Oil markets firm on rising refinery demand, falling U.S. rig count

Oil markets were firm on Monday and remained near multi-month highs reached late last week as the number of U.S. rigs drilling for new production fell and refineries continued to start up after getting knocked out by Hurricane Harvey.


U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $49.89 a barrel at 0232 GMT, unchanged from their settlement last Friday and still close to the more than three-month high of $50.50 briefly reached on Thursday.

Thomson Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said WTI was poised to break above $50 per barrel.

“U.S. oil is poised to break resistance at $50.43 per barrel, as suggested by an inverted head-and-shoulders, the wave pattern and a Fibonacci projection analysis,” he said.

Brent crude futures LCOc1, the benchmark for oil prices outside the United States, were at $55.67 a barrel, up 5 cents and not far off the almost five-month high of $55.99 on Thursday.

“Demand forecasts from OPEC and IEA… continued to improve sentiment in the market. Refineries are also reporting a much better recovery from the recent hurricanes,” ANZ bank said on Monday.

Oil refineries across the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean were restarting after being shut due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which battered the region in the past three weeks.

Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDSa.L) Deer Park refinery in Texas was among the latest, beginning its restart on Sunday. The plant can process 325,700 barrels per day.

The refinery restarts are occurring “as signs emerge of stalling growth in the U.S. shale industry. The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell sharply last week,” ANZ said.

U.S. energy firms cut seven oil rigs in the week to Sept. 15, bringing the total count down to 749, the fewest since June, energy services company Baker Hughes said on Friday. RIG-OL-USA-BHI

Despite these signs of a tightening market, analysts warned that the distortions of the recent hurricanes made it hard to identify more long-lasting supply and demand fundamentals.

“This week’s crude inventories data will almost certainly still show the distortions of Harvey and Irma and significant increases may be looked at by traders as outlier data,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA.

Hedge funds and other money managers cut their bullish bets on U.S. crude futures and options in the week to Sept. 12, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission reported on Friday.


Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-oil/oil-markets-firm-on-rising-refinery-demand-falling-u-s-rig-count-idUSKCN1BT019


[EMO Hannover 2017] E-Tech Machinery will introducie new CNC cylindrical grinder

The Taiwanese company E-Tech Machinery will be introducing a new CNC cylindrical grinding machine from its EGP series. The grinder is equipped with an interactive Fanuc control unit and is deemed ideal for the production of small to medium components.

Cylindrical Grinder.jpg

The EGP-3260 CNC precision CNC cylindrical grinder from E-tech is fitted with a graphic conversational programming interface based on Fanuc controller technology. The new machine has been specifically designed to perform grinding operations on small- and medium-sized parts. Thanks to a range of special features, it has reportedly been possible to increase the grinding accuracy for parts by up to 30 percent. These enhancements include a high-rigidity Meehamite casting-box base with reinforcement ribs, the NN bearing design work spindle with its high loading capacity and an X-axis with double-Vee guide way design. Also highlighted by the exhibitors are the high rotation accuracy, the small range of temperature rises, and the environmentally friendly bearing-type wheel spindle.

You are welcomed to visit our booth: Hall 11, Stand D70 to find out more.


Or contact us directly:

E-tech Machinery Inc.
No. 36, Ln. 686, Sec. 4, Changping Rd., Daya Dist., 42850 Taichung City, Taiwan
Phone: +886425686418
Fax: +886425686481
Website: www.etechtw.com

Boeing Talks 3D Printing for Aerospace

On the ground floor of 3D printing technology for years, aerospace manufacturers first began adopting the various additive manufacturing (AM) processes for use in prototyping. With each advance in the technology, they have been there as AM was used for the creation of tooling to, most recently, the mass manufacturing of end parts.

GE increased its role in the industry dramatically when it acquired two metal 3D printer manufacturers and formed GE Additive. GE, however, isn’t the only aerospace company that’s taken AM to the skies. Also ahead of the pack is Boeing, which has been flying 3D-printed parts since 2003.


