Sinamics S210 converters, designed specifically for use with the Simotics S-1FK2 motors, create a servo drive system offering from 50W to 750W. The converters feature integrated safety functions and enable rapid engineering via motion technology objects in Simatic S7-1500 controllers. They connect to higher-level controllers via Profinet and are quickly programmed by automatic motor parameterization and one-button tuning.
Sinamics S210 is commissioned using an integrated web server. One-button tuning allows automatic optimization of control parameters, based on the behavior of connected mechanics by different dynamic levels.
Integrated safety functions include safe torque off (STO) and safe stop 1 (SS1). Both can be actuated using Profisafe, STO using an additional terminal. Sinamics S210 rapid sampling and smart control algorithms, high-grade encoder system on the Simotics 1FK2 motors, and a combination of low rotor inertia and high overload capability achieves performance and precision.
Simotics 1FK2 motors are connected to converters using a one-cable connection (OCC) that includes power conductors, encoder signal, and brake, grouped in a 9mm diameter cable. Its minimal cross-section makes the OCC cable thinner, lighter, and more flexible than previous power cables, resulting in a single motor plug connector and simple connection.
Manufacturers contribute $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy, 12% of gross domestic product and employ 12.5 million workers. And, according to statistics from the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturers in the U.S. perform more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector – $229.9 billion in 2014. Manufacturing employs nearly 80% of the nation’s engineers and generates roughly 85% of all U.S. patents.
However, finding workers continues to be challenging, especially as the skillsets required for advanced manufacturing are changing. Companies need talent in all areas – machinists, software engineers, R&D, programmers, process engineers, assemblers, fabricators, welders, and quality inspectors – typically hoping to check several of these boxes with each hire. Automation on the shop floor has replaced the need for traditional manual labor, requiring skillsets that include mechanical and technical aptitude for running machinery cells to preventative maintenance and troubleshooting.
Today’s advanced manufacturing jobs rely on a foundation of STEM – science, technology, engineering, mathematics – yet it takes more than this acronym to spark students’ interest. Exposure to STEM needs to start early, and as students advance through schooling, those with an interest in STEM-based learning will be much more aware of career opportunities and what education they will need. Some may want to pursue a trade school certification, others a bachelor’s degree. Either path can lead to a manufacturing career, so long as the foundational knowledge is there.
Here are some steps that are helping. Since 2012, Manufacturing Days have been held on the first Friday in October across the U.S. where companies open their doors to the community to highlight advanced manufacturing. At GIE Media, we began Miles For Manufacturing at IMTS 2014, a 5k run where we donate all proceeds to STEM education programs. We followed that up with #WhyMFG, highlighting the stories of young people who chose manufacturing as a career and the companies that are helping spur interest in the industry.
While different paths are used to fill the demand for workers – internships, apprenticeships, certification programs – depending on where your facility is, you may want to start locally and invest in homegrown talent, something Steve Stokey, president of Allied Machine & Engineering has been doing. Steve helped establish a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program in Tuscarawas County, in Northeast Ohio, on the edge of Appalachia where the company is headquartered. By bringing his passion and belief in the region’s local talent, PLTW now involves all grade levels (K-12) in the region, and each summer, Allied Machine & Engineering hires more than 30 student interns – offering jobs to those with the right skills. Take some time to read more about what Steve is doing – https://goo.gl/vsgQWo – and then send me an email to let me know what you or your company is doing.
Elizabeth Engler Modic, Editor
Precision sample preparation of metals and composites is key for reliable high-volume product testing and diagnostics in medical manufacturing. Along with the need for flawlessly cut samples for dimensional specifications, changing conditions in the quality control/quality assurance (QA/QC) environment include meeting the need for ever-increasing precision.
In high-volume medical parts production, hundreds of samples from production batches need to be run through the lab daily. For metallographic studies, the process often requires parts to be sectioned, an often-unavoidable destructive technique. Sectioning, the first step in the metallographic preparation procedure, produces a damaged layer at the cut surface.
The extent of this damage is a function of the sectioning technique and machine chosen, the material being cut, the nature of the wheel or blade selected (abrasive type, size and distribution, bonding agent, thickness), and cutting parameters (feed rate, rpm of blade, coolant flow).
Sectioning necessarily causes some specimen damage. Increasing demand for higher quantity and quality of samples is forcing medical manufacturers to seek ways to minimize the damage caused by sectioning. Precision sectioning minimizes the kerf loss, is exact enough to be used when specimens must be sectioned at very precise locations, and is delicate enough for use with fragile or friable specimens.
The surface finish is also better than that produced by other cutting methods, and the steps following precision sectioning do not include time spent using excessively coarse abrasives to remove damage produced with other sectioning techniques.
The goal with precision cutting is to minimize damage to the sample and to maximize the amount of flawless surface available for analysis. Other benefits include:
- Less redo on sample cuts, saving sample material, lab time
- More samples cut in a single day, enabling lab staff to focus on other activities
Three factors can maximize the sample cutting process – speed, blade composition, and load.
