IMTS 2016: Record number of exhibitors come to Chicago
Features - IMTS 2016
Visitors expecting cutting-edge technology and new equipment that could boost quality, productivity, and cost-competitiveness weren’t disappointed by the 31st edition of the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS).
McCormick Place in Chicago was 76 million pounds heavier in September after a record 2,407 manufacturing technology exhibitors moved all of their equipment into the convention center’s four halls for IMTS 2016. And that doesn’t include the 115,612 registered visitors, the third largest attendance for the show. That attendance figure beat 2014’s show by nearly 1,500 people.
“IMTS has grown not only in size, but in the overall scope of manufacturing,” says Peter R. Eelman, vice president of exhibitions and business development at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and manages IMTS. “There are more compelling reasons for people to attend. Whether they come to research new technology, evaluate vendors before purchasing, find solutions, or connect with the leaders in the manufacturing industry, there is simply no substitute for attending IMTS.”
The real success statistics from the show will come throughout the next year as attendees place orders for new equipment and technology. Anecdotally, several exhibitors say a big difference between the 2014 and 2016 shows was that this year, the people visiting booths weren’t kicking tires. They had specific questions about tool and equipment capabilities and wanted to know how technology providers could help solve specific tasks.
In addition to technology displays, highlights from the show include an expanded Smartforce Student Summit to train the next generation of manufacturers, expanded co-located shows from Hannover Fairs USA, expanded educations conferences, and a 5k run that raised money for Chicago science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs. The following pages include some of the best IMTS 2016 had to offer.
Updating diagnostics for Boeing’s 737 MAX
Features - Software
Base2 Solutions, which has AS9100 certification and is a Silver Supplier to Boeing, created prototype software that makes manufacturing and maintenance checks more efficient.
Base2, an engineering and software development company that specializes in heavily regulated industries, has built a diagnostic software application used on the Boeing 737 MAX that functions similarly to a car’s check engine light.
Updated sensor technology on the 737 MAX disrupted the way diagnostics and testing for manufacturing and maintenance is conducted. The 737 features new engines and components, along with updated sensor technology that made obsolete traditional wing diagnostics and testing methods used during manufacturing and maintenance – methods that had been in use since the 737’s introduction in the 1960s.
The 737 MAX predecessor, the Next Generation (NG), added an Onboard Network System (ONS) that can connect to the sensors. Additional software can be installed on the ONS, so engineers created a software solution to calculate faults that would run on the existing ONS.
Called the Onboard Maintenance Function (OMF), it diagnoses issues when components are installed during manufacturing. For regular maintenance flight check-ups, it will diagnose fault conditions at the gate. OMF improves gate-turn efficiency, which improves on-time departure rates. With more than 3,000 737 MAX on order – valued at more than $300 billion – more efficient manufacturing is important to Boeing.
As Base2 Development Lead Donevan Dolby explains, maintenance crews have to perform diagnostic checks during the manufacturing process and on aircraft when in commercial use, during each gate turn. On older 737s, technicians need to physically climb into the maintenance bay for manual checks of the sensors, which just like your car, light up with check engine message codes. Technicians find and read codes from multiple servers, then look up code meanings in a manual. The new 737 MAX has limited hardware space so this server function needed to be moved. With OMF, technicians enter the flight deck and can view all sensor maintenance messages/diagnostics at once from a single location.
OMF began with more than 1,700 requirements from Boeing and took two and a half years to develop. Built using more than 34,000 lines of Clojure code, it is one of the largest Clojure code bases to date. Dolby recently discussed the development with Aerospace Manufacturing and Design Magazine (AM&D).
AM&D: What prompted simplification of diagnostics to a simple check engine light, go/no-go indicator?
Donevan Dolby: Many operators have asked that the 737 MAX include access to additional airplane data, and that it be securely available to flight, cabin, and maintenance teams during flight or while on the ground.
OMF is similar but more comprehensive than a go/no-go indicator or check engine light. There are multiple screens and steps that the technicians use to view the active messages and error codes.
All 737 predecessors to the MAX required technicians to look at all the sensors in the maintenance bay of the aircraft to read the codes and look them up in manuals. Some of the 737 MAX’s new hardware components no longer have these displays. A centralized window for viewing all the data was needed to access information from the sensors that no longer had displays and to replace a manual process.
The OMF solution pulls all this sensor data into a central application that can be used on the flight deck or a maintenance device such as a laptop or tablet.
The OMF solution’s automated, central location on the flight deck speeds checkpoints for maintenance technicians to improve gate turn for airlines. It also allows the assembly crew to examine active faults, improving time to market for Boeing.
AM&D: How does it work?
DD: The ONS platform provides connectivity to the sensors that are monitoring aircraft components such as engine, avionics, doors, and radios. The OMF is not flight-critical, so if a logic equation provided by Boeing is incorrect, it does not endanger the passengers and crew.
