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Shop makes its mark in dentistry

July 1, 2003
ONE MIGHT NOTICE SCI-DENT INC.'S HANDIWORK while sitting in a dentist's chair. The dental and surgical instrument-manufacturing company makes, among other things, Scalersand curettes used to clean teeth. To mark these instruments with such things as part

Sci-Dent saves all its different markings in the MicroLase laser-marking system's hard drive, so setups take less than 30 sec.

Sci-Dent loads and marks 20 Scalersand curettes in a special fixture on its MicroLase system.

Badger Meter machines compound meter housings, which require up to 100 tools, using a Giddings & Lewis HMC 170 machining center featuring a cassette-style toolchanger that expands to accommodate 250 tools.

Using one of its products, Carver T-slot clamps, De-Sta-Co reduces setup times 90% at its stamping facility.

A commuter railroad in the Northeast removes chips from machine topside surfaces with a Vac-U-Max vacuuming system rather than blowing them around and into inappropriate locations.

While logged on to Fox Valley Metal-Tech's e-commerce website, company's such as Meca & Technology Machine can get instant quotes and order custom metal parts.

ONE MIGHT NOTICE SCI-DENT INC.'S HANDIWORK while sitting in a dentist's chair. The dental and surgical instrument-manufacturing company makes, among other things, Scalersand curettes used to clean teeth. To mark these instruments with such things as part numbers and customer logos, the Hamburg, N.Y., shop uses a laser system.

Curette diameters range from 0.218 to 0.375 in. with marking lengths of about 1.5 in. Prior to its laser marking system, Sci-Dent used a stamping press. It was fast, but setting it up wasn't. On top that, the shop couldn't use the press for hollow-handle instruments, so they etched them, which wasn't cosmetically appealing.

"We needed a fast and constant mark," says Jason Boyle, manufacturing engineer at Sci-Dent, "and the ability to mark multiple parts in one setup." The system that meets all Sci-Dent's requirements is a MicroLase laser-marking machine from Schmidt Marking Systems.

The MicroLase is a solid-state, diode-pumped, noncontact Nd:YAG laser-marking system that requires no additional hardware or software. A laser-diode source excites the system's YAG crystal, thus producing a high-quality laser beam that marks text, logos, and designs on metals, plastics, and other surfaces. The laser-diode source is air cooled and does not need an external chiller or flashlamp replacement, giving Sci-Dent virtually maintenance-free operation for 10,000 hr or more.

With the MicroLase, the shop saves all its different markings in the system's hard drive, so setups take less than 30 sec. And quality is better because markings are clean and uniform, even on the hollow-handle instruments.

With assistance from Schmidt technicians, Sci-Dent developed a special fixture that holds up to 20 parts in a single setup. Schmidt also worked with the shop to fine-tune settings for producing the mark it needed in minimal time.

"Down the road, I see us expanding to include another MicroLase to keep up with increasing business," says Boyle. The shop is switching more of its product line to MicroLase marking, and the system is flexible enough to handle it, he adds.

Schmidt Marking Systems

MC's toolchanger expands to meet increasing business
WHILE INCREASED BUSINESS IS USUALLY GOOD NEWS, AT Badger Meter Inc. it meant having to expand product manufacturing with an already consumed machining capacity. To handle the extra work, the Milwaukee shop took on a new horizontal machining center.

Badger manufactures products used for flow measurement and control. Two of these include the disc-meter and compound-meter families, which require over 100 different tools in a variety of machining operations. This is why the company installed a Giddings & Lewis HMC 170 machining center featuring a cassette-style toolchanger expandable to accommodate 250 tools.

"The tool magazine on the HMC 170, with its cassette system, was the deciding factor in our machine purchase," says Doug Wied, maintenance supervisor and department manager at Badger. "The pop-out cassettes create virtually unlimited capacity in the tool magazine. We can file tools for a specific job on one cartridge and load what we need for the job."

HMC 170s hold up to five cassettes with 50 tool locations each, and their modular design lets shops load and unload complete tool cassettes during machining cycles. For convenience in updating tooling information at the toolchanger, Badger's HMC 170 includes a second CNC control panel on the left side of the machine.

To increase efficiency in machining a variety of parts, G & L equipped Badger's machine with a Siemens 840D control featuring parameter programming. This enables the machining of mixed parts on one fixture.

The cell controller downloads all the required programs for upcoming parts to the machine. Operators then call up these programs, which automatically transfer to the machine in time for the cutting operations. According to Wied, this lets Badger run mixed parts at the same time without interrupting machining schedules.

Badger's HMC 170 also includes a 10,000-rpm, 61.7-hp spindle. Its X, Y, and Z travels are 800 mm. Also, the machine has a hydraulic fixture interface, tool-taper-cleaning device, 725-psi coolant through the spindle, toolbreakage detection in the tool magazine, and feed-force monitoring. There are nine 630 3 500-mm pallets with the machine — two with the machine, six for the multiple-pallet storage system (MPS), and one for storage outside the MPS.

Giddings & Lewis Machine

Company takes its own advice
CLAMP MANUFACTURER DE-STA-CO INDUSTRIES TEACHES ITS customers how the right clamps reduce excessive setup time for stamping operations. The company evaluates a customer's methodology, considering such issues as procedures, materials, equipment standardization, and more. However, the clamp manufacturer was slow to heed its own advice for producing the almost 1,000 different stamped parts that support its product line.

