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AMT Tech Trends: Lubricity, Tigers, and Hearts... Oh My!

Episode 104: Steve kicks things off with a debriefing of MTForcast. Elissa shares about 3D-printed organs. Stephen gets excited over robot vision for QA/QC in the automotive industry. Benjamin closes with the latest innovations in metal manufacturing!
Oct 16, 2023

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Produced by Ramia Lloyd

Transcript

Ramia Lloyd:

Welcome to the TechTrends Podcast, where we discuss the latest manufacturing technology, research, and news. Today's episode is sponsored by Modern Machine Shop Made in the USA Podcast. I'm Ramia Lloyd, and I'm here with-

Elissa Davis:

Elissa Davis, the digital community specialist.

Stephen LaMarca:

Stephen LaMarca, AMT's plus size model.

Benjamin Moses:

Benjamin Moses, director of senior.

Steve, tell me about... You went on a journey, was it last week?

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah, well, a lot of... It was last week, we've been doing a lot of travel, and last week, I did a double journey. Started the week with MTForecast, which is our big economics trade show, conference, whatever. I want to ask Elissa, since she's here, 'cause I didn't get to see the whole show.

Benjamin Moses:

Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:

But I did get to see some of the presenters, which were very insightful, and after about the first three, I was like, all right, I know enough about economics for the year, it's time to go back to doing my thing. But one of our colleagues, Delaney, the senior analyst over in... What are they called now?

Benjamin Moses:

Research.

Stephen LaMarca:

Research. Had a presentation that she was very excited about, and I think it was covering all of our survey data. Elissa, can you speak on this?

Elissa Davis:

Yeah. So her and Chris Chizik, who's our head economist.

Stephen LaMarca:

Principal economist.

Elissa Davis:

Principal economist. Tomato, tomato. So they gave a presentation about the different industrial surveys that we have, so we have USMTO, which is the machine tool orders.

Stephen LaMarca:

Right.

Elissa Davis:

We have cutting tool, which self-explanatory, and workholding, also self-explanatory.

Stephen LaMarca:

And our members, our audience, eats that up.

Elissa Davis:

Yes.

Stephen LaMarca:

They love our surveys. What kind of data was she talking about?

Elissa Davis:

Well, they were talking about data they collected over the last couple of years, and showing how... They talked about patterns in USMTO compared to IMTS years, non-IMTS years.

Stephen LaMarca:

Wow.

Elissa Davis:

Which countries have the largest amount of purchases in terms of dollars, and I think they said the Netherlands was number one for workholding.

Stephen LaMarca:

That's cool.

Elissa Davis:

And it's like, why? I don't know what's going on in the Netherlands, but apparently they've got a lot of workholding needs.

Stephen LaMarca:

Sounds like something that's fun to investigate.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

Maybe we should look into that.

Benjamin Moses:

I think we need a podcast of...

Stephen LaMarca:

Maybe they're the next Australia.

Elissa Davis:

It was by a lot. It was by a couple dozen billion dollars, it was a lot.

Stephen LaMarca:

Wow.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

So we have had Scandinavian countries at a couple conferences, like the economic development groups, coming over to the US and trying to figure out how to draw manufacturing into Norway, Danish countries, Netherlands, so it's interesting.

Stephen LaMarca:

Well, they're the most metal, so naturally they'd probably want to hold it.

Benjamin Moses:

Sweden's awesome. Their language is like heavy metal.

Stephen LaMarca:

Good transmissions, or not transmissions, good suspension components.

Benjamin Moses:

That's right. Awesome.

Stephen LaMarca:

Well, thank you for that, Elissa.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah, happy to help.

Stephen LaMarca:

The other thing that I saw at MTForecast that I thought, I was really hoping... So the first presenter of... First off, I got there all day early, and I showed up at the conference center, the ballroom-

Benjamin Moses:

Right.

Stephen LaMarca:

... at 7:31 morning, on Wednesday morning, thinking that, okay, I made breakfast.

Benjamin Moses:

Right.

Stephen LaMarca:

And I go there, and I see Missy and Jamie-

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah, right.

Stephen LaMarca:

... and they're like, oh, hi, it's so great to see you.

Benjamin Moses:

Excited to see you.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah, where's breakfast? It's like, breakfast isn't until tomorrow. I'm like, we don't have breakfast on the first day? And they're like, no, today's just the committee's meetings, tomorrow's the first day of the conference. So I'm like, great, this is amazing. But you know what? Better a day early than a day late.

