Metal Fabrication in 2015 and Beyond

2015 will bring change to a variety of industries, and metal fabrication is no exception. With the proliferation of 3D printing technology and the improved economy, it’s very likely that metal fabrication will see both renewal and change in the upcoming years.

Improving Economy Sees Resurgence in Metal Fabrication

A continually improving domestic economy is bolstering a need for metal fabrication, especially where jobs that were once outsourced are coming back domestically. According to,?the energy and construction industries?are growing aggressively, by as much as 12% and 20% in 2014, respectively.?Through 2015, it’s likely that economic improvements will continue supporting the metal fabrication industry—and the manufacturing industry as a whole—and that there will be a need for both experienced and knowledgeable technicians. In markets where the growth outpaces supply, metal fabrication technicians will find that salary rates will likely increase. As much of this is driven by the oil and gas industry, some of the increases may be localized to areas that have a large oil and gas presence.

Commercial 3D Printing Becomes More Viable

Though 3D printing is still at least a few years off from becoming a standard in consumer markets, commercial 3D printers have become quite robust; two thirds of industrial manufacturers now use the technology, according to Computer World. 3D technology will allow the metal fabrication industry to create more detailed parts on demand, and to fabricate parts on-the-fly as needed. For the industry, this also means that metal fabrication will be interlaced with understanding of 3D programs, and a need for further education may be necessary. Rapid prototyping may become a part of the design mechanics for many companies, leading to a need for fast, agile manufacturing through the use of commercial 3D printers. This may also develop a need for more specialized workers, who can work with a variety of fabrication needs and who are knowledgeable about the software and systems in use.

Metal Fabrication “Boot Camps” Become Popular

Boot camps for metal fabrication are already emerging in areas that are? considered hotbeds for the metal fabrication industry, as reported in the FDL Reporter. Throughout 2015, metal fabrication boot camps will likely become popular as a way to jump-start a career quickly in areas that have significant demand. Metal fabrication boot camps cover a wide variety of equipment and techniques, with the goal of educating technicians so they can immediately begin working within their field. These boot camps are valuable not only to new students, but also professionals who may not be aware of the newest metal fabrication techniques. As metal fabrication is an industry that is quickly changing, older techniques are becoming outdated very quickly.

Metal Fabrication: A Positive Outlook

The future of the metal fabrication industry will likely be even more tech-heavy than ever before, requiring technicians who are highly trained in both computerized technology and the basics of fabrication itself. Demand will also likely increase, creating a void that new graduates can fill. To compensate, new programs will be developed to help those interested in metal fabrication get a head start towards employment.?Overall, the future looks extremely promising for those within metal fabrication, and it’s likely that this trend will continue for some time.

12 Benefits of Using The Metal Clinching Process

Clinched Metal JointMetal clinching is a cost effective process of joining sheets of metal without the sparks, fumes and potential material damage that can be caused by spot welding. Basically, this quick and easy metal fastening method does not create heat, or require pre-drilled holes.

Clinching, also known as press joining, is a high-speed method of effectively and safely joining sheet metal pieces. The tools used in this method are a die and a punch. The main types of dies used are a “fixed” and “movable” component. The punch is used to force two layers of sheet metal into the cavity of the die, which forms a permanent connection.

The metal sheet pieces are squeezed between the die and the punch, and the material is expelled sideways forming a “Clinchlok”. The amount of pressure that is applied has a direct impact on the life expectancy of the die and punch tools, and also the strength of the joint.

Metal Clinching

The die is specialty designed, so that the Clinchlok “mushrooms”. The punch, also has a special design that is round, not sharp like other typical- type tools.

When materials of different thickness are to be joined, the ideal results happen when the thicker piece is placed on the upper side (known as the punch). It is important to note, that the thicker piece of material should not exceed double the thickness of the thinner piece.

Some of the more common materials that benefit from the clinching process, include:

  1. Ductile aluminum alloys and other types of lightweight material.
  2. Stainless steel.
  3. Micro-alloyed steels.
  4. Pre-painted, organic and/or zinc-coated steel.
  5. Low carbon steels.

Metal joining up close look

Metal clinching is a process that is used in the automotive industry, as well as the electronic industry. This cold forming process is often preferred over spot welding, because fumes and/or sparks are not generated.

The benefits of using the metal clinching method include:

1) No heat, adhesives, bolts or rivets are used in this process.

2)?No electrical hookup is required.

3) It is a fast and consistent way to join metal.

4) Damage to metal pieces during this process is little to none.

5) Safe and clean working environment.

6) ?It is a cost effective way to join metal material.

