amerimold 2013: Helping Moldmakers Get in the Game
As the Chicago Blackhawks won their first game of their quest to win the Stanley Cup last week during amerimold, attendees also got in the game by networking, selling, learning and celebrating all things moldmaking!
Manufacturers, suppliers and moldmakers rolled out their latest in software, cutting tools, machine tools, surface treatment technologies, mold materials and moldmaking services at amerimold 2013. The vibe on the show floor was a strong one with more than 2,500 registrants getting a firsthand look at the products, equipment and services on display.
The conference portion of the show received attendance levels not experienced in a few years, and attendees had even more reason to be excited as MMT presented the Leadtime Leader Winner Awards winners to kick off the annual Networking Party.
Exhibit Hall Highlights
On the machine tool side, high-speed milling was demonstrated on the show floor at both the GF AgieCharmilles and Hurco booths. GF AgieCharmilles’ Mikron HSM 200U LP (linear performance) milling machine showed speed, efficiency, precision and true 5-axis simultaneous milling—specifically for the machining of small, highly complex components, according to the company. Attendees saw how linear motor technology in the main machine axes worked with direct-drive motors for the B and C axes to produce part surface finishes as fine as Ra 0.05 µm. Hurco’s high-speed VMX42HSi mill has direct-drive servos, an 18-k integral spindle and X/Y/Z travels of 42" × 24" × 24", as well as Hurco’s patented UltiMotion™ motion control system. Show attendees learned how this system reduced cycle time as much as 30 percent—while simultaneously improving surface finish quality. Dynamic International also had a strong showing of its 5-axis machining centers, high-speed machining centers and milling/turning machines.
EDM technologies were on display at Absolute Machine Tools and GF AgieCharmilles. The Form 20 sinker EDM from GF AgieCharmilles Form 20 has a newly developed AC Form HMI (human machine interface) CNC that centers on user friendliness and intuitiveness to significantly shorten the learning curve for beginner EDM operators, and attendees saw how the machine excels in burning deep ribs in such parts as mold cores. Over at Absolute Machine Tools, the rigid AccuteX EDM “DS-550CM” Die Sinker EDM featured X,Y, Z working capacity of 20″ × 16″ × 14″. The work table size is 32″× 18″ and can accommodate workpieces as heavy as 2,970 lbs. Attendees learned how Accutex designed the EDM using Finite Element Analysis to ensure high accuracy machining.
Software manufacturers and suppliers dazzled attendees with demos of their products. Delcam successfully raised awareness that that company has extended its range of EDM equipment supported by its integrated solution for the design, machining and inspection of electrodes. Attendees learned that Delcam’s scripts are the EDM equivalent of CAM programs for machine tools by providing an automated process for the programming of the machine, so users don’t have to program manually from a set-up sheet.
CGS North America highlighted the latest version of its Elite CAD/CAM Software CAM-TOOL Version 9.1. Attendees saw how this program has the ability to machine to machine a mold or die with minimal to no polishing.
CNC software advancements were seen at both the Sescoi division of Vero Software CGTech and Southwestern Industries booths. Sescoi’s Version 22 of WorkNC goes further to automate CNC programming and machining—particularly flat areas, sharp corners and mold bases. CGTech showed off its feed rate optimization strategies by using software to automatically optimize NC program feed rates. Southwestern Industries rolled out two new advanced CNC software packages. Verify is available as part of the advanced feature option set for new TRAK lathes and TRAK mills; and Parasolid Converter, available for bed mills, knee mills, and retrofits with ProtoTRAK SMX controls. And, the company demonstrated these packages alongside its line of CNC bed mills and lathes.
An array of components were on display at companies like Progressive Components, DME, SelfLube, PCS, HASCO and Mold Base Industries. Amongst the vast range of components were alignment locks, lifers, parting line locks, locking cylinders, slide retainers, collapsible cores, manifolds, a digital scale control system and CAMactions—clearly showing that components manufacturers and suppliers are constantly looking at methods to improve leadtimes, quality and mold durability.
A wide variety of cutting tools were also showcased at amerimold. High-feed cutters; solid, carbide and ball-nose end mills, small-diameter cutting tools and a plunge milling system were on hand from companies like Ingersoll Cutting Tools, LMT, Niagara Cutter, Seco Tools, U.S. Union Tool and Data Flute. Cutting tool manufactures have been working hard to extend tool life, provide maximum cutting speed, and improve surface quality so little to no handwork is required.
Aluminum was the materials buzzword at amerimold this year. Clinton Aluminum showed its line of aluminum mold plate alloys—with booth personnel working directly with attendees to provide them with the right alloys for their specific applications. And, over at Vista Metals, the company’s line of specialty aluminum products was on display. Diehl Steel highlighted its CPM Powder Metal Tool Steel. Company representatives explained how the CPM process produces more highly alloyed grades of steel which cannot be produced by conventional steelmaking, which results in a very fine, more uniform carbide distribution and imparts improved toughness and grindability, dimensional stability, as well as outstanding hardness, wear resistance and heat resistance.
For those mold materials require surface treatment, Boride Engineered Abrasives displayed the latest addition in its moldstone lineup—the Golden Star. It has a medium hardness with a fast breakdown, which company representatives explained offers quick material removal while contouring quickly and leaving a silky smooth finish. Over at Bales Mold Service, the company showed off its Nicklon—a co-deposit of electroless nickel and PTFE for corrosion resistance and excellent part release—as well as electroless nickel, hard chrome, welding and more. O.R. Lasertechnology, LaserStar Technologies, and One Source also demonstrated a variety of laser welding technologies.
New to the show this year was the Mold Maintenance Highway—an aisle devoted to various mold maintenance equipment and products. Companies like Blue Wave Ultrasonics, Slide Products, Rocklin Manufacturing Co. and Cold Jet showcased a number of mold cleaning technologies, including ultrasonic cleaning equipment, mold cleaning services, welding services and mold cleaners and rust preventatives.
Valve gating and nozzles were the hot runner theme at the show. Synventive Molding Solutions showed its SynFlow® two-speed sequential valve gating hot runner technology, which provides molders with optimized plastic flow control, and solves common surface defect problems on large parts such as automotive bumpers and instrument panels.Incoe displayed its new CSR series single nozzles specifically designed to replace worn or outdated cold sprue nozzles in existing injection molds with 1" maximum bores. And for side gating applications, Ewikon showed its HPS III-MH nozzle product line, with a thermally conductive tip design for parting line installation and tip cleaning with minimal downtime—and without having to remove the mold from the machine. For medical and other small part applications, Mastip displayed the MJ-09 line of miniature nozzles.
Several exhibitors offered attendees educational and training information to address the skilled workforce challenge prevalent in the industry. Beaumont Technologies highlighted its maintenance and hot runner courses; and Mold Maintenance Training and Certification information was found at the ToolingDocs booth.
Next year, amerimold is returning to Greater Detroit. Please join us June 11-12, 2014 at the Suburban Collection Showplace (Novi, MI).
This school works hand-in-hand with suppliers and shops—relying on their expertise and input to stay on top of industry trends and help develop a tailor-made curriculum in precision machining and moldmaking.
A hot runner maintenance program with purchasing, processing and preventive maintenance training will reduce the risk of leaks.
Learning the advantages and disadvantages of each alloy coupled with adhering to safety measures can help your shop stay safe.