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The Quest to Boost Machine Tool Performance

The Quest to Boost Machine Tool Performance

Software-based CNC Expands Capabilities- CNC controls have been based on proprietary hardware for decades, with the PC used only for operation, visualization, and data processing. But over the past several years, automation vendors have demonstrated that increasing levels of path control are also possible as a pure software solution. One example is the TwinCAT CNC from Beckhoff Automation LLC (Minneapolis, MN), which offers complete CNC functionality as a pure PC-based software solution. Beckhoff has been supplying software-based CNC systems since the late 1980s -first supporting point-to-point motion with camming/gearing and later adding groups of three interpolated axes and support for auxiliary axes. But with the release of TwinCAT CNC, the company now offers the complete range of CNC capability, three levels of integrated motion capability, plus an integrated IEC-61131-3 PLC and support for the PLC open motion control function blocks.

Newmark Systems Boosts Capacity, Quality with Automated Machining - Designing and manufacturing highly precise motion control systems for laser eye surgery, missile tracking, and helicopter target acquisition doesn't leave a lot of room for error. The motion system is critical -and is even a life safety issue -and every part must be extremely accurate. Founded in 1995,Newmark Systems builds motion control, vibration control, and positioning equipment solutions for the medical, defense, automotive, and semiconductor industries, among others. According to Mark Filho, Newmark's president, parts machining including turning and milling played a key role in a production turnaround at the company.

Shaping the Airbus- Composite materials have decisive advantages over metals for use in aircraft production, proponents say. What makes composites so attractive, they say, are better resistance to changing conditions of use, lower material fatigue, and distinct reduction in weight and/or range. During the introduction of the first CFC "carbon fiber compound " for the new Airbus A 380,,Forest-Line introduced its Linear Atlas tape-laying machine. Forest-Line cooperated with Airbus and Siemens to develop the tape-laying machine to apply the composite material, with which all of the components of the middle wing unit will be constructed. The machines are tailored to the specific requirements of aircraft production, and feature linear motors and one Sinumerik 840D controller from Siemens.

Don't Just Do Something Stand There- Not every machine shop is running out to buy the latest and greatest tools. Smaller, independent shops are finding that it 's sometimes hard to justify the cost -and the payback period. Take Precision Tool Shop in Oak Ridge, TN. Engineer Mark Anderson says that yearly upgrades to existing machinery aren't worth it for that medium-sized shop. If existing equipment can get the job done, he says, he'll stick with it. To prove the point ,he cites a 1960s-vintage grinder on the factory floor. He says the Okomoto grinder is still among the best tools available, though he admits it doesn't hold tolerances as well as a brand new grinder would.

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