7) Able to join together dissimilar types of material.

8) Machine maintenance is minimal.

9) The tool life is exceptional (usually 200,000 joints)

10) It can be portable, which is an option that increases its’ versatility.

11) ?The machines can be customized to meet the needs of the task.

12) Pre-painted metal pieces can be joined, which is perfect for the appliance industry, as painted surfaces will not become damaged during assembly.

Clinching is one of the newer technologies used for joining sheet metal. It can replace the method of riveting in the automobile industry. Clinching is a method that has quickly been accepted, and it is a very important part of the automobile industry, when it comes to fastening aluminum panels, deck lids and hoods, for example.

The Process Of Machining Titanium Using Modern Machinery

precision titanium machiningTitanium has become one of the most popular materials used in aerospace applications.? The reason for this are the special properties titanium possesses. Titanium has a relatively low mass for a given strength level and it also is highly resistant to high temperatures.

These properties make it a very good choice for an aerospace material because materials need high temperature resistance and light weight but great strength at the same time.

Titanium is used in the front sections of an aircraft engine and are becoming more and more common in structural and landing gear components.? The one big drawback to using titanium is that the materials is very difficult to machine.

Machining Titanium

Machining titanium is very demanding and requires he right machine tools for the job. It often requires the removal of up to 90% of the weight of the workpiece. When titanium is machined it produces a high-chemical re-activity that causes the chip to weld to the tool which leads to cratering and quick tool failure.

Titanium laso has low thermal conductivity which does not allow the heat generated during machining to dissipate from the tool edge. The inability to dissipate heat causes high tool tip temperatures and excessive tool deformation and wear.

Correct Use of Coolant

Using Coolant in the machining processThe most important factor to consider when machining titanium or titanium alloys is proper coolant delivery.? The goal is to create a low coefficient of friction.? This results in lower temperatures so the workpiece does not get soft and the tool life is extended rather than shortened.

With pressure and direction, the coolant knocks chips off the cutting edges and provides anti-corrosive benefits for both the machine tool and the workpiece.? Research shows that there is a high correlation between the amount of coolant delivered and the metal removal rate.

Using a high coolant concentration provides lubricity that helps extend tool life, chip evacuation and finer surface finishes. High –pressure coolant through the tool or through an adjacent line parallel to the tool should also be considered to increase tool life and production rates.? Multi-coolant lines should not be used. It is better to use a single line with 100% of the flow capacity to evacuate the chips from the work area.

Synthetic or semi-synthetic coolants should be used at proper volume, pressure and concentrations levels.? 10-12% coolant concentration is mandatory.? The flow to the cutting edges should be maximized with a recommendation of 3 gallons per minute or 13 liters per minute at 500 psi for through tool flow.

Machining Tips

  • Rigidity is paramount
  • Coolant, coolant, and more coolant
  • Speeds and feeds have to reduced significantly below what they are for softer metals
  • Cutter material is critical-Use coated carbide cutters
  • Reduce tool stickout-vibrations destroy the surface finish
  • Always utilize gravity to your advantage
  • Horizontal spindles help chips to fall away fro the workpiece
  • Horizontal fixturing requires the use of angle plates or “tombstones”.
  • Keep work closest to the strongest points of fixture
  • Keep work as close as possible to the spindle/quill
  • Know the power curve of the machine
  • Ensure sufficient axis drive motors for power cuts
  • Look for weak links and weak parts of machine structure that could compromise rigidity
  • Check for backlash in the machine’s spindle
  • Identify your drawbar’s pull-back force
  • Watch the adapter for fretting and premature wear-signs of overloading the cutting tool and damaging the spindle and bearings

Non-Traditional Machining

Titanum alloy components often require the use of non-traditional machining methods such as electrochemical machining, chemical milling or laser beam torch.? Chemical and electrochemical methods of metal removal are likely to increase because of their many useful features.

They are particularly good methods for rapid removal of metal from the surface of complex shaped parts, thin sections and large areas and formed parts without damaging the mechanical properties of the metal.

Electrochemical Machining

ECM is the removal of electrically conductive material by anodic dissolution in a rapidly flowing electrolyte which separates the workiece from a shaped electrode. This method can generate very difficult contours and provide undistorted, high-quality surfaces.? When using it to machine titanium alloys the most common electrolyte used is sodium chloride in a concentration of 1 pound per gallon.

Chemical Machining

Chemical machining uses a strong chemical reagent. The part being processed is thoroughly cleaned and covered with a strippable, chemically-resistant mask. Areas where chemical action is desired are stripped off the mask, and then the part is submerged in the chemical reagent to dissolve the exposed material.