"When we really started to examine our operations, we realized there were some opportunities for standardization — from consolidating part numbers, to evaluating stocked material sizes, to examining where we stored the 1,100 dies, to marrying certain dies to certain processes," says John Staple, production manager at De-Sta-Co. Replacing traditional strap clamps with one of the company's own products, Carver clamps, reduced setup time by 90%.

"The beauty of the Carver T-slot clamps is that once you outfit them to a particular press, a single T-wrench is all that is needed to tighten and loosen them," says Staple. "The clamps easily and quickly adjust up and down on the bases to adapt to variation in die sizes and shut heights. They also clamp at various angles, not just 90° like most clamps.

"In addition, we store the clamps on a mounting rack on the side of the press when not in use, so operators don't waste time looking for them," adds Staple. Company diesetters no longer spend time searching for other hardware such as nuts, bolts, spacers, and assorted wrenches.

The Carver clamps also eliminate problems concerning torque specs. Production personnel no longer over-torque clamps, which can fatigue fasteners. A fatigued clamp causes improper die locating and allows dies to come loose.

De-Sta-Co Industries

System cleans up railroad's chip problem
A COMMUTER RAILROAD IN THE NORTHEAST WAS FACING safety and ergonomic challenges when grinding and milling train wheels back into shape. At its New York facility, metal chips shed from a 40-year-old wheeltruing machine were blown by compressed air into a pit underneath the machine. Cleaning the pit was labor intensive, and blown chips caused maintenance problems. The solution was a central vacuum system.

Facility workers would crawl into the pit and shovel metal chips into buckets, which were hauled up. The space was narrow, and workers could barely maneuver in it. In addition, machinists operating the machine stood above a noisy blower on a grating above the pit. As if this wasn't bad enough, the machine manufacturer no longer recommended blowing chips because they lodged in the machine's gears, slides, tracks, and bearings. Teaming up with the machine manufacturer and Vac-U-Max, the railroad replaced the antiquated blower system with a central vacuum system and vacuum-sealed, self-dump hopper. Instead of blowing chips using a network of pipes, the railroad sucks them up with a rotary lobe positive-displacement pump for heavy materials.

"Vacuum pressure at the machine cutting head draws off smoke and carbide dust," points out David Kennedy, director of sales at Vac-U-Max. "Cleanup is much more efficient since chips are removed from the machine's topside surfaces rather than being pushed around and into inappropriate locations. The pit is now cleaned in a fraction of the time it once took, and the noise is significantly less, which lets operators better judge machine operation by the sound of the cutting head on the wheel."

For safety, ergonomics, productivity, and other goals, Vac-U-Max manufactures its vacuum equipment to customerspecific applications. In doing so, it considers factors such as the qualities of the material to be cleaned, volume to be collected, bulk density, particle size, filtration, pick-up points, and more.


The briquettes are coming, the briquettes are coming
PAUL REVERE, FAMOUS AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR hero, founded Revere Copper Products Inc. in the late 18th century to roll copper. More than 200 years later, the Bedford, Mass.-based company is not only rolling, but cross rolling, flattening, straightening, sawing, shearing, and surface plating various metals. But the company is also doing something that its founder couldn't — processing chips.

Revere Copper Products needed a chip compactor for processing chips from a milling operation. "Chip compactors we looked at either required chip conditioning before loading or were too noisy and took up too much room," says Craig Romanowicz, maintenance supervisor at Revere. The Amada CCP-100 was the solution.

The CCP-100 chip compactor meets all ISO 1400 regulations and handles practically any type of cutting chip from bandsaw, to lathe, to ground powder. It is currently processing about 5,000 lb of milling chips (nonferrous copper alloy, brasses, bronzes, copper, and nickel) each day at Revere.

The system produces brick sizes that are 20 3 to 40 3 smaller than original chip size. It automatically separates and stores residual oil or coolant from chips to keep Revere's shop floor clean.

With press power of 100 ton, the CCP-100 compresses at a force of 28,100 psi. Hopper capacity is 26.4 in., and overall unit dimensions measure 37.4 3 85 3 61.4 in. It weighs 4,133 lb and, running at full production, processes chips at about 2 lb/min.

"The Amada system makes the shop floor safer, since we no longer have spilled chips," says Romanowicz. "It's a lot of work managing chips, but a lot less work handling briquettes, and the compactor increases productivity while reducing operating costs," he adds.

Amada Cutting Technologies

Easy ordering on-line

MECA & TECHNOLOGY MACHINE INC. OBTAINS QUOTES instantly and then orders its custom metal parts without the hassles of conventional methods thanks to a website. Located at, the ecommerce site belongs to Fox Valley Metal-Tech (FVMT), which provides customers with on-line metal-fabrication quoting and ordering for meeting short lead times.

"For years we have listened to the problems of our customers and are aware of the demands of fast quotes, short lead times, and speedy delivery," says Ed Cavil, FVMT president. "This ordering system matches our company's metal-fabrication quality with fast and valuepriced-maintenance solutions and drives closer collaboration with customers to ensure their needs are met."

At the site, customers design their own metal parts and see drawings before ordering. Part ordering is open 24/7, and on-line tracking lets customers monitor order status day or night.

Fox Valley Metal-Tech