TDM Shopfloor Manager software records a tool’s circulation, from planning for tool assembly, presetting and tool use at the machine, to disassembling. The software’s modular design supports individual configuration. Workflows are simplified with the software’s to-do lists. The operator ticks off step-by-step tasks, adding additional functions at the appropriate stages of the process.
Shopfloor Manager is integrated into the inventory management system of the TDM Tool Crib Module Global Line. With Tool Crib Module, a tool assembly can also be managed in secondary cribs near the machines.
I get it. With all of us putting on weight, our backsides are spreading, making a big vehicle with a big seat more attractive. Add better visibility from a higher seating position, the ability to carry more stuff, and that sense of safety that only comes from mass, and the trend away from cars toward sport utility vehicles (SUVs) makes sense (see Infographic, pg. 26). For automakers, it’s a fantastic trend because the profit margins on SUVs are much more favorable than cars.
However, using the most scientific language I can muster: SUVs stink. Cars are better.
They’re more fun to drive, easier to park, more economical to own, more fun to drive, better for the environment, loaded with modern safety equipment, and more fun to drive. Owning an SUV is a conscious decision to make driving miserable on a daily basis because you might need its capabilities at some point in your life.
I’ve heard the arguments – I need the extra seating for when my in-laws visit. I need the towing power because I’m going to get a boat one of these days. I need the storage space because I plan to build a new deck, and I’m going to have to haul lumber home from the hardware store.
However, unless you’re towing a boat to Home Depot to pick up your in-laws for a 17-hour trip at least once a month, those excuses don’t hold up. Every now and then, I need to move 200 lb of manure to my backyard garden, but I don’t lug a wheel barrow with me at all times, just in case.
When I need to bring home furniture, haul junk to the dump, or take the family on a luggage-filled vacation, car rental agencies can give me an awful-to-drive, fully capable land yacht. And I can happily return it a few days later. Given the lower fuel and purchase costs for my small car vs. a big SUV, I’m coming out ahead.
And did I mention that cars are more fun to drive?
When I pull off the freeway on my way home, I pull my foot off the gas and let inertia carry me around a sharp curve, reducing speed from 65mph at the start of the exit to about 25mph by the time I get to the top and tap my brakes. The maneuver works like a dream in a Chevy Cruze. Try that in a Chevy Tahoe, and you’ll make the drive-time traffic report. Throwing the back end out of a Toyota Corolla can be a fun bit of drifting. Throwing out the back end of a Toyota Land Cruiser generally ends in a trip to the hospital.
To be fair, much of the SUV growth of the past five years has come from smaller crossovers, vehicles built on car architectures, giving them some of the fuel economy and driving responsiveness of sedans. So, some people are only sacrificing part of the joy of driving in the name of increased utility.
But you can keep your SUVs and crossovers. Even with a tiny, eco-inspired engine, my manual transmission small car is more fun to drive.
HR-530 series hardness testers feature an electronic control that tests Rockwell, Rockwell Superficial, Rockwell testing of plastics (A & B), and light force Brinell hardness testing. The systems can test inside-ring wall hardness without cutting the ring. Minimum diameter is 34mm, but inner diameters (IDs) as small as 22mm can be tested using an optional 5mm diamond indenter. When testing multiple workpieces with the same height, continuous testing is possible by pressing the foot switch or the start button.
Multi-task machining (MTM) functionality was designed to address CNC programming requirements of multi-task machines, providing powerful programming tools that are easy to learn and use, giving operators flexibility and configurability. Machining processes are defined with GibbsCAM's graphical user interface for seamless access to turning and milling capabilities. GibbsCAM's associativity allows operations to be updated when modifications are made. Factory-supplied post-processors output multi-flow NC code, complete with utility operations and sync codes.
The LaserSmart 501 systems for cutting polycrystalline diamond (PCD) tools replaces multi-machine processes for creating circular chamfer or chip grooves. The laser cuts through the diamond grain smoothly, generating extremely sharp and clearly defined cutting edges that produce smoother surfaces.
A HSK63 workpiece holder and integrated standard automation process supports an array of different tool geometries that can be loaded and machined by the job manager without operator intervention. Machine designers were able to integrate a Fanuc robot without altering overall footprint.
Using 3D simulation, a tool can be visualized and machining procedures simulated before the machinery is loaded and the laser is activated.
The InnovizPro stand-alone, solid-state, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based scanning LiDAR solution offers 3D sensing at a low cost.
Its high frame rate, high angular resolution, and wide field of view enables a dense 3D point cloud. With a 150m detection range, the sensor can see with clarity at a distance. These features provide accuracy at night, in sunlight, in quickly changing weather, and when the vehicle is traveling at highway speeds.
