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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Modern Machine Shop 77 Machine Accessories check if the tool is broken. Machines with probes could run until the tool needs to be changed. The probing and tool-breakage-detection systems are early forms of automation for the shop, which also sees them as a way to practice and gather data in preparation for possibly imple- menting a loading robot or pallet system in the future. For example, tool probing can reveal when tools have broken for a given repeating job. The shop can then make a more informed decision as to predicting when tools might break (after 100 parts, for instance) and schedule tool changes before reaching that quantity. Specialized workholding. On the rotary tables, the shop uses a range of workholding devices, including Kurt Dovelock vises. The Dovelock vises, which can also be used in the standard Kurt vises installed on the table, grip on a small dovetail feature machined into the bottom of the workpiece blank. This provides ample clamping force, but also provides the tool with a good amount of access to fives sides of the part to minimize the chance of the tool or spindle colliding with any fixturing elements. Both workholding solutions have high clamping forces to keep workpieces rigid as they are machined on each side. Mr. Gardner adds that the shop is exploring the idea of creating its own work- holding devices. High-quality toolholding. Mr. Gardner says that the shop uses a range of toolholders and is starting to see the benefits of using high- er-quality toolholders. He described a test the shop did on an engraving job with a 0.01-inch ballnose end mill. He says that by switching to a Big Kaiser collet toolholder, the shop was able to make eight to 10 parts per tool instead of one to two parts per tool with the old toolholder. Higher-quality toolholders typically have minimal runout, extending tool life especially for small-di- ameter tools. In addition, the machines have Big Plus spindles, which provide contact with both the toolholder's taper and its face. This is said to improve rigidity for more aggressive cuts when using Big-Plus-style toolholders. High-pressure coolant. When GCG made the investment in five-axis technology, it also decided to make an investment in high-pressure coolant. This helps improve chip evacuation and enables operators to push tools harder and faster. Mr. Gardner says that the coolant could benefit three-axis machines as much as it does The machines also have Renishaw tool-breakage- detection systems. The probing and tool-breakage- detection system are early forms of automation for the shop, which also uses them to prepare for other potential automation systems.

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