DirectIndustry e-Magazine - #30 - CNC & MACHINING - DirectIndustry e-Magazine


Check your machines like you check your emails! With new, simplified CNC interfaces, machine information now can be read remotely on your phone.

Lasers. With Lhyte, a new hybrid device unveiled by Comau, lasers are proving they also can be 4.0.

Transportation. With Hyperloop, the dream of traveling at the speed of sound is getting closer to reality. 

Artificial Intelligence. Smart and independant robotics is changing the decision making process. 

Trade Shows. Watch our Industrie Lyon live video coverage right from the aisles of the French fair.

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This gives the user an easy-to-operate HMI with help screens and intuitive animated graphics.

Apps have embedded themselves seamlessly into our everyday lives. Now, they are becoming integral to the world of machining, too. With a simple download and the touch of a screen, machine tools can be controlled by apps and other intuitive interfaces. Smart CNC systems can now monitor and adjust productivity via a...

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This is laser 4.0, this is a digital revolution.

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Is a laser revolution underway? Whatever the answer, the winds of innovation were blowing last month at the Comau facility in northern Italy.

The company unveiled Lhyte, a hybrid device combining a diode laser and a fiber laser. We were invited to attend the world premiere. Watch our video report to discover the new product which sales start this month.

More information on lasers on DirectIndustry.

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Imagine a capsule full of people moving at the speed of sound.

From the moment Space X founder Elon Musk proposed the Hyperloop concept 3 years ago, he set off a global race to make this futuristic mode of transportation a reality. Today, a global community of engineers and entrepreneurs has emerged to develop Hyperloop systems that would send people and cargo hurtling through...

Isybot is a French start-up created last November with the CEA, France’s nuclear energy commission. The company developed a collaborative robotic arm designed...

More than 100 Japanese companies were exhibiting at the Hanover trade fair in late March. Japan established a new economic partnership with Germany and is an...

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  • Ultrasonic machining—causing the cutting head of a machine tool to oscillate as well as rotate—is not new. It dates back to the middle of the last century and originally involved the use of an abrasive slurry in combination with the movement of the tool. Now, though, it is far more likely to resemble conventional machining utilizing normal cutting fluid.


    One of the major suppliers of ultrasonic machining equipment is the German-Japanese company DMG Mori. According to UK sales manager Kevin Jones, the firm now has an installed base of around 700 ultrasonically-enabled machines worldwide. Jones concludes that the technology is “not emerging” but is instead “mature and established.” Its defining feature is the “generation of a vibration frequency at the cutting edge of the tool in the range 20-50 kHz.” This is achieved by electrical excitation of piezo elements in the toolholder via an induction coil in the spindle. They vibrate in the range of 2-12 microns with no vibration in the spindle.

    The technology is not emerging but is instead mature and established.

    The technique is particularly useful for machining difficult materials, such as glass, ceramics or carbon fiber. Jones adds that it also offers advantages when machining magnesium, titanium and similar metals. The most immediate benefit is longer tool life. He cites the example of a DMG customer drilling a 1.3 mm diameter hole to 23 times that depth in magnesium. Conventional techniques resulted in “just one or two holes per tool.” This figure jumped to 15 when an ultrasonic approach was adopted. Another example is grinding a silicon nitride workpiece to serve as an airborne camera housing. The process yields surface roughness of less than two microns with minimal tool chipping.

    Conventional techniques resulted in just one or two holes per tool. This figure jumped to 15 when an ultrasonic approach was adopted.

    Another user of ultrasonic machining is the UK’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield. The organization has operated a DMG ULTRASONIC 10 rotary ultrasonic machine for the past three years. With this system, abrasion is effected solely by the tool. Grinding technology leader Jim Kelsey says the machine is used extensively for point grinding advanced ceramics, particularly for aerospace applications. To date, results have been good and represent a “baseline” against which alternative approaches can be evaluated.

    Kelsey explains that the advantage lies in the “reduction in forces. It enables the use of small-diameter tools—5 mm or less—on hard, brittle materials. While the rate of rotation may reach 40,000 rpm, the actual “surface speed” of the tool against the workpiece will be relatively low. This extends tool life and enhances accuracy by minimizing tool deflection. In summary, Kelsey adds,

    As materials get more difficult to machine, we need something to enable us to point grind efficiently, The ultrasonic approach enables us to do this.

    Russian start-up Apis Cor used innovative technology to 3D print a concrete house in 24 hours. Its large-scale radial printer produced the 38 m2 structure...

    The Airbus Pop.Up, a flying concept car, surprised visitors to the Geneva car show last month. The modular electric vehicle consists of a passenger pod riding...

    Embedded objects featuring artificial intelligence used to require a cloud connection. But Nvidia’s upgraded Jetson deep learning module featuring the new TX2...

    Amid the Brexit confusion, technology is not often mentioned but isn’t necessarily forgotten. Some high-profile tech companies have hinted they might leave the UK. But others think the change could bring huge benefits in terms of growth and advances in technology.

    One company that does not see Brexit as a real threat is IBM, which  is investing heavily in UK operations. With client demand for cloud access spiraling, the company has tripled its cloud data center capacity.

    Phil Hussey is IBM’s Brexit business development leader for the UK and Ireland. He says IBM has been preparing diligently for Brexit. A key issue is ensuring the free flow of data between the UK and Europe. Asked if the Brexit could be a major hindrance to technology advance, Mr. Hussey said:

    IBM’s investment reflects the strength of the UK economy and the size of the opportunity in cloud computing. UK customers understand the capabilities of the cloud to drive innovation, to provide better insight for decision making and to deliver better customer service. IBM is well positioned for any post-Brexit scenario, with 16 data centers located across Europe to serve the needs of our clients.

    However, Hussey said IBM is not speculating about possible Brexit-driven impacts on technology pricing should trade tariffs be imposed on the UK. He went on to explain how IBM is lining up to protect itself from Brexit.

    IBM is preparing for Brexit, and has a new Brexit Transformation Lab in London which offers clients ‘trigger for transformation’ consulting workshops, initially focusing on financial services.

    One of the major issues in the Brexit vote was immigration. We asked Hussey if IBM expects a tech drain once Brexit is implemented.

    The key to stopping a tech drain is based around three essentials: ensuring the free flow of data between the UK and the EU, ensuring investment in domestic innovation and research, and the need to work on an agreement to provide adequate protection for personal data in the UK.


    Camille Rustici

    Camille Rustici is a Video Journalist and the Editor-in-Chief for DirectIndustry e-magazine. She has years of experience in business issues for various media including France 24, Associated Press, Radio France…

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    Chris O’Brien

    Chris O’Brien is based in France and is European Correspondent for VentureBeat and a freelance writer. Before moving to France, he spent 15 years in Silicon Valley covering technology for the San Jose Mercury News and the Los Angeles Times.

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    Abigail Saltmarsh

    Abigail Saltmarsh is a freelance journalist with 25 years’ experience for industry publications (Packaging Europe) and national magazines (The New York Times, International Herald Tribune).

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    Michael Halpern

    Michael Halpern is a US-born and bred writer with experience in radio. He is also our in-house DirectIndustry anglophone translator and copy-editor.

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