Cut unit costs with workpiece holders and baskets designed for optimum cleaning

These days, defined cleanliness specifications are common in component production across virtually all sectors. To comply with these specifications, some companies are investing vast sums in systems engineering and process technology. However, one major factor is often not considered: the cleaning basket. This is very critical as the cleaning basket influences effectiveness of the costly process technology significantly, and thus the costs of cleaning.

By the optimum positioning of components in the workpieces holder critical areas such as specific bore holes and undercuts can be treated specifically.

In most cases, adapting or optimising a cleaning process revolves around systems engineering, process technology and the cleaning media. What tends to be forgotten is that process technology such as ultrasonics, spray jets and cleaning media may only work to best effect on parts to be cleaned when they can reach those parts properly – and it is the cleaning basket used that determines the level of effectiveness. Incorporating baskets and workpiece holders into the considerations at an early stage is therefore worthwhile.

Accessibility from every angle
The optimum cleaning effect is achieved where the workpieces in the basket are easily accessible from all sides for the process technology and the media. To facilitate this, Metallform produces workpiece holders and baskets for bulk parts from stainless steel rounds. In contrast to boxes from perforated sheets that are still often used, these baskets have no enclosed surfaces, corners and edges. Therefore, ultrasonics and spray jets have unfettered access to parts and can take maximum effect. At the same time, the open design ensures an effective exchange of media. On the one hand, removed contaminant is flushed from the basket quickly and can be removed by the filter and the accumulation of contamination in the basket is inhibited. On the other hand, the carry-over of cleaning media is minimised, resulting in longer periods between bath changes and thus improved system availability. In addition an open basket design allows cost savings in the drying process, as the easy accessibility of parts reduces the drying time required.

Optimum adjustment of workpiece holders to parts
Early integration of cleaning baskets also enables these to be adapted effectively to the cleaning machine and the workpieces to be cleaned. One consideration in this context is the optimum positioning of components in the workpiece holder. To achieve this, Metallform uses CAD technology. The optimum positioning of components enables the process technology being used to access critical areas such as specific bore holes and undercuts. In this way, particles and film-like contamination are quickly and reliably removed and the effective, resource-efficient drying of parts is assured. Another design feature is the minimising of contact points between the component and the workpiece holder. This also helps to ensure cleaning of consistent quality within a short time.

Stainless steel for long lifetime and maximum security
Metallform produces all workpiece holders and baskets from stainless steel rounds with electrolytic polished surfaces. With good reason: This high quality, durable material is suitable for all cleaning media and prevents components from being recontaminated by the workpiece holder and baths from being contaminated by corrosion and zinc separation. Aside from the design and material, the workmanship of the cleaning baskets is equally convincing. All joints are completely welded and there are no sharp corners, edges or wire ends that could cause injury.
A basket designed for optimum cleaning may not improve the cleaning machine, but it ensures that process technology (which is generally expensive) can work to maximum effect.

BIG KAISER lightweight angle head increases accuracy and productivity

BIG KAISER, a leader in premium high-precision tooling systems and solutions for the aerospace, automotive, energy, medical and watch-making industries, today announced the AG90 Light Weight Type with BT30 (BIG-PLUS) taper, a fixed 90-degree angle head.

Angle head lightweight type, cutter haed adjustable 360

Part of the BIG KAISER family of angle heads, new AG90 Light Weight Type weighs less than 2kg. This makes it one of the lightest angle heads in the world, and it is therefore compatible with the automatic tool change of small machines.

By allowing vertical, horizontal and angular operations without repositioning the workpiece, BIG KAISER angle heads increase accuracy and productivity. Being able to use just a single set-up, and to easily change the angle of the cutter over a 360 degree range, speeds up production and eliminates errors due to multiple set-ups.

Angle heads enable users to benefit from new capabilities without replacing their current machining center, saving the cost of a new machine.

“The new AG90 combines advanced design features and high quality components, while keeping its weight down to the absolute minimum,” says Peter Elmer, CEO of BIG KAISER. “It complements our existing range of angle heads, which enable customers to find the right solution for almost any application.”