As a manufacturer with a leading role in the 3D printing space, Boeing may be able to offer key insight into the various platforms that make up AM and how they are currently being used in aerospace, as well as how they can and will be used in the industry in the future. To gain some of this insight, ENGINEERING.com spoke to Leo Christodoulou, director of Structures and Materials, Enterprise Operations and Technology at Boeing.

Back in 2003

As the number two federal contractor, behind Lockheed Martin, Boeing was awarded over $16 billion in taxpayer funds in 2015. Being so closely tied to the federal government has historically given the aerospace manufacturer access to some of the Department of Defense’s leading projects.

In 2003, for instance, Boeing was a part of a U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory effort to qualify and fly a metal 3D-printed part on the F-15 fighter jet. The project arose when a replacement part was needed, but the lead time for tooling would be too long. Additionally, the part was going to be made from titanium, rather than with aluminum forging, as had been the case in the past. This would reduce corrosion fatigue associated with the aluminum part.

To produce the titanium pylon rib, a laser powder feed deposition process, a form of directed energy deposition (DED), was used. The part became the first 3D-printed metal part to qualify and fly on a military aircraft. Almost 14 years later, Boeing now has over 50,000 3D-printed components of various types flying on aircraft today.

DED in 2017

As if reliving the past, Boeing is turning to DED once again to produce structural components for its 787 Dreamliner. Working with Norsk Titanium and its rapid plasma deposition technology, the company will 3D print what could be the first titanium structural components for an aircraft.

Boeing and Norsk have been working together since 2016 to first see if the parts produced by Norsk could meet Boeing’s requirements, and then whether they could meet those of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) program. The companies are anticipating that additional FAA approval for the material properties and manufacturing process will be obtained this year.

DED processes do not offer the same geometric complexity as selective laser melting, but, by 3D printing near-net-shape parts and then machining them to their final shape, it’s possible to speed up turnaround time, reduce material waste and reduce costs.

Christodoulou explained, “Some technologies offer better complexity than others, but even though some [like DED] don’t offer as much complexity, they still provide value in terms of buy-to-fly ratio. If you have an expensive material like titanium, for example, you can reduce the cost of how much you have to machine away and the buy-to-fly ratio tends to be very high. Even with a technique where the processes do not give you the buy-to fly ratio, you can gain a lot of value by not having to buy all the material that you machine away.”

This may be clearly demonstrated with the 787 Dreamliner. By leveraging plasma deposition from Norsk, Boeing aims to cut costs by $2 to $3 million.

Other AM Tools in the Toolbox

Although DED may have been one of the first technologies that Boeing leveraged for the production of an end part, it has become just one of many within the company’s repertoire, according to Christodoulou.

“AM for us is a toolbox in a toolbox. AM is not really one single technology. It’s a range of technologies. These technologies are applied differently in polymeric systems, composites, metals, and potentially ceramics. Different classes of material employ different processes, and each material class has multiple processes that one might consider,” Christodoulou said.

“The largest toolbox is the whole manufacturing or production system,” Christodoulou continued. “That production system has all of the traditional processes that we currently use, whether it’s fiber placement machines or machining of aluminum, whether it’s casting, forging, rolling, resin infusion—AM is one part of an entire manufacturing system. It’s never going to replace them all. It might not replace any of them.”

Among the other AM tools in Boeing’s toolbox is fused deposition modeling from Stratasys. The company has been working with Stratasys to develop its Infinite Build technology, which has a hypothetically infinite build direction on the horizontal axis.

“If you talk about AM, people think of a 3D printer somewhere in a box. What we did when we worked with Stratasys was we worked to take AM out of the box, creating a system by which we could remove parts and, in a sense, make them infinitely long,” Christodoulou said.“We’re not constrained by the volume now of a box, but our ability to have a stable process that will work for maybe three weeks, 24/7,nonstop. It’s all about that stability of the process.”

The aim for using a technology that is capable of producing such large components may not be for 3D printing end parts necessarily, but also manufacturing aids. Last year, Boeing and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) won a Guinness World Record for producing the largest solid 3D-printed item. It wasn’t an aircraft wing that the partners printed, but a large piece of tooling used to secure the 777X composite wing skin for drilling and machining.

