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When Automating a Task Beats Automating the Process

Founded in 1978, Metal Craft and Riverside Machine & Engineering have been providing in-house solutions in custom precision manufacturing for over 35 years. Their goal is to meet and exceed expectations. This can only be accomplished by having the best employees and high precision reliable machinery. In order to accomplish this, we are continuously checking out the latest machine tool technology that will reduces our labor with both automation and ease of operation. After months of research, MetalCraft decided partner with Jingdiao North America with their purchase of a GRA200 5 axis machining center with a 24 station pallet changer.

From concept phase to completion, our team of specialists work with our customers to understand project parameters and specific needs, ensuring uncompromised quality in the finished product and unparalleled satisfaction for our customers. of our employees, and giving back to the communities our employees call home.

A tour of the 83,000-square-foot shop floor quickly reveals one of this 150-employee company’s most striking characteristics: For most of its history, machining has depended as much on the machinists as the machine tools. Thrun cites expertise with setups and workholding as critical to weaning the maximum capability from milling and turning machines.

In addition to precision machining of individual components, Metal Craft offers Design for Manufacturing (DFM) as well as assembly of complete surgical tools from its Minnesota facility. A nearby sister company, Riverside Machine and Engineering, focuses more on aerospace work.

The difference today is that a phrase like “milling and turning” is more likely to describe the same machine. Bar-fed turn-mills have become more common, as have five-axis machining centers, because consolidating setups improves both the quality and the speed of machining.

Both goals are critical because customer requirements are changing, Thrun says. That goes not for just the work itself, but also demands surrounding it, such as increased inspection requirements. Meanwhile, machinists remain as hard to find as ever. “In order to grow, we need our people to accomplish more without working any harder. We plan to do that through unattended machining.”

So far, the most significant investment toward meeting that goal is a pallet-fed five-axis machining center with capability that sets it apart from the rest of the shop. Capable of machining to accuracy of less than 2 microns and achieving nanometer-level surface finishes, the GRA200 from Jingdiao North America is also an unusual make and model for a U.S. machine shop generally. However, the builder is working to change that, and more broadly, to emphasize the role of high precision in ensuring reliable lights-out machining. In fact, Metal Craft’s opportunity to purchase the machine came with one condition: It would be displayed at IMTS 2020 first.

Based in China with a U.S. office near Chicago, Jingdiao specializes in high-precision machining. Metal Craft reports that ensuring quality parts is easier and faster with, among other capabilities, single-setup, five-axis processing; robust software simulation; and a 24,000-rpm, through-coolant spindle driving the shop’s smallest tools (some applications reportedly involving roughing with a 0.020-inch end mill).  

When that event was cancelled, Metal Craft took delivery early. The machinists tasked with running the new machine made the most of the extra time, even opting to master the builder’s own CAM system rather than choose a more common option. Nonetheless, the machine “hit every bullet item flawlessly” in a six-month trial.   

In addition to the machine itself, Metal Craft had to make the most of the pallet system that came with it. This provided an opportunity to test another form of automation against the shop’s first collaborative robot, where the team had already made significant strides in tending a less-precise machine.

Reprinted with permission from Gardner Business Media.MoldMaking Technology.

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Five-Axis Graphite Mill With Automation Debottlenecks Electrode Machining

In the U.S.A. die mold machining industry, graphite is often the material selected to machine EDM electrodes. These graphite electrodes are then used to EDM their inverse shape into a hardened block of mold steel. If a part can not be hard milled, then CNC EDMing is the preferred choice. Before the electrode is used on a CNC sinker EDM, it needs to machined on a mill. Typically, the machining center needs to have high RPM in order not to chip the graphite material. A higher rpm machine will allow smaller tools to be used which created more detail and tighter corner radii on the electrode.

Graphite machining centers are nothing new but 5 axis graphite machining centers are far less common. Five axis machining centers combined with automation systems and tool life management software allow shops owners to run 24/7. In this article read about Preferred Tool a mold shop located Hugo, MN and how increased their productivity when they switched from 3 axis graphite mills to the Jingdiao 5 axis graphite mill with a 110-station robot.

Reprinted with permission from Gardner Business Media.MoldMaking Technology, February, 2023.

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What Is the Secret That the First U-Drilling Is Exactly the Same as the 100th!

There is such a company in Wenling, Zhejiang Province of China,it product the accuracy of the rotary gear hob reaches grade A, which rivaled European competitors. It product the rotor milling cutter and rotor grinding sand wheel in the compressor industry have occupied 30~40% of the markets. It is engaged in the gear processing industry deeply, It aspires to be the first tool brand for gears. The protagonist of the story is an old customer of JINGDIAO.

