Modern Machine Shop

SEP 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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MMS SEPTEMBER 2018 74 square feet in two buildings with plans to expand another 3,500 square feet. Included among its 37 employees are Terry's wife, Tammy, his son Justin, and his daughter Brooke. It focuses on short runs (50 to 75 pieces) of small parts (a 3-inch cube would be considered a large part, depending on the material) for accounts in a range of industries, including medical, aerospace, agricultural, and recreational vehicles (RVs). About four years ago, instability in orders from some of its customers spurred GCG to look for ways to expand its business while setting itself apart from other shops in the area. It obtained AS9100 certification with the goal of taking on aerospace work to help mitigate the risks of having single accounts in a range of industries (it also has ISO 9001-2008 certification). GCG also hoped that the certification would give it a competitive advantage over smaller, local shops. In addition, the shop was looking into specialized capabilities, like Swiss-type lathe with milling capability, to further differentiate itself. GCG never went down the road of Swiss-types. However, its sole medical customer at that time prompted the shop to get five-axis capabilities. GCG had done three-axis work for the company, and it brought the shop a part that required five- axis machining. Mr. Gardner says it would have been virtually impossible to make this part on a three-axis machine because it required tight feature-to-feature tolerances that a three-axis machine more than likely could not hold due to the multiple setups it would have needed. GCG made the investment in its first machine with five-axis capabilities, and it turned out to be just the solution the shop needed. "It's harder to find a shop to do this type of complex work than it is to find one that performs more conventional three-axis machining," Mr. Gardner says. "We're trying to secure our future that way." The Benefits of Table on Table There are a variety of five-axis machine config- urations on the market. At the recommendation of its distributor, Gosiger (Dayton, Ohio), GCG installed an Okuma Genos M560-V VMC and added a Lyndex-Nikken 5AX201 rotary table to FIVE-A XIS MACHINING Since GCG purchased its first machine with five-axis capabilities four years ago, it has purchased six additional machines. The machines have enabled the shop to take on more complex work and produce higher-quality parts than it could with just three-axis capabilities because fewer setups generally mean tighter feature- to-feature tolerances can be held. GIVE ME FIVE Read about another shop's slow, deliberate approach to learning five- axis machining: 5 AXIS

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