Christodoulou said,“That part doesn’t have any mechanical requirements for flight, but it has very strict requirements in terms of dimensional control because it’s the tool on which we build parts that do fly.”

3D Printing That Meets Boeing’s Standards

The machine used to produce the part was the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) system from Cincinnati Inc. Although the BAAM is relatively new, Boeing doesn’t just use any new 3D printer to make parts for the sheer novelty and marketability of it. According to Christodoulou, every technology and part goes through a rigorous quality control process.

“The adoption of a given technology is commensurate with its maturity. Some technology is more mature than others, so it’s more likely to meet our requirements than others,” Christodoulou explained. “We have full intention to capture the benefits of new technologies as they come along, but our implementation is based on using technologies and processes that are stable so that they are reproducible.”

One of the key elements in Boeing’s development and adoption programs is the ability to demonstrate reproducibility. This holds true not just for AM, but for all of its manufacturing tools. Christodoulou said that Boeing has very stringent process specifications for how to build a given part and the settings on the machines. Once stability has been demonstrated across processes on multiple machines and in multiple installations across the globe, the company develops a database compiling the properties of parts. This enables Boeing to have data that supports the use of a particular process to manufacture a specific component.

This is true not just for processes, but for materials as well. Among the most recent materials Boeing is experimenting with OXPEKK, a form of laser sintered polyetherketoneketone developed by Oxford Performance Materials (OPM). OPM will be supplying over 600 parts for the Boeing Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner spacecraft, which is meant to carry up to seven passengers—or a combination of crew and cargo—to low-Earth orbit destinations like the International Space Station.


And while Boeing is qualifying processes on the production front, one of the biggest challenges according to Christodoulou is in the culture of manufacturing and design. This is because industry has become accustomed to designing for existing production technologies. 3D printing, however, opens up the ability to produce parts that were impossible to make with traditional techniques, such as complex geometries with internal structures.

Boeing’s AM Strategy

Unlike other aerospace companies adopting AM technology, Boeing doesn’t rely entirely on in-house production, Christodoulou pointed out. Instead, Boeing tries to strike a balance between in-house work and leveraging its supply chain.

“65 percent of our work is done outside of Boeing by our suppliers,” Christodoulou said. We have 20 sites within our walls that perform some form of AM—from Puget Sound to St Louis to Mesa to overseas, in the UK and Germany—but we have to balance between our internal activities and our supply chain. In many cases, the value proposition for us is to work collaboratively with our supply base and exploit their expertise and their capital investment. For example, Norsk has made a lot of capital investments in its technology that we don’t necessarily want to duplicate. I would rather work collaboratively with them. We value and appreciate the contributions of our suppliers.”

Additionally, Boeing is not a machine manufacturer, like GE. So, while it may make sense for GE to acquire 3D printer manufacturers like Arcam and Concept Laser, Boeing does not plan to build and sell AM machines.

Christodoulou drove home the point that, for Boeing, AM adoption is not a marketing strategy. “We are very deliberate and thoughtful in our use of AM,” he said. “I personally—and the whole company—we don’t buy into all of the hype. We use AM where it best makes sense for performance reasons, for schedule reasons, for cost reasons. We will not put a part on an aircraft just because it’s by AM.”



Americans Are Using Less Electricity Today Than A Decade Ago

Recently, SCANA Corporation, a major utility company in South Carolina, announced it is suspending construction on two nuclear power plants. Part of the problem was spiraling costs to complete the project. But another equally important reason was that the demand for electricity has not increased the way planners expected when the project was first proposed in 2008. That’s not surprising. A new report reveals that demand for electricity in US homes all across America is down from what it was 10 years ago.


This startling finding seems counterintuitive, given the rise in the number of appliances and digital devices in American homes over the last decade, but major advances in efficiency — especially in flat-screen televisions — as well as a shift to smaller and smaller devices for much of our entertainment — TVs to laptops to tablets and smartphones — mean less total electricity is being used even though the number of items powered by electricity has increased substantially. Overall, residential electricity sales declined 3% from 2010 to 2016, and 7% on a per capita basis according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Americans are watching less TV, preferring laptops and tablets instead. The use of smartphones, which use very little electricity, is also rising. Although people are spending more time online, they are using Chromebooks and tablets more frequently, both of which use less electricity than the dinosaurs that used to take up space in our living rooms. ENERGY STAR–rated appliances represent another area in which the items we rely on for refrigeration, washing, and drying of clothes use less electricity than their predecessors.

