Latest trends, technology with robots – Today's Medical Developments

OnRobot, Heidenhain, and Schunk are discussing what the latest robotic developments are; and they’ll answer your questions live at the webinar.
Join us on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at 12PM ET for the Current Robotic Trends, Technology roundtable. Moderated by Associate Editor Jake Kauffman, hear from the panelists, ask questions, and leave the webinar with actionable answers.
Here’s a look at two of companies that will be participating in the webinar:
OnRobot’s solutions help small and mid-sized manufacturers optimize their processes and grow their businesses with greater flexibility, higher output and improved quality. Collaborative automation has levelled the playing field for small and mid-sized manufacturers, and as robots become easier to buy and implement, the tooling has become the vital element in adapting for a wide range of applications. Regardless of the robot brand, OnRobot provides compatibility and versatility beyond compare. It’s everything manufacturers need from one supplier, providing even more value from the automation investment.
From smart factories and robot builders to mobility companies and interstellar research, Heidenhain’s positioning control systems are helping shape the safe and productive future of unmanned operations. The technological bar may be continuing to rise, but with 120-plus years of motion control R&D in Heidenhain’s arsenal, the company has always been at the forefront of automation and always will be.
SCHUNK, the family-owned company, is a worldwide leader for equipping modern manufacturing and robot systems. With more than 11,000 standard components SCHUNK offers the world’s largest assortment of gripping systems and clamping technology from one source. Due to the digitalization of the portfolio, user can plan their processes efficiently, transparently, and economically. In addition, they benefit from the comprehensive application knowledge surrounding tomorrow’s innovative manufacturing.
Don’t delay, secure your free seat at the webinar today!
NeuronSphere Studio’s infrastructure-to-analytics platform is pre-integrated and optimized for modern medical devices.
San Francisco-based HMD Labs, a developer of technology solutions for medical device firms, announced the official launch of NeuronSphere suite.
HMD Labs has spent the past 15 months developing a solution in response to the increasing demand for streamlined medical device development. This platform is a complete ecosystem of components, tools, and SaaS services – optimized for intelligent medical device firms, with security and compliance in mind.
“Edge AI/ML in medical device development is a fast-growing space, as medical devices approved by the FDA increased by 28% between 2019 and 2020. This growth is expected to continue with the global market for intelligent medical devices reaching $734.39 billion by 2027. When we get to work early with our clients, we routinely replace over 15 different SaaS point solutions, alleviating that financial and administrative burden for forward-thinking firms,” explains Kevin Derr, co-founder and CEO of HMD Labs.
HMD Labs provides a purpose-built, turnkey, high-value data analytics platform, especially for next-generation medical device developers.
Brian Greene, co-founder and chief technology officer, says, “If ‘data is the new oil,’ NeuronSphere is your refinery. Intelligent medical device startups share a goal. We turn this goal into new products and clinical value streams.”
“This specialized platform helps our clients perform foundational data analysis and data visualization so they can get to market more quickly,” Greene says. “They can allocate more of their limited resources to unique device feature development, rather than what has rapidly become the ‘table stakes’ of advanced machine learning and AI. Our platform-and-toolkit approach frees innovators from these burdens so they can focus on quickly solving their specific clinical challenges.”
NeuronSphere provides the controls, security, and compliance needed for medical device development. In addition, it accelerates value cycles from high-complexity data, optimizing cost and performance by enabling all aspects of a Data Mesh architecture. NeuronSphere streamlines compliance with FDA, GxP, SaMD, GDPR, and global data sovereignty and tenancy demands, while ensuring companies can deliver with agility and maintain ironclad control of the cloud data platform.