The AG90’s compact design minimizes overhang, which adds rigidity and strength. The minimized overhang also helps to eliminate interference with the ATC and adjacent storage pockets in the tool magazine.

An advanced non-contact seal prevents coolant and particle contamination better than other sealing methods. A unique coolant jacket efficiently directs coolant coming through the stop block to the tool cutting edge, while simultaneously cooling the angle head.

To minimize noise and vibration, the AG90 is made from superior quality components, including hardened and ground chrome-nickel steel spiral bevel gears, super precision hardened and ground spindles, and high precision angular contact ball bearings.

BIG KAISER provides many different types of angle heads such as the AG90 family for milling and drilling or the AGU30 with adjustable angle. In addition, numerous special options can be ordered, and the angle head is available in a wide range of tapers, lengths and designs.

Delcam adds robot for additive manufacturing research

Delcam has added an ABB robot fitted with a Fronius CMT Advanced welding head to the range of manufacturing equipment at its Birmingham site. The new unit will be used mainly for research into the programming of robots for the additive manufacturing of metals with Delcam’s PowerMILL Robot software.

The ABB robot at Delcam will be used for research into metal additive manufacturing.

Cold Metal Transfer welding was initially developed by Fronius to join materials with different properties, in particular for welding aluminium to steel. The process uses very high frequency movement of the wire to give a clean, spatter-free material transfer. It provides a stable, reproducible deposition of material that Delcam believes should have great potential in metal additive manufacturing.

The ABB robot arm offers six axes of movement, with an additional two axes, tilt and rotation, provide by the table holding the material. This additional flexibility allows parts to be oriented into the optimum position as they are being built so enabling complex shapes to be created with less need for extra support structures.

PowerMILL Robot makes it as easy to program a robot for machining as it is to program a five-axis machine tool. As a fully-associated application inside PowerMILL, users have access to all the multi-axis machining strategies within PowerMILL and can use all the system’s project management options to manage, store and retrieve data.

As well as making it possible to program robots for additive manufacturing, PowerMILL Robot can be used for tool-to-part applications, especially for machining large parts, such as composite panels that need to be trimmed, or for part-to-tool applications, such as grinding or polishing.

Schuler opens Hot Stamping TechCenter

Schuler today opened its new research and demonstration center for hot stamping at its home base in Göppingen, Germany. At the so-called Hot Stamping TechCenter, the company will be showing its customers innovative applications for the future of lightweight vehicle construction. Schuler has invested some 6.5 million euros in the line, which is equipped with hydraulic press, roller hearth furnace, and automation. It was developed at the company’s Waghäusel site.


In the hot stamping (or press hardening) method, sheet steel is heated to 930 degrees Celsius, and cooled and thus hardened in the subsequent forming process. This enables the production of extremely light but highly rigid vehicle parts. Schuler is the global market leader for hot stamping equipment. Due to the growing requirements for passenger protection and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, demand is expected to grow in the coming years.

“Hot stamping is an important method for producing lightweight car bodies and plays an important role in Schuler’s product spectrum,” stated CEO Stefan Klebert. “Our new Hot Stamping TechCenter is proof of both our innovative strength in the field of fully automatic, networked production lines and of our firm commitment to Germany as a high-tech manufacturing location.”

Increased productivity and decreased energy consumption
The 1,600-metric-ton press at the Hot Stamping TechCenter already boasts Schuler’s PCHflex technology. “PCHflex allows a flexible and economical production of hot stamped parts with up to 40 percent higher output performance and consistently high quality, combined with maximum process reliability and availability,” explained Dr. Martin Habert, Managing Director of Schuler in Waghäusel.

The press line is also equipped with EHF technology (Efficient Hydraulic Forming), which drastically reduces energy consumption. Thanks to its condition monitoring system, the wear and tear of machine components can be precisely anticipated.

First line in Schuler’s new machine design
The press line is also the first to feature Schuler’s new machine design, which the company will gradually roll out across its entire product range. The new design aims to symbolize Schuler’s technological lead and ensures a high degree of recognition.

The Hot Stamping TechCenter will mainly be used for the ongoing development of machine technology and lightweight vehicle construction processes. However, Schuler also plans to use the center for customer presentations and training.