The EIA says residential energy use will likely increase in the coming years as Americans adopt more and more digital devices that need to be plugged in. The finding by the agency does not address the energy needed to power the cloud computing centers run by Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and other large internet companies, however, because that is deemed commercial versus residential use. Yet many of those companies are now using renewable sources to meet their electrical need rather than relying on the traditional electrical grid.

One factor the EIA findings do not address is the demand for electricity needed to recharge electric vehicles in the future. Some alarmists are predicting electric cars will overload the grid, causing it to fail. Those Cassandras are usually funded by the Koch brothers, Exxon, etc.

Demand for electricity overall should increase as the electric car revolution takes hold, but the good news is that utility companies more and more are turning to renewables like solar and wind to meet the needs of their customers in the future.


Source: CleanTechnica

Rollomatic previews EMO Hannover 2017 offerings


Industry 4.0/Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity technologies to dominate 2017 show.

Rollomatic S.A., based in Le Landeron, Switzerland, is one of the companies setting a course for an interconnected future for machinery. Precision is still a top priority, but monitoring machinery and production processes from anywhere in the world are growing more important.

September 18-23, 2017, manufacturers and technology companies will meet in Hannover, Germany, at the EMO Hannover 2017 trade show to see the latest innovations, including Internet-assisted tool-grinding.

Connectivity will allow manufacturers call up the status of a grinding machine while it is in operation, making sure that it is running smoothly from any computer connected to the Internet or company network.

Rollomatic plans to demonstrate key innovations, showing how easy it is to set up communication between the Rollomatic RMonitor and RConnect systems. RMonitor is monitoring software that can be used to check the efficiency of production. The system visualizes the status and historical performance of machinery and reports any needed preventative maintenance steps.

RConnect software links to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, i.e. via OPC, and offers the opportunity to analyze production statistics and plan processes.

Other Rollomatic products to be displayed in Hannover include:

  • LaserSmart 501

Aluminum and lightweight materials such as carbon-reinforced-plastic and titanium alloys are part of everyday business in the aviation and automotive industries. Tools fitted with PCD, CVD, or CBN, and increasingly those with monobloc designs, are especially suited to withstand the abrasiveness of fiber-reinforced plastics and the difficulty of machining tempered steel and other extremely temperature-resistant materials. The LaserSmart 501 can machine PCD/CVD/CBN tools, supporting extremely sharp and clearly defined cutting edges.

Damien Wunderlin, head of marketing and sales at Rollomatic SA, says, “In the past, key features of a PCD tool, such as its circular land chip breaker edges, had to be produced on separate machinery after eroding. The new LaserSmart 501 completes the entire process in a single clamp.”

  • GrindSmart 629XS, 629XW

Six-axis grinding machines enable grinding wheels to be inclined during grinding, allowing for even larger relief angles and complex tool geometries to be ground. For spherical milling-cutters or partial radii , the sixth axis enables the grinding point to remain constant during the relieving operation and offers better surface finish and more accurate geometric precision.

“We have integrated a self-centering system into the grinding machines, which goes about its work entirely without any adjustment by the operator. Another new development is the addition of extra wheel packs in the wheel changer for the GrindSmart 629XW,” Wunderlin says.

Rollomatic grinding machines come with integrated measuring equipment that provides important data on the success of a grinding process via 3D probing of the tool. Contactless measurement, done without operator intervention, make it possible to compensate for anomalies triggered by sudden temperature fluctuations or incipient grinding wheel wear. Elliptical is the new round If a perfectly round circumference is a major quality feature of shaft-mounted tools, the situation is often somewhat different in the case of stamping and forming tools. “Requests from our customers have shown that demand for elliptical and non-round tools, for example, is growing. That’s why we have integrated the newly patent pending process in the 5-axis

  • ShapeSmart NP5 pinch and peel grinding machine

 The 5-axis machine design, coupled with SmartPunch technology, can grind non-round punches, threading tools, and stamping and forming tools with complex shapes.

