“E-Z Burr is a standout company who has been innovating high quality deburring products for almost 60 years. Not only are their tools of immense quality, but so are their operations,” says Don Aycock, vice president of sales and marketing at Cogsdill.
Applications Engineer Chris LaFleur will deliver technical support to users of Edgecam and Surfcam brands. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering in 2001, LaFleur joined Surfcam reseller DM Solutions Inc., where he provided pre- and post-sales support for Surfcam Traditional, Surfcam, and other software packages. At DM Solutions, he also handled presentation preparation, training, post-processor configuration, and application and licensing support for those products. www.verosoftware.com
New Quality Manager, Lara Rapport will support its continued growth and ongoing commitment to excellence. Rapport will focus on improving processes through customer feedback, ensuring ISO compliance, and management of the ISO auditing system. Rapport is a certified ISO 9001:2015 lead auditor with more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and quality management. www.mahr.com
Only a manufacturing enthusiast would choose to spend Valentine’s Day at a breakfast meeting. So of course, I attended the event along with 299 other manufacturing-loving people. We were there to hear results from the 2018 Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Survey. MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio-MEP), conducted a survey of more than 400 manufacturing companies and the results are positive:
- 58% plan increased capital expenditure
- 86% expect increased revenue
While the MAGNET survey was regional, responses trend similarly to a recent national survey conducted by LEA Global/The Leading Edge Alliance:
- 66% plan increased capital expenditure
- 81% expect increased revenue
There were other key takeaways that show manufacturers are upbeat while two responses show what’s known: investment in modern technology delivers more productivity and increases revenue. Increased productivity is exactly what Northeast Ohio (NEO) manufacturers are already doing – ahead of the nation, as the MAGNET survey reported. NEO is outpacing the U.S. in change in post-recession manufacturing productivity. Since 2007, NEO productivity has increased 16% while U.S. productivity has risen 12%. Both are positive indictors for the industry, and NEO still has plans to make that gap larger.
Some type of automation is currently used by 40% of the respondents, but it’s the 55% who say they are looking for more automation that’s a reminder of how much my home town and the surrounding region is still committed to its manufacturing roots – an essential contributor to the economy. And they are innovative; 70% have launched a new product in the last year.
What seems like the great divide, regionally and nationally, is the piece that connects technology investment with maximized productivity – Big Data and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). There’s just not much love for them: only 16% of the companies in NEO are dabbling with IIoT; 10% are thinking about Big Data. With the region already leading in productivity, and plans for increased capital expenditure, using manufacturing analytics could create improvements from the shop floor up.
New approaches often receive a lukewarm reception from an industry comfortable with how it’s always been done; however, data collected from equipment generates results that lead to smarter manufacturing practices. So, is your facility doing as much as possible with all the available data? I’d like to hear how IIoT and Big Data are making your manufacturing operations smarter.
Elizabeth Engler Modic, Editor
Precision sandblasting on a micro-scale – microblasting – suits small parts, delicate materials, and intricate geometries. A mixture 17.5µm to 350.0µm abrasive and dry air travel at high velocity out of a 0.018" to 0.125" nozzle, producing a focused, controllable abrasive stream. Used to refine and perfect parts as small as a grain of rice to as large as a basketball, microblasting is versatile, precise, and controllable.
Microblasting often alters the finish on a base material by adding texture. A micro-abrasive blaster can deliver texture to a sharp delineation (as precise as 0.007") and create a consistent finish to a specific Ra, often without the need for masking.
What’s missing from your spec?
What should be included in a specification when using microblasting to get a textured surface finish? Most stop at abrasive type and blast pressure, but a list this bare risks inconsistent results.
Variables that can affect a textured surface finish include:
- Quantity of abrasive in the air stream
- Abrasive brand (inconsistency in particle sizes = inconsistent Ra)
- Nozzle-to-target distance
- Nozzle shape and size
- Hose length
- Shop air (compressed air, nitrogen, helium, etc.)
While drawing up a spec, focus on the desired result of the microblasting process, make it a measurable product output, then let the operator or job shop adjust variables to get the specified finish.
Giving a contract manufacturer or job shop a defined target leads to a better understanding of the full scope of the project.
Build the spec to request three measurable results:
- Identify the look for the surface finish, or the type of texture
- Identify an Ra, Sa, and/or Sdr value
- Seek 100% coverage
Manufacturers can suggest an abrasive type and a blast pressure, but these two suggestions are just starting points and should remain flexible. Blast pressure is relative to each micro-abrasive blaster, and abrasives come in a range of consistencies depending on the provider.
1. Identify surface finish, type of texture
A part’s surface could need sharp grooves or soft dents. The shape of the abrasive particle and the composition of the targeted surface are the primary variables that determine look.