Benjamin Moses:

Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:

Anyway, come Thursday morning-

Benjamin Moses:

Before you get to that.

Stephen LaMarca:

Okay.

Benjamin Moses:

I think that's a symptom of us putting off our travel plans, 'cause I remember a couple of years ago, we were very diligent about planning. We had everything in TripIt, so go here-

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

Our hotel was here, our event started here. At Automate earlier this year, oh, maybe it was last year, I got to the MGM, I see it at the Marriott, attached to the GM in Detroit.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

And I thought it was a massive building, so I thought, I go down to the first floor, I'm like, this is one of the recommended hotels for Automate, I go down to the first floor, I was like, I'm looking for the convention center. Where's all the exhibitors? It's a mile down the street at the convention center. I'm walking around, and I ask the security guard, hey, did I miss this thing? Where is this convention at? He's like, follow the sign, sir. You have to leave the building, go down the street.

Stephen LaMarca:

Wow.

Benjamin Moses:

That's such poor planning, where I got to the city at least, and I paid for the registration, but...

Stephen LaMarca:

Well, thank you for sharing that. I'm glad I'm not the only one who made a huge snafu like that. But on Wednesday, even though the MTForecast had not yet started, the tours-

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

... for MTForecast were Wednesday afternoon.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

And I finally got to go to a Fives location.

Benjamin Moses:

Nice.

Stephen LaMarca:

Not that they don't want me to show up. I mean, maybe they don't, but there's Fives locations all over the country.

Benjamin Moses:

Right.

Stephen LaMarca:

You can go into just about any of them, and they'll happily show you around and show you some of the fun stuff that they're working on that's not classified. I've just never found the opportunity to-

Benjamin Moses:

Right.

Stephen LaMarca:

... line up perfectly to actually go to one. So it was fun. I got to meet Marco.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah, he's great.

Stephen LaMarca:

The president of... Is he the president entirely of Fives?

Benjamin Moses:

I don't know-

Stephen LaMarca:

... or just the US division?

Benjamin Moses:

The US automation side of it.

Stephen LaMarca:

Okay.

Benjamin Moses:

Because Fives is very diverse.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah, they're huge.

Benjamin Moses:

He had his location in Detroit. Every committee meeting, we talk about the economic sentiment of automation, and he is 99% automotive.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

So he has a strong sense of where they're headed, and like the impact of the [inaudible 00:06:15] recently, how does that affect Marco, and we've talked about that. And it's interesting, some of the technologies that he demonstrates, their factory is very fascinating, 'cause they do OEM builds, but they also do retrofits.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

So they'll bring in another third party equipment, and blueprint it, and then modify it and give it back to [inaudible 00:06:33].

Stephen LaMarca:

One cool thing that they showed us while we were there, Marco showed us while we were there the company BraunAbility. Are you guys familiar with BraunAbility? They are a company that, if you are a parent of a special needs child, you probably need a minivan, likely a minivan that needs to haul a child or person in a wheelchair, and BraunAbility is the company that retrofits these big minivans to be able to lift a wheelchair into them efficiently. Well, that work that's done on the minivan, they actually have to remove the rear subframe and modify it.

Benjamin Moses:

Right.

Stephen LaMarca:

And this work is typically done entirely by hand.

Benjamin Moses:

Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:

Entirely done by hand. BraunAbility is partnered with Fives, and Fives is working on a automation cell where robots will get in there with plasma cutters.

Benjamin Moses:

Oh, that's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:

I think the interior of the van needs to be stripped first.

Benjamin Moses:

Right.

Stephen LaMarca:

But the robots will cut perfectly the subframe out, and there'll be less retrofitting-

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

... and jimmying stuff into place if a precision robot is doing it.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

And he was very excited to be like, we're doing this to help them minimize the cost of these vans as much as possible.

Benjamin Moses:

That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:

Because these BraunAbility modified wheelchair vans are, we're talking a $100,000 for a $40,000 minivan.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah, it's expensive.

Stephen LaMarca:

It's a $40,000 minivan with $60,000 worth of hardware upgrades and just manual labor that has to be done.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

And if they can cut down the cost of the labor part by implementing robots, and getting the robots to deal with the precision work and doing it right, then hopefully we're looking at something more like an $80,000, which doesn't sound like much, but it's enough.

Elissa Davis:

It'll mean a lot to a special needs family though, because my aunt has one of those, they're nice, they're really nice vans.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Elissa Davis:

And they're designed to make your life easier.