Apart from Göppingen, Schuler also has demonstration and reference centers at its German sites in Erfurt, Gemmingen, Göppingen and Hessdorf, as well as in the USA. In contrast to trade shows, TechCenters are open all year round and enable customers to receive individual support and run their own tests. In spring 2016, a further TechCenter will go into operation in the North Chinese coastal city of Tianjin. It will feature a 1,600-metric-ton press with TwinServo Technology (TST).

FOCUS announces diverse speaker line-up for upcoming workshop

The FOCUS consortium has announced the addition of 10 global experts industry speakers to the programme of its upcoming workshop on 16 February 2016 in Brussels. The content of the one-day workshop has been built around the FOCUS consortium’s current areas of research, which are: zero defect manufacturing (4ZDM), cleanfactories, robotics, high precision manufacturing and maintenance & support.


The event has been designed to share insights on what the current state-of-the-art in European manufacturing looks like and to help define the future research and development priorities of the European manufacturing sector. Part of the “Factories of the Future” (FoF) initiative, a public-private partnership between the European Commission and the research and innovation community, FOCUS brings together 11 partners from five FoF project clusters to develop methods to improve project exploitation and dissemination. The FOCUS clusters represent 36 individual FoF projects and approximately 380 European partners (companies and Universities).

Confirmed speakers for the FOCUS workshop include:

Dr Masahiko Mori, president of Mori Seiki
Dr. Makoto Fujishima, executive officer at DMG MORI
Dr Henny Spaam, founder and CEO of IBS Precision Engineering
Dr. Fukuo Hashimoto, senior scientist at The Timken Company
Prof. I.S. Jawahir, director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Sustainable Manufacturing
Yaoyao Fiona Zhao, assistant professor at McGill University in Montreal
Jason Tranter, founder and owner of the MOBIUS INSTITUTE
Mark Haarman, managing partner for Mainnovation
Arturo Baroncelli, manager director of Comau Robotics and president the International Federation of Robotics (IFR)
Clay Flanniga, assistant director of the Robotics and Automation Engineering at Southwest Research Institute

Odd Myklebust, coordinator of the FOCUS project, said “Research and development projects are often shrouded in mystery as teams overlook the importance of sharing results. This can lead to several different teams trying to solve the same problems. “FOCUS is all about sharing outcomes – both with other research teams and with commercial organisations. This is a lot that we can learn from each other and sharing our research can help to develop results and breed ideas for new areas of research. This event promises to do just that, helping to provoke fresh debate on the current and
future research priorities of the manufacturing sector.”

The one-day event will open with a short networking session and close with a panel session chaired by Odd Myklebust. for more information

The FOCUS project brings together 11 partners from 7 European countries to combine their expertise and knowledge to determine the state of the art within the given clusters. The clusters within FOCUS are: zero defect manufacturing (4ZDM), clean factories, robotics, high precision manufacturing (high micro), and maintenance and support. The FOCUS partners share their experiences to identify common ground and formulate methodologies for effective cluster creation and industrial exploitation of project results. The FOCUS partners are also pro-active in disseminating tangible outcomes from their activities.

Factories of the Future
Factories of the Future is a EUR 1.2 billion program in which the European Commission and industry are collaborating in research to support the development and innovation of new enabling technologies for the EU manufacturing sector.


Rochdale-based Precision Technologies Group (PTG) has partnered with The University of Manchester’s Alliance Business School to help equip MSc students with ‘real-world’ international business skills. As part of a client-facing project, focused on international business issues and how to solve them, a number of the Business School’s MSc Business Analysis and Strategic Management students have spent up to twelve weeks working as external consultants at PTG’s Milnrow headquarters. The aim of the MSc is to equip students with both the academic knowledge and practical skills to become effective business consultants in a global context. The client-facing project provides the opportunity for students to use their academic knowledge to solve real business issues.


Market insight for PTG By conducting key research and analysis into the global market size, future trends and main industry providers for a range of technologies, the MSc students have helped Precision Technologies Group to gain highly pertinent market insight. The students’ work has focused primarily on the global market for screw compressors, friction stir welders and high accuracy gears – all sectors in which PTG is a major player.