Factors which will impact the overall performance of an endmill and weird endmills that have higher geometrical levels of complexity.
Part one: Geometry design and parameter verification
Every endmill begins with design and a well-designed geometry can make a high performance endmill.
There are many factors which will impact the overall performance of an endmill. Four major ones that get cited are the grade or quality of carbide material, the cutting tool geometry design, the precision manufacturing process or quality control and the type of coating.
The hardness of an endmill’s material, usually carbide, will depend on the grade of carbide in the matrix. Smaller grains mean more substance versus binder, and therefore a harder tool. Exotic coatings will improve lifespan and cutting performance. Quality control means a workshop can get a consistent result.
But geometry has an outsized role, one that highlights the blend of art and engineering – and for a long time, trial and error – involved in creating the ideal endmill. This begins with design. Some of the important factors in endmill design include the combination of both variable helix and index flute geometry design, core geometry design, the OD clearance angles eccentric versus facet reliefs design, endface design with wiper flats and pad grinding or end dubbing etc. each time from a set of endmills.
As I have written elsewhere, the progress of the industry has seen endmills grow increasingly “weird” as toolmakers have sought high material removal rates while avoiding “chatter.”
Regenerative chatter happens when the harmonics between a tool and workpiece are at different frequencies. The two self-excited objects will hit against each other, which is a negative for surface finish and dimensional accuracy, as well as the lifespan of the tool and machinery. It is a drain on productivity and profits.
High helix tools (over 35º) have long been popular for their strength and fast feed and swarf removal rates. While they have these advantages over low helix endmills for hard materials, they are also the more prone of the two to chatter. Some of the trial and error to combat this has been around variable helixes and pitches and trying to better balance tools. This has led to “weird” endmills, with higher geometrical levels of complexity.
In high helix tools the cutting forces are directed more vertically and less horizontally, which reduces tool deflection and results in quick and efficient chip evacuation.
More positive axial rake lowers cutting forces which helps to increase feedrates. The core of the tool is thicker due to the shape of the helix and the tool is stronger. High helix endmills are typically used in tougher harder materials because they wear better, although they can also be used in softer materials like aluminum. One disadvantage of high helix endmills is the tendency to chatter more, and they really bite into the material.
On the contrary, low helix tools are less likely to chatter and typically perform better in soft materials. Their disadvantage is the lower feedrates and hence lower material removal rates. Our understanding of how to mitigate chatter has come a long way and involves no guesswork nowadays. The geometry and design are purely based on material to be cut whether it is soft or hard.
Variable helix endmills with variable index are considered state of the art these days. The idea is to vary the helix along the flute length or from flute-to-flute. The aim of the variable helix is to fight chatter. Since chatter is a resonance effect, anything we can do to break up the resonance of the flutes beating against the workpiece will reduce chatter. The tool balancing capabilities in the RN34 release of ANCA’s ToolRoom software is the perfect solution to combat chatter.

Thomson Mathew, ANCA’s software product manager has a huge wealth of knowledge and expertise, having worked in the cutting tool industry for almost 25 years. The architect of many of ANCA’s market renowned software products – Thomson has written a technical guide on creating the perfect endmill running through a five-part instructional series.

Demand for manufactured products remains at historic levels, a key driving factor behind much of the recent capital investment from manufacturers.
Manufacturing technology orders totaled $479.3 million in February 2022 according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report published by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. February 2022 orders were up 9% from January 2022 and up 27% from February 2021. Year-to-date orders are just shy of $920 million, an increase of 30% from the same period in 2021 and only 11% down from the same period in 1998, when orders set a record by surpassing $1 billion in only two months.?
“The industry seems to be carrying the momentum of 2021 into the beginning of 2022, recording the best start to the year in over two decades,” says Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “As we have learned throughout the last two years and, especially the last few months, conditions can change quickly. We saw this in 2021 when order values during the first few months of the year performed only moderately well, but by the end of 2021 it was the best year on record. This can cut both ways so we may need to temper the early 2022 excitement as conditions on the ground change.”
Strong consumer demand has been a key driving factor behind much of the recent capital investment from manufacturers.
“Despite waning consumer sentiment and predictions that spending would soon shift back to services, demand for manufactured products remains at historic levels,” Woods says. 
However, several headwinds stand in the way of growth, most notably inflation. Persistent inflation, exacerbated by geopolitical events, threatens to undermine the base of consumer demand that has supported the manufacturing technology industry the last twelve months. 
“Many of the issues such as worker shortages and supply chain troubles we have been highlighting the past few months are still present, but inflation is becoming the biggest threat the manufacturing industry has seen since the initial shutdowns two years ago,” Woods says. “The aggressive posture taken by the Federal Reserve in their last meeting is really telling. Inflation needs to be controlled, but for interest rate-sensitive activities like capital investment, the medicine may be a tough pill to swallow.”
“The cutting tool data indicates we are continuing to trend in a positive direction, although the overall growth appears to be flattening,” Steve Stokey, executive vice president and owner of Allied Machine and Engineering.
January 2022 U.S. cutting tool consumption totaled $159.9 million, according to the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) and AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the Cutting Tool Market Report collaboration, was down 2.7% from December’s $164.3 million and up 10.5% when compared with the $144.8 million reported for January 2021.
These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals reported by the companies participating in the CTMR program. The totals here represent the majority of the U.S. market for cutting tools.
“As the cutting tool industry continues to adapt to the changing economic climate on the globe, we see the sales volume moving back toward the pre-pandemic levels. Volumes that were expected to be higher were lowered by continued economic uncertainty, driven by inflation. The cutting tool industry’s willingness to adapt to changing market conditions will determine our future direction,” comments Brad Lawton, chairman of AMT’s Cutting Tool Product Group.
Steve Stokey, executive vice president and owner of Allied Machine and Engineering, says, “The cutting tool data indicates we are continuing to trend in a positive direction, although the overall growth appears to be flattening. If manufacturing was not already dealing with enough challenges coming out of the pandemic, it will now see how the war in Ukraine and the energy policies of this administration impact the numbers moving forward.”

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