Stephen LaMarca:

Well, that's good, but at the end of the day, it's not a luxury thing, this is something that they need.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

And they need to be cheaper, and Fives is working on something like that.

Benjamin Moses:

And I think-

Stephen LaMarca:

It was really sick. That was the favorite thing I saw, and I saw a V10 engine block while there, so...

Benjamin Moses:

That's rare. You don't get to see too many V10s.

Stephen LaMarca:

No.

Benjamin Moses:

I do miss the days of the Viper, 'cause that was one with the hot V10s back there.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah, it was. Even though it's a 90 degree V10-

Benjamin Moses:

I know.

Stephen LaMarca:

... which, I'm sorry, sacrilege.

Benjamin Moses:

I know.

Stephen LaMarca:

It should be 72 degrees.

Benjamin Moses:

And I do like the concept of automation. The overall value add of automation is, yeah, people always talk about saving time, but it saves time down the road too. So if you have more precise cut, more accurate, more consistent cut, from automation, that saves your time down the road so you're not constantly reworking or doing custom work downstream.

Stephen LaMarca:

Right. Well, Marco was really pushing the safety aspect of it.

Benjamin Moses:

Oh, that's true.

Stephen LaMarca:

He was like, it's not as bad for your back.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

It's the wear and tear of these workers. They'll be able to theoretically work longer, have a longer stint in their career-

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah, right.

Stephen LaMarca:

... because they won't be hurting as soon. It was cool. It's one thing for us to talk about this on a podcast every other week-

Benjamin Moses:

Right, but to see it.

Stephen LaMarca:

But to see it actually being done-

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

... by such a massive company, that was really cool. Anyway, passed the tours, finally got-

Stephen LaMarca:

... really cool. Anyway, past the tours, finally got to go to Thieves. Thursday, the show starts, and I sit in there for the first speaker. Well, actually I'm mic running for the first three speakers. But the first speaker, an economist, he mentions just real quick during his presentation, he's like, "And by the way, some of this stems from the work from home movement, and I don't know what it is with half of these CEOs today, but there's a major move just strictly from executives to get staff to come back into the office. And they're delusional. They're out of their minds. Work from home is really something that if we want to keep the economy stable, we're going to come back to this. Everybody might be returning to the office right now, and it might be in a little bit of a spike, but it's going to turn around." And I wanted to hear so much more about that because I know our audience. 80% of the people in the crowd there at MTForecast were rabidly against that. And I was let down. Not a single person raised their hand. I'm not going to do it. Nobody in their right mind that works at AMT was going to do it. But Doug was standing next to me when that was mentioned. I could almost hear his blood boil.

Benjamin Moses:

I do want to hear the shift in debate because I do remember that conversation towards the end of COVID when events started coming up. And that came up every single conversation, every single presentation. And I do want to hear what the change in tone is related to that at this event.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah, I guess everybody was being respectful. Nobody wanted to poke the bear.

Benjamin Moses:

Question for you, Steve.

Stephen LaMarca:

What's up?

Benjamin Moses:

Did you mention Clemson?

Stephen LaMarca:

No, I didn't.

Benjamin Moses:

Do you want to talk about it?

Stephen LaMarca:

So I had to leave MTForecast early because I had to go to Clemson to shoot the first episode of season four. I can't remember what season I'm on. Season four of Road Trippin' with Steve. And Clemson invited us to their Center for Automotive Research, which is like 40 minutes away from their main campus. But they work closely with BMW. They work closely with Honda. If you're making cars in the United States, you're working with Clemson. It was that impressive. One of the things that I remember concluding our trip to Clemson's Automotive Research Center was I knew I was going to come to this location, this facility, and see some sneak peaks on future vehicles. I didn't know that I was going to see a sneak peek at future tools that assembly line workers and mechanics will have available to them in the future. Was not expecting that. Wireless torque wrenches that are driven. Power driven torque wrenches.

Benjamin Moses:

And that is interesting. At Clemson, they have the full lifecycle of automotive-

Stephen LaMarca:

I saw my first exoskeleton. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off. I saw my first exoskeleton.

Benjamin Moses:

I was going to ask about that, but I wanted you to say it for the video, but that's fine.

Stephen LaMarca:

This guy was wearing it and he's like, "I can bend over and I don't feel it on my back. I feel like I'm standing up straight. Or I feel like I'm leaning on something." It was sick.

Benjamin Moses:

We are going to see more exoskeletons. I guarantee it.

