Major automaker officials announced more than $1.2 billion in new plant and design center investments in the United States during 2017’s third quarter. The largest announcement came from Volvo, which would double the size, output, and investment of its still-unfinished plant in South Carolina. In most cases, the announced spending plans were parts of multi-year commitments to spend billions of dollars to expand capacity and technical capabilities within the U.S.
Major announcement include:
Volvo Cars: $600 million. Volvo announced plans in 2015 to build a $500 million plant in Berkeley County, South Carolina, near Charleston, to build the S60 luxury sedan. More than doubling that investment will allow the automaker, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, to add the popular XC90 SUV to the facility. S60 production is set to begin in late 2018, employing 2,000 people. XC90 production is set for 2021, when plant employment should reach 3,900. www.volvocars.com/us
Toyota: $373.8 million. Toyota plans to boost gas/electric hybrid output in North America by moving transaxle production to the U.S. from Japan, requiring upgrades to five plants. The company’s Buffalo, West Virginia, plant will receive upgrades to make the transaxles. An engine plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, and aluminum foundries in Troy, Missouri, and Jackson, Tennessee will receive upgrades to make a 2.5L engine that will be paired with the hybrid systems. The Jackson plant will also produce some transaxle components. And Toyota’s Huntsville, Alabama, plant will receive upgrades to support final engine builds. Combined, the expansions will create 50 new jobs. www.toyota.com
Honda: $267 million. Upgrades to the 2018 Accord sedan required Honda to add 342 welding robots to its Marysville, Ohio, plant and to increase production at the nearby Anna, Ohio, engine plant. The Marysville upgrades support laser brazing processes for the Accord’s roof, new stamping systems, and equipment for structural adhesives, Honda’s first use of that technology. Other investments will support the return to Ohio of a hybrid version of the Accord with a power unit that will be made in Marysville. The investments will add 300 jobs between the two plants. www.honda.com
General Motors. GM officials did not announce a specific cost to double the design studio at the company’s Warren, Michigan, technical center, but they did note that it was the final step in a $1 billion upgrade to that campus. Michael Simcoe, GM vice president of Global Design says, “We can only begin to predict how mobility will change in future generations. Investing in our creative and skilled team and providing them with inspiring, modern spaces, new technologies, and more ways to work together will foster innovation that leads to real solutions for customers.” www.gm.com
The VR8 variable-volume high-pressure coolant system (HPCS) adjusts up to 8gal/min. from the VR system’s programmable logic controller (PLC), controlled by the cutting machine’s M codes. VR series programmable pressures range from 250psi to 1,000psi and systems have 50gal or 70gal vertical reservoirs. They can be used with water- or oil-based coolants. All come with two quick-change, large capacity filter bags, a machine installation kit, and a two-year parts warranty. MP Systems www.mp-systems.net
Horizontal turning center
The Puma 2600 SY II high productivity turning center is a 10" class, sub-spindle, Y-axis horizontal turning center designed to craft high-precision parts from a range of tough-to-machine materials.
A standard active thermal compensation system decreases the effects thermal deformation by 60% to 70%. NTN sliding bearings have been applied to all axis box guideways on the carriage, improving fine movement by more than 40% and wear resistance by more than 30%. The feed box and X-axis bearing mount have been reinforced for high rigidity.
The built-in spindle generates up to 22kW (30hp) and 599Nm (442.1 ft-lb) of torque. An enhanced structure for spindle bearings improves runout to 6µm. A 12-station milling turret has been redesigned for improved durability and increased clamping force. BMT tooling provides rigidity for heavy chip removal, fine surface finishes, long boring bar overhang ratios, and extended tool life.
The SumpDoc portable inline fluid reclamation machine, a redesign of the 2012 machine, is small and lightweight enough to allow an operator to push it from location to location.
It provides coolant restoration and rejuvenation treatment of metalworking fluids in the machine tool sump with minimal operator interface; there is no interruption in the production cycle or need to transport fluids. SumpDoc can be wheeled next to a machine tool, parts washer, or rinse tank to provide full-service fluid reclamation in a two-step process.
An alternative to a central fluid recycling system or batch processing, SumpDoc eliminates downtime by removing solids, filtering the fluid, and removing tramp oils.
GlobalMAX abrasive waterjets feature direct-drive pump technology, simplified software, and motion-control technology. Designed for space-conscious fabricators and job shops, the GlobalMAX 1508 has a 20hp pump and a 31" x 60" cutting bed for cutting a variety of materials. The drive system provides smoother transition from rotary motion to linear motion compared to traditional rack-and-pinion drive systems. Tooth engagement minimizes backlash and improves reliability. Pumps convert more than 85% of the electrical power into cutting power.
Vericut version 8.1 CNC machine simulation, verification, and optimization software simulates CNC machining, additive manufacturing, and hybrid processes. The software operates independently, but can also be integrated with leading CAM systems.
The Vericut Force module optimizes toolpath feed rates. Graphs and charts display in real-time, revealing cutting conditions and forces. NC programmers can immediately identify undesirable cutting conditions. Spikes in the graphs show when forces, chip loads, tool deflection, and material removal rates exceed a tool’s recommended performance parameters.
A family of 36 low-passive intermodulation (PIM) jumper cables are made with UL910 plenum-rated SPP-250-LLPL cable and feature a maximum PIM level of -155dBc. Cables deliver a maximum operating frequency of 6GHz and a maximum VSWR of 1.25:1 up to 2GHz, and 1.35:1 up to 6GHz. They are offered with 4.3-10, 7/16 DIN, N, and 4.1-9.5 mini-DIN connector combinations, including right-angle connectors. Lightweight and flexible, cable assembles can operate in temperatures from -55°C to 125°C.
A complete redesign of the Eclipse 12-100 rotary transfer machine features a heavy casting mounted on a sturdy, welded-steel frame. At 2m in diameter, it is nearly twice as large as the traditional 12-station rotary transfer.
Semi-permanent tool spindles with standard 3-axis capability eliminate the need for multiple tool spindle sizes for different cutting processes. All-electric servo spindles and slides eliminate hydraulics, which coupled with the sturdier base, improve accuracy and repeatability.
Multi-station transfer technology enables load and unload processes on station one, and simultaneous machining on the other 11 stations.