Round vs. square rails -- which are better for you?
Thomson invented the world's first anti-friction linear ball bushing bearings in 1946. For many years, these round-rail linear guides satisfied every linear motion control requirement. However, as machines required closer tolerances, the round rail didn't always fit the bill. Learn the pros and cons of each design type.
Read this informative Thomson blog.
New bearings reduce wear in heavy-duty applications
igus has introduced a new bearing with an improved iglide material, called TX2, that offers self-lubricating and maintenance-free properties for heavy-duty applications. TX2 increases wear resistance by a factor of 3.5 in load ranges with more than 100-MPa surface pressure. The material is ideal for components in machines that serve construction and agriculture, which can require more than 50 liters of lubricant annually. The material is also very resistant to temperature, chemicals, moisture, corrosion, and seawater, which opens up the applications base for its use substantially.
Aerospace fastener hole drilling and countersinking all in one step
Kennametal has introduced the HiPACS drilling and countersinking system for aerospace fastener holes. Designed to drill and chamfer holes in one operation, the high-precision tool meets the aerospace industry's stringent accuracy requirements while delivering increased tool life in machining composite, titanium, and aluminum aircraft skins. With an industry-standard interface, HiPACS can be utilized on any CNC machine. Three components eliminate the need for custom tooling: a reducer sleeve with a built-in high-precision pocket seat, a PCD countersinking insert, and two series of solid carbide drills.
Why precision metrology is critical for electric vehicle gearing
As the shift from internal combustion engines to electric motors in vehicles continues, the number of drivetrain components will dramatically lessen too. The remaining components will be even more critical to a vehicle's operation and longevity. One such area is the gear components necessary to convert the high-force torque from electric motors to the RPMs at the wheel.
By Michael Schmidt, Zygo Corporation
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Master CNC machining tolerances eBook
Need a refresher on the basics of applying tolerances to custom machined metal and plastic parts? In this ebook, Xometry provides some pointers on designing mating parts and parts for specific functions. Chapters include: general machining tolerances, clearance and interference fit, how to avoid over-tolerancing, CAD drawing prep and specs, and an inspection report cheat sheet.
Get this valuable resource from Xometry.
Specifying metal inserts for molded plastics
Teaming with insert manufacturers that offer engineering expertise throughout the design and manufacturing process can be worth its weight in gold. Learn how two OEMs overcame their metal insert challenges by using advice and products from Tri-Star Industries, including specialty stainless steel parts and modifying the knurling on some inserts.
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Posi-Lok keyless shaft bushings for secure shaft-to-hub connection
Zero-Max offers a variety of options within the Posi-Lok keyless shaft bushings (PSL) product line that allow users to rigidly and reliably secure shaft-mounted components into position for optimal operating results in their machines. Options include material choices, plating, and different mounting methods. Posi-Loks are a superior shaft-hub locking solution, eliminating the need for keyways that can weaken or cause excess wear to shaft components. All Posi-Lok models easily slide onto a shaft for mounting and provide reliable, zero-backlash performance.
Automation: ECONOmaster drilling units -- affordable, flexible, get the job done
Suhner's ECONO-master® is a low-cost, high-output automated drilling unit that puts holes in light metal, composite, thermoplastic, and even wood substrates at high speed with excellent accuracy. It features low power and air consumption. On a recent project for Mid-State Engineering, Suhner custom ECONOmaster drill units -- featuring selectable drill heads that can be used in combination or individually -- were used to automatically drill holes into fiberglass panels for truck trailer bodies.
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Great Resources: Ultimate Guide to Injection Molding
Xometry has put together a comprehensive resource for injection molding -- from the basic principles to applications, tooling, materials, design features, and more. Learn how to optimize your part designs and choose the right surface finishes, textures, and post-processing for your projects. A super-handy resource worth bookmarking.
Read the Xometry Ultimate Guide to Injection Molding.
Sealing fasteners may optimize your designs
Highly specialized sealing fasteners include sealing screws, sealing nuts, sealing bolts, and sealing washers. Unlike ordinary fasteners, sealing fasteners are configured with a rubber O-ring (or a rubber element) that, when squeezed, permanently seals out a wide range of contaminants from entering and damaging equipment while preventing leakage of toxins into the environment. ZAGO sealing fasteners are designed to withstand harsh weather and extreme temperatures and are vibration and pressure resistant.
Learn all about ZAGO's wide selection of sealing fasteners.
Spirit levels with adjustment and cross-measurement
They may seem like relics from the past, but spirit levels remain indispensable tools in everyday industrial operations. Two new types from JW Winco now offer even better and faster alignment. The cross spirit levels GN 2276 combine two perpendicular linear levels within a single, round aluminum housing to show the alignment in two planes at once, making installation and leveling easier and faster. The new screw-on spirit levels GN 2283 are used to check the horizontal position of jigs, machines, devices, appliances, and instruments. These are available in a directly mountable, flat version (AV) and as an adjustable version (JV) with an alignment cam.
New cast urethane materials and finishes
Xometry has added new urethane resins and finishes as options for quick and affordable low- to mid-volume production. Urethane casting is used to make end-use, highly durable parts with robust mechanical properties. It is considered a "soft-tooled" process, where a silicone mold is formed around a master pattern -- usually 3D printed. Xometry has materials in two main durometer classes, rigid (Shore D) and rubber-like (Shore A). Finishes include matte/frosted, semi-gloss, high-gloss, and custom.
Read this informative Xometry blog.
Get the Xometry Urethane Casting Design Guide.
New molded-in aluminum threaded inserts for plastics
SPIROL has introduced a new, high-performance series of Molded-In Inserts for plastics assemblies. The rugged design of the Series 63 Through Hole Inserts and Series 65 Blind End Inserts consists of multiple bands of helical knurls to maximize torque resistance, balanced with radial undercuts to achieve high pull-out (tensile) force. These Molded-In Inserts are designed to be placed in the mold cavity prior to plastic injection. They offer exceptional performance due to unrestricted plastic flow into the retention features on the outside diameter of the Inserts.
How to avoid premature linear screw actuator failure
At their core, electric linear screw actuators deploy mechanical technology such as ball bearings, ball screws, and roller screws that have a finite life. These components do not last forever -- even though that is the expectation of some customers. But how long will an actuator really last? Tolomatic engineers provide a way to calculate, estimate, and size the electric linear screw actuator to achieve the desired life for your applications.
Read this informative Tolomatic blog.
3D Printing: Desktop Metal qualifies 316L stainless steel for high-volume manufacturing -- thousands of parts per week
3D-printer machine maker Desktop Metal has qualified the use of 316L stainless steel for its additive manufacturing platform called the Production System, which provides some of the fastest build speeds in the market for mass production and can make thousands of parts per week. This article includes very useful cost-per-part and time-to-manufacture information using five different application examples.
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170 tons: MAG completes mammoth portal mill built to produce large diesel engines and massive industrial components
One of MAG's newest product developments, the giant 6-axis U6 bridge-type portal mill, is completing its runoff in Hebron, KY, prior to shipping later this year. The massive machine, which weighs nearly 154 MT (170 tons), is outfitted with five interchangeable cutting heads, including two custom designs to allow five-sided machining on oversized diesel engine blocks and industrial components. Equipped to deliver up to 74.5 kW (100 hp) into the cut, the machine can complete all six sides of a 5,900-kg (13,000-lb), 16- or 20-cylinder diesel engine block in just three setups at a total time of about 30 hr. The turnkey solution from MAG includes the machine, special spindle heads, cutting tools, part programs, and workholding fixture.
The U6 is engineered for heavy-duty machining of large precision parts, such as this 16-cylinder diesel engine block weighing 5,900 kg (13,000 lb). The machine's robust construction makes it ideal for heavy cuts in steel, titanium, Inconel, or cast iron.
The U6's full complement of accessories includes a spindle head storage/retrieval system that allows automatic head changes to maximize the machine's productivity. The special-purpose heads enable completion of a multitude of complex features on five sides of the part in one setup.
This particular machine has a working range of 13 m x 2.6 m x 1 m x 1.25 m (X-Y-W-Z), with speeds up to 20 m/min (787 ipm) and linear-axis repeatability of 0.01 mm (0.0004 in.). The W+Z axes combined deliver a programmable vertical range of 2.25 m (7.3 ft) for deep reach into or around parts. The machine is configured with a two-table system to transfer workpieces in and out of the cutting zone, enabling it to cut one part while a second is being set up or unloaded off line. This allows parts to be machined in sets of two, using the five spindle heads and a full complement of operations including milling, facing, boring, drilling, tapping, and specialty serration milling. The five spindle heads are changed automatically for maximum efficiency and minimal cycle time.
"This machine is the newest and most advanced design in its class, utilizing linear way technology and all-electric drives for speed, accuracy, and energy efficiency," says Chip Storie, MAG executive vice president. "It is whisper quiet, and proved its dynamic stiffness during sustained-power qualification tests. It will produce the customer's parts in less time, at a lower cost, when all the high-efficiency features are applied, giving the customer a competitive advantage."
Engineered for lean machining of large parts
The U6 universal machining center is engineered for lean manufacturing of large complex-geometry parts. Its 5-axis machining and contouring capabilities minimize downtime, part reorientations, and set ups. The machine's robust construction makes it ideal for heavy cuts in large cast iron, steel, Inconel, or titanium parts encountered in aerospace, off-road, energy, marine, and mining equipment. The U6's energy-efficient all-electric design eliminates hydraulic noise and maintenance issues, particularly compared to older-style, hydrostatic guideways. Replaceable low-friction linear guideways improve axis responsiveness and help reduce energy consumption.
The U6 can be outfitted with a range of high-torque or high-speed spindles, up to 74.5 kW (100 hp) and 24,000 rpm, with choice of tapers, and vertical, horizontal, 5-axis, or custom head configurations to cover a wide spectrum of machining requirements. This photo shows the contouring gimbal head machining the ports on the diesel engine block.
Available in a bridge or traveling gantry design, the U6 can be configured with a crossrail (Y-axis) up to 9 m (29.5 ft), while the adjustable W-axis (vertical crossrail movement) provides up to 5 m (16.4 ft) additional travel to complement up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) of Z-axis range. The maximum 7.5-m (24.6-ft) programmable vertical range of the machine (W+Z axes) gives it the capacity to machine, or maneuver over, tall or oddly shaped workpieces. The design allows the Y-axis rail to be positioned close to the part for machining with minimal Z-axis extension and maximum stiffness for tight accuracy. As options, the U6 is offered with a choice of 1-m, 1.5-m, 2-m, or 2.5-m Z-axis ram travel for best fit to processing needs.
The U6B bridge-type machine can be equipped with an optional X-axis pallet shuttle system for cellular processing with single or multiple machines. It is available with a broad range of table and pallet shuttle systems. The U6R rail-type traveling gantry design offers unlimited X-axis travel, and is expandable to fit the application.
The U6 can be outfitted with a range of high-torque or high-speed spindles, up to 74.5 kW (100 hp) and up to 24,000 rpm, choice of tapers, and vertical, horizontal, or 5-axis head configurations to cover the spectrum of machining requirements. Automatic head exchanges are programmable, fully automated, and accomplished in about 1 min. The C-axis option is built into the Z-axis ram and is offered 360-degree continuous rotation to keep the spindle in-cut without running out of C-axis travel or waiting for unwind. Custom head configurations are also available.
Published September 2012
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