Rollmatic will be at Stand H12, Hall 6 at EMO 2017.



New Toyota-Mazda plant will bring Corolla output to USA, not Mexico

Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda confirmed plans Friday to build a $1.6 billion U.S. assembly plant that would create up to 4,000 jobs as part of an extensive new alliance. Toyota said it would make the Corolla sedan at the factory instead of in Mexico as previously intended.

The sweeping partnership between the two companies includes investments in each other and collaboration on development of electric vehicles and self-driving car technology.

The deal marks a symbolically significant shift for Toyota after the company faced withering criticism from President Trump for its plans to locate Corolla production at a $1 billion factory under construction in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico.

Toyota said Friday that it would maintain its investment and hiring plans at the Mexican plant, but it will locate additional production of the Tacoma midsize pickup at the Mexican factory instead of the Corolla compact car, which had been set to move there from an operation in Ontario, Canada.

The U.S. factory is set to open by 2021. The companies have not picked a location, which is likely to trigger a bidding war between states seeking to spur economic development.

Trump swiftly heralded the move. “A great investment in American manufacturing!” he tweeted Friday morning.

The Toyota-Mazda plant set to be built at an unidentified location by 2021 would be only the third new U.S. vehicle assembly plant since 2011.


Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin said the company would continue to make the Corolla at its Mississippi manufacturing plant as well, and no changes are planned there.

The new plant will offer Mazda its first U.S. production since the company ended local manufacturing in recent years after its transition out of Ford ownership.

Mazda said it would make crossover models at the plant for sale in North America. Currently, all Mazda cars sold in the USA are made in other countries, according to Barclays.

Taken together, the plans are likely to be trumpeted as a victory for Trump’s push to manufacture more locally sold vehicles in the USA.. He had threatened Toyota and other car companies for selling cars to American customers that were built elsewhere.

“NO WAY!” Trump said in a tweet about Toyota in January. “Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.” A border tax was never enacted.

Toyota and other car companies vocally opposed Trump’s plans to pursue sweeping changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which bolstered Mexican manufacturing.

The tie-up could pave the way for a broader deal, including possibly a Toyota move to acquire Mazda altogether, which would greatly accelerate industry consolidation for a sector grappling with high regulatory and technology costs.

“Today’s agreement is a testament to the positive result of two years of collaborative and deliberate discussions between the two companies, and it is a milestone in the journey to further strengthen and accelerate the partnership,” Toyota and Mazda said in a statement.

As part of the deal announced Friday, Toyota is acquiring 5% of Mazda, while Mazda is acquiring 0.25% of Toyota.

In that respect, the deal resembles the global alliance between Japanese automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi and French automaker Renault.

“Toyota and Mazda have been working more closely together, so it is no surprise they will have a plant together,” Autotrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs said, adding that Mazda had been searching for U.S. manufacturing capacity.




Anti-Bacteria Sediment Polypropylene PP Filter Cartridge

Reverse osmosis (RO) can be one of the best ways to treat water for residential and light commercial facilities. But, there can be issues that exist after a RO unit is installed. One issue that arises is the challenges presented with hard water. During the filtration process, hard water can cause scale, making it extremely difficult for RO’s membrane to work and the result is lower quality of water.

Hard water is the result of having high mineral content, usually calcium and magnesium ions. The dissolved rock causes scale, which has been found to impede appliance performance and result in energy inefficiencies and increased utility costs.

“Hardness can cause scaling of the membrane, which over time will defeat the whole purpose,” explains Steve Fox of NEXT Filtration Technologies Inc. “It will reduce the output of the membrane itself and it will reduce the quality of water that the membrane is putting out. Essentially, it slowly kills the membrane.”

Replacing membranes too frequently can be expensive over time. Dealers should, therefore, seek the foundation of the issue for answers. Also, sharing this valuable information with customers is key.