Stephen LaMarca:

I think so. I hope so.

Benjamin Moses:

Let's leave it there.

Stephen LaMarca:

Get away from her. No alien reference?

Benjamin Moses:

Ramia, can you tell us about today's sponsor?

Ramia Lloyd:

Yes. Today's sponsor is Modern Machine Shop Made in the USA podcast. Tune in for Modern Machine Shop's Made in the USA podcast to explore manufacturing issues faced by companies making an intentional choice to manufacture in the US. Featuring commentary from OEM leaders, Made in the USA blends its nearly century long expertise with a unique audio storytelling experience to shine a spotlight in the past, present, and future of American manufacturing. Find Made in the USA on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Follow Modern Machine Shop on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Benjamin Moses:

Awesome. Thanks, Ramia.

Ramia Lloyd:

You're very welcome.

Benjamin Moses:

Elissa.

Elissa Davis:

Yes.

Benjamin Moses:

I know you found a good article. Can you tell me more about this?

Elissa Davis:

I did.

Benjamin Moses:

3D printing or three-dimension organs.

Elissa Davis:

Yes.

Stephen LaMarca:

Whoa.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah, this is from interestingengineering.com, which should just tell you already that it's super interesting. But so MIT has created a 3D printed heart that is a perfect replica. And it's partially about... Obviously we have artificial hearts. There's the bovine hearts, all that, but you can 3D print it specifically to what that person needs. So MIT is creating basically the technology to 3D print a heart for organ transplant. So I didn't even know that there was a organ shortage. Because I watch a lot of medical shows, so I just was like, "Oh, all these people are dying on these medical shows so there must not be a shortage." That's not the case. Apparently 17 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant that doesn't happen.

Stephen LaMarca:

That's wild.

Elissa Davis:

So it's also wild because my brother-in-Law, one of his best friends, he has cystic fibrosis and he got a lung transplant. So to me, I'm like, "Oh, people can get organs. There's no shortage." But there is. So this is the first step in terms of helping close that gap with technology. 3D printing in the medical field obviously is becoming a big thing, but if we're able to replicate human organs with 3D printing... And I know on Grey's Anatomy, Meredith Grey was trying to do that with a liver. So now we're just catching up with Grey's Anatomy.

Benjamin Moses:

So I do like the idea. So I do remember additive in medical field. I saw a lot of that on limb replacements using the texture to enable muscle attachments back to the bones, things like that. And then getting to the scaffolding to print organs, things like that. So I do see that they progressed a long way in the past five years on additive and medical. And I do think you hit it on a key word is customization. And that's where I think... Just like you go to the dentist's office. They're doing 3D printing quite a bit for dental replacements now. Or customization manufacturing. So being able to manufacture a tooth for you, but it's not a one tooth fits all. Same with the heart, and I think that's where the acceptance will come from is that it's not a bank of hearts that they're going to pull from. They're going to customize each single application as the patient needs.

Elissa Davis:

Well, because with organ transplants, it's all waiting for a match. Someone who perfectly matches you.

Benjamin Moses:

Right. Exactly.

Elissa Davis:

So this would eliminate that or at least reduce, I think, significantly that need. So it'd just make organs more readily available to the people who need them.

Stephen LaMarca:

When did they do livers?

Elissa Davis:

That was on Grey's Anatomy. That was a fictional television show.

Benjamin Moses:

I know a problem you're trying to solve.

Elissa Davis:

But I remember watching that and being like, "That's really cool." And they wanted to actually put it in a person. So with the advances that we're making in 3D printing, we're 3D printing meat. I don't see why we can't 3D print a heart.

Stephen LaMarca:

Well, we're 3D printing it. We're not eating it.

Elissa Davis:

Someone is.

Benjamin Moses:

I do like the way science fiction has become a forerunner. You mentioned Grey's Anatomy. So there's a Jude Law movie that was very similar to this. He had some liver replacement with a mechanical machine, but it was the repo of that because he didn't pay the loan. So it's kind of a bad sci-fi movie. And then we got Cyberpunk, the video game. That's talked about limb replacement. And that's the intersection, exoskeletons and limb replacement. And just back to the old Star Trek theory. Star Trek was a forerunner for a lot of interesting technology, and I like the idea of embracing sci-fi and bringing that into...

Stephen LaMarca:

Forerunner or foreigner?

Benjamin Moses:

Both. Both.

