Posted by: Mark Albert 28. August 2015

Important MTConnect Deadlines Announced

The [MC]2 Conference focuses on MTConnect as a pathway to advanced, data-driven manufacturing. The Student Challenge was announced at this event last April.

Students and speakers interested in promoting the MTConnect manufacturing interoperability standard have two new dates to observe. Students now have more time to enter the first portion of the Student Challenge announced at the [MC]2 Conference last April in Chicago. Speakers interested in presenting at next year’s [MC]2 Conference have until October 16, 2015 to submit proposals for the first round of consideration. Dates for this conference are April 19-21, 2016.

For Students: The MTConnect Institute has extended the deadline for the Idea Creation portion of its MTConnect Student Challenge to December 15, 2015. In addition to allowing students more time to develop and submit their ideas, this nearly three-month extension also allows for more overall entries into the competition. Click here for rules and submission guidelines for the Idea Creation contest.

For the Idea Creation competition, students are required to interview manufacturers to identify their challenges, describe potential solutions to that challenge and create a conceptual mockup for a solution. The prizes for this competition are $5,000 for first place, $2,500 for second place and three $1,000 prizes for runners up. Winners will be announced February 5, 2016.

Suggestion: Manufacturers with connections at local community colleges, engineering schools, colleges or universities should consider reaching out to these institutions to encourage participation in this contest.

The second portion of the Student Challenge, Application Development, has an unchanged submission deadline of January 31, 2016. Winners of this portion of the challenge will be announced at the [MC]2 Conference in Dallas, Texas, April 20, 2016.

For Speakers: AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology and MTConnect Institute have issued a call for speakers to present at the 2016 [MC]2 Conference. Proposals should be submitted by October 16, 2015, for the first round of consideration. Submission details are here.

Conference organizers are seeking experts to present on the following topics:

  • Digital Factory, Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0
  • Big Data and analytics
  • Industrial automation
  • Cyberphysical security
  • Workforce and talent development.

Information about the proposed presentation must include title, target audience, top three takeaways from the presentation and an abstract. 

Suggestion: Because real-world case studies and end user stories are particularly valuable to conference attendees, manufacturers that have successfully implemented an MTConnect-enabled application should consider a presentation. These presentation proposals will be especially welcome.   

Posted by: Emily Probst 27. August 2015

Seven World Premieres Highlighted at Innovation Days Event in Japan

More than 8,900 people visited DMG MORI's newly remodeled Iga Solution Center
during "Innovation Days" in Japan.

During DMG MORI's “Innovation Days” event July 22-25 in Japan, the company showcased 58 machine tools in its newly renovated Iga Global Solution Center, which boasts 3,500 m2 (37,674 ft.2) of floor space. I, along with other members of the international press, got the chance to visit the spacious new addition, which also houses "Excellence Centers" for automotive, aerospace, die and mold, and medical—four industries in which the company expects continuous growth. The DMG MORI Porsche car is also on display.

During the event, Dr. Thorsten Schmidt, deputy chairman of the executive board, commented on the high stability of machine tool consumption this year. He says that machine tool consumption in the United States is up 6.9 percent, with Japan seeing an 8.1 percent increase, and a worldwide consumption increase of 3.3 percent. Dr. Masahiko Mori, president of DMG MORI, outlined the company’s product offering plans for the future. By 2020, he says DMG MORI wants to reduce its product models from 300 to 150, and provide a wider range of solutions with extensive applications. The company’s goal is to achieve the capacity to produce 18,000 machines a year.

Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Mori spoke to the international press.

Seven machine tools were introduced during the event, one of which was the Lasertec 4300 3D. Perhaps the most fascinating machine for me to see in person, the Lasertec integrates additive manufacturing into a turning/milling machine. The machine uses a directed energy deposition process by means of a powder nozzle, which is said to be 20 times faster in deposition than a powder bed. And as many as five deposition heads can be automatically parked in a secure docking station while turn/mill operations are being performed. The deposition heads can be prepared for ID deposition, OD deposition, large diameters of deposition, or small, heat-treating, surface-hardening, or welding.

According to Rory Dudas of DMG MORI, “Additive is where the future is going.” The fact that the technology can be used to produce complex parts with exotic materials—and it can be used in combination with traditional subtractive machining methods on the same platform means the technology is no longer restricted to the production of prototypes and small parts. Prior solutions were restricted to the build of a single alloy, while the new method enables the machine to use multiple materials—via laminations or gradual transitions from one alloy to another.

According to Dr. Mori, the company is currently selling one additive machine per month, but his goal is to raise that number to five or six.