Laser Beam Torch Machining

Machining using this process involves removing material from a workpiece by focusing a laser beam and a gas stream on the workpiece. The laser energy? causes localized melting and an oxygen gas stream creates an exothermic reaction forcing the melted material out from the cut.? It is possible to cut titanium alloys at a very rapid rate using a continuous wave CO2 laser with oxygen assistance.

CNC lathes and machining centers can be used to machine titanium and many new models and CNC machining centers are dramatically increasing the milling efficiency of titanium and titanium alloys by including several key elements for efficient titanium machining including active dampening systems, rigid construction, high-torque, high-powered spindles, and high pressure, high-flow coolant systems.

Although titanium and titanium alloys present specific problems for machining, there are several different methods of competing titanium machining. CNC mills and lathes are being specially designed to address this growing segment of the machining market and many advances have already been made making the machining of titanium easier than ever before.

Wirtgen Milling Machines Impress Ronyak Paving

Maintaining roads is never an easy task. Work has to be done as fast as possible to allow motorists proper access to the roads or highways. While speed is a factor, it has to be completed with great accuracy in order for the roadway to maintain its integrity. This is why paving contractors should invest in the best equipment to deliver fast and efficient performance.

Ronyak Paving, a family owned company, is one paving contractor with a reputation for properly maintaining roads. As such, they do require efficient machine tools which they can rely on to complete tasks. One milling machine manufacturer that has really impressed them is Wirtgen. Wirtgen machines have a reputation for cold milling substantiated by reputable millers around the globe.

Wirtgen Milling Machines

?What Exactly is Cold Milling?

This process may sound simple, but it follows a complicated pattern. The process starts by removing asphalt or concrete surfaces to build another level of pavement that is more refined. If it will just be removed to be replaced by another pavement layer, what is the use of removing it? Why not just put another layer on top of it?

Simply put, the pavement will just deteriorate after a period of time when it is not completely renewed. Chances are, those bumps and holes will just come out after a year or so and bring out the same problems that existed prior to having rehabilitated the road. This process requires the use of efficient heavy equipment and Wirtgen milling machines have been found by Ronyak Paving to be the most efficient do the work.

Ronyak Paving’s Milling Machine Decision

The paving company’s president, Sean Petersen, says that after seeing the milling machine in action, the decision was easy. In fact, he reported that the Wirtgen equipment was at least 30% more productive than machinery from other manufacturers they had used.

The company added a W210i milling machine to their operation as well as the W/W 150i cold miller which offers a compact designer with plenty of power to outperform larger machines. They are capable of large surface milling, removing layers of pavement, and leveling. They are capable of cutting up to 12 in into the pavement in a single pass. These milling machines are also used by other companies simply because the equipment is built to be durable and offer impressive power to perform heavy tasks on the road. The cost of investment seems to be justified by the machines overall performance.

The Automatic Chucker: Its Place In The Machining Industry

Automatic Chuckers

Automatic Chucker
Automatic Chucker

Automatic chucking machines are also called automatic chuckers, individually. They are machine tools not very many machinists have the opportunity to work with. These CNC machines are part of a larger class of machine tool known as automatic lathes, an important category of equipment in manufacturing industries. Automatic lathes differ from other turning machines in the industry in that they are designed to produce high quantities of turned parts automatically.

Introduced in the 1870’s, the automatic lathe began as a mechanically controlled turning machine. It wasn’t until the 1950’s and 1960’s that numerical controls and CNC was introduced, changing the way these machines were operated.

Their automated nature allows them to be performing multiple different functions simultaneously which provides a steady flow of completed parts. So, where does the automatic chucker fit in and how is it different from other automatic lathes?

Screw Machines

Automatic chuckers are very similar to an automatic screw machine. Screw machines are fully automated metalworking equipment designed to process small and medium sized parts. They can produce a large amount of turned parts repetitively.

Similarly, they both use one or more spindles which can drill, bore and cut the workpiece during processing. Multiple spindles allow many different functions to be performed at the same time, allowing speedier production of parts.

While they are somewhat limited to producing smaller parts, they are more common in production facilities. They are not only used for producing screws, but also for a wide variety of smaller turned parts that are used in a variety of different production and fabrication applications.The larger capacity is not the only thing that sets the automatic chucker apart from others in this class of machinery. Air operated, interchangeable chucks with up to 12 inch capacity are also available.

Automatic Chucker applications

Chuckers are used in a much smaller portion of production facilities. They are typically found in smaller industry niches like parts suppliers for the automotive industry. It would not be common to find such a machine in a typical production or fabrication facility.

