Rapid advancements and changes in technology are challenging how machine shops run. Maintaining the status quo and not adapting and embracing these new developments, will leave you behind. In this era of what has been coined as Industry 4.0, there is a fundamental shift towards digital industrial technology. The ability to gather and analyze mass amounts of data across machines is transforming machining processes and operations to become faster, more efficient, and flexible.
Coronavirus is here. And while our doctors and nurses fight the virus on the front lines, many of us are wondering what we can do to help.
Hybrid manufacturing is a combination of additive manufacturing (AM) and subtractive manufacturing within the same machine. Both processes on their own have remarkable capabilities, but when combined, it opens up a whole new level of design and manufacturing. The machines allow you to make and finish the part in a single setup, reducing error because the AM part does not have to leave one machine to be reset on a second machine.
The purpose of Hybrid manufacturing is to combine the strengths of additive manufacturing (AM) and subtractive machining. Using a single machine, it creates the ability to produce finished parts in the same machine using both processes. Hybrid manufacturing joins the best features of traditional subtractive machining with additive manufacturing.
Most machine shops have, at some point, felt the pains from the labor shortage. In July 2019, nearly a half of million manufacturing jobs were left unfilled. Skilled manufacturing and machining jobs are becoming increasingly more challenging to fill, and the skills gap is widening. According to a recent study conducted by Deloitte & The MFG Institute by 2028, we could see 2.4M open positions in the U.S. manufacturing industry due to talent shortage.
Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, builds parts through a CAD generated 3D model by adding single layers of material and fusing the layers together. AM first emerged in 1987 and has been steadily growing ever since, with more leaps and bounds in recent years. We identify the seven AM processes and their advantages and disadvantages.
The key to having an optimal finished part starts with choosing the right material. By narrowing down the types of machining materials that are best suited for the part will lead to the selection of the most appropriate and cost-effective material. Here are a few things to consider when selecting materials.
As we launched our new blog in early 2019, we posted topics focusing on information relevant to a variety of industries. As we venture into the new decade, we will continue on this path and provide insights on topics that are important to the industries we serve. We are pleased to share the top Blog Posts from 2019.
More and more machine shops are moving to unattended or lights out machining to stay competitive. Having more production hours means higher output and additional revenue. At the Top Shops Conference, we learned that the top 25 percent of machine shops are running 14 hours a day, while the bottom 25 percent are only running 8 hours a day. On average, profit margins in machine shops running lights out were 3 percent higher than those who were not.
Most experienced machinists have seen at least one fire on the job. Cutting metals at high speeds creates plenty of opportunities for sparks to ignite flammable materials. Many fires in machine shops are preventable, either by minimizing sparks or making sure they do not ignite flammable materials. But mistakes can happen. Our analysis of 24 fires in machine shops shows that one mistake, in particular, causes almost 30% of all fires.
We are entering the era of 5-axis machining. Between increased competition, Industry 4.0, and the continual widening of the skilled labor gap, the machining industry is seeing some rapid changes around the technology used on the shop floor. The demand for 5-axis machining is higher than ever. In 2020, sales in 5-axis vertical machines are expected to increase by 18%, and 5-axis horizontal machines are expected to increase by 20%.
Eventually, even with the best coolant management plan in place, coolant will go bad and requires removal and replacement. Once the coolant reaches its useful life, it needs to be disposed of appropriately. With stricter environmental regulations, the burden is put on the machine shop to determine if the coolant and other materials are considered hazardous or nonhazardous waste. The machine shop must test the waste materials or have the necessary information about the waste to assess its status.