With 12 expert teams, this enterprises has energetical research and develop with remarkable achievements. It has fully developed and manufactured helical milling cutter, rotary knife and others, which are widely used in construction machinery, wind power generation, rail transportation and other fields, These applications filling a number of domestic tool industry`s short slab with its advantages of high precision, high stability and high reliability.

Behind the leading technology and advanced processing technology is the strong team cohesion of this enterprises, and this persistent pursuit of products and technology has long been infiltrated into the development of the enterprise. When JINGDIAO cooperate with this customer, in consequence, there is piece of this enterprises downstream customer satisfaction tool production from the JINGDIAO machine tools. When the JINGDIAO started to cooperate with this customer, the tools satisfied his downstream customers were produced from the engraving machine. were generated from the JINGDIAO machine tools. Over the years, Beijing JINGDIAO is also adhering to the business philosophy of "customer demand-oriented, supported by technological development, to promote the development of customers at any cost of service", which has won the recognition of many customers who with the same philosophy and knowledge of the future of precision machining.

"The solution provided by JINGDIAO for us is very good, in terms of the whole industry, it's processing characteristics are fully in line with the characteristics of U-drilling body, which can ensure product consistency and quality, and realize that the first and the hundredth pieces of U-drilling body processing are exactly the same!" Mr. Liu of this enterprises boss said in the interview: to make high quality products need high precision equipment for support, Beijing JINGDIAO not only provides high precision processing equipment, but also provides a full set of precision processing solutions, and the technical service team is very professional.

Providing a full set of precision machining solutions for customer is the JINGDIAO Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center of Z-park, a subsidiary of Beijing JINGDIAO. With the increasing popularity of this customer in the CNC tool industry and its increasing production scale and order volume, the JINGDIAO Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center of Z-park, a rapid manufacturing cloud platform created based on the concept of industrial connectivity, entered it's vision and opened a Double-line cooperation. The platform relies on Beijing JINGDIAO's strong production resources covering the whole country, integrating more than 3,000 high-quality customers and more than 1,000 domestic and foreign suppliers, of which the most important thing for this enterprises is the platform's remote order production mode and the high efficiency and quality of product processing.

Manage the small changes in the key elements of precision machining to achieve continuous and stable precision machining of tooling products, precision engraving, the story of JINGDIAO and this old friend, to be continued!

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The college that graduation means employment, will you pick?

There is such a school in the beautiful city of Wuxi on the shore of Taihu Lake, the number of students enrolled in this school is 12,000 , and there are 620 teaching staffs, including 198 with senior titles, 398 with master's and doctoral degrees, and the proportion of professional teachers with "double teacher quality" is over 90%. Quite, this vocational college is praised by people from all walks of life.

The sixty-eight-year history of the school has led to a scientific development path of perseverance and exploration, inheritance and innovation, struggle and transcendence.

This vocational college always insists on demand-oriented and deep integration of industry and education, and has carried out in-depth school-enterprise linkage with many famous enterprises at home and abroad. Under such an opportunity, the college and Beijing JINGDIAO Group reached a consensus on the transformation and upgrading of the service manufacturing industry to high-end intelligent manufacturing, creating a "new position" for the training of intelligent manufacturing talents and improving the core competitiveness of students' employment to build a bridge for the training of high-quality technical skills talents for employment.

A full-featured training center of over 3,000 square metres, with nearly 50 sets of precision machining equipment with excellent performance. It has become an important platform for students to learn professional skills from campus to enterprises. The two sides will use the platform to provide professional technical services, high-end skills training, teacher training and other social services for the high-end equipment manufacturing industry, for enterprises, employees and teachers and students of similar majors in the Yangtze River Delta and surrounding areas.

In the context of the country's advocacy to increase the attraction and cultivation of high-level talents and strengthen the construction of talent teams, the college has implemented a practical strategy to strengthen the school's talent, and worked with Beijing JINGDIAO to create a high-level mixed team of teachers. The teaching content for students, whether it is theoretical courses, or actual operation, are strictly screened and reviewed, so that the graduating students are more favored by enterprises.

In the future, Beijing JINGDIAO will continue to work with the college to focus on improving quality and promoting employment, vigorously develop the integration of industry and education from enterprise to occupation, and strive to cultivate more high-quality technical and skilled talents for the society.

