What will the future of machining processes look like??
The future of processes machining conventional is about to live a real digital revolution. The latest technological advances, and the new demands of the current market, They are setting the standards for the automation of production processes, to improve its manufacturing capacity and with high quality standards, to increase your competitiveness in the market. A traditional industry, but with a clear vocation for modernization, preparing to lead the Industrial Revolution 4.0.
Since man discovered metals, back in prehistory, the manufacture and handling of parts is part of our everyday universe. But don't forget that, After the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, the sector took a qualitative leap for the large scale production of objectives, by machining machines. A paradigm shift by which handmade items went from workshops, to have parts manufactured with new machines such as lathes, milling machines or drills.
The machining sector must evolve constantly to meet the demands required by the market and be competitive in an increasingly globalized environment. This ability to adapt to changes has helped machining companies become one of the cornerstones of the industry, to offer solutions, increasingly individualized (one-piece-flow), to sectors such as food, automation, aeronautics, space…
It must not be forgotten that machining is a fabrication process from a set of operations, such as the removal of unwanted materials in a semi-finished part, intended for manufacturing (like a bar, a tube or sheet manufactured from forging or casting, among others).
Nowadays, there are three main types of machining:
- machining without chip removal is a forming process where metal parts (except for the cast) by not starting chip, provides an important material saving as it happens in molding, forging, laminate, pressing, threaded…Technically material is not removed from the part, but it does transform in shape and size.
- abrasion machining It consists of the elimination of excess material from a part, wearing it down in small quantities.. Usually, grinding wheel is used as machine tool, a type of very hard disc that removes very small amounts of material by scratching its surface, thus being able to achieve limits of tolerances and surface finishes that other machining processes cannot reach. can constitute, at the same time, a process combined with others.
- Machining with chip removal is a process in which material is torn off or cut with a tool, generating a waste or chip. There is a wide variety of machining with chip removal such as drilling, the sawing (by saw, by laser...) or milling. Depending on the type of waste generated, more or less subsequent rectification may be required.
Production by machining constitutes a traditional technique which, gradually, technological innovations are included, to adapt processes to current market demands. This is undoubtedly the current situation for the metalworking sector. The crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic may just accelerate a digital transformation necessary to promote the competitiveness of machining companies.
Customers require increasingly complex processes, increasingly shorter delivery ratios and a high rate of quality and precision. We live in a fast-paced world, where only those who enter this race without turning back, will be able to survive in this new industrial scenario.
What factors must be taken into account for the digital transformation of the machining industry?
One of the maxims in the Industrial Revolution of the machining sector is in the adoption of technology 4.0 to improve and automate production processes. The digitization implies a strong investment that recovers in a short time and that guarantees:
- High quality standards
- Large-scale manufacturing capacity in less time
- Better performance and benefits
With the automation of machining cycles, a new area is created multidisciplinary which includes some of the most common technologies such as:
- Mechanical Technology.
- Automation, electronics and industrial computing.
- materials technology, where machines and tools obtain better performance in machining processes.
Experts are aware that, the stoppage of activity during confinement, has caused significant losses in a wide variety of sectors. A economy that is gradually recovering, but that it will not show signs of strength again until a definitive vaccine that contributes to eradicating this pandemic comes to light. Until then, employers and employees must adapt to a new reality that is coming temporary, but there is also a great opportunity for machining companies.
This is how Miguel Ángel Ariño explained it, PhD in Mathematics and expert in data analysis, in the last webinar organized by Aspromec, where he theorized about how the metalworking industry should successfully overcome this period of recession. And he went deeper into the idea that organizations must prepare for recovery and be competitive in the market; more than worrying about how to get out of the crisis, given that "these periods are temporary, so it is more important to know in what conditions you are going to compete with the competition”, acknowledged Miguel Ángel Ariño.
Machining Industry Trends
In this way, companies must integrate new technologies in machining centers and bet on the connectivity and automation, for full control throughout the entire production process. But they must also have highly qualified staff to deal with possible problems that may arise during the process. In this way, A new training and employment opportunity opens for the new generations.
Intrinsically there is, at the same time, a greater environmental awareness. In recent years it has become clear to us that, if we don't protect the planet, natural resources can disappear in a few years. For it, new materials are chosen or to promote the energy efficiency y circular economy, while reducing waste.
In this way, new lines emerge in research centers that may represent, In the near future, the great revolution of the metal-mechanic industry. We talk about the new opportunities that the additive manufacturing. A technique that has gained great prominence in recent months, by positioning itself as an alternative in the manufacture of sanitary material in case of emergency.
One of the materials engineering challenges is in the design 3D printing materials, with the same tomography, behaviour, robustness and resistance than a metal obtained by a conventional system. For now, is in study phases, but it can mark a before and after in the industry because society evolves and the machining sector must bet on a more effective and efficient future.