It’s a rules-based means of determining error conditions in an automated fashion. The OMF system monitors and reports on the health and efficiency of the aircraft and gives mechanics an immediate window into the aircraft systems.
AM&D: Are there parallels to automobile diagnostics devices (OBDII) that a technician plugs into an electronic control unit?
DD: I like to think of it like the OBDII on an automobile, which has approximately 3,500 codes, but there are more than 6,000 codes that can be reported on for the 737 MAX. The OMF does more than just report on codes. It takes specific conditions and sequences, combines rules and events, manages dependencies, and aggregates fault conditions.
AM&D: How is the software different?
DD: The most unique element of this project was that we used a functional programming language, Clojure, to write the software and were the first ones to use this language on commercial aircraft. Clojure is a relatively new software language that allowed us to write rules and code capable of handling massive amounts of data under significant hardware limitations. We estimate that if we had used Java to write the OMF, it would have resulted in more than half a million lines of code, which would have been significantly more difficult to test and debug. The OMF was written in just 32,000 lines of Clojure code. It is also the first time Clojure has been used on aircraft software.
AM&D: What are other potential benefits?
DD: We hope that airliners will see a cost and time savings through this software solution.
Test flights and feedback from Boeing have reported that the OMF solution will save time for airliners at gate turn, but we won’t have quantifiable results until after Boeing’s first delivery late this year.
Our solution will also give airlines a critical and comprehensive window into the health of their aircraft, allowing them to provide more preventative maintenance and monitoring.
For Boeing, the OMF can allow them to quickly test hardware components during assembly. With more than 3,000 737 MAX orders waiting to be fulfilled and more than $300 billion in revenue on the line, any savings in time to delivery will also save the OEM money and allow the company to deliver to its customers faster.
AM&D: How many sensors can it connect?
DD: There are hundreds of sensors now connected by this solution. Previously, the sensors were disconnected.
AM&D: Any difference in how OMF works for OEM versus during MRO? What training is required?
DD: The OMF software functions the same during manufacturing and maintenance. However, during installation, they are running diagnostics as the components are installed. During operations the system is used for monitoring running systems.
Boeing provides maintenance training with simulated airplane systems for airlines. On the airplane OMF, it works the same regardless of who is doing the maintenance – MRO facility or airline.
AM&D: Where is the software loaded? How is it accessed? How does it verify when a trouble code has been fixed?
DD: The OMF runs on the Boeing aircraft server, the ONS platform, that was introduced on the 737NG. Access is rendered through laptop or tablet device or on the flight deck display. Examining the maintenance messages can be done from the flight deck displays, or a laptop/tablet connected via WiFi to the ONS network.
When an active trouble code has been resolved, a not-active message appears in the place of an active error code or message.
AM&D: What does Boeing have to say about their technicians’ experience?
DD: Boeing spokesperson Jessica Kowal says, “On our test airplane, we have been impressed with the responsiveness of the OMF system on both the manufacturing and maintenance interfaces. When the airplane is in service, even a small reduction in maintenance turnaround time would produce impressive benefits for airline customers.”
AM&D: What is Clojure code?
DD: Clojure is a functional programming (FP) language that runs on the Java virtual machine. Clojure is not proprietary; it is open source and builds on Java, allowing it to take advantage of all the libraries built for Java.
FP languages are quite different from imperative, object-oriented languages such as C++ or Java. The main differences are that FP languages such as Clojure use something called immutable state, meaning that functions don’t change data objects; instead, they create new instances. In imperative languages, where objects can be changed, it introduces the need to handle concurrency – if the threads/processes are trying to change the same object, they need to take turns. This is problematic from a development and debugging standpoint.
Clojure uses LISP syntax that allows for very concise code, typically an order of magnitude less code than Java or C++. This means less code to test and debug and easier to get to more than 90% code coverage with unit tests.
AM&D: Will the software need to be updated regularly?
DD: The Clojure community is very active, releasing new versions of the language and libraries fairly frequently, but that does not in turn mean that the OMF code base needs to be updated. It would be a very expensive project to update versions of OMF running on the 737 MAX as there is a long process for verifying and approving the application for release to the aircraft.
Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), digital manufacturing – whatever you call it – is about speeding design and production processes. Functionally, it’s about networking machines and collecting lots of data from a variety of sensors. This data can then be used to track production, compare machine performance, and set up predictive maintenance. But the concept of machine utilization following the successful model of Uber – the ride-sharing service powered by a phone app – has enormous implications.
