Modern Machine Shop

NOV 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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THE Z AXIS MMS NOVEMBER 2018 20 mmsonline.com companies wished for attendees to see not just their hardware but also their analysis capabilities, and the chance for increased performance avail- able to users willing to allow data about their use of the hardware to f low into analytical tools in the cloud. My colleague Mark Albert noted, "Everyone's a software company now." Exhibitor personnel describing this data- analytics capability generally reached for the term "Industry 4.0" as a category for this devel- opment, but they also frequently grimaced or rolled eyes as they said it. "Industry 4.0" refers to a broad set of possibilities for digital manufactur- ing, with many of those possibilities still vision- ary and remote. By contrast, data analysis and data-driven refinement of machining and other part-making processes is on its way to becoming a practical and accepted part of manufacturing. We need another term for this transition. 4. Automation as a Matter of Course One major machine tool supplier well-known for integrating robots and other automation with machine tools did not have to imagine elaborate automated systems to show off as examples to exhibit at the show. Instead, every demonstration in the booth was a system currently in develop- ment to fill an order from a cus- tomer. A machine tool supplier at the front of the hall did not bother to demonstrate much at all in the way of automated systems because of the sense that the demonstrations at this point just get in the way. The options in robots, pallet systems and in-process automation are so numerous that the better display for this booth was a large interac- tive touchscreen enabling visitors to dial in on the automated configuration possibilities suited to their needs. Today, in other words, automation is a given. Robots are no longer an exciting draw to a booth exhibit because plenty of attendees see robots in their facilities every day. 5. Tooling Signifies Machine Acceptance The application of Swiss-type CNC lathes has expanded beyond its well-known applications, such as bone screws, with this machining capa- bility now meeting needs such as the miniatur- ization of valve and control-system components. Cutting tool companies emphasized innovations in tiny, precise tooling in response to the expan- sion they are seeing of Swiss-type machining beyond specialty Swiss-type shops. Meanwhile, exhibitors offering workholding for five-axis machining drew steady attention, their booth staffs often breathless from one encounter after the next in rapid succession. Five- axis machining has expanded well beyond spe- cialists or niches as well, with the capability now used as an aid to setup reduction and therefore labor reduction in various industries in which simpler machine tools have long been used. 6. 90 Years in One Exhibit One final noteworthy sight was one I am proud to say my own employer had on display. To celebrate the 90-year anniversary of Modern Machine Shop, publisher Gardner Business Media displayed every cover of the magazine from the beginning. Attendees lingered with the display, picking out covers meaningful to them in their own history with the magazine. Many topics haven't changed—a cover story on creep-feed grinding from decades ago caught my attention since we had that topic on the cover last month. But many other topics have steadily transformed, as in the visible progression from punch tape to CAM to cloud computing. The cover wall made clear how new technologies gathering strength and taking their place has been an ongoing story, and we are gratified to still be watching and documenting that story today. Gardner Business Media displayed every MMS cover from the magazine's 90 years of publication. HANDS ACROSS THE CONCOURSE Also noted at IMTS this year: More couples, many holding hands. In a longer review of the show, Peter Zelinski reflects on what this means. See gbm.media/imts2018 .

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