Other machines that made their world premieres at the event include:

  • The NLX 300 | 300. This high-rigidity, high-precision CNC lathe features 3,000 mm between centers. It is well-suited for machining workpieces ranging to 3,123 mm long and 430 mm in diameter.
  • The A-18S (DMG MORI Wasino). This high-precision, compact, multi-processing turning center is equipped with a Y-axis turret and milling functions. It features 18 tool stations—the largest number in its class.
  • The G-07 (DMG MORI Wasino). The super-high-precision lathe reduces cycle times due to its gantry-type tool post. The gang-type lathe is said to achieve high accuracy in finishing, hard turning and high added-value machining.
  • The ecoMill 600 V, ecoMill 800 V and ecoMill 1100 V. The newly designed ecoMill V series of vertical machining centers features 6 micron accuracy (without direct scales) due to direct coupling in the X and Y axes. The series does not include a belt drive, which eliminates backlash. To increase productivity, the machines feature a 12,000-rpm spindle speed, 119 Nm of torque and 560 mm of stroke in the Y axis.

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 26. August 2015

Additive Manufacturing Conference Speaker: Jason Jones

Jason Jones of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies accepted the International Additive Manufacturing Award for his company’s additive manufacturing head, which brings metal-layering capability to a standard CNC machine tool.

Jason Jones, cofounder of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies, will be one of the speakers at the upcoming Additive Manufacturing Conference. His company won the first-ever International Additive Manufacturing Award for its development of a hybrid manufacturing head—read more about it here. The conference—October 20-21 in Knoxville, Tennessee—focuses on industrial applications of additive manufacturing. Learn more and register to attend at

And speaking of additive … our Additive Manufacturing brand is about to grow. Soon, we will launch a new website devoted to additive manufacturing for industrial applicatons, and we will expand the publication that began as a small supplement into a full-size magazine. All of this will happen later this year. For now, stay apprised of these and other additive developments (and also give us a little encouragement) by joining us as one of the earliest followers of Additive Manufacturing on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 25. August 2015

Growth in Robotics Good for U.S. Manufacturing

Assembled and tested, Fanuc robots await shipment to a variety of facilities found around the world, including manufacturing plants located in the United States. 

Good news for American manufacturing comes from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), which reports that the North American robotics market experienced its fastest start ever in 2015. A record 14,232 robots valued at $840 million were ordered from North American robotics companies in the first half of the year, representing an increase of 1 percent in units and 7 percent in revenue over the same period in 2014, which held the previous record.

Much of this growth has occurred in industrial segments including coating/dispensing (36 percent) and material handling (27 percent). RIA estimates that some 232,000 robots are now at use in the United States, making it second only to Japan in robot use. This continues a trend reported here by the Boston Consulting Group.


Posted by: Peter Zelinski 24. August 2015

The Machinist Garden

Back when I visited East Coast Precision Manufacturing, one of the details I noted was the green wall. Company co-owner Nancy Rohlfs recently wrote me to describe another kind of green the company is experiencing—the staff’s green thumb. The shop now has a company-funded and employee-maintained vegetable garden on site. Here is Ms. Rohlf’s report:

Now in its second year, the garden has proved to be a great way for all who work at our shop to enjoy fresh produce during their lunch break, and to take some of the veggies they grow with them at the end of the work day to enjoy at home. “Two of our employees, Heather Temple and John Wright, have taken the lead on this initiative,” says East Coast President Mark Rohlfs. “I appreciate what they’re doing, and I was glad to encourage this healthy project when it first came together and to continue to support it at our shop.”

In 2013, several employees noted that the hillside behind the shop was covered in raspberry bushes, and they got permission from Mark to pick a bunch of berries. “We picked several quarts,” says Heather Temple. The next day, another colleague brought in home-baked angel food cake, which the staff shared and enjoyed with the fresh raspberries and engaged in a conversation about fresh fruits and veggies and gardening tips. The on-site gardening idea was born.

The first garden at the shop, tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash, was planted in 2014 on three raised beds and a flat growing area on a plot of land next to the shop. Mark, John Wright and a few others installed soaker hoses and established a timer system to regulate watering. John and Heather are paid for the time they put in, planting, weeding and making sure the crops are pest-free. “Our approach is as close to being organic as possible,” Heather explains. “Most of the seeds we use are organic, and we use fish emulsion as fertilizer.”

This year, in the early spring, Heather brought in seed catalogs, which she put on the conference table in the shop. “People read through them and cast their votes for what they’d like to have.” The result was a diverse selection for the 2015 East Coast Precision garden:  spinach; lettuce; tomatoes; kale; Brussels sprouts; squash; cucumbers; string beans; red peppers; basil; carrots; beets; and cantaloupe. “We are also trying watermelon,” says John Wright. “While Connecticut isn’t an ideal watermelon-growing climate, it can do OK here, under the right conditions.” The most popular crop? “It’s definitely the lettuce, which everyone likes to put on their sandwiches at lunch time,” says Wright. As the produce is picked, it is placed on a window shelf.

Though Wright is a long-time gardener and Heather Temple comes from a family of Pennsylvania farmers, other employees have also offered helpful insights on good-growing and garden-management approaches. “The garden has proved to be a great conversation builder,” says Mark Rohlfs. “It’s good for the folks who work here, and is proving to be a positive initiative for the company to keep doing, each growing season, moving forward.”

Read about East Coast Precision Manufacturing’s approach to micromachining in this article.

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