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Methods Machine Tools Commits to Medical Manufacturing with a New Tech Center

Posted by: 26. November 2018

This news originally appeared on MMS Online.

Methods ribbon cutting

Jerry Rex, second from right, was appointed President and CEO of Methods Machine Tools earlier this year, the company’s 60th anniversary. The Memphis facility is the company’s eighth sales and technology center in North America. 

 

The opening of a new technology center in Memphis, Tennessee, is not only the latest milestone in a big year for Methods Machine Tools, but also a concrete indication of strong demand for CNC machined medical components.

The company has long serviced medical component manufacturers in the southern United States from another location in Charlottesville, North Carolina. Nonetheless, President and CEO Jerry Rex, who presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Memphis facility November 14, says it is worth being even closer to a strong base of prospective medical industry customers not only in Memphis, but also in neighboring Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle.

As for the strength of the medical market and those who serve it, recent survey data from Gardner Intelligence (the research arm of Modern Machine Shop publisher Gardner Business Media) show that medical manufacturers have experienced strong growth in new orders, production and supplier deliveries. Overall, this data suggest that medical manufacturers are highly likely to close out 2018 in very good condition.   

Methods, of course, serves more than just medical manufacturers, and the company’s experience this year—its 60th anniversary—also evidences a strong manufacturing market in general. Headquartered in Sudbury, Massachusetts, the company has expanded its already expansive product line, which ranges from vertical and horizontal machining centers (VMCs and HMCs) to multi-axis turn-mills to EDMs. Thanks to new partnerships, the line now includes EDM drilling machines from Ocean Technologies; HMCs and boring mills from Niigata; and Swiss-type lathes from Tornos.

 

robot

Attendees gather around this FANUC Robodrill fitted with a robotic arm for transferring parts from the integrated storage unit to the worktable. To accommodate varied, low- and mid-volume lots of parts, the system interfaces with the pallet rather than the workpiece, transferring it from the storage unit to a hydraulic clamping station on the Haeberle two-axis rotary table.

 

Perhaps just as importantly, and just as indicative of broader trends, the company particularly emphasizes the automation systems that surround and augment these machines. One notable example of integrated automation can be seen in the picture gallery above. This FANUC Robodrill VMC features not only a two-axis worktable from Haeberle, but also a workpiece storage magazine from the same manufacturer and a FANUC robotic arm to transition parts from magazine to machine. As such, the system is designed to drop into place as a compact, efficient means of automating five-axis machining of small to medium lot sizes. Representatives noted that Methods also stands ready to help with automation beyond machine tending, particularly tedious, time-consuming tasks like deburring.

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