IMTS 2018 Expansion

International Manufacturing Technology Show

IMTS 2018 is right around the corner and we know many of our customers are debating whether to make the trip or not, so we thought we’d share some interesting information about the upcoming IMTS show.  At this point it’s expected to have the largest number of vendors ever, topping the previous record from 2016 which had 2,407 companies exhibiting.  This means you can literally learn about any manufacturing technology or industry that interests you.  There will be more than 15,000 machine tools on-hand!

One of the new items this year is the expansion onto level 2 of the East Building.  In this area you’ll find Machine Components/Cleaning/Environmental Pavilion as well as Controls & CAD-CAM Pavilion Annex.  It will feature 340 exhibitors from all over the world who are focused on safe, efficient and environmentally responsible operation and monitoring of machines and facilities.  This will also be the primary area to learn more about tools that are leading the way in the advancements of the digital era of manufacturing through Smart Manufacturing and the Industrial Internet of Things.

Another new addition this year are the conferences that will be co-located in various areas of the show.  While there have been other IMTS conferences in the past, this year there will be 7 different conferences covering a range of topics:

  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Applied AM-EOS Additive Day
  • Global Automation Manufacturing Summit
  • Integrated Industries
  • Industrial Laser Conference
  • Top Shops Workshop

This year’s IMTS will also feature 2 Emerging Technology Centers.  Typically there has been just one, located in the North Building, but this year a second one is being added in the West Building.  This additional technology center will be focused on the latest in 3D technologies and trends.  The other will have a focus this year on digital manufacturing technologies.

Finally, the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion in the West Building is being expanded as well to reflect the continued growth in the industry for companies designing additive machines, creating innovative processes and materials for this industry and leading the way with new solutions.

With visitors coming from over 117 countries IMTS truly is a melting pot of ideas for the manufacturing industry.  It’s the best way to learn about what’s coming, solve problems currently existing and meet with others to collaborate on growth plans for the future.  Be sure to visit Brooks Associates in our various supplier’s booths such as OMAX, Sodick and Hurco.

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CYLASER Fiber Laser Cutting Technology


CYLASER, a product Brooks Associates is proud to distribute, has been revolutionizing the solid-state fiber laser cutting industry since 2004 with substantial simplification of the source architecture, the lowest power consumption, low operating and capital costs, all while maintaining high levels of efficiency and controllability.

Fiber optic lasers offer the unique ability to cover a wide range of materials and applications and CYLASER is taking that to new levels.  Not only was CYLASER the first to use solid-state generated fiber optic lasers in traditional stand-alone laser cutting systems, but they were also the first company to apply fiber laser cutting technology to the sheet metal industry and they continue to open new doors in a variety of other materials.

Every single part of the CYLASER machine was designed and manufactured in-house to guarantee maximum efficiency and precision, but even the best in technology requires maintenance.  CYLASER prides itself on providing our customers with the best service and support in the industry.  Whether your machine is under warranty or not you’ll still receive the same response level.  If your machine is down we guarantee immediate phone and internet Team Viewer support as well as next day on-site visits for calls placed before noon EST.

CYLASER has always been focused on the future with an intent to anticipate the coming needs of the industry and be prepared with solutions before the problem has even been voiced.  With hundreds of installations completed throughout the world, CYLASER is a name that can be trusted.  As an industry leader CYLASER integrates not only fiber laser cutting and welding but full automation and part handling capabilities as well to deliver the best in productivity.  CYLASER’s goal has always been, “to deliver a robust, precise, efficient, and highly productive laser cutting system” and they’ve far exceeded that goal.

CYLASER has had hundreds of installations throughout the word with many in the US and Canada.  They are uniquely focused only on the building and perfecting of fiber laser cutting machines. They offer a wide range of products including: 2D laser machines, 2D laser machines with tube processing capabilities, tube laser machines that are fully automatic with 21 axis and both 5” and 9” diameter capacity, and 3D laser cutting machines in 5, 6, and 7 axis.  The 2D laser systems are available in both side load and end load and come in sizes from 4’ x 8’ all the way up to 40’ long.