Stephen LaMarca:

Sean and I are actually going through the next generation now. Apparently they released not an edited version, but a remastered version to up the special effects and graphics. The first season is a little rough.

Benjamin Moses:

Sure, sure. It gets better.

Stephen LaMarca:

It does. It does. And Picard's the best.

Benjamin Moses:

Picard is the best. That's the number one seed. Speaking of Picard, tell me about automated visual inspection.

Stephen LaMarca:

Ooh, okay. So I got this awesome article that I've actually been waiting for to come out. I'm not the best at waiting for articles because apparently it came out a month ago. I saw it at the beginning of the summer, like end of spring. Some of our friends over at Gardner Business Media had posted pictures of a shop tour that they went to. They went to a thyssenkrupp facility. One of thyssenkrupp subsidiary companies is Bilstein.

Benjamin Moses:

I like how the subsidiary is a massive corporation underneath another massive corporation.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah. Well, thyssenkrupp is huge. They do everything from elevators to carbon fiber motorcycle wheels, I don't get it.

Benjamin Moses:

It's crazy.

Stephen LaMarca:

But one of their subsidiaries, a huge company Bilstein, which makes OEM plus suspension components. I've wanted Bilstein shocks on my car for as long as I've had my car. And I was...

Stephen LaMarca:

... I've had my car and I was really jealous when I saw that they got to go to this facility. But anyway, modern machine shop, part of Gardner Business Media, posts eliminating automotive defects per million with automated visual inspection.

Benjamin Moses:

That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:

So they're implementing the most advanced metrology harnessed by automation robots to reduce their part defects per million parts. And it makes sense now. What was cool about that is I look at Bill Stein as an enthusiast wanting a nice suspension, not an adjustable one. I don't need Öhlins, I don't know what I'm doing. There was a team of engineers back at the OEM for your car that tuned the suspension perfectly to what it's supposed to do. You're not going to do better than that. Bill Stein could because they have a team of engineers with more degrees in mechanical engineering than you've ever seen and it would be a good company to go to for this OEM plus part. And you also look at, we're just talking about how big of a company Bill Stein is and how popular, how well distributed their parts, you can get Bill Stein's suspension on a Ford truck. You can get it on a Mazda Miata.

They work with all of the major automotive manufacturers and how do you become a OEM plus technically aftermarket company for suspension components, a very complicated part and be trusted by this many different automotive manufacturers. How do you do it?

Benjamin Moses:

It's good quality.

Elissa Davis:

Do they still make Mazda Miatas?

Stephen LaMarca:

Your [inaudible 00:21:55] is on point and that's what this article's talking about.

Benjamin Moses:

Sorry. [inaudible 00:21:59].

Elissa Davis:

Do they still make Mazda Miatas?

Stephen LaMarca:

Yes, they do. The Mazda Miata is Mazda's halo car.

Benjamin Moses:

Is it still called the Miata or MX-5?

Stephen LaMarca:

It's called the MX-5.

Elissa Davis:

Oh, okay. That's why. I was like, "I don't see Miatas on the road." I know they were the big sports car in the '90s, early 2000s.

Stephen LaMarca:

They still are. Melissa has one.

Elissa Davis:

I'm not saying it's-

Stephen LaMarca:

It's one of the few cars that's still available today with a manual transmission. It is the most tracked vehicle around the world. If you go to a racetrack, you are guaranteed to see a Miata.

Elissa Davis:

Well, they're sports cars, right?

Stephen LaMarca:

They are sports cars. But it's a testament to how reliable and how durable they are and how fun they are.

Elissa Davis:

My brother-in-Law, who has been driving a Mazda for... Well, he's on a second Mazda, so he is been driving a Mazda for 15 years. If you're already happy to hear that.

Stephen LaMarca:

And it probably has a Bill Stein suspension.

Elissa Davis:

I will ask.

Stephen LaMarca:

It's not hard to find out. You just peek under between the wheel and the wheel well and if you see a yellow shock absorber, it's Bill Stein.

Elissa Davis:

Cool.

Benjamin Moses:

So one thing that we lose track of is metrology at the assembly level. So we talk about parts, single component manufacturing a lot in our industry, but all of that always aggregates to an assembly. And a lot of times a failure in assembly is it's missing a part or it's missing a screw. A couple of years ago we had a joint meeting where Ford talked about attaching visual inspection to a robotic arm to visually inspect to make sure underneath the car the exhaust was installed properly. The catalytic cover is there. So a lot of times when we get to assemblies back at Eden, we ship a duct assembly, six foot long tube with welded flanges and some flexible joints and we ship there and I was like, "The ship blade seemed kind of high."

