex has begun adding a number of updated machine specs to our database of machine tools from Racer Machinery International. Among them is the S-36XL, part of the Standard Modern S series of slant-bed, large-bore lathes. The machine features hand-scraped surfaces, a three-point precision spindle roller bearing, and distance between centers ranging from 120 to 240 inches. 

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.


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.

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