Custom Manufacturing

A Machine Maker Invests to Close the Skills Gap

Does a skills gap exist in North American manufacturing? The answer appears to depend on perspective. Those who analyze manufacturing are skeptical, saying that, except in extraordinary cases, low-growth data on jobs and wages do not signal a crisis, much less a reason to be concerned about workforce skills. Manufacturers say there is one, explaining that they have a difficult time finding...

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Custom Manufacturing

Innovative Contouring-Head Machine Gains Traction

During the last International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), in October 2012, machinery maker Fives Giddings & Lewis (FG&L) discussed with customers the idea of developing an integrated contouring head for use on its horizontal boring mills and horizontal machining centers (HMCs). The system would be "unique" in several ways, Helene Nimmer, director of proposals and technical sales,...

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Engineering & Design

Surge in Biofuels Demand Could Affect Process Equipment Deliveries

This is a good time to be a U.S. biofuels producer. The Environmental Protection Agency is promoting the Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (RFS2), which calls for more than twice as much biofuel to be available for blending with gasoline in 2022 than was available in 2012 - 36 billion gallons per year compared with 15 billion gal/yr. The goal of the rule, of course, is to reduce carbon emissions from...

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Engineering & Design

Piping Connection Considerations in Pumping Systems

[Editor's Note: This article was adapted from the Grundfos white paper entitled "Piping Connection Considerations." Eccentric reducers on suction piping. Credit: Grundfos Although the piping system operating with a pumping system may appear trivial, it is important that some basic piping considerations be observed. By following these concepts, the life of the pumping equipment and its accessories...

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Custom Manufacturing

High-Pressure Water Shapes Finely Detailed Metal Parts

A technology being marketed as "something completely new and different in metal forming" is attracting attention in North America, as it has in Europe. Called fluid-forming, the technology applies up to 60,000 psi of water pressure to metal blanks in a specially designed machine to form what Paul Benny describes as highly-detailed, close-tolerance parts on a repeatable basis. Benny is CEO of...

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Engineering & Design

New FDA Food Rules Create Demand for Sanitary Pumps and Valves

The passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) three years ago provided the U.S. Food & Drug Administration with powerful rules to further safeguard the nation's food supply. As a result, it is creating demand for pumps, valves, and other process control equipment that is projected to total $7 billion from 2013-16, according to a new report by consultant Frost & Sullivan. The report,...

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Custom Manufacturing

Secondary Machining of Powder Metal Components

Manufacturing parts using powder metal solves many of the issues that plague more conventional machining and fabrication methods, including parts with complex shapes or features. In powder metal manufacturing, a very fine metal powder is mixed with a binder and then compacted into the desired shape and sintered, evaporating the binder and resulting in the hardened metal part. The powder metal...

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Engineering & Design

Duty Cycle: Electric vs. Pneumatic Actuators

There are pros and cons to both pneumatic and electric actuators for valve operation. For pinch valve applications, the price break point is around the 8-in size. For valves from ½ to 6 in, pneumatic actuators generally are less expensive. For valves 10 in and larger, electric actuators are generally less expensive. Eight-inch valves teeter-totter either way. This is a rough rule-of-thumb and is...

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Custom Manufacturing

Lightweight Metals Innovation Hub Could Be Boon to Machining

The latest initiative to emerge from the Obama administration's efforts to assist the progress of U.S. advance manufacturing is the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or ALMMII. The institute is also being referred to as the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or LM3I, by the White House. It is designed to develop the technology of...

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Custom Manufacturing

Machining Curved Surfaces with Accuracy and Speed

When it comes to curved surfaces, smooth finishes are critical. Super-NURBS is a programming functionality for CNC machining that meets high-accuracy finish requirements while speeding up cycle times. The result is drastically reduced hand-finishing time to achieve high-quality parts quickly. Users can deliver parts out the door faster, with better finish quality and accuracy. Super-NURBS is...

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