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High Quality Lightweight Truck Components Composite Maching

In this story, this company’s products is accounted for a large proportion in china commercial truck brands . It has developed lightweight products that reduce the weight of key components in trucks by about 40%-45%. There are a number of international leading auto parts performance testing laboratories, which provide technical support and guarantee for many auto factories. The experimental data generated here are serving as a reference standard fo truck parts safety performance and other indicators in china. Within the industry, a number of new processes and new products has been given much attention which co-developed by this company and some universities, automobile companies.

Now, let’s go to explore the story about "zero defects in product, zero complaints from customers" behind this company.

This company was established in 1984. It is a scientific and technological auto parts enterprise integrating automotive parts research and development, commercial truck shock absorption and sealing system, chassis suspension system, metal component design, production and sales.

It has become the core supplier and strategic partner of china mainstream commercial truck and diesel engine manufacturers such as FAW Jiefang, Shaanxi Automobile, Valin Automobile and Northern Mercedes-Benz. Many products including ruck rubber shock absorption series products, reaction rod series products, thrust rod series products, new lightweight aluminum parts products are widely praised.

It has been rated as an excellent supplier by FAW Group for many years in a row, an A-level supplier by many engine factories, and won many honors such as the "Zero Quality Defect Award".

"The reason why I chose Beijing JINGDIAO’s machine tool,is that I trust the stability of the machine tool itself, and the other is the high integration of on machine inspection and CNC system, so that many processes that originally rely on manual participation can achieve precision machining of workpieces through standardized solutions and machine tools. Automatic compensation and alignment, remaining stock detection, finished product detection and other functions of the equipment are all helping my company achieve the goal of the product is qualified when unloading, no need to go back to the factory", the company’s boss said in an interview.

At the same time, this company has a strict set of equipment selection standards.

In the future, this company will continue to fulfill its responsibility as a leader in rubber and metal parts industry for commercial trucks, and strive to create safe, lightweight, high-quality and cost-effective green parts for independent commercial trucks. For achieving win-win cooperation, we are pleased to provide more high quality machins and proven sulotions.

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How Does This Company Win the Favor of Customers?

Unique prototype trial technology, glittering and translucent high-gloss products, industrial 3D printing technology with stunning effect, these are Beijing JINGDIAO Group Co.,Ltd.’s high-quality customer’s special skills. The company was founded in May 2004, 100% funded by this company Corporation of Japan. It aims at the demand of small batch and multiple varieties which is in short supply in the market and provides customers with one-stop solution from R&D design to small batch production. It also develops new technology and technology for the follow-up mass production for customers.

The customer has a wide range of business, which can meet the R&D needs of large companies, as well as provide strong technical support and services for small and medium-sized R&D enterprises. A variety of colored engineering plastics and different types of metals can be used in trial production of products, prototype models, plastic and metal parts, sheet metals and processing inspection fixture, welding fixture, tooling fixture and so on. It brings the experience, technology and quality accumulated in Japan to China to provide customers with quality products and services.

Due to the needs of the market, the customer needs to use a large number of plastic and other materials which are very easy to deform for precision machining, and the surface effect of the finished product usually needs to be transparent, which is extremely difficult. Deep cultivation of the industry for many years, focus on independent research and development, the high-speed machining centers produced by Beijing JINGDIAO, which can stably providing "0.1μ feed, 1μ cutting, nano surface effect" of precision machining, has naturally entered customer's vision. Stable precision processing capacity and intimate quality engineering services make every product delivered to downstream customers become the pride of this company! Customers like it, and users are satisfied.

Thanks to years of full run-in and full trust, the first JDGR400 5-axis machine tool of Beijing JINGDIAO took the lead in the production workshop of this company to run stably as soon as it was manufactured. "High speed, good precision, in particular, it has obvious advantages when machining surface!"Jianming Wei, general manager of the company, expressed his intuitive feelings after using the JINGDIAO machine for many years. Today, the machine tool products of Beijing JINGDIAO have become the crucial equipment in the production line of the company, the machining performance and application technology of JINGDIAO have also been recognized by this company and its customers in the same industry.

"Anything that can be imagined can be created", this is the slogan of the customer. As a manufacturer of trial works, this company has unique experience and technology, and has achieved outstanding performance. In the increasingly diversified competition among enterprises, this company can deliver products to customers at a faster speed with high-quality products and more competitive prices. This company and Beijing JINGDIAO will continue to make efforts in their own professional fields and uphold the concept of win-win cooperation. The two companies will continue to work together and innovate continuously.