I was introduced to the idea by Kelley Patrick, lead manufacturing engineer at UI Labs, a Chicago, Illinois-based non-profit corporation that is home to the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (www.dmdii.org). DMDII is a public-private partnership exploring the benefits of digital manufacturing. Industry members include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Rolls-Royce, Siemens, and Microsoft – but the roster also includes small- and mid-size U.S.-based companies along with numerous universities involved in manufacturing and design research.
Patrick, who has been in manufacturing for 30 years, is enthusiastic about UI Labs – described as a sandbox for manufacturers. It’s where manufacturers are exploring ideas for digital manufacturing software collaboration tools, promoting manufacturing capabilities, and transmitting detailed design information on a secure, digital network. If machining centers can pull cutting data from the cloud, could the next step to expanding business be sharing your shop’s manufacturing capabilities?
Manufacturers know that a machine-tool spindle not turning is not making money. As some car owners have turned to Uber to earn extra money as drivers, manufacturers could pick up extra work via the Internet when their machines are running below capacity. A phone app to Uber your spindle is possible. While it’s one thing to loan time on a machine as a service provider, is the idea acceptable to customers? Would you be comfortable sharing a hard-won parts order with a manufacturing service? What would it take to put the idea in your comfort zone?
Cybersecurity remains a concern, Patrick admits. Machines open to a network and Internet require safety and security assurances. Companies also are very protective of cutting routines and remain cautious about sharing such data. Maybe successfully sharing data from a machine for preventive maintenance, tooling optimization, and training is the first step to establishing trust.
The manufacturing community collects 3x as much data as any other industry, but only uses 1% of it, Patrick adds. Data analytics will be a big part of the future of manufacturing. Understanding digital manufacturing data could help you get to know your customers better and get more business. Patrick says the key to digital manufacturing is knowing what is possible, and he believes imagination is the only limit. “Why should manufacturing stay in the stone age?” he asks.
Manufacturing is changing, and those companies best prepared to change along with it are most likely to succeed. Digital manufacturing has great potential to help you work smarter, and use assets better. Please let me know if you are ready to “Uber your spindle.” – Eric
Business relationship boosts machinist training program
OptiPro Systems, a machine tool manufacturer and distributor in Ontario, New York, provided a Nakamura-Tome AS200L CNC lathe the Canandaigua, New York-based Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) G.W. Lisk Co. advanced manufacturing machinist training program. Valued at more than $200,000, the lathe will help ensure students learn how to use the most up-to-date equipment.
“It’s tough to buy a machine just for training,” explains Dave Phillips, G.W. Lisk’s training manager. Modern machine tools are so sophisticated and expensive that taking them out of production for training can be cost-prohibitive. The Nakamura- Tome lathe “means more hands-on time on the machines for our students.”
Don Miller, technical sales engineer for OptiPro, says, “We have to be partners in this if we want to have well-trained workers. Everyone has to be a winner.”
The partnership Miller arranged between OptiPro and G.W. Lisk is an example of increasing cooperation within the advanced manufacturing sector as it strategizes for the coming retirement of the Baby Boom generation.
Scott Cummings, director of machining at G.W. Lisk, says about 20% of the company’s workforce will reach retirement age in the next five years, adding a challenge for an industry that is already having trouble finding skilled workers.
While there’s political talk about the decline of manufacturing, advanced manufacturing has quietly grown. G.W. Lisk has added more than 100 employees in the last seven years; OptiPro has added 50 employees during the same period, doubling its workforce. Advanced manufacturing has become too high-tech for people with no experience to learn on the job, and employers cannot afford errors that damage pricey equipment. G.W. Lisk’s leaders realized several years ago that they needed to do more to ensure a steady supply of skilled workers.
The company reached out to FLCC in in 2009 for help in establishing a formal, six-month training program. FLCC worked with G.W. Lisk to identify the knowledge and skills that entry-level workers needed: math, shop safety, and soft skills, such as the ability to meet deadlines and work as a team. FLCC focuses on outreach and administration of the program while Phillips handles the hands-on training.
“Community colleges cannot afford to buy all the high-tech equipment needed to train people for today’s advanced manufacturing environment, and manufacturers don’t have experience in setting up and operating formal education programs,” explains Marcy Lynch, director of workforce development for FLCC.
Since the first class graduated in March 2011, all students have had job offers prior to graduation.
The DA300 5-axis vertical machining center (VMC) offers speed, precision, and flexibility for complex part applications. Incorporating design characteristics from both vertical and horizontal machine platforms in a small machine footprint, the VMC features single setup, multi-side accessibility, or full-contouring capability.
Speeding spindle acceleration, positioning, and tool-changes reduces part cycle time and increases productivity.
The direct-drive, motor-driven A-axis table offers 150° (-120° to +30°) of tilt capability at 100rpm. The rotary C-axis has full 360° rotational positioning at 150rpm.
Designed to eliminate interferences in accessing the pallet, the DA300 can be configured using direct part handling as a stand-alone machine, manual handling using a table chuck and pallet, one of the workpiece pallet systems (WPS), or third-party automation using an Erowa chuck and pallet system. The DA300 can be field modified to add a 7- to 19-pallet workpiece pallet system.
The Jetstream Tooling Duo for turning applications that involve titanium, superalloys, and other challenging materials precisely directs an upper coolant jet to the optimum point of the cutting insert’s rake face, while the additional jet flushes the clearance surface. The cutting edge receives high-pressure coolant from above and below, maximizing control of the chip flow as well as cooling the cutting zone. Adding the second coolant jet allows customers to increase tool life by 10% and achieve better surface finishes.
In addition to the standard mounted inducer for finishing and medium-roughing operations, an optional inducer can improve performance in roughing conditions where additional power is required on the chip side and in applications where chips tend to hit the inducer.
A P-holder lever design provides rigid locking of the insert for high indexation repeatability. The tooling is available for negative type inserts, including CNxx, WNxx, SNxx, DNxx and TNxx, and in shank and Seco-Capto options.
Mastercam 2017 features improvements that make it faster and easier to create CNC programs for complex parts, enhancements that improve material removal safety and productivity, and extended support for a broader range of CNC manufacturing equipment, cutting tools, and other related technologies. Improvements include:
CAD for CAM – Special tools focused on preparing CAD models for efficient CNC programming and for designing tools and fixtures used during subsequent manufacturing processes. Solid Impresson helps quickly make custom fixtures while Solid Disassemble takes an assembly and lays each body out for easier machining.
2D enhancements – Dynamic Motion toolpaths include Dynamic Mill Line Of Sight micro lifts that use an intelligent line-of-sight approach to move the tool as it travels through unobstructed areas. Users will see a reduction in air cutting, better machine cycles, and smaller program files.
Multi-axis – To program complex parts for manufacturing on 4- and 5-axis CNC equipment, Advanced Rotary 4-Axis automatically constructs the appropriate toolpath based on a short sequence of predefined steps. Stock Aware Multiaxis Drilling simplifies and automates the creation of multi-axis hole drilling operations.
Mill-turn – To make mill-turn programs easier to visualize and create, Multi-Station Tool Locators for turrets and half index positions set tool locator positions in the redesigned turret setup, so turrets that could only support 12 tools can now show 50 in the same real area.
Improved workflow – CAM programming tools are brought to the forefront and organization has been enhanced, making it easier for users to take advantage of Dynamic Motion toolpaths to improve machining cycles and reduce tool wear.
The MU-4000V provides high-speed, process-intensive machining combined with turning and 5-axis multitasking machining. It features the OSP-P300A control that includes new apps and widgets, a motion control system, and a reduction in start-up time to improve operator efficiency.
This machine features a large work envelope and substantial base in a compact footprint. The 9,700kg machine’s B-axis trunnion is supported so there is no overhanging mass. Fully supported axes construction allows for spindles ranging from 12,000rpm to 25,000rpm to handle complex and difficult-to-machine materials.
The automation design places pallet changes at the back of the machine, allowing connection to a Palletace flexible manufacturing system or pallet pool. The machine can be fitted with 32- to 64-tool-chain magazine systems or 64-plus matrix cabinets.
The standard 5-axis auto tuning system automatically measures and compensates for up to 11 geometric errors to ensure precision machining.
The automated SHA-4000 horizontal honing machine is for high-volume processing of small parts. With the SH-4000 as a base, the SHA-4000 integrates part handling automation with heavy-duty production part fixturing.
The machine’s servo ballscrew stroker delivers precision and repeatability for honing in blind bores, while a longer stroke length of 400mm (15.75") allows the SHA-4000 to take on deeper bores. For faster setup, the machine’s front and rear stroking positions can be set with a joystick on the operator station.
A servo-linear hybrid feed system produces consistent, predictable performance throughout the pressure range and delivers superior feed control for small bore processing. Cutting pressure can be adjusted in 4.5N (1 lb-ft) increments to a maximum of 2,224N (500 lb-ft). High cutting pressure capability and two-step honing offer fast stock removal coupled with a precise finish step, all in one operation.
A direct collet connection allows quick changeover when using high-production MMT tooling and an easy-setup and runout-adjustable adapter enables use of standard Sunnen mandrels. Standard features, such as cycle-time control and automatic size control, prevent glazing of the abrasives.
The digital honing indicator is user-configurable, and other standard control features include zero shutoff, stone wear compensation, feed speed regulation (stone saver), spindle reverse, speed changes while in cycle, inch/metric selectable units, system diagnostics, cycle dwell, in-process short stroking, and 13 operator languages.
The standard coolant system, with a PF filter cartridge standard, has 208L (55 gal) capacity.