Modern Machine Shop

JUN 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 107 HIGH-SPEED MACHINING 2010s 2000s 1990s 1980s 1970s 1960s 1950s 1940s 1930s Conventional High Speed Machining High Velocity Machining SFM 10,000 5,000 2,300 10,000 25,000 RPM 50,000 This graph shows how a group of German researchers viewed the cut-off between conventional and high-speed machining, and between high-speed and "high-velocity" machining, in August 1997. topics ranging from programming to balancing cutting tools to pushing existing machinery to new limits. Regardless of whether that cover's tagline rings true in hindsight, high-speed machining would become the process of choice at countless aerospace and tooling shops throughout the next two decades. At the time, however, applica- tions were limited. "Maybe your biggest question is: 'Why do I need this technology at all?'" wrote then editor Tom Beard in his monthly column. "While it's hard to say just how broadly high- speed machining will eventually be applied, it's a pretty safe bet that competitive standards for machining rates are going to follow the lead- ing-edge applications upward. Faster feeds and speeds are somewhere in your future and may be closer than you think." (Mr. Beard is now director of custom content at MMS publisher Gardner Business Media.) Thanks to the participation of a few early adopters, the articles that followed covered not just theory, but also practice—real-world applications that are remarkably similar to many covered in MMS today. Although the underlying technology has become far more capable, much of the wisdom in these articles (which were among the first to appear on mmsonline.com ) remains as applicable today as ever. Here are a few examples: Definitions Are Nebulous High-speed machining "means different things to different people," stated Mark Albert, who is now Editorial Director, in the opening article of August 1997's special coverage of the topic. Parameters today are generally more aggres- sive, and as was the case when that issue was published, different shops contend with different lot sizes, materials and specifications. A better indicator of success is whether high- speed machining tactics facilitate a significant change in the overall process. For instance, one shop covered in the issue was an automotive manufacturer realizing speeds fast enough to move production from dedicated transfer lines to more f lexible machining centers. Another was a moldmaker using the technique to reduce EDM burning and manual polishing. A third story covered an aerospace manufacturer using the technique to cut thin walls, and to cut single, large parts rather than multiple components for later assembly. Although novel at the time, high- speed machining would soon become common in applications like this. All Elements Are Interlinked The issue directed significant focus to the computer numerical control (CNC) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) soft- ware advances that made high-speed

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