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An Enterprise That Makes Technology More Artistic

As a leading enterprise in the global extrusion die industry, this company embodies its pursuit of "making technology more artistic" in every product and every detail. This enterprise is always committed to changing customers from "using" products to "enjoying" products. At present, it has the largest extrusion production base in Asia, with footprints in more than 30 countries and regions. It provides professional brand services to more than 8,000 plastic enterprises around the world, and its products account for more than 75% of the domestic mid-to-high-end market share.

As one of the global leading brands of extrusion die industry, it always adheres to the strategy of brand globalization, customer demand-oriented, and wholeheartedly provides customers with integrated product solutions and high-quality brand services. This enterprise is committed to the R&D, production and technical application of extrusion die and supporting equipment of extrusion production line. It has more than 20 years of industrial technology precipitation. The products of this enterprise includes cover board, sheet and film extrusion die, multi-layer co-extrusion composite distributor, melt metering pump and filter etc, which play an irreplaceable value in many fields such as flexible packaging, electronics and new energy vehicles.

Facing the increasingly competitive market environment, as a leading enterprise in the global extrusion die industry, This customer chooses to be a "craftsman" in a down-to-earth manner. Each series of board die has more than 80 patents. In terms of machining accuracy, especially the control of straightness and surface roughness, it has reached the international leading level. For example, the straightness on a flat die can be controlled at 2μm with a length of 1 meter, The roughness can be achieved at 0.02-0.04μm, and the contact angle of the die layer can be achieved at R0.0004-R0.001.

JINGDIAO and this customer started from an exhibition many years ago. At the exhibition, they saw raw egg carving demonstration and a series of highly popular samples of JINGDIAO. They were amazed by the complexity of the samples, micron-level machining accuracy and amazing matching effect. Then, at the Beijing Exhibition in 2019, they got a deeper understanding of the high-speed machining center newly exhibited by JINGDIAO. The precision machining accuracy and customer recognition of one piece of plate dies from the JINGDIAO machine tool with loading and unloading that clearly told us the answer. The technical support and high-quality service provided by Beijing JINGDIAO have brought this customer and JINGDIAO closer.

After working together for many years, JINGDIAO and this enterprise have the same dedication to product quality and technology research, which can be seen from the word "precision". Similar business philosophy and consistent values have led to many times of cooperation between the two parties. It is also believed that the two parties will continue to stay together and jointly create more value in the future.

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High-speed Machining Centers Make Molding Process Smooth

The story takes place in the mold city of China, Huangyan, Zhejiang. The protagonist of the story is an old customer of Jingdiao, who manages a small mold factory and has been engaged in mold manufacturing for many years. Its processing business contains two parts, CNC machining and mold testing. In a recent visit, he mentioned his trouble.

He said:"In mold production, the contradiction often happens between CNC operator and molding staff. As a manager, I have no right to speak on this. What I can do is persuading these two groups of people to maintain the balanced situation. "

In fact, he knows the key to this problem is that there is no data standard between two sides. In order to clarify criterion of judgement, he purchased a CMM.

After inspection, it was found that the problem occurred in CNC process. But what happened next is even more embarrassing. They don't know how to solve the problem. And the operator began to complain: " The process, tools and equipment are the same, but the machining results are different, sometimes qualified, and sometimes unqualified. I don't know how to improve the unqualified. If there must be a correction, the only one solution is to process it one more time, but the result is still unknown."

This state lasted for a period of time, and the contradiction between the CNC operator and molding staff was not alleviated. The re-processing and repeated debugging still exist in the two production sections, and the cycle of mold manufacturing is still uncontrollable.

We found that his problem is similar to a client's problem who is in Dalian and is in export mold industry. On one hand, the client's upstream users require shorter delivery time and stable quality. On the other hand, their production organization was not smooth, and there were risks in terms of delivery and quality.

To solve these problems, he chose Jingdiao high-speed machining centers. Due to the machine's high-precision surface processing capability, especially suitable for mold surface. Another reason was because the machine can quantify the result of each processing step which helps CNC operator locate problem and optimize the process. It turns out, this customer's choice was right. After purchasing Jingdiao high-speed machining centers, the production became smooth, no repair was needed in molding.

Once listening to this story, he said:" This is indeed a new idea and has not been used in mold city. And I'm willing to try it in my workshop."

We were pleased to help him and set up a team for this project immediately. The team was responsible for analyzing risks, designing plans and scheduling progress. After which the machines entered the factory, and started program verification in cooperation with customer.

