Studer has invested heavily to produce three large 5-axis milling centers with integrated rotational functionality. In addition to higher efficiency, the 5-axis machines improve precision through complete machining and reduced clamping. The operating system enables digitalization of manufacturing to promote Industry 4.0 standards, and Studer has been audited and recertified with the latest VDA and ISO certifications.
At the heart of Studer’s operations is its continuous Fliessmontage+ flow assembly system. Having reported record production levels in 2017, Studer officials say this system for machine manufacturers enabled the company to achieve its additional machine production increase in 2018 and continue to maintain short delivery periods to customers.
Studer launched machines with four distances between centers – 400mm, 650mm, 1,000mm, and 1,600mm – in April at the China International Machine Tool Show (CIMT) in Beijing, China. The added distance between centers of 400mm and 1,600mm complete the company’s portfolio for long and short workpieces. Based on the Studer T-slide concept, these have an extended X-axis stroke at 370mm, and additional wheelhead variants are available. Studer has redesigned the machine column geometry, adding a column temperature control system to ensure dynamic and thermal stability. Standard control for the machines is a Fanuc 0i-TF operated with the company’s StuderWIN programming software. The S31 and S33 can be automated for series production with the company’s standardized loader interface.
Traditional clamp-and-press actuation applications present the challenge of having a rapid stroke at a low force, while requiring steep ramp-up to a high force for a short period. Achieving these demanding performance parameters typically means expensive oversizing of the hydraulic infrastructure to provide both high speed and high force.
Within this large machine footprint, delivering required position and force control presents complex motion and expense variables. In addition to having too many pieces in the equation, other factors include oversized and continuously running pumps, large hoses that often leak and require maintenance, and the energy consuming valves repeatedly turning on and off while transitioning from high speed to low speed.
To overcome the problem of oversizing components for applications that have a rapid stroke at low force with a load stroke at high force, motion control/actuation specialists Kyntronics have developed a high speed/high force (HSHF) all-in-one actuator. Combining a servo-based SMART hydraulic actuator (SHA), coupled with a high-speed actuator and a high-force pair of actuators – the HSHF delivers a cost-effective solution in a scalable, modular, power-on-demand machine platform.
The self-contained design doesn’t have hoses, eliminating expensive leaky infrastructure. The dual-cylinder configuration results in lower operating costs and better performance across various original equipment manufacturer (OEM) applications.
Clamp, press mode issues
The actuation technology uses hydraulics to overcome issues with existing clamp-and-press mode technologies including:
Clamp mode – In this mode, rapid cycling times are needed while holding a force of 170,000 lbf/756kN going back and forth. This mode is predominant in injection and blow molding applications which require rapid back/forth position and hold, which puts significant pressure on the actuator.
Traditional systems include hydraulics that feature check valves that lock in position. Requiring a large footprint with a large pump and huge hoses, this solution is noisy and expensive. Electromechanical is also another option, but requires large and expensive components including motors, gearboxes, and roller screws/ball screws. Applying loads at the same mechanical position, consistent metal-to-metal contact reduces component life.
– This mode is typically used for 20 ton to 80 ton presses that need to come down quickly and work within a small distance for a short time. This application is currently dominated by hydraulic systems with large power units, pumps, and hoses.
As an all-in-one solution, the HSHF’s multi-cylinder, drop-in design features a variable displacement pump, servo motor, servo drive/motion controller, and closed-loop position and force control, with precision position and pressure sensors.
The design eliminates oversizing, and solves issues associated with current options (no hoses, quieter operation, more connectivity) in a reliable small package, potentially saving 50% or more in equipment and operating costs.
A reduced machine footprint eliminates the hydraulic infrastructure and oversized elements. Since there is no huge cylinder or large pump waiting for the cycle to start, it only uses power on demand. HSHF uses minimal energy for the long stroke and proportional energy for the load stroke.
Ease-of-integration with machine control systems and versatile control is possible, as the HSHF actuator is compatible with Fieldbus, I/O (selectable indexes), and analog (0VDC to 10VDV or 4mA to 20mA).
The HSHF actuator’s approach to hydraulic cylinder design mechanically connects a high-speed cylinder to a larger, high-force dual cylinder.
The dual cylinder combines a larger (high-speed zone) cylinder and a slightly smaller (high-force zone) cylinder together with a piston that seals in the smaller cylinder and moves freely through the larger cylinder. The high-speed cylinder pulls the dual cylinder’s piston through the longer stroke, so oil flows freely around the piston, into the smaller cylinder (high-force zone), sealing the piston, allowing for press or clamp mode. Cylinders can be adjusted to various lengths.