They got to the end user. And guys, this is a tube expander inside of your part here. This shouldn't be here. So this scenarios where the assembly of parts come down to a lot of just visual inspection, just looking at the part and are all the components there. Obviously there is some dimensional constraints like we will put into a fixture and make sure it's functionally working or we'll measure the part. And things like assembly, a lot of times when you're putting a box together and just screwing stuff together, the inspection is are there enough screws? So being able to visually automate that process to improve your quality because you can drive a lot of that data back to early in the process to say, "Oh, we missed this thing. How do we fix that? How do we make sure that this part is always in the assembly?" So that's fascinating. I really liked that approach to assemblies.

Stephen LaMarca:

I'm glad you mentioned that because one of my very first facility tours that I went on as a young analyst, younger analyst, Steve Lesnewich was there and we were listening, we were watching a demo at this shop. It was in PA. I can't remember what, I feel bad not remembering now. But the guy explaining the demo to us was like, and we can get this within some spec tolerance spec. That did not sound very impressive at all. And I was like, "Wait a minute, isn't the manufacturing industry supposed to be chasing the almighty micron. You're not sub-micron, you're talking sub-millimeter. That's like a joke, right?" And then Steve Lesnewich, just like, "Stephen, there's difference between manufacturing accuracy and assembly fabrication accuracy." So that was when I almost got my first slap on the wrist.

Benjamin Moses:

And many more slaps later you're here.

Stephen LaMarca:

Many more slaps later we're still here.

Benjamin Moses:

Guys, I got one on the latest innovations in male manufacturing and I like this article from Business News this week where a lot of it shows the trends that we've been talking about are reinforced here. And the last two I really like because it takes us basically to the next generation of where we're headed internally looking, but also driven from end users. So the first scenario is advanced 3D printing of metals. That's straightforward.

Stephen LaMarca:

Heck yes.

Benjamin Moses:

We're seeing a lot in new use cases in the tech report we talked about an article of the submarine industrial base using additive at the repair facilities for parts that have too long of lead time. They're testing... Well, they're consider noncritical parts, which I'll say in the submarine, everything's kind of critical.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah, I mean, we kind of found that out this year didn't we.

Benjamin Moses:

We found that the hard way.

Stephen LaMarca:

At least not just that one, but also China recently got one of their military subs caught in a trap that apparently they had set out for us, the US and they got stuck in their... Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:

It's a problem. But they have a deck drain plug that they printed they had, it's probably a casting where they had long lead time or couldn't find it. So I do like the advanced use cases and also talked about a train repair station. There's a video of them incorporating additive for internal components like plastic pieces where the suppliers is probably making 1,000 of them at a time and it's stocking and delivering it. So if they run out or if they need to quickly fill something, that type of supply chain kind of sucks.

Stephen LaMarca:

That doesn't sound very lean.

Benjamin Moses:

Not lean at all. But-

Stephen LaMarca:

That doesn't sound very just in time.

Benjamin Moses:

But when you have [inaudible 00:27:25] and dye making equipment, your processes are a little different than doing one part manufacturing. So I like the use cases, drawing additive closer to a point of use and the military is doing that a lot. The other one are smart factories, industry 4.0 or what we're calling digital manufacturing. We're seeing a lot of value of pulling data, figuring out how to streamline your processes, how to get better quality out of your part or reducing defects and getting to an improved supply chain, to your point. If you can improve your throughput so you're more accurate in your prediction, you can lean out a lot of processes. You can get your raw material and that improves your cashflow a lot. You don't have to buy your material early. You could wait and delay that. And that's the biggest thing that I've seen end users talk about is being able to use these processes to improve their cashflow throughout the year. So I like that a lot. And the last two, I definitely want to hit on, eco-friendly material production techniques. Guys,-

Stephen LaMarca:

This sounds fun.

Benjamin Moses:

I'm bringing back MQL.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yes sir. Yes.

Benjamin Moses:

That's my jam.

Stephen LaMarca:

I think we've got a bottle of champagne in the kitchen. We might have to get one out.

Benjamin Moses:

A bottle of MQL.

Stephen LaMarca:

Tell the listeners that might not know. Give us a crash course on minimum quantity lubrication.

Benjamin Moses:

Most subtractive manufacturing processes requires some kind of lubricant and cooling.

Stephen LaMarca:

That's like the fluid that they're spraying at the part and the tool to keep the part cool or at least the part slick and the tool cool.