After about half a year, we visited his factory again. The first thing we found was that there was no loud noise in the workshop, and the molding staff was not as busy as before. The client was very excited to meet us and told us the changes happened in the workshop.

He said:"After using Jingdiao high-speed machining centers, the quality of CNC is a lot more stable than before. In particular, the surface precision is very accurate. When it comes to the model matching stage, it can only be repaired without tools."

When we asked his feeling, he said: " I have been engaged in this industry for many years. There is a problem that's been bothering me, why the quality of the finished products is different when we use the same machine, tools and programs? After using Jingdiao machine tools, I realized that actually many elements are changing during processing. Such as, residual material distribution, clamping position, tool clamping, tool wear and tool deformation are deyond our control. But Jingdiao machine tools can not only detect the error amount of each step, but also provide specific improvement measures. Once the problem is located, the analysis of process can be controlled. "

The division of labor was changing too. The most obvious one is that there used to be 20 molding workers, but now there are only 17. But the mold production capacity has been greatly improved than before.

At last, he said:" Through this thing, I totally understand what I heard before, the advance of process can be told from the tool. "

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Jingdiao 5-axis Machining Make Hard Work Easy

Since mold industry in Wenzhou area of Zhejiang province is relatively developed, there are a lot of enterprises spreading all over the region. One of Jingdiao's customers locates there and is engaged in mold machining. Because it is not far from Jingdiao Wenzhou Branch, the customer often visits us to see if there are new processes. Meanwhile, we also visit customer regularly to check equipment usage and discuss some solutions to the latest processing requirements.

During a daily visit, he talked about something bothering. "Inserts in die mold industry are becoming more and more difficult to machine due to the complex surfaces and steep areas.", he said. "These areas cannot be processed through CNC machining, and EDM is necessary for processing steep areas, which make it difficult to control the quality and delivery date. So, I'm facing a dilemma. On one hand, if my company undertake this kind of business, there'll be no money to make while taking great risks. On another hand, if we choose business, it will definitely affect the overall business, and may eventually lose potential customers."

We asked him if other factories are facing similar problems when processing these regular parts of mold. He said:" Some people say it's hard to do, others don't. Those factories who feel hard to machine these parts are basically the same as me, using 3-axis machining with EDM. For those who say it's easy to do all adopt 5-axis processing without using or hardly using EDM."

When we were confused about why he doesn't use 5-axis machining since knowing the advantages. He added:" Actually, I investigated 5-axis machine tools and observed its machining process of inserts. Though I felt very excited, there was a huge risk that made me hesitate. The risk is there is nobody can use 5-axis machine tools in my technical team. So paying for 5-axis machine tools is meaningless when lack of personnel and cannot solve my problems either."

After listening to his problem, we introduced our successful case based on Jingdiao 5-axis high-speed machining center, JDGR400, and performed the function of "5-axis machining in software" on computer. He was not fully understood and was still a little suspicious. However, it could be told that he has some interest in it.

A few days later, he called us and asked if we could help him process a complex insert. After getting the model, we analyzed the structure and processing requirements, and finished the product in a few days by using 5-axis machining.

The customer was surprised to see such a beautiful mold insert. He called all the technicians in the factory and told them "this will be the new standard in our factory." The fitting result was also perfect and the injection products had no defect which made their upstream customer very satisfied.

Through this verification, the customer had a new understanding of the capability of Jingdiao 5-axis high-speed machining centers. He said, "I know that your engineers are not specialized in mold making. But you can finish the processing in such a short time with this effect. The technicians in my factory are all experienced mold maker, so if they know how to use Jingdiao 5-axis high-speed machining centers, my hesitation about not using 5-axis machine tools will be released."

According to their need, we arranged 5-axis technical training and practical training for customer's personnel. Through which they gradually realized that an important reason why Jingdiao 5-axis machine tools are easy-to-use is because Jingdiao 5-axis CAM software. As its unique feature is building virtual environment that is very similar to real production site, and completing path calculation and simulation processing on computer. The process analysis on computer greatly reduces the collision risk of actual machining. Furthermore, measurement program can also be written in the software to analyze cutting results of each process, thus reducing the risk of transmission errors.

After understanding Jingdiao 5-axis machining, the customer said, "For the same mold insert, we are exhausted and not making money, while others make great advantages and wealth. To change this situation, first of all, we need to change our concepts. Those that seem need to be done by 3-axis machining will be easily and efficiently processed by 5-axis machining."

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