All automatic lathes contain spindles which hold and feed material being processed. Chucking machinery typically uses multiple spindles that are used to process chucking work more commonly than bar work. They can be used to form tools and dies to be used in other operations as well.

They commonly require a lot of time to set up initially, but once the machines are set up, they run quickly and efficiently. In fact, they should require little to no operator intervention once they begin producing parts.

They remain much less common only because they are considered to be a specialty machine. They specialize in making large turned parts very efficiently, but the demand for mass production of large parts is somewhat limited.

Mechanical vs. CNC

Although the mechanical versions have been widely replaced by CNC turning centers, many are still in operation today. In fact, many shops feel that the mechanical versions are more cost efficient for producing high volumes of turned parts.

The 2013 Toshiba Horizontal Milling and Boring Machine – Ascension Industries

Horizontal Milling and Boring Machines – Ascension Industries

Ascension Industries offers high quality turnkey manufacturing, machining and fabrication services with an array of top-of-the-line machine tools including two overhead 50-ton cranes.

In order to meet the needs of customers in the aerospace, metal-working, defense, automotive, turbo compressor, process equipment and automation industries, it’s important to have top notch machining centers and other machine tools.

For this reason, Ascension Industries recently decided to add the new Toshiba BF-130B horizontal milling and boring machine to their arsenal and replace the current Union machines throughout their facility.

More About Ascension Industries

Based in New York, Ascension Industries was founded in 1956. The provide high quality tooling, machining, automation systems and similar manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers and other precision metalworking capable users.
Over the years they have prospered and expanded to offer their services to users of machinery and fabrication equipment as well as OEM customers.

They currently operate in a 170,000 square foot manufacturing area fully equipped with dual overhead cranes making nothing too big or too small to be manufactured here. They offer additional services as well including filtration and separation, electrical, grinding, machining, and more.

The company’s goal is to work with clients and provide full support from their initial idea all the way to the final installation by providing immediate complementary technical assistance, supplying of all materials, tooling, machining, fabrication, assembly, inspection and testing to the user’s specifications.
Ascension Industries not only provides a variety of extremely valuable services, they are also manufacturers of their very own equipment lines. They are the sole manufacturer of genuine FSD, Durco/Duriron, AquaCare, and Enzinger brand equipment and replacement parts.

Toshiba BF-130B Horizontal Milling and Boring Machine Specs

? Maximum Travel: X Axis – 236” / Y Axis – 118”
? Maximum Travel Speed: Rapid positioning of X & Y Axis of up to 393” per minute
? Maximum Machining Speed: 160” pre minute
? Automatic Tool Changer: Holds up to 60 tools
? Computerized Numerical Controls: TOSNUC 999 CNC system including extensive

There are several new features included in this newest model of milling and boring machine from Toshiba that will not only enhance productivity, but also allow the company to handle jobs too big for their other machines to handle.
New Features:
? Increased spindle feed rate and speed
? Quill type spindle provides easy work piece access
Possibly the most amazing new feature is the ability to put a signal point tool in the spindle and actually create a 118″ diameter bore or turn grooves like you would on a lathe. For Ascension Industries, this is the single most important new feature of the new Milling and Boring Machine.
The combination of Ascension Industries more than 50 years of machining, production, and fabrication expertise in conjunction with their new Toshiba BF-130B Horizontal Milling and Boring Machines makes a truly unbeatable pair in the manufacturing industry.

Need A Laser Cutting Machine That Can Handle Large Tube, Pipe & Other Metal Cutting Jobs?

Laser Cutting Machines.

Laser cutting machines are typically used to cut metal tube, pipe, bars, etc. with speed, accuracy, and minimal material waste. However, most laser cutting machinery is designed for smaller pipe and tube jobs and may be limited to the thickness of the metal and angles that can be cut. As laser cutting technology improves, so do the capabilities of the laser machine tools.

Introducing The 3D Fabri Gear Mk II Laser Pipe and Tube Laser Cutting Machine

Laser Cutting Machine

Recently, Mazak Optonics, an industry leader in 2D and 3D industrial laser cutting machines, released the new 3D FABRI GEAR Mk II machine designed for extensive pipe, tube, and structural cutting applications. Capable of cutting any shape of tube or pipe including: round, square, triangular, and rectangular metal parts; it can also accurately cut C-channel, I beams, H beams, angle iron, and other custom designed mild or stainless steel shapes.

The versatility and wide range of cutting capabilities that this new laser cutting machines has to offer makes it an ideal solution for a variety of different industries metal cutting needs.