Benjamin Moses:

That's the key, is maintaining a consistent temperature for two layers. One, you want to protect the tool itself, the cutting tool. But as you're-

Stephen LaMarca:

Maximize tool life.

Benjamin Moses:

As you're machining the part, if the part itself is heating up, then it's growing. So now you have dimensional issues as you're growing, especially if you're holding a thousandth of an inch, if you measure it on machine versus once it cools down in the CMM, there could be some discrepancy. So maintaining that consistently, that's something we don't talk about too much, but you have the option of doing just flood coolant, which you've got the little nozzles or you have through the spindle coolant, but in the end you're just putting as much coolant as you can in that general area and hoping for the best.

Stephen LaMarca:

It's dumping it.

Benjamin Moses:

Minimum quality lubrication is concept of I know how much lubrication and coolant I need at that interface. So all I'm going to do is spray the minimum that I need at that intersection of the cutting face and the work holding part. So you go from needing 55 gallon drums of coolant that you're going to have to maintain the concentration levels, make sure it's not going arid and all that lifecycle with that to you could probably run a CNC mill for the-

Benjamin Moses:

... with that, you could probably run a CNC mill for the same time you're running a flood coolant off of five gallons for the whole year of lubricant going [inaudible 00:30:11]-

Stephen LaMarca:

Using MQL.

Benjamin Moses:

Yeah. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

Is MQL as effective at... I get that, I'm sure it's as effective, if not more so. Certainly being economical, but for lubricity sake. But is it as effective? Because it's going through an atomizer as opposed to being drenched.

Benjamin Moses:

Right. Exactly. Correct, correct.

Stephen LaMarca:

Is that as good for actually cooling the part? Does it work for cooling?

Benjamin Moses:

That gets into your cutting technique. So it's a combination of not just switching from flood coolant to MQL, but it's also about cutting technique and how often you're cutting that face versus cutting around the whole part and things like that. So there's some other techniques. You can get into trochoidal cuts, that's my jam.

Stephen LaMarca:

So man, if somebody was shopping around for CAM software, not the CAM software that I complain about but CAM software that does more of the post-processing, the Toolpath optimization, which the different companies have amazing Toolpath optimization software. But I feel like if you're trying to implement MQL, that probably limits your software. I'd imagine not all of the Toolpath software has a setting for MQL.

Benjamin Moses:

It's worth exploring.

Stephen LaMarca:

It's something worth looking into it.

Benjamin Moses:

The entire lifecycle of getting to that state. So it does drive change like how you design your CAM applications into your actual manufacturing process. So, the last one I've got-

Stephen LaMarca:

Dude, you tricked me. I didn't even see MQL on the list.

Benjamin Moses:

Alloy development and customization.

Stephen LaMarca:

You wanted to surprise me.

Benjamin Moses:

I did. Mission accomplished.

Stephen LaMarca:

Alloy development, I'm always down [inaudible 00:31:52].

Benjamin Moses:

So we've been working with quite a few partners and this is kind of tied to where additive does shine a little bit of our process of designing materials is fairly slow because there's a lot of information that we need. So yeah, we can define some elements and say throw this together in a little pot, melt it down and get a material. But we also have to do fatigue testing, tensile test. What's the corrosion resistant capability? How-

Stephen LaMarca:

Got to make some dog bones.

Benjamin Moses:

Exactly. What's the abrasion capability? Because a lot of times applications are, you have material strength, but it's riding on a surface.

Stephen LaMarca:

I saw a lot of dog bones at Clemson.

Benjamin Moses:

As you should. So what we're seeing now is the ability to simulate a lot of these different testing scenarios into obviously the digital world and iterate much quicker. Instead of physically testing 10 different variations, getting to the final 3, and then doing verification of what the test is as opposed to fundamental testing trying to screen out. So the ability to screen to get to your final part, final couple of designs, has come a long way. We're seeing a lot of acceleration to get to a unique material. And some people are concerned about that because in retrofit times, if I have a very unique alloy, instead of calling out, can I get to a stainless 321, which you can get off the shelf. This very specific material may have implications in the future of if I break this or if I need to repair it, how do I get to that? And that's why I think additive will possibly play a role in the future of, yeah, we could repair it or we could enable custom materials in the additive process.

Stephen LaMarca:

Agreed.

Benjamin Moses:

So I thought it was a fun article-

Stephen LaMarca:

That is fun. There's a lot going on.

