Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 11

CHRIS MONTOUCHET | COLUMN BY

Ideally, the manufacturer or shipper will find that a multi-purpose
machine capable of utilizing proper
tools programmed to cut all types of

radii, always staying tangent to the line
it cuts. An oscillating knife is a tool capable of cutting 70 mm-thick foam.
Certain multi-purpose CNC machines are ideal for small runs production and prototyping. One example where this benefit comes into
play is a custom case for high-value
and very expensive field instruments.
The foam in the case must be cut and
shaped to the specificity required for
the newly created case. Another prototyping example occurs with touring
musician groups. Expensive amplifiers and consoles have to be packaged
very carefully due to the intense and
sometimes stress-filled moves from
city to city. Multi-purpose routers
with tangential and oscillating knives
can help assure that foam packaging
of costly musical instruments, lights
and props will be able to handle the
pounding of months of road travel,
set-up and performance.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 manufacturing-today.com

11

S U P P LY C H A I N

The Need for Multipurpose Machines

foam including the PE variety will
resolve the challenge. These include
CNC tables with either a dual or a triple-Z axis. With a multi-purpose machine, the CNC table is configured
with a routing spindle and one or two
different knives. In the triple-Z configuration, the machine has the potential to also cut and crease corrugated cardboard. A combination of a
specific spindle (either quick-release
or collet) along with an oscillating or
tangential knife will facilitate cutting of various types of foam including closed or open cell PE.
The tangential knife is designed for
heavier, thicker and harder materials
than a traditional drag knife. When the
CNC table is programmed accordingly, the knife blade follows plot lines of
shape by rotating the blade in increments to match the path. The configuration will enable the tangential knife
to produce straight cut corners or true

B UY AMERICAN

unacceptable results in terms of product security and appearance. With the
latter, the foam will appear as though
it has been shoved into the package,
which will be obvious when the shipment is opened. Simply put, it sends
the wrong message to the customer,
which the manufacturer or supplier
can ill afford.
None of this should surprise companies that deal with both types of foam
on a regular basis, yet some continue
to engage in what is basically a flawed
process. Their tools are inadequate
for cutting a specific type of foam and
their router can only address a small
portion of their concerns.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017

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Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 1
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - 3
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Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover3
Manufacturing Today - November/December 2017 - Cover4
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