According to Pam McDowell of Scalewatcher, it”s the sticky calcium molecules that affect a RO system. “Calcium in the water is like cholesterol in your blood stream,” notes McDowell. “It sticks to everything, binds, hardens and thickens as more collects. On a RO membrane, the calcium molecules block the membrane, making backwashing necessary on a regular basis.”

While McDowell goes on to say that it is necessary to replace the membranes of an RO system from time-to-time, it”s the dealer”s job to provide customers with a system that will last as long as possible.

How to reduce water hardness before RO

Testing is the best way to deal with water hardness before installation. RO systems are designed to create a lot of pressure to a certain solution to separate out heavy minerals. Knowing what types of minerals are in the water can help when installing a system.

“As with any water treatment system, following the manufacturer”s installation is the most important part of the installation,” notes McDowell. “The second important part is knowing your water. If you know that you have a specific issue such as iron, an iron filtration system should be installed in tandem with the RO.”

After installation, it”s always best to continue to monitor the water to make sure scaling isn”t becoming a major problem in the RO system. If you are changing the membranes of your RO system quite frequently, McDowell suggest that it may be time to find another system and/or hardness solution.

“Carbon filters may be used to remove chlorine, which can have a negative effect on TFC (thin film composite) and TFM (thin film material) membranes,” notes Jan de Baat Doelman, president of Scalewatcher. “Carbon pre filters are not used if the RO system contains a CTA (cellulose tri-acetate) membrane.”

Ion exchange is commonly used to soften water. During ion exchange, hard water is passed through a cylinder filled with resin beads that have been saturated with sodium. When this happens, the hardness ions are attracted to the resin and the sodium ions are released.

Fox adds that softening and ion exchange are used for the removal of hardness ions and that RO can be effective as well, but not if you”re trying to protect its membrane.

Going green

One of the major downfalls of having hard water and its effects on a RO system is that it is not very energy efficient. The minerals that clog the RO and cause scaling make the RO unit work even harder, waste water and run up the utility bill. There are ways to prevent this from happening and in return help the environment.

“The amount of water that”s wasted, the discharge issues that we”re facing all over this country and really all over the world have become serious enough that the water treatment industry is paying attention to the need to reduce discharge, save water and be more environmentally friendly,” asserts Fox. “I would like to see more of a focus on the need to become more efficient on the waste specifically — hopefully eliminating any chemical discharge in the widespread use of reverse osmosis.”

There is little doubt that RO has been an effective filtration technology for several decades. While it does have its waste and energy drawbacks, there are fewer more efficient and practical innovations available at this time for residential and light commercial use. As companies continue to go green with solutions for hard water and scale reduction, the focus will become more conscious of end users, the environment and the bottom line.


Source: Water Technology Online

E-tech Machinery, Inc. Launching CNC Conversational Cylindrical Grinders

CNC Angular Type Cylindrical Grinder
CNC Angular Type Cylindrical Grinder

Taking a comprehensive view of the worldwide machine tool market, it’s an industry that demonstrates a tendency towards speed, practicality, precision and diversity. With years of providing excellent services to well-known machine tool companies under OEM and ODM agreements, while utilizing the latest innovative technologies in our full range of grinding machine product lines, E-tech Machinery, Inc. thrives in the competitive global market since its founding in 2009.

E-tech is continuing to develop new type machine. The new CNC Conversational Cylindrical Grinders featuring superb grinding ability, rigid box-type Meehanite machine bed and a user-friendly conversational program. With a choice of plunge type or angular type wheel heads, various applications can be resolved with our inclusive solutions.

CNC Conversational Cylindrical Grinders are specifically designed for small to medium size work pieces. An on-line gauging device with gantry type auto loading/unloading system and customized fixture/chuck can be equipped on demand to increase efficiency in mass production. CNC Conversational Cylindrical Grinders possesses even more remarkable features with delicate, caring designs. The tailstock hardened alloy steel sleeve is housed in the well-structure casting. Air-float designed for light and smooth movement. Oil bath lubrication also ensures high accuracy for the tailstock. Our conversational system is built on Fanuc controller with explicit custom/graphic system. It is capable of carrying out auto-dressing with compensation for OD/End Face/Form grinding. Parameters can be saved and reused for multiple grinding cycles.