The team at Brooks Associates is excited about the future of CYLASER and ready to help companies throughout the New England area get started utilizing the power of this technology.  Give us a call today to learn more and see if CYLASER equipment is right for your shop.

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Benefits to Trading In Old Equipment


It may seem as though once you’ve purchased a piece of equipment you’ll never have to think about buying that again, but there are some significant advantages to upgrading old machinery.  Many OEM’s offer trade-in programs to allow customers to get rid of an older machine and replace it with the most current technology – OMAX and Sodick to name just a couple.  Many shop owners wonder if it’s really worth the money to simply replace one EDM with another or one waterjet with another, but hundreds of customers have weighed the costs vs benefits and have made the change.

One of the benefits of an upgrade is having the latest technology.  Think how fast technology is changing these days.  The cell phone you bought 10 years ago looks nothing like the one you can buy today, and the machine tool industry is advancing just as rapidly.  Your old machine’s control and software platform could be costing you a significant amount of money.  Consider an OMAX waterjet for example.  The latest software takes into account years of research on how the jet stream performs in specific materials.  So rather than a generic algorithm that slows the jet down 1” before every corner to allow for the bottom of the stream to catch up, the current software adjusts the ramping down to begin at the exact moment it’s necessary based on the specific material and thickness currently being cut.  This may not sound like much but in a large run it could result in hours less cutting time and hundreds of dollars saved.  Not to mention that the faster one job gets off, the sooner the next one can get started.

Another benefit to upgrading is new hardware.  New hardware can result in less down time as well as a reduced cost for replacement parts.  Many components are now made from a longer-lasting material, are able to hold tolerance longer, reduce energy costs, etc.  All of this will lead to better parts coming off the machine with improvements in surface finish and accuracy, but also fewer hours spent on repairs and replacement of consumables.

used omax

Why would an OEM want your old machine?  There are a few reasons for a manufacturer to have interest in your older machine.  In many cases they can refurbish that machine to have some of the features of a new machine and then offer it to customers who are unable to afford a fully new unit.  It will often come with a more limited warranty, and limited service and support, but can be a great fit for places such as educational institutions where funding is extremely limited.  Second it allows the manufacturer to get older systems out of the field all together.  In some cases this keeps them from having to stock parts that may only be used on a handful of machine, and in other situations it provides a benefit by not requiring their service technicians to be trained to work on the earliest generations of their equipment.

The demand for your used machine has never been higher, and OEM’s are offering top dollar. Consider trading-up to the best in current technology to keep your shop running at peak performance and maximum efficiency.  Contact Brooks Associates to get a quote on the value of your trade-in as well as the specific benefits you would see in a new unit.


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Waterjet Cutting Compared to Other Industries

waterjet comparedOne of the most common questions we get at tradeshows or during waterjet demonstrations is, “Where does the waterjet fit with the other machine tools in my shop? How does it compare?” This is a great question to consider when trying to  determine the ROI for an investment in an abrasive waterjet.  Certainly you don’t want to add another tool that will simply do something you’ve already got covered. So where will the waterjet be able to take you that you haven’t already been?

First, let’s look at material limitations.  An abrasive waterjet will cut virtually any material except for really hard ceramics.  Compare this to a wire EDM which only works with conductive materials, a laser which can only cut non-reflective metals, a plasma which is generally only for metal cutting, milling which is not ideal for large parts in any material, or a punch press which does not do well with brittle or hardened materials.  The abrasive waterjet is most certainly the most diverse machine you’ll ever own.

What about material thickness?  A waterjet can handle material up to 12” thick, depending on the material type and your patience to wait for what could be a long cutting process.  And for other machine tools?  A wire EDM can handle 12” thick material as well, but a laser is usually less than 0.25”, a plasma less than 1.25”, punch press is thin sheets only, and milling is unique in that it can work on 3D parts.

Let’s consider speed and accuracy.  A waterjet has an average accuracy capability of 0.003” compared to an EDM which is .0001”, a laser at .001”, a plasma .030 – .060” and milling at .0003”.  Accuracy requirements for a job could necessitate the machine tool type but if the accuracy requirements aren’t as tight, the speed of the waterjet would win out over the wire EDM.  A waterjet is 5-10 times faster than a wire EDM for materials under 1” thick.  For the other machines – laser, plasma, and punching – they are going to be faster than the waterjet but only in very specific, thin materials.

The set-up of the waterjet is fast and easy, much more so than the set-up for milling or punching.  Unlike the laser or plasma (and even some wire EDM operations) the abrasive waterjet creates no heat affected zone.  In addition, there is no material distortion from cutting with a waterjet which is a possible issue for the laser, plasma and punch.  The edge quality off of a waterjet is considered to be good but not excellent.  The best edge quality will come from a wire EDM, milling or laser cutting with the worst edge quality being that of the plasma or punch press.

Brooks Associates is a proud  distributor of OMAX and MAXIEM abrasive waterjets, some of the highest quality systems available in the industry, but we also represent machine tools in nearly every other industry as well.  This puts us in the unique position of being able to hear your unique application and make a truly unbiased recommendation for the best machine to get the job done.  Contact Brooks and we’ll be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs.

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Benefits of Preventative Maintenance for CNC Machinery


It’s commonly understood that preventative maintenance is important for industrial machinery, but it’s more than just “important” it’s critical.  When you see it in terms of money saved and customers retained it might just change how you prioritize getting it done.

The machinery on your shop floor required a massive amount of capital investment and each purchase was made with a purpose.  Your business had a need big enough to justify the expense.  That same need will make itself abundantly clear if, or when, that piece of machinery goes down.  In short order, that customer that’s been happy for years will be breathing down your neck if a critical machine goes down.  Many times it can be as simple as keeping up with routine maintenance to avoid these situations.

You may feel like you can’t afford the downtime of taking a machine out for maintenance but did you know an unexpected shut down often results in 2-3X as much downtime?  Unplanned problems mean waiting for parts to be ordered and delivered and technicians to be scheduled and arrive.  A planned preventative maintenance can get parts ordered ahead of time and minimize lost time spent waiting.  Not to mention it avoids losing customers due to unplanned downtime.  Customers don’t want to hear that you’re going to miss delivery because your machine went down unexpectedly.  The cost of just one lost customer could more than cover your preventative maintenance.

A complete and catastrophic breakdown is your worst nightmare.  The cost of adding man power to replace a machine or sending all of that work elsewhere is enormous.  Most major failures have warning signs which can be detected during preventative maintenance. If you find even just one problem early and prevent complete shut-down it’ll pay for your preventative maintenance costs for years.

Running at maximum efficiency is always the goal.  In order to do that it’s important to utilize the latest software upgrades from the OEM, the latest design for consumable parts, and the most current materials for internal components. During routine maintenance is the perfect time to make these changes.  While you may lose some money during the downtime, in the end you’ll gain that back and then some with increased efficiencies.  In addition, inefficient machines, those not operating at optimum capacity, will consume more electricity and further eat into profits.  Regular maintenance can eliminate energy inefficiencies.

Finally, many insurance companies offer premium reductions for companies that keep well maintained machinery.  Contact your provider to see what discounts you might qualify for and apply that to the bottom line cost of preventative maintenance to see even further benefits.


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Hurco Modernizes Old Press Brakes


When you think of Hurco you likely think of machining and turning centers, but did you know they offer a top-of-the-line series of press brake backgauges and controls as well?  The Autobend series has something for everyone with the capability to handle 8’ gauge bar all of the way up to 14’ gauge bar.  These systems are available in both 2-axis and 3-axis.  All of the Autobend backgauge systems have been specifically designed to reduce run time and minimize material handling time, while simultaneously increasing production capacity.

Of course everything from Hurco includes their control system designed to be both user-friendly and incredibly powerful.  The Autobend 7 or Autobend 6 control comes standard with the various backgauge set-ups, to operate your press brake at the highest efficiency.  The Autobend control is so popular that Hurco offers it independently as a retrofit option for customers looking to improve productivity on their existing press brake system.  This is definitely the most economical way to modernize your older unit and give it new life.

Looking to go even further?  The 3-axis system can reduce set-up time by more than 40% over the 2-axis system.  Whether your application requires an up-acting or a down-acting press brake, Hurco has the unit for you.

The S Series Autobend Backgauge (S6, S7, and S8) utilizes a heavy duty cross-ribbed cast aluminum frame providing customers both strength and durability.  In addition, the S Series provides rigid automatic press brake rear gauges to ensure speed, accuracy and repeatability.  This line is designed to adapt to press brakes ranging from 3’ to 16’, offers easy horizontal and vertical adjustments, and includes gauge speeds up to 800 ipm and gauge travel up to 24”.

The Autobend R-Axis Backgauge comes standard with automatic gauge bar height adjustment to different die heights, with no manual adjustments necessary, further reducing set-up time.  The R-Axis is programmable for large radius bends which leads to better accuracy compared with gauging against a radius.

Finally the LP11 and LP22 are industry best low profile, automatic press brake rear gauges designed to deliver speed, accuracy and reliability.  They use an aluminum extrusion design for the dual linear rails which provides strength and controls accuracy.  These units are also adaptable to existing press brakes ranging from 3’ to 16’ (depending on the model). Just like the S Series, the LP11 and LP22 have gauge speeds up to 800 ipm and gauge travel up to 24” as well as simple horizontal and vertical adjustments.

Give Brooks Associates a call to learn more about all that Hurco has to offer.  It’s so much more than just what you’ve heard, Hurco is leading the way in many areas of the machine tool industry.  As customer’s have needs, Hurco has engineering solutions.

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The Power of Yama Seiki’s GA2800

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Like all of the GA series horizontal turning centers, the GA2800 is designed to handle heavy-duty turning applications, such as the one pictured here, while maintaining the highest accuracy.  This part is 10” in diameter and made of 4150 steel – not a problem for the GA2800. While every shop needs a machine that can deliver on accuracy and reliability, those with a Yama Seiki machine also get the fastest cycle times possible.  This system is known world-wide for its incredible ability to hold tolerance at maximum speeds.

Some key features of the GA Series include:

  • Extra-large Z-axis servo motors which provide the additional thrust necessary to drill big diameter holes with maximum efficiency.
  • Powerful high-torque spindles capable of supplying up to 4x the torque output of standard spindles
  • Heavy-duty roller bearings that are used to support the spindles. Axes guide ways are made of super-rigid one-piece box ways.  These ensure the long lasting durability of the GA-2800.

There are many customer benefits of the GA-2000 series systems.  The GA-2000C is incredibly compact allowing for multiple machines to fit into a tight space and allow for more efficient use of operator time.  Many New England shops are tight on space so this can be critical for the ability to increase revenue without relocating.

The GA-2000 machines also include a 30° slant wedge bed, which has been designed to provide smoother chip disposal and increased operator comfort without losing system rigidity.  In addition, the GA series systems feature a standard programmable base and quill tailstock.  The base and quill can be operated using the quill-jog function to allow the operator to make slow, small movements forward while inserting the center into the center hole.  The base and quill can also be operated in auto mode which is completely controlled by M-codes with manually adjustable thrust pressure.

The engineers at Yama Seiki understand that there are countless applications for these systems and thus offer 26 models in the GA series to ensure machine capacity both big and small, as well as live tooling features to provide the maximum in flexibility.  There’s truly a machine for every shop’s needs.  Contact Brooks Associates today to schedule a demo or learn more about how the addition of Yama Seiki’s powerful horizontal turning center could take your business in a new direction.

Posted in Advanced Manufacturing, Machine Tools, Machining Applications, Manufacturing, robotic, Turning Center, Yama Seiki | Tagged , , | Leave a comment