Benjamin Moses:

There's a lot going on there

Stephen LaMarca:

That's rich. Do you guys know what dog bones are?

Ramia Lloyd:

No. I'm assuming you don't mean actual like dog bones-

Stephen LaMarca:

No, no, no.

Ramia Lloyd:

I was like you [inaudible 00:33:55].

Stephen LaMarca:

Then it took a minute to think about it. I was like-

Ramia Lloyd:

My dog loves them.

Stephen LaMarca:

It's a piece of sample material that is manufactured in a way that actually kind of looks like a dog bone. On both ends, there's a wider flatter part to allow this machine that tests, I think tensile strength-

Benjamin Moses:

Usually tensile strength.

Stephen LaMarca:

... Of your material. So you make these material samples with these flat ends on each end of the stick and the middle of the stick is pretty narrow, so it kind of looks like a dog bone. That's what they're lovingly referred to as. But it clamps down in this machine that grabs your material and the machine just starts pulling it and measuring the force that it's pulling it at. And then it gives you some alerts, it notes some data points that are useful in which it lets you know at what force does it start stretching. And then it lets you know if that stretching is happening exponentially and then it eventually just pulls it until it snaps and breaks.

Benjamin Moses:

The foundation of every material is the stress strain curve. So basically how far can it go and what's the stress level. So that's why it's pulling it and it's measuring the distance between the two. And that's why the center part's precisionally machined because they know the area. If you know the area, the force and you know the stress. So you can plot out the stress it can handle and the distance it's traveling and that's foundational for any material.

Elissa Davis:

Cool. Stephen, I want to mention real quick that at M2 Forecast, one of the people who spoke, he mentioned that the just in time model for manufacturing, it's going to be on its way out.

Benjamin Moses:

Oh. That's some drama.

Stephen LaMarca:

It's a little, I mean I can see why he would say that.

Elissa Davis:

Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:

We saw in COVID that it's not really the most stable but during Covid, just in time doesn't work if there's a supply chain issue and you're relying on people globally. Just in time does work if you're making everything in country, then something that happens on the other side of the world doesn't affect you guys.

Elissa Davis:

Just whole other conversation about deglobalization.

Stephen LaMarca:

It is. Absolutely.

Benjamin Moses:

I got another term for you guys just in time for repair. I think that's our next thing.

Stephen LaMarca:

How would that be classified on maintenance though? It's not reactive maintenance.

Benjamin Moses:

No, it's still reactive. If something breaks, you got to replace it.

Stephen LaMarca:

Is it reactive?

Benjamin Moses:

It's still reactive. So you still have predictive to say, okay, this thing's going to fail. You fix it before you repair but this is a scenario where-

Stephen LaMarca:

So it's prescriptive?

Benjamin Moses:

Something broke. Our arm rest broke on the train.

Stephen LaMarca:

I should stop talking. It's time to, I should research this more.

Benjamin Moses:

Now to replace that, you print it or replace it right away as opposed to trying to buy one and replace it.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah.

Elissa Davis:

I'll let you know who talked about M2 forecast. You can-

Stephen LaMarca:

That sounds really fun. Yeah. I want to hear more about this.

Benjamin Moses:

Ramia, where can more people fine-

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah, where can they find more about this?

Ramia Lloyd:

amtonline.org/resources. Like your subscribe.

Stephen LaMarca:

Binging bong.

Benjamin Moses:

Bye everyone.

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Author
Benjamin Moses
Director, Technology
Recent technology News
Episode 112: The Tech Frends reintroduce themselves, the purpose of this podcast, and walk through each of their backgrounds laying out how they got where they are today.
Episode 111: Ramia shares her excitement as the team’s new studio is coming together! Steve notes that Modern Machine Shop has been on a roll releasing banger after banger articles. Ben closes with an attempt to redefine robotics programming.
Episode 110: The team discusses tool kits and power tool ecosystems. Stephen has a testbed update: the robot has been bolted down. Elissa has some words about Boeing. Benjamin is gung ho about defense 3D printing.
Episode 109: In this holiday episode of the TechTrends podcast, Ramia Lloyd, Elissa Davis, Benjamin Moses, and Stephen LaMarca share their individual families holiday traditions.
Episode 108: Ramia Lloyd, Elissa Davis, and Benjamin Moses get to the bottom of where the heck Stephen LaMarca’s been! Elissa shares an article on 3D printing in the human body using ultrasound. Stephen closes with noise canceling CNC machines.
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