E-tech CNC cylindrical grinders are not only advantageous to precise grinding, efficiency and productivity, but also are designed for easy maintenance, stability and long serving life. It is clear that e-tech cylindrical grinders are the most suitable machine for mold, auto-parts, aerospace and electronics industries.


Source: Business Wire

SIGMA CNC Won the Taiwan Excellence Award of 2016

SLG-3HS – CNC High Precision Double Column type Profile Grinding Machine
SLG-3HS – CNC High Precision Double Column type Profile Grinding Machine

SIGMA CNC Technology Machinery is a specialized CNC machining center manufacturer. With scientific management, we strive for high efficient production, stable quality control, complete sales and after-services of machines.

The Grinding Machine is designed with 3 Grinding spindle Heads (2 vertical grinding spindle and 1 horizontal grinding spindle), SIGMA CNC structure Patent and totally with 7 axial by CNC control.

The main purpose of design is to grinding three surfaces in one process for Rails’ Profile that could save time & cost, reduce the grinding errors and improve the efficiency of grinding for Operators and Customers.

In addition, this machine’s outline design is based on mechanical aesthetics and ergonomics that give greater perception and more convenient operations for operators and customers.

This grinding machine is Custom-Made by customer’s request that could grinding any kinds of rails, widely suitable for machine tools, industrial robots, electronic equipment industry, logistics rails, automotive rails and linear motors etc.

This patented grinding machine is a two-column-type, multi-axis simultaneous servo-controlling moving, three-grinding- heads mechanism. This machine can be vastly used in the important six areas: tool machinery, industrial robotics, electronic factory equipment, cargo-transportation rail, car-used rail, and linear motor. This machine features with:

  1. Simultaneously multi-face grinding, position error can be eliminated.
  2. Door-type high stability structure, very small vibration and deformation.
  3. High extension ability- fitted for grinding different rails with a wide range variation in length when it matches with a proper size bed.
  4. Simultaneously 7-axis servo-control grinding- providing the whole-length as well as whole-face sub-micro-level grinding of the work piece, largely reducing time and saving money.
  5. Unique and fashion design all over the world.
  6. Design under the consideration of humanity, ergonomics, and safety.
  7. High usability design with ergonomic consideration. Providing safe and convenient work piece loading and unloading. Humanizing HMI design- the control box is adaptive in its height and can be arbitrary rotated into a suitable and comfortable position.
  8. Fashionable and aesthetic form design, leading the tool machinery industries all over the world.

Further information, please feel free to visit our website to learn more about SIGMA High Precision Grinding Machine

Laser robot system reduces remote welding time

Technology has uses in welding thin sheets and dissimilar materials

High-power and high-beam-quality solid-state lasers, such as the thin-disk laser and fiber laser, have made laser welding popular in manufacturing industries. More recently, kilowatt direct-diode lasers have become commercially available with beam quality competitive to thin-disk or fiber lasers because of a laser beam combining method called wavelength beam combining, by which beam quality can be maintained without deterioration when power scaling. Replacing CO2lasers, these solid-state lasers are becoming the main players in the field of remote laser welding.

Remote laser welding (RLW) is characterized by a long focal length and a fast-moving laser spot on a workpiece, generally by a pair of mirrors called a scanner. The weight of the scanner is said to be over 30kg, making it necessary to use a heavy load robot. This article reports a newly developed Laser Processing Robot Integrated System Solution (LAPRISS) with a compact laser welding head for RLW, and shows several applications.

LAPRISS technology

FIGURE 1 shows the main components and connection of this system, including a 4kW direct-diode laser scaled by wavelength beam-combining technology and a newly designed trepanning type of laser welding head mounted directly on a robot manipulator. Robot motion and laser oscillation, including its power and irradiated laser pattern on the workpiece, are controlled by a robot controller.

FIGURE 1. The main components and connection of the LAPRISS system are shown.
FIGURE 1. The main components and connection of the LAPRISS system are shown.

