MoldMaking Technology

SEP 2018

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Machining/EDM 14 MoldMaking Technology —— SEPTEMBER 2018 By Cynthia Kustush B ecause moldmakers know that machining makes up most of the mold-building process, they continually seek ways in which to cut time and costs out of that process while maintaining high quality. MoldMaking Technology queried machine-tool and EDM suppliers about the machining trends and challenges that they are seeing and how they are working to help customers make those cuts to time and costs. All About Automation Automation is not just for use in high-production manufactur- ing environments anymore. It is the most prevalent trend in machining for moldmaking today. Every machine-tool and EDM supplier participating in this roundtable feature says that auto- mation is the dominating factor when it comes to increasing productivity. "Parts are becoming more complex and the time to market shorter. Therefore, there is the need to produce the parts faster," António Fernandes, commercial engineer at Cheto Corp. S.A. (Oliveira de Azeméis, Portugal) says. "When we talk about automation, we talk about efficiency in every process step. This is the big challenge that the moldmaker is facing—the shifting of his production paradigm." Machine-tool and EDM suppliers are advancing their offerings to include automation, better controls, machine monitoring and new five-axis capabilities. Machine-tool suppliers are adding automation features like this visual setup control (VSC) system from Heidenhain Corp., which works like facial recognition software in that the user photographs and stores the "perfect" machining setup in the machine. When the next part is loaded into the work area, the CNC compares that part to the "perfect" setup. If the system detects any deviation, the machine alerts the user and stops or moves to the next pallet and repeats the process. Automation and Connectivity Are the Main Drivers of Machine-Tool Innovation Image courtesy of Heidenhain Corp. This article is part of a series of roundtable discussions with industry suppliers addressing recent trends in moldmaking, the challenges moldmakers are experiencing and the latest solutions that are or will be available to resolve them. VIDEO Access the related video under the Videos tab at MMT online.

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