Posted by: Stephanie Monsanty 5. March 2015

Product Slideshow: Machining Centers

Each month Modern Machine Shop focuses on a specific type or category of manufacturing equipment in the Modern Equipment Review Spotlight section. The March 2015 issue highlights machining centers ranging from compact five-axis VMCs to large HMCs designed to accommodate aerospace parts. Click the photo above for a slideshow featuring these machines and more, and check the print or digital edition of the magazine for the equipment spotlight in each issue. 

Posted by: Emily Probst 5. March 2015

March 2015 Digital Edition Now Available

The digital edition of Modern Machine Shop's March 2015 issue is now available.

The digital March 2015 issue of Modern Machine Shop is now available. The cover story discusses the evolution of micromachining and some lessons one shop in particular has learned along the way. Other stories discuss how advances in wire EDM technology have made it acceptable for machining critical aerospace parts, how a job shop relying on homegrown talent was able to win aerospace and defense work while expanding its five-axis capabilities, and how additive manufacturing already plays a major role in aircraft production.

Our Rapid Traverse section takes an in-depth look at spindle housings and motors, an automotive cylinder coating for high-production applications, and a multi-axis workholding system that uses a three-side dovetail.

This month’s Better Production section explores how a shopfloor CMM reduces production bottlenecks, how in-house CNCs helped an automotive shop gain manufacturing control, and how one shop used CAM software as the key to its continuous improvement efforts.

The Modern Equipment Review section highlights machining centers.

Posted by: Derek Korn 4. March 2015

One More Problem?

I recently sat in on a roundtable discussion hosted by Gosiger that drew a handful of shop owners/managers in the Cincinnati/Dayton, Ohio area. The first question asked by Norm Vallone, president of MessageWorks who led the discussion on behalf of Gosiger, related to the prime challenges those shop principals faced. Not surprisingly, many pointed to the difficulty finding/growing good employees.

I wonder if this a problem that will be exacerbated because a growing number of young people don’t seem to be mechanically inclined or handy in general. Read this and consider commenting with your thoughts.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 3. March 2015

Strong Growth Projected for Industrial Robots

Lower costs and increased ease of use will spur significant growth in industrial robotics over the next decade, according to a study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the global management consulting firm and business strategy advisor. Forecasts indicate that the transportation equipment, computers and electronics, electrical equipment and machinery industries are expected to account for around 75 percent of advanced robotics installations through 2025. By then, robots should be able to handle 30 to 40 percent of automatable tasks in these industries. The biggest gains in labor savings will occur in nations that are at the forefront of deploying industrial robots, such as South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Germany, the study says. When adjusted for normal inflationary increases and other productivity measures, manufacturing labor costs in 2025 are projected to be 18 to 33 percent lower in these economies when advanced robots are factored in. 

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 2. March 2015

Reasons for In-Sourcing Machining

Having twin-spindle/twin turret lathe technology in-house lets Comp Cams produce billet racing camshafts more quickly than when it outsourced camshaft machining.

Effort Foundry used to send castings away for machining, but the company recently invested to create a new, in-house CNC machine shop. Quality control was a big part of the reason for taking ownership of this operation. See the link below for more detail.

This is just one of the potential benefits of retaining control of machining. The reasons why companies have brought or kept machining in-house includes all of the following:

  1. Quality control. Example: Effort Foundry.
  2. Potential to scale up for increasing demand. Example: Ergoseal.
  3. Manufacturing efficiency that comes from knowing the product very well. Example: Reid Machine.
  4. Inventory control. Example: E.F. Bavis.
  5. Fast introduction of new designs. Example: Comp Cams.

Of course, to bring machining in-house, a company needs staff to do the machining. Finding the strategy to develop this staff might be the reason machining returns. PEP Lacey is an example of this. 

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