The newsLINK Group - Machining

Editorial Library Category: Manufacturing Topics: Machining Title: Machining Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: The manufacturing industry is based on the art and science of machining. The machining system consists of a machine and a tool that are used to modify the workpiece. In its simplest form, the manufacturing process consists of removing chips from a workpiece. Editorial: Machining 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 The manufacturing industry is based on the art and science of machining. The machining system consists of a machine and a tool that are used to modify the workpiece. In its simplest form, the manufacturing process consists of removing chips from a workpiece. Machinists use the term metal cutting if the material being worked happens to be a metal, but machining is obviously not limited to just one material. Of course, as the machine age has evolved into the information age, computers have become an integral part of the process at most manufacturing facilities because they are so obviously well-suited to providing precise (and consistent) control over machining processes. Manufacturers use computers to control machine tools for the same reason that eye surgeons use lasers for eye surgery: machines can give you reliable results. In the case of machining, the machines can do a better and more accurate job than people can when it comes to controlling tools such as lathes, mills, routers, and grinders. Today’s innovative methods involve understanding, and applying, both subtractive and additive machining processes: Subtractive processes are what you would expect when thinking about machining; they include traditional and nontraditional machining approaches, but the idea is for the machinist to shape material into what is called a workpiece that has been specifically designed for some useful purpose. Methods for removal can be categorized as cutting processes (single-point or multipoint), abrasive processes, and machining processes that use energy, such as chemical or electrical energy, to get the work done; more specifically, subtractive processes include approaches that include chip formation, drilling, electrical discharge machining (EDM), grinding, milling, and turning. Additive processes represent a newer approach. They include the manufacturing innovations of the last few decades. The machinist forms a workpiece by adding materials, usually in individual layers that stack on top of each other until a final shape has been created. Methods involve applications of direct metal laser sintering, as well as stereolithography and 3D printing. The difference between the two processes occurs in large measure because they require completely separate thinking modes. Additive processes lend themselves to applications where space is central to the object being manufactured, such as something with an enclosed cavity or an internal void. It can be extremely efficient to start from empty space instead of from some material, and to eliminate what you don’t need right at the beginning of the manufacturing process. At other times, starting from a known material in a known condition is the better choice, especially if the shape is not complex, there is time for the necessary machining, and the material to be worked is available in approximately the right size and shape. When it comes to prototyping, additive processes are impressive because they can result in a complex workpiece that can be machined quickly. However, that doesn’t mean additive processes don’t have weaknesses. One significant weakness is the fact that when pieces are layered together, and stresses are applied, then the layers can come apart from each other; that is, they give way at the joints. If you were to consider an example from the construction industry to better understand why this is so, a brick wall is a good starting point for the analysis. It’s easy to see that brick walls are built using an additive process. Once built, the resulting wall is strong and durable in some ways, but if someone drives a car into one, or if an earthquake occurs, that wall will probably collapse because of the stresses on its joints. For functional testing of a prototype, it might be important that the prototype can withstand the same stresses as the production part. A subtractive process might actually be the better choice for creating some kinds of prototypes because the subtractive process would make it easier for a machinist to create a prototype that has the same

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