1. Blade speed
Power hack saws, band saws, and shop abrasive saws (generally run without a coolant) are very aggressive sectioning devices that generate considerable damage at the cut interface, as do metal shears. This damage must be removed to expose the true material microstructure.
Laboratory sectioning devices, when properly used, produce less damage than machine shop devices. Two types of laboratory cutting devices used by metallographers are:
Abrasive cutters – Generally use consumable wheels with diameters from about 9" to 14" (229mm to 356mm); laboratory style cutters with larger diameter wheels (up to 18"/457mm diameter) are generally used outside the laboratory due to their large size.
Low-speed saws – Evolving throughout the last 30 years into the precision saw; early versions had a maximum speed of 300rpm and gravity feed. Current models have a 500rpm max. speed and linear feed, along with options such as automated blade dressing and automated serial cutting. Saws use both non-consumable and consumable blades.
2. Blade composition
Metal-bonded diamond blades are available with either high or low diamond concentrations and with various particle sizes. High-concentration diamond blades are best for metals and polymers – ductile materials – cut by a ploughing mechanism. The diamonds plough through the sample and hardened strips of material become brittle and break off. Low-concentration diamond blades are recommended for cutting hard ceramics – brittle materials – cut by a brittle fracture mechanism.
Blades are made using a variety of mean diamond particle sizes using an arbitrary scale from 5 (finest) to 30 (coarsest). A blade with a 10 rating will have larger abrasive particles than one with a 5 rating, yet they are not necessarily twice as large. A general rule for cutting is the smaller the abrasive, the lower the resulting deformation.
A rigid, uncoated component, such as a titanium hip prosthesis, can be sectioned directly using a larger abrasive cutter, taking precaution on how the samples are clamped to avoid damage.
Sectioning should be performed using an appropriate diamond blade for titanium alloys or using a recommended ferrous abrasive blade. After sectioning, coated samples can be mounted and ceramic- coated samples can be re-mounted, using castable and hot compression mounting.
Heat generated by the friction from the cutting process itself damages the sample surface. Controlling the amount of heat generated can effectively minimize damage.
Very thin diamond cutting blades combined with good lubrication can reduce heat, but so can applying just the right amount of cutting head load when cutting. By keeping the load low and the cutting capability high, along with proper blade selection, the sample can be moved to analysis under a macro/microscope, depending on the structure and/or depth of analysis being investigated, with virtually no surface damage.
An experienced lab technician can determine if the cutting load is being properly applied, but consistency is difficult to maintain throughout a long day of testing. Newly developed software can monitor motor current and translate that reading into cutting head load.
The software lets the load reach a certain point and then prevents it from increasing by having the saw back off the rate of cut. Because the software is reading motor current, the operator does not have to consider factors such as material composition or sample thickness.
In-house QA/QC labs for medical manufacturing are facing many challenges around the ability to provide accurate testing, working in a high-volume sample-testing environment with various materials. In addition to advancements in cutting saw technology, local metallurgical equipment reps can determine which system is suitable.
Buehler, a division of Illinois Tool Works Inc.
About the author: Dr. Michael Keeble, US Labs and Technology manager for Illinois Tool Works division Buehler, can be reached at 847.295.6500.
Mill/turn machining center for medium- to high-production
The ICON 6-150 features four machining stations and two dedicated loading/ unloading stations. It uses a 6-position table to shuttle pallets to four machining modules for fast, precise cutting. Each machining module is equipped with a cartridge-style motor spindle, and each spindle type is selected based on the required cutting.
With four servo-driven direct-drive B-axis motors installed on stages 2, 3, 5, and 6, positional accuracy is ±4 seconds.
Each table is equipped with Erowa zero-point clamping systems to clamp the base pallet to the B-axis motors, generating 0.002mm pallet positional repeatability.
Four cutting stations produce 5-sided machining with 4-axis interpolation; six sides if the idle station is used for workpiece inversion. Each machining unit is equipped with its own HSK E40, 12-tool changer. HSK E32 is available as an option.
Drilling, chamfering thread milling
TMDR tooling is for drilling, thread milling, and chamfering. The solid carbide, 3-in-1 thread milling tool does not require pre-drilled holes and can work immediately on the surface of the component, improving cycle time and productivity. TMDR also works on components with pre-drilled holes such as blind holes, through holes, and semi-finished holes.
TMDR tools are offered for full profile applications with and without coolant and are suitable for a variety of materials. TMDR is integrated into Vargus GENius software for tool selection and cutting data.
Exoskeleton joint actuator
Brushless DC motors for robotic limbs have led to a complete exoskeleton joint actuation unit. It consists of a pancake brushless DC motor with inertia-optimized rotor, an internal high-resolution encoder, a planetary gearhead with absolute encoder, and a position controller with CAN and RS232 interface. Fitting the absolute encoder directly at the joint rotation provides increased positioning accuracy. The unit delivers 54Nm of continuous torque and 120Nm on a 20% duty cycle.