Into the Machinist’s Toolbox: An Update on Today’s Tooling Tech
“The utilization of tooling technologies, which adapt to changing manufacturing requirements, increases productivity and operational flexibility,” said Dan Walker, director of business development for Windsor, Conn.-based Tsugami/Rem Sales, a manufacturer and distributor of CNC Swiss lathes, machining centers, and milling machines. “For example, quick change tooling, oscillation cutting, and lights-out machining, all within the Industrial Internet of Things, generate more up time with less intervention.”
Integrating laser cutting into a CNC Swiss lathe allows the machine to make small, precision cuts that cannot be achieved using standard machining methods. Combining traditional machining and laser processing into one machine also reduces set-up time and parts handling and provides better precision with less variation. Ultimately, “LaserSwiss technology provides cost savings to the end user while significantly reducing takt time [the rate at which a finished product needs to be completed in order to meet customer demand] and scrap, and improving process capability, all while delivering quick return on investment,” said Walker.
Oscillating cutting is another technological breakthrough that oscillates a servo axis to help break chips in tough-to-cut materials. The system reduces heat in the cut, while maintaining tool life and surface finish. This function oscillates the specified axis, and cutting is performed by synchronizing the oscillation of the specified axis with the rotation of the main spindle. “Interruption in the cut, or air cutting, break material into small chips rather than long stringy ones,” said Walker. “Productivity is increased by significantly reducing operator intervention to remove hanging or ‘bird nesting’ chips.”
This cutting technique can be used for turning, drilling, boring, or grooving operations. Productivity is increased by significantly reducing operator interruption to remove hanging or “bird nesting” chips. Oscillation parameters can be changed easily to machine multiple features with multiple tools.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of IoT sensor networks and data analytics is being able to detect variance in machine operations in real time, allowing personnel to correct the variance before it becomes a serious problem that requires downtime to fix. For example, Tsugami/Rem Sales has partnered with Industrial IoT platform provider MachineMetrics to improve its customer service by resolving machine problems faster, without the necessity of an on-site visit. Reducing downtime, particularly unplanned downtime, is an essential part of keeping customer costs down and manufacturing levels up. “By IoT-enabling our new machines, our service managers and technicians can remotely monitor, manage, diagnose, and quickly resolve a customer’s machine issues for any piece of connected equipment in the field and in real time,” said Walker. The historical and real-time machine data that is collected provides insight into customers’ equipment performance, health, and condition, predicts and delivers early warning of potential equipment failures, highlights elevated risk areas that lead to machine downtime, and can even take preventative action before a potential problem impacts a customer’s machine performance.
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