The 3D Fabri Gear Mk II Laser Cutting Machine Is Available In Two Models

The 220 with a 2.5 kW resonator is capable of processing pipe and tube with diameters up to 8.6 inch. The 400 with a 4 kW resonator is capable of processing of larger pipe and tube jobs up to 16 inch diameter.

Both models operate at rapid traverse rate of 3,937 ipm.

All machines are produced in an ISO 14001 certified facility and feature a new eco-friendly resonator which reduces gas consumption by up to 50% and electricity consumption by up to 10%.

3D FABRI GEAR Mk II Automatic Pipe and Tube Cutting Machine Capabilities

The new laser cutting system will automatically begin cutting 3D shapes, angles, and more to the user

Machines Used In the Production of Silver or Gold Coins

Machines are used in the production of silver or gold coins

Production of silver coins involves the use of multiple machines including foundry machinery such as casters and furnaces, extruders and milling machines, breakdown rolls, annealers, finish rolls, blanking presses, rimming and burnishing machines.

Machines production silver gold coins

Foundry Machinery and Extruding Machines

First, the raw silver or gold needs to be melted down in the foundry using a high frequency, electric coil furnace. The molten metal can either be manually poured into a graphite mold or poured into a caster which holds the molten metal to be pulled through a graphite mold, also known as a continuous casting machine. The result is a bar or circular billet of silver or gold.

The next process involves the heating up of billets in an oven which are then pushed through a steel die by a powerful hydraulic ram which extrudes the softened metal into strip form. If the metal is already in strip form, then it will go to a milling machine instead which is used to remove the surface layer of the bar to achieve the desired uniform thickness. Then the corner edges are deburred using manual tools or an automatic deburring machine.

Rolling Mill and Annealing Machines

Once silver or gold bars or strips of the desired thickness are ready, they are sent to an annealed which is a large machine with a conveyer in which the precious metal bars are placed. The silver and gold bars or strips go through several internal temperature controlled chambers which heat the metal up and cool it down in order to bring the metal to a specific hardness.

Now, the silver and gold bars are ready to go through a breakdown rolling mill consisting of a set of adjustable double steel rollers used to reduce the thickness of the bars to a specific thickness in preparation for the next process. Typically, bars and strips will have to be passed through 2 or more times, each time adjusting the rollers down, to reduce the thickness in small increments since the hardness of the metal is being affected and rolling the bars too quickly will cause the bars to be too hard for further processes.

Next, the silver and gold bars are ready to return to the annealing machine to be softened to a specific hardness. They are run through the oven and cooling sections of the annealer, then checked for accurate hardness and returned through the annealer, if needed, to achieve the desired hardness.

The next machine is another rolling mill called the finish roller. The finish rolling mill is used similar to that of the breakdown rollers accept the silver and gold bars are now reduced down to their final thickness, which is going to be the thickness of the coin. This typically takes 2 or more passes through the milling machine rollers to ensure the hardness of the metal is not too hard for the next process.

Punches and Hydraulic Presses

Once the bars are the desired thickness, they are ready to be punched into coins using a hydraulic press. In mass production of coins, the press will be set to automatically punch in which the strips are manually fed into the machine by an operator. A set of conveyers is used to move the punched coins to be weighed, inspected, and stacked onto a cart for the next processes.

Coin Making Machine

Next, the blanked coins need to be placed into a rimming machine which is a spinning circular apparatus with an outer wall used to add the raised edge around the parameter of the coin. This process can be completed as part of the conveyer system immediately after being blanked in the hydraulic press; the conveyer can feed the blank coins into the rimming machine.

The final processes include burnishing in which the coins are placed into burnishing machines or tumblers with steel media that looks similar to that of misshapen BB

The History of the Lathe – Woodworking and Metalworking Lathes

Woodworking Lathe

History of the Lathe

The history of the lathe machine for woodworking can be traced back several thousand years. The earliest woodworking lathes date back to around 1300 BC when the ancient Egyptians first used a two person lathe. It was operated by one person turning the wood piece with a rope, while the second person used a sharp tool to carve into the woods surface.

These simple machines are widely believed to be the first machine tools created. This simple design was later improved upon by the ancient Romans who replaced the rope with a bow to improve the turning process.

Later, during the middle ages, a foot pedal was introduced and hand operation was replaced. This style of machine is known as a spring pole and was commonly used until the early 20th century. This was a major advantage to the wood craftsman because he could now use both hands to hold and guide tools.

The first continuously revolving mechanical lathe on record was depicted in a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, C. 1480. A treadle lathe with a crankshaft and a large wooden flywheel is shown in his sketch. It was likely that the creation of such a fascinating machine caught da Vinci