Particle shape can be grit or bead. Grit abrasives have a sharp, angular profile and produce a matte finish on brittle and ductile base materials. Bead abrasives are spherical and produce a dented or peened finish on ductile materials. Bead abrasives leave a matte finish on brittle materials due to their fracture mechanics and the way brittle materials erode.
To create a permanent, strong, and tight bond between a part’s surface and another surface, a matte finish provided by a grit abrasive, such as aluminum oxide or silicon carbide, is ideal. To create a temporary bond, soft dents created by round, soft media such as glass or ceramic are the best choices.
2. Identify Ra or Sa and/or Sdr Value
The specification should cover a combination of amplitude and quantity of features to get consistent, repeatable results. The best measure for amplitude is Ra (2-dimensional) or Sa (3-dimensional). Both express the size of the peaks and valleys created by micro-abrasive blasting. Ra is measured as a line and Sa is measured as a plane.
Three variables impact Ra and Sa: abrasive size, abrasive type, and velocity.
Abrasive size and type are inputs to the microblasting system. Velocity is driven by the long list of variables under “what’s missing?” Velocity has a linear relationship to Ra value: as velocity increases, so does Ra in a predictable and corresponding trajectory.
Different surface profiles have the same roughness value, so Ra or Sa measurements are limited. They do not measure density or spacing, two variables that matter in texturing.
Including Sdr (developed surface ratio), or the quantity of features in a spec, provides a greater understanding of the part’s surface properties and guarantees a more consistent, repeatable finish. Sdr expresses the amount of additional surface created by the blasting process. Measuring Sdr requires more sophisticated analysis systems with benefits down the line. Comco engineers rely on the Zygo optical profilometer for these measurements.
It is vital to understand how a part’s base material reacts to an abrasive. On brittle materials, surface roughness is generated by using abrasive to take surface material away; while the opposite is true on ductile materials. When an abrasive particle strikes a ductile base it forges a crater on impact and causes a ring of raised material to form around the crater. So, surface texturing does not reduce the overall dimension of a part surface; it may even increase it slightly.
3. Ask for 100% coverage
The closer the part surface is to 100% coverage, the higher the Ra and the developed surface – maximizing the opportunities for interaction between bonding surfaces.
100% coverage indicates that the entire surface has been altered, that the peaks on the part surface are all connected with no untouched plateaus. Part makers can measure coverage informally by holding the part up to a light. Reflective surfaces at 100% coverage scatter light uniformly; while a line of light passes across a surface with coverage less than 100%.
A profilometer can also analyze coverage by measuring Sdr and exposing flat regions on a textured surface.
Roughness measurements, be it Ra or Sa, become stable at 100% coverage. Anything less, and measurements can vary significantly. Ra and Sa measurements are not useful without 100% coverage.
Why ask for specific results?
Focusing specifications to a look, an Ra, Sa, and/or Sdr value, and 100% coverage requires more investment upfront but reduces output variance. Even if users simply want to turn a shiny finish to a matte or frost clear glass, specifying a desired result sets a pattern for creating consistent and repeatable surface finishes. Setting markers lays a solid foundation early, which eases growth should output need to increase.
In most cases, surface texture is needed to promote adhesion or achieve a specific performance level. Parts that fall into this category must meet strict standards. These parts benefit from the results-oriented approach because it is measurable, repeatable, and easy-to-remember.
About the author: Colin Weightman is director of technology at Comco Inc. He can be reached at 818.841.5500 or email@example.com.
Renishaw and Identify3D have partnered to offer an end-to-end, secure digital manufacturing process. Identify3D will provide data protection coupled with contractual and manufacturing licensing from design to production on Renishaw additive manufacturing (AM) systems. By securing all digital data in the engineering phase, the technology enables Renishaw system users to protect their digital intellectual property (IP), enforce production rules, and provide traceability.
“Secure transmission and controlled use of digital IP is critical to enable agile Industry 4.0 supply chains. We believe that Identify3D brings a strong and necessary solution that will increase these controls, minimizing variation to improve and protect AM production quality,” says Marc Saunders, director of Renishaw’s Global Solutions Centres.
Precision ADM addtive, subtractive manufacturer earns ISO approval
Precision ADM Inc. is the first Canadian metal additive and subtractive manufacturing services company to receive ISO 13485:2016 Quality Management System certification. Implementing this standard enables Precision ADM to manufacture medical devices using the latest technologies, lowering production costs by reducing waste and decreasing time to market.
Additive manufacturing (AM) makes it possible to produce custom, patient-specific designs and devices with complex geometries. Precision ADM is currently targeting work on additively manufactured medical devices produced in materials such as titanium, cobalt-chrome, and stainless-steel alloys. www.precisionadm.com