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Posted by: Mark Albert 14. November 2014

The Genetic Code for Manufacturing Success

JIMTOF is a “big sight” at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibit and conference center. There is always a lot of great new technology to see at this show.

The theme for the Japan International Machine Tool Fair (JIMTOF) 2014 was “Monozukuri DNA.” Translated, this means that craftsmanship along with the latest technology are the best predictors that a manufacturing company will have the traits to succeed in a competitive environment. This slideshow presents a sample of the technology offered at Japan’s biggest and most important machine tool show. 


Posted by: Peter Zelinski 13. November 2014

Additive Manufacturing Award Website Now Live

AMT—the Association for Manufacturing Technology—and VDW, the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association, recently announced the launch of the International Additive Manufacturing Award (IAMA) competition. Rules, submission guidelines and additional details about the competition can now be found at the new IAMA website.

The award recognizes innovations in additive manufacturing for industrial applications. Equipment providers, users, component suppliers, data modelers and members of academia all qualify to enter. The winner will receive a $20,000 cash prize and a marketing and promotional package worth $80,000. Modern Machine Shop publisher Gardner Business Media is one of the media partners for this award, which will be presented at the MFG Meeting in March in Orlando, Florida.

Applications are being accepted through December 31. Visit additive-award.com for more information.


Posted by: Derek Korn 12. November 2014

Two Applications for Entry-Level Presetters

Entry-level tool presetters, such as Parlec’s Origin line of bench-mounted devices offers an affordable way for small shops to integrate tool presetting into their process. They are designed to provide basic video tool measuring and inspection functionality at an economical price.

But larger operations that are already leveraging tool presetting can also benefit by deploying multiple presetters throughout their facilities. This can reduce the amount of travel for machine tool setup personnel and eliminate time wasted waiting for a presetter to become available.

Parlec showed its Origin line at IMTS. These presetters provide 20-inch measuring height, 10-inch measuring diameter, 0.001-mm fine adjustment, 70× video measuring and a rapid quick-positioning handle with electronic braking. 


Posted by: Emily Probst 11. November 2014

Here’s Just One Way to Thank a Veteran

Have you heard of Workshops for Warriors? The concept of this nonprofit organization based out of San Diego, California, is that veterans could provide an answer to manufacturing’s need for skilled employees. According to the organization, there is a severe shortage of skilled labor in the welding and fabricating industries and veterans are a perfect fit for these jobs. That’s why it provides machining and welding training to recently discharged veterans and Wounded Warriors.

MMS Editor Pete Zelinski had the privilege of visiting the facility a little more than a year ago and was impressed by what he found. Training is provided at no cost to veterans, and the organization boasts a 100 percent job placement rate for graduates. This Veterans Day, learn why this organization deserves your attention and support.


Posted by: Steve Kline, Jr. 10. November 2014

October 2014 MBI Shows Rate of Expansion Picking Up

With a reading of 51.2, the Gardner Business Index showed that the metalworking industry grew for the 10th consecutive month and the 12th time in 13 months. October’s rate of expansion was slightly faster than last month. The month-over-month rate of growth was just 1.0 percent, which was the slowest rate of growth since August 2013. The annual rate of growth decelerated for the first time since it began growing in March.

Both new orders and production increased for the 13th month in a row. In both cases, the rate of expansion was significantly faster than the previous month. The accelerating contraction in backlogs took a pause in October as backlogs contracted at a slightly slower rate than they did in September. Compared to the same month one year ago, backlogs contracted for the first time since August 2013. While it was still growing quickly, the annual rate of growth has decelerated for two months in a row. This indicates that capacity utilization will likely see its peak rate of growth in the second quarter of 2015. Given the trend in backlogs, it is still likely that capacity utilization will average more than 80 percent in 2015. Employment continued to expand but the rate of hiring has slowed compared to the first half of the year. The rate of contraction in exports continued to accelerate as the dollar continues to appