We talk a lot about CMM software - but the hardware merits a mention or two now and then, especially when there is something new to talk about. Point of fact, our focus is the CMM probe, the most important piece of a coordinate measuring machine. The probe you select can mean the difference between a CMM that is a powerful asset or one that…well…frankly isnt. As Ian Wright says at Engineering.com, “A coordinate measuring machine is only as good as its probe(s).”
Baby boomers are retiring at the rate of approximately 10,000 a day. In their wake, Millennials are changing the way manufacturers do things.
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In the metal fabrication business, most companies are small to mid-sized. Yet these manufacturers juggle a bevy of parts and sub-assemblies for a myriad of applications and industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to waste water treatment plants and oil and gas. Collapsed timelines, tighter tolerances and changing requirements have become standard fare. And it isn’t getting any easier. Customers want to be able to make design changes on the fly and get updates on part specifications in real time. If a machine goes down a fabricator may have to rely on a neighboring company to get parts out the door. That means being able to download programs and fixtures without the need to reprogram.
This week we celebrated Presidents’ Day. If you are a history buff you know that the holiday was born in 1800 following the death of George Washington in 1799. It was an unofficial observance at the time though marked by historical events like the 1832 centennial of Washington’s birth and the construction of the Washington Monument which started in 1848. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed Washington’s February 22 birthday into a federal holiday. At first, the holiday only applied to the District of Columbia. In 1885, the entire country was invited to participate in the holiday.
Trends are interesting, especially at the beginning of a new year. If you Google health you’ll see headlines that tell you oat milk will be the new almond milk, prebiotics will be the new probiotics and fats will be the new protein. If you look up fashion for 2019, bamboo bags and statement sneakers are all the rage. Artificial intelligence is slated to grow while pure cable TV is expected to die a slow death.
In the 1989 film “Dead Poets Society,” an English teacher played by actor Robin Williams, inspires his students by teaching poetry. Williams character, John Keating also teaches them life lessons. In the first scene in the film Keating stands on his desk. In the final scene his students do. The acts symbolize seeing the world from another point of view. In our last blog we gave you a snap shot of the marketplace for 2019. This week we thought we’d give you a different perspective from ThomasNet. The 120-year-old company is a data, platform and technology organization that has become the leading resource for the industrial marketplace.
ThomasNet delved into some data to look at products and services with the highest procurement rates in 2018. Here’s what they found.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve closed the books on yet another year. In 2018 customers talked to us about the convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT). The Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the Cloud and big data have changed the landscape for metal parts suppliers. We saw the demand for 100 percent part inspection increase and reshoring efforts grow. These trends have pushed the CMM into a larger measurement and inspection role on the shop floor.
Five-axis machine tools are becoming more cost efficient as the technology evolves. The capability to produce higher quality parts and increased throughput has pushed 5-axis machine tools into the spotlight over the last few years. Inherent limitations are also being ushered out of the way with updates in cutting tools and CAD/CAM software. The combination means operators can generate smooth, accurate 3D surfaces in challenging materials faster while extending tool life. Mold and die makers are already reaping the benefits but these improvements also support a number of 3D applications for aerospace and orthopedic applications.
The med tech industry in the U.S. is experiencing an upswing in revenue according to a recent study by the Alexander Group.
Their findings revealed that year-over-year growth topped five percent last year, “rebounding from a low three percent in 2014". To respond to margin pressures medical device companies are rethinking the way they bring products to market. One shift in the customer model is focusing on products and solutions that provide tangible outcomes for doctors and health systems versus clinicians.
Since the Fourth Industrial Revolution (the Internet of Things) swept the manufacturing scene, the shop floor has evolved into a smart environment where workers, aided by intelligent “co-bots” are creating and producing products and services with a new generation of technologies.
A strong economy is providing a much needed boost to the manufacturing industry but many companies will tell you they are being squeezed by an increasingly tight labor market. The Manufacturing Institute projects that by the year 2025, some 2 million jobs within the industry will go unfilled. Experts say the lack of workers is due to a combination of economic expansion and baby boomer retirements. But there’s a third factor behind the scarcity of experienced employees— the skills gap.
As a kid I was fascinated with all things Egyptian so it’s not surprising to me that the Egyptian cubit is considered one of the earliest known units used to measure length. The word “measurement” though comes from the Greek word “metron.” Webster’s Dictionary defines measurement as a “figure, extent, or amount obtained by measuring: dimension.”
The International Manufacturing Technology Show held in Chicago, Illinois in September set new records. The 32nd edition of IMTS drew a record breaking registration of 129,415 people, 1,424,232 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 2,563 exhibiting companies and 2,123 booths. Bonnie Gurney, director of industry partnerships for AMT credited a rapidly transforming industry stating, “exponential technology advances and a strong economy propel North America’s premier manufacturing show.”
These days autonomy surrounds us, from intelligent cars and smart appliances to virtual assistants. The word “smart” has become synonymous with any gadget or inanimate object that can connect, share and interact with its human counterpart and other devices. Statistica reports the “smart house market alone will approach 40 billion USD in the US alone by 2020.” Fifty-seven percent of Americans say that equipping their homes with smart products saves them approximately 30 minutes per day or 182.5 hours a year.
If you look up the definition of measurement, it is described as the act of determining an object’s size, length, weight or capacity. A quick look at a Thesaurus offers up similar words to convey the idea of measurement such as quantify, compute or calculate.
We’ve all heard it at one time or another; the phrase ‘…everything comes in threes.’ Some people link this phrase with good things while others connect the idiom with negative events. If you think about it, we’ve been exposed to the idea of things or events happening in groups of three since we were kids.
With the International Manufacturing Technology Show ─ IMTS ─less than five weeks away, Mark Gearding, vice-president and co-founder of AIMS Metrology, talks about what manufacturers need most and how coordinate measuring machine technology stacks up to the challenges
We’re all aware on some level that the amount of information is growing exponentially while the amount of time we have to sift through it is shrinking. In fact, if you take a look at some statistics, the amount of data produced on a daily basis is staggering.
When it comes to coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) most of us focus on what’s right in front of us—the parts we need to inspect. Fabricators tend to be equally concerned about CMM features that can increase throughput while maintaining accuracy and quality requirements. In today’s smart factory environment the need for machine-to-machine communication and the capability to collect data that is actionable has put the spotlight on another piece of the package; the software.
No one wants to get the call that a bad part found its way to a customer. Founding father Benjamin Franklin had the solution when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In this case a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) makes a strong “cure.”