In the laser welding head, two parallel optical plates are driven independently by two servo motors to change the optical paths and form different types of irradiated laser patterns on a workpiece. The laser welding head is designed to weigh less than 5kg, making it possible to be carried with a light load robot.

Decreasing cycle time

Cycle times by RSW and LAPRISS were evaluated on 0.8mm-thick mild steel, with the nugget diameters of RSW and the circle diameter in LAPRISS both set to 4mm. FIGURE 2 shows welding times of each action and tensile shearing test results, where the average times for welding are 2.85 and 0.675 sec in RSW and LAPRISS, respectively, and the cycle time of LAPRISS is one-quarter that of RSW.

FIGURE 3. Cycle times (a, b) and tensile shearing (c) test results of lap joints by RSW and LAPRISS are compared.
FIGURE 2. Cycle times (a, b) and tensile shearing (c) test results of lap joints by RSW and LAPRISS are compared.

Assuming, for example, that the total number of welding spots in a car body is 3500–7000, total welding time could be reduced from 10,000–20,000 sec to 2400–4800 sec. There are no differences in tensile shearing strength between RSW and LAPRISS—both of the joints fractured in the base metal near the heat-affected zone (HAZ).

Increasing weld gap tolerances

When using laser welding in thin sheet applications like automotive manufacturing, many parts are produced by shearing or press. So, increasing the gap tolerance becomes important, especially when joining high-strength steel parts because of their large spring-back during the press process.

One method to compensate for wide-gap weld tolerance is spiral-scanning the laser beam on a workpiece from one point and then scanning it to draw a circle, with the circle diameter increasing gradually. During spiral scanning welding, the robot stops at one point and after finishing one weld, the robot moves to another point.

FIGURE 3 shows welding results with circle scanning and spiral scanning. In the case of circle scanning, burn-through occurred because of the shortage of molten metal. The maximum gap tolerance was only 0.3mm. On the other hand, the maximum gap tolerance of spiral scanning welding reached 0.5mm. Spiral scanning welding is useful in replacing RSW because the cycle time can be reduced by 25%.

FIGURE 4. A comparison of joints by circular and spiral scanning welding.
FIGURE 3. A comparison of joints by circular and spiral scanning welding.

Spin scanning welding

This method involves irradiating a laser beam on a workpiece and then scanning it to draw a circle with a same diameter during robot motion. The irradiated laser track on a workpiece resembles a projection of spring on a plane. The size of the molten pool is determined by the scanning circle diameter by changing this circle size, so many weld beads with different widths can be obtained.

Spin scanning welding was evaluated in a butt joint with 0.8-mm-thick mild steel. The laser spot on the workpiece was set to the contact surfaces of two plates, or with an offset of 0.2mm perpendicular to the welding direction.

FIGURE 4 shows welding conditions and test results. When a pre-gap is 0mm, the permitted offset was only 0.2mm by conventional laser welding (line), but it could be increased up to 0.5mm with spin scanning welding. When a pre-gap increases to 0.2mm, the permitted offset was 0.9mm by spin scanning welding, which is nearly 9X that of conventional laser welding (0.1mm). Spin scanning welding is useful in replacing arc welding, and the weld speed can be increased by 2–3X.

FIGURE 5. Joints by conventional laser welding (line) and spin scanning welding are shown.
FIGURE 4. Joints by conventional laser welding (line) and spin scanning welding are shown.

Prospective future applications

In addition to welding thin metal sheets, LAPRISS can also be used for joining dissimilar materials to produce a lightweight structure design, for example, in the automotive industry. A laser rivet process is proposed to replace conventional thermal joining processes, where the main problem is the formation of intermetallic phases from different alloy elements.

FIGURE 6. A laser rivet process can join steel to aluminum, resin, or CFRP.
FIGURE 5. A laser rivet process can join steel to aluminum, resin, or CFRP.

FIGURE 5 shows the principle of the laser rivet and a sample for joining steel to aluminum, generally considered difficult or impossible by conventional thermal processes. This laser rivet process may also be useful for joining steel and other non-metal materials like resin and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).


Source: Industrial Laser Solutions Magazine