CNC and Additive are a Winning Combination

An innovative kit that enables a standard CNC machining center to integrate a metal cladding process via the automatic toolchanger makes great sense—especially when one of the leading developers states his case.

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An innovative kit that enables a standard CNC machining center to integrate a metal cladding process via the automatic toolchanger makes great sense—especially when one of the leading developers states his case.

At last month’s MFG Meeting in Orlando, Florida, the inaugural International Additive Manufacturing Award (IAMA) was awarded to Hybrid Technologies Ltd. limited of the United Kingdom and Plano, Texas. The winning entry for the prize is described as a hybrid kit innovation that can be integrated into any CNC machine to allow for metal deposition (via laser cladding), finishing and inspection of parts on a single machine. The hybrid methodology integrates directed energy deposition into a multi-axis CNC machine, using a toolchanger to change between processes.

“Hybrid technology is exciting because it offers a new way to adopt additive manufacturing—as an upgrade to a CNC machine tool. Adding tool-changeable deposition heads to an existing CNC machine enables 3D printing of metal, without the need to buy a separate machine,” said Dr. Jason Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies. “This significantly reduces costs and provides an intuitive adoption path for CNC operators. The combination of additive with machining offers new capabilities, including in-process finishing, that cannot be delivered by either technology independently.”

Speaking at the reception during which the award was presented, Dr. Jones explained the process and describe the long journey he and his co-developers trod to make this innovation practical and effective. His remarks are clear and compelling—you can find a video of the presentation ceremony and listen to what Dr. Jones shared that evening here. Of particular value to any company interested in the experience of innovation is the advice he gives starting at 28 minutes in the video. He concludes that creativity and imagination are more important than amassed technical knowledge when forging innovation. You can also read a report about this technology here.

The IAMA is the result of a partnership between AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology and VDW—Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association). AMT and VDW, with media support from Gardner Business Media and VDI Nachrichten and sponsored by the European Machine Tool Association CECIMO, announced the annual IAMA at IMTS 2014.

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