A family of fluorinated rubber addresses static seal challenges with sealing capabilities under high temperatures and pressures, easing installation challenges and lowering costs. The rubber can be custom mixed to meet specific powertrain engineering requirements.
While formulas seal at temperatures as high as 270°C, the elasticity and flexibility of these materials is maintained, even after prolonged high temperature air exposure. Laboratory analysis shows that its chemical resistance remains uncompromised.
2018 Outlook: Rapid commercial truck growth, lower sales with better profitability in autos
Features - Cover Story
Following three years of more than 17 million light cars and trucks sold, 2018 may miss that target, but production will stay near record levels, and industry profits and investments are projected to climb.
Following seven years of constant gains, auto sales fell slightly in 2017 (see infographic, pg. 24-25). while declines were concentrated in small, fuel-efficient, inexpensive vehicles, booming sport utility vehicle (SUV), crossover, and truck sales brought in massive profit margins.
In addition, on the heavy truck side of the motor vehicle world, Class 8 trucks are expected to extend fantastic gains from the second half of 2017 into this year. ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam says freight growth is boosting profitability for fleet managers, making it much easier to justify big equipment purchases this year (see sidebar, page 17).
Predictions for 2018 are mixed. Experts offer full-year sales estimates ranging from about 16.5 million to about 17.5 million with most centering around 16.7 million – the prediction of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). The underlying factors that have kept sales higher than 17 million for the past three years – a growing economy, easy access to credit, and new features that attract new buyers – remain in place. Experts expect a plateau for the foreseeable future of flat sales at historically high levels.
NADA Chairman Mark Scarpelli says, “Every dealer in America, myself included, would be thrilled with a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of above 16 million. Because it means that, one, the market is stable, and two, that demand is still healthy. And both factors are true in this case. We are looking at a stable market where demand – particularly for light trucks, SUVs, and crossovers – continues to be very healthy.”
General Motors executives predict 2018 sales in the high 16 million range, in line with NADA’s outlook. Company chief economist Mustafa Mohatarem says in addition to increasing strength of the general economy, low unemployment is leading to wage growth, making it easier for individuals to add car payments this year. On top of that, the recently passed tax cuts could boost take-home pay for many.
“Many consumers will see their take-home pay rise because of tax reform. That will keep the broad economy growing, and help keep sales at very healthy levels even as the Fed increases interest rates,” Mohatarem says.
Interest rates, low since the recession, are rising. However, monthly car payments haven’t increased as many buyers are opting for longer-term loans – ratings agency Experian notes a 69-month average loan, an all-time record. If rates climb sharply, monthly payments could rise, even with the longer loan terms, but Mohatarem and others don’t expect dramatic increases.
Fuel-efficient automakers, companies such as Toyota and Hyundai/Kia have traditionally earned most of their sales from smaller cars. With gas prices low, consumer tastes continue to shift toward crossovers, SUVs, and trucks, so companies are radically altering their lineups. Toyota, for example, has expanded production of its RAV4 SUV and plans new Lexus crossovers for this year.
Lexus General Manager Jeff Bracken says, “In 2018, Lexus dealers will have even more options for customers as we bring 15 all-new and special edition models to the market.”
As Pierre Labat (see sidebar, page 20), vice president of global automotive for Novelis Aluminum, notes, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the vast majority of new production vehicles were SUVs and crossovers. Companies also showed off several electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, but those were mostly concept cars that won’t go into production this year.
GM’s U.S. sales chief Kurt McNeil says that the automaker has been planning for the demand shift, adding new crossovers to Buick and Cadillac and refreshing Chevrolet’s large-vehicle lineup.
“We are starting 2018 with very lean inventories for such a strong industry, and we see more room to grow because Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC will have a full year of sales of their all-new crossovers, and we are going to launch the industry’s best full-size pickups,” McNeil says.
Though sales of all-electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are expected to remain a tiny fraction of the industry in 2018 (1.1% of sales in 2017), increasing availability could lead to big sales increases. In January, Tesla Motors lowered production targets for the Model 3 EV, saying it won’t hit 5,000-vehicles-per-week targets before the end of June. But even with that miss, Tesla’s sales should more than double from the 101,312 models delivered to customers in 2017. In addition, GM’s Chevy Bolt EV hit a milestone in December with more than 3,000 sales.
Nissan plans to launch an updated Leaf EV in 2018, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid PHEV minivans will have a full year’s availability (the vehicle started shipping in April and had limited availability until the third quarter of 2017), and Toyota’s Prius Prime PHEV will enter its second full sales year with higher availability.
As the Center for Automotive Research’s Brett Smith notes, Ford sells 6.3 F-Series trucks for every EV or PHEV sold, but the growth rate of electrified vehicles is increasing, and many industry observers expect dramatic gains throughout the next several years.