A licensing agreement authorizes Star SU LLC to manufacture and market 5ME LLC’s patented cryogenic tooling designs for end mills, ball mills, tapered ball mills, thread mills, reamers, and drills under the BlueZone Cryogenic tooling brand name. The agreement covers sales and service in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

5ME’s cryogenic machining process enables higher cutting speeds for increased material removal rates and longer tool life by transmitting liquid nitrogen at -321°F through the spindle/turret and tool body, directly to the cutting tool’s edge.

“We’ve worked with Star SU to develop tooling solutions on a variety of cryogenic machining configurations and applications,” says Bill Horwarth, president of 5ME. “Our companies share the excitement for bringing cryogenic machining to an ever- growing group of manufacturers.”

This environmentally friendly machining technology can increase throughput, part quality, tool life, and profitability while reducing energy consumption. It also provides a healthier, safer work environment through the elimination of traditional water- or oil-based coolants. Applications include high-speed cutting of titanium and other tough-to-cut alloys.

“It’s great to see it being accepted by some of today’s most forward-thinking manufacturers, and we’re excited to take part in the advancement of this technology,” adds David Goodfellow, president of Star SU. http://5me.com; http://star-su.com

Large commercial vacuum furnace completes first run

Heat-treating service provider Solar Atmospheres of Western PA has begun using its newest and largest vacuum furnace. In its inaugural cycle, the 48ft furnace successfully vacuum-heat-treated nickel alloy components while preserving crucial brightness and cleanliness levels.

The vacuum furnace can apply tight pyrometric controls to ±10°F. Its patented load car design prevents distortion of the more than 40ft long tubes. Due to the furnace’s increased efficiency, the total cycle time for this thermal process will be reduced by two days compared to traditional furnace designs. www.solaratm.com

Ribbon cutting held at Gene Haas Center for Manufacturing Innovation

South Carolina’s Greenville Technical College (GTC) joined with Clemson University (CU), Greenville County Schools, manufacturers, economic development leaders, officials from state and local government, and the community to celebrate the opening of the Gene Haas Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The CMI will showcase robotics and electronics used in manufacturing and the high skill level required to be part of the workforce.

CU will integrate technician and engineering course offerings. A Manufacturing Honors College will allow GTC and CU students to work together to solve real world manufacturing challenges.

An additive manufacturing partnership with Renishaw at a technical college and the open manufacturing lab for education, training, and industry collaboration is a first in South Carolina. GTC also contains the college’s first precision metrology lab.

GTC and Greenville County Schools will expose more students to the opportunities available in manufacturing. Coursework starting in K-12 will transfer or transition to GTC and then to Clemson.

CMI will offer contextualized learning so that adult learners can improve in the basics as they are immersed in the manufacturing curriculum.

Greenville County Council supported the initiative by approving $25 million in bonds to build the campus, and state government provided additional support for equipment. Companies also have donated equipment and funds. The Gene Haas Foundation provided $2 million for scholarships and equipment. In recognition of this gift, the building has been named in honor of Gene Haas. http://ghaasfoundation.org; www.gvltec.edu; www.renishaw.com

Mitsui Seiki presents GE Blue Arc machine and process at IMTS 2016

Scott Walker, president of Mitsui Seiki USA, spoke at IMTS 2016 about the Blue Arc machining process that, according to GE Reports, “cuts through titanium like a hot knife through butter.”

GE partnered with Mitsui Seiki to develop a 5-axis, horizontal machining center with a Blue Arc head attached. Built in Mitsui’s headquarters near Tokyo, Japan, GE has the prototype machine in its global research center in Van Buren Township, Michigan, where the system is ready for testing by interested companies.

Blue Arc, an electro-erosion metal-removal method, represents the fastest way to rough-cut extremely tough materials such as titanium and nickel alloys. Using high-amperage, low-voltage electrical energy, sparks and heat are created between the electrode tool and the workpiece. During the sparking, electrical arcing activity, portions of the workpiece are melted and the molten material is quickly flushed away with a high-pressure system. The process uses very low force, permitting higher feeds and speeds. Blue Arc is about 4x to 5x faster than conventional machining of these super-tough materials.

The Mitsui Seiki Blue Arc prototype is a hybrid handling both Blue Arc and conventional machining on one platform. In operation, the Blue Arc process conducts all the roughing operations, then a dedicated robot removes the head and replaces it with a conventional multiple-point cutting tool to perform finishing.

Blue Arc can eliminate a high-powered, high-torque machine tool and cutting tools, replacing them with a smaller, less rigid machine and a simple electrode tool. The process can make difficult-to-reach, deep cuts and very thin cuts in aerospace, power generation, and automotive applications. www.mitsuiseiki.com; www.gereports.com