Real-world challenges for MSc students

By taking part in the programme, Alliance Business School’s MSc students have benefited from applying the academic knowledge and skills they have learnt in the classroom to PTG’s business challenges. They have also gained a valuable understanding of the real-world operational issues that affect the business. Helping develop the next generation of graduates “As some 98% of our technologies are destined for export, we understand intimately the importance of identifying and often anticipating the needs of global markets,” comments Precision Technologies Group Business Development Director, Neil Jones. “Collaborating with Alliance Business School, to share our expertise, benefit from each student’s analytical skills – and to help develop the next generation of MSc Business Analysis and Strategic Management graduates – has been a highly rewarding experience. The quality of output from the project has been outstanding and has helped us plan ahead strategically.” Providing a vital, in-depth understanding “Our MSc students work with all sorts of businesses, from very small start-up organisations to very well established companies such as PTG,” adds Alliance Business School Careers Consultant Sara Russell. “PTG’s involvement in the programme has enabled eight MSc students to gain an in-depth understanding of the specific issues which affect the organisation, to deliver important market analysis, and to benefit from first-hand experience of the workplace. I am incredibly grateful to PTG for their involvement and look forward to further collaboration.”

Precision Technologies Group: supporting academia and training

Committed to the advancement of machine tool technologies, graduate skills and apprentice training, Precision Technologies Group works with a number of research centres, universities and training bodies. In the UK, the business has forged a strong partnership with The Centre for Precision Technologies at the University of Huddersfield and is the main sponsor of City University London’s biennial International Conference on Compressors and their Systems. The business works closely with Rochdale Training Association and takes on several engineering apprentices each year. Where apprentices show sufficient promise, PTG also provides access to degree-level study. The MSc Business

Analysis and Strategic Management

The MSc Business Analysis and Strategic Management has been developed to provide suitably qualified students with the latest thinking in comparative international strategic management, and put their learning into practice with a unique client-facing project, such as that provided by Precision Technologies Group. The course focuses on real international business issues and how to solve them. Students graduate with a thorough understanding of business analysis and development, and the key skills of international business consulting.

3rd Edition of the 3D Printing Materials Conference

On January 26-27, 2016, the 3rd Edition of the 3D Printing Materials Conference will take place at MECC Maastricht, in The Netherlands.


Insights from speakers’ presentations at the conference:

  • Theo Salet, Professor, Technical University of Eindhoven, about “3D Printing of Sustainable Concrete Structures – From a Black and White Printer towards a Colour Printer”: “Printing of concrete structures saves on the costs, improves productivity and could above all seriously limit the environmental impact. This lecture explains the digital design of printed concrete structures, using evolutionary tools to minimize the amount of material needed. It also shows the development of a large scale concrete printer, able to print different types of concrete at the same time amongst structural – and innovative insulating types of concrete.”
  • Tristan Mes, Manager, SupraPolix, about “3D-Printing of Self-Healing Supramolecular Materials”: “Supramolecular polymers, based on hydrogen bonding are eminently suitable for FDM 3D-printing. The thermo-reversible nature of hydrogen bonding favors the interplay between the intrinsic processability and the mechanical properties of the polymer and is therefore lowering its printing-temperature while retaining its mechanical performance. Furthermore, the specific rheological profiles of supramolecular polymers may lead to unique dynamical properties like self-healing behavior.”
  • Stijn Lambrechts, Business Development & Innovation Additive Manufacturing, SIRRIS, about “Guide to optimize print parameters for an LBM process”: “If we want additive manufacturing to become more cost effective, one key enabler will be to open up the market for material supply to AM. For quality and process stability reasons, many suppliers of AM machines try to organize the material supply for their machines by sourcing the materials and distributing them to the machine users. For powder bed AM machines however, supply of suited powders is broadly available on the market at more cost effective prices.”
  • Johannes Overvelde, Harvard University, about “Embracing compliance in robots to achieve function”: “In coming years, the fast developing field of 3D printing will likely result in completely soft robots that do not require any assembly.”