With SMART actuation, the system knows the exact position where the piston enters the smaller high-force cylinder zone and creates a seal. As the smaller high-speed cylinder approaches the high-force zone, the system slows and combines the fluid flow to the high-speed cylinder and the high-force cylinder without stopping motion. The system continues to press forward to the desired location based on force or position. After completing operation, the high-speed cylinder retracts, pulling the piston back. The high-speed cylinder’s speed reduces cycle times with minimal flow, force, and heat, reducing overall energy consumption.
The HSHF actuator design offers rapid, controlled clamp mode and smooth press mode in transitioning from HS-to-HF cylinders – with accurate force and position control.
During press mode, maximum power is required for a short period of the cycle (slower speed with high force) – minimizing the motor and drive size along with heat.
During a clamp mode, minimum power is required to rapidly move the cylinder (extend/retract). During clamping, power is not required as the check valves in the HF cylinder lock the actuator in position and the HS cylinder is placed in float mode to prevent cylinder damage.
The AU200-100x100 stage is a low-profile, 80mm (3.15") high stage with a 348mm x 348mm (13.701" x 13.701") footprint. Preloaded V-groove, crossed roller bearings and ground 4mm per-turn lead screws with 2µm of backlash provide high precision and stiffness. Designed for laser drilling, machining, industrial, semiconductor handling, testing, scanning, alignment, assembly, and optical applications, the X-Y stage integrates into many systems.
A recessed mounting and precision pattern of drilled and threaded mounting holes align tooling and fixtures. Solid tooling plates are available for custom and interchangeable applications.
The standard two-phase (1.8°) stepper motors have knobs for manual axis adjustments. Incremental encoders can replace the knobs for position verification.
Sales of machine vision components and systems in N. America reached $2.874 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.2% from 2017 and a record for the market. According to statistics from AIA, the industry trade group and part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), application-specific machine vision (ASMV) systems led 2018 growth with $1.998 billion in sales, an increase of 7.8% from 2017, followed by smart cameras with $466 million, a 14.2% increase.
Machine vision component markets also set records in 2018 with $401 million in total sales representing 11.7% growth. This increase was driven primarily by component camera sales, which increased 16.2% to $219 million, followed by software (8.9% to $21 million), optics (8.8% to $44 million), lighting (7.9% to $77 million), and imaging boards (1.5% to $40 million).
According to AIA's latest survey, 80% of respondents believe that machine vision component sales will remain flat or decrease in the next six months. Similarly, 62% believe machine vision systems markets will plateau or decrease in the next two quarters. According to Shikany, this prediction might come from a slight softening of the manufacturing sector seen in the last quarter of 2018, which showed the purchasing manager’s index (PMI) in the low 50s indicating slight expansion and the semiconductor market decreasing. The results reflect experts’ belief that this market is due for normalized growth.
The IEC TS 62735-1 connector system, GS21 socket-outlet and GP21 plug, is rated up to 400VDC and enables a global, standardized approach to DC power distribution in data centers.
From source to load, DC architecture improves overall power supply quality, eliminating harmonic distortions. There is no need for phase compensation, or coupling synchronization to different sources and networks, increasing operational reliability and improving efficiency.
The new IEC TS 62735-1 standard for DC power distribution requires a more complex design than traditional AC connector systems in the IEC standard 60320. The DC connector system design must consider the increased potential for arcing when disconnecting the DC power supply under load. The IEC TS 62735-2 standard for developing a DC connector system rated up to 5.2kW will require additional structural elements, referred to as a safety interlock (cold switch). The GP21/GS21 operates from -5°C to 105°C.
The GP21 rewireable plug accommodates a cable cross-section from 0.75mm²/18AWG to 1.5mm²/16AWG. The GS21 socket-outlet offers mounting options for 1.5mm or 2.0mm panels with quick-connect 6.3mm x 0.8mm or PCB.
Dust collectors capture, convey, and collect dust for various manufacturing and industrial processes. Whether involving wood, plastic, metal, or chemical dust particles, collectors improve safety by reducing fire, explosion, and dust inhalation hazards.
Mechanical engineers (MEs) tasked with designing or acquiring systems, however, are often unfamiliar with some of the technicalities of dust collection safety code compliance, since dust collection systems account for just a tiny fraction of their work.
When MEs have questions regarding dust collection on topics ranging from airflow to meeting National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and International Mechanical Code (IMC) conventions, guidance from an industry expert can achieve compliance, safe performance, and better indoor air quality.
Dust collection depends on factors such as the dust sources, air filtration, and facility usage so heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems often must be customized and not based on previous design plans.
NFPA member Peter Levitt outlines five main components of a dust collection system:
Hood to confine dust at its source
Duct system to convey dust
Fan to provide hood suction, maintain transport velocity in ducts
Collector to separate dust from air stream
Device to store collected dust
“When dealing with dust collection, MEs often have questions about duct sizing and how much air to allocate for suction at the hood and at each machine,” Levitt says. “They may not know what the velocity should be in the ducts, and often do not know what the code specifies for the dust collection system.”
Levitt notes that a properly designed and maintained dust collection system will dramatically enhance shop safety – reducing the risk of dust explosion and fire and minimizing dust inhalation while improving indoor air quality.
“MEs are often not aware of the incompatibility of some machines, materials, and processes for a dust collection system,” Levitt says.
A common mistake, he adds, comes when shops “have a grinding wheel to sharpen tools. You cannot have common suction at the grinder because any sparks produced could ignite flammable dust and trigger a fire or explosion. The grinder cannot be part of the dust collection system.”
He adds that for a similar reason, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) ducts should not be used with a dust collection system. Static electricity caused by dust conveyed in the duct can also cause an explosion.
For dust control best practices, Levitt, who is also a product manager at Union, New Jersey-based Sternvent Inc., conducts lunch-and-learn presentations at engineering firms.
In the presentations, Levitt covers topics such as determining the location of the dust collector, explosion venting, spark detection/suppression, and NFPA recommended exhaust requirements. He also surveys the range of dust collection system equipment choices from indoor, enclosure-less, positive pressure to outdoor shaker and pulse-jet types.
One aspect of dust collection that needs more attention is ductwork design, according to Levitt. “For good airflow, good ductwork is essential. Even with a powerful dust collector, if the duct work is not designed properly, you will have so much airflow resistance you won’t have enough airflow or suction.”
Another aspect that he says often needs consideration is whether the dust collector is located indoors or outdoors and how that affects filtered air.
“Typically, the dust collector is located outdoors for fire safety,” Levitt says. “However, in regard to filtered air, if you don’t return it properly, then in winter you will have a hard time heating the building. The result is like having a fan exhausting the warm indoor air outside.”
While many factors should be examined in designing a safe and effective dust collection system, it is also important to not over-specify it.
“If a dust collector is over-sized, it will not only cost more than required, but also create excessive noise due to high velocity airflow in the ducts,” Levitt concludes. “Knowing your options up front by collaborating with an expert can help MEs deliver the best equipment for the situation at the best price.”
Aero engine turbines and compressor blades are subject to high temperatures and pressures, forcing manufacturers to implement strict regulations for production and processing methods.
Aerospace engine blades are typically made of difficult-to-machine materials and have tolerances that must be met to obtain suitable air flow and maximum wear resistance. These components are exposed to temperatures up to 1,000°C, requiring blade surfaces to be high quality and optimized to the conditions in the engine. To meet these demands, OTEC Precision Finish developed a process to improve the efficiency and safety of engine blades and produce fewer defects.
Smoothing the air foil (the blade body) has a positive impact. Depending on the required result, the surface can be smoothed to values of up to Ra < 0.2µm in a few minutes, increasing blade efficiency. The material is removed evenly and only a minute amount is taken from the surface. Repairing the leading and trailing edges with precision rounding can reduce the quantity of rejected parts. Upstream machining process, such as blasting, can damage these edges, so OTEC’s method enables them to be rounded to a given radius and repaired.
Deburring the root improves safety by preventing the blade from getting caught in the disc. Surface treatment prolongs the service life of the blades and increases efficiency, and this preparation is also suitable for coating components.
In OTEC’s stream-finishing process, the blades are clamped into the machine and lowered into a container of abrasive. The container rotates, moving workpieces in the media flow. Flow to the blades in the machine is clocked, so the workpiece’s alignment angle changes at frequent intervals, allowing processing to be precisely aligned to specific points on the workpiece, achieving a smooth surface and precise rounding without altering the blade’s shape. Depending on the size and initial condition of the workpiece, surface treatment of engine blades takes between 2 minutes and 20 minutes, significantly less time than conventional processes. Blades are individually clamped, so no damage will occur to the workpiece surface. All processing steps can be carried out in one SF-5 stream finishing system that can process up to five engine blades at once for high output and cost efficiency. Tests conducted after OTEC processing show positive results for residual stress, fatigue strength, and fluorescence control.
1,230 exhibitors, 7,000 booths, and more than 53,000 attendees – TIMTOS 2019 now ranks as the world’s third largest machine tool show. With exports exceeding $3.6 billion in 2018, increasing 9.5% from 2017, Taiwan currently ranks as the fourth largest exporter of machine tools.
Reinforcing the theme of this year’s show – Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing – was the TIMTOS Summit and the 2019 Taiwan Machine Tools Industry Award for Excellence in Research and Innovation. The Summit included executives from ABB, Optomec, Dassault Systèmes, Heidenhain, Airbus, SAP, DMG MORI, Siemens, and Bosch Rexroth who explored topics related to application techniques and trends in aerospace and automotive manufacturing, with a look at where the industry is now and where it’s headed in the future.
In the Excellence in Research and Innovation award ceremony, 43 entrants competed for top honors with Ching Hung Machinery & Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. taking home the Supreme Excellence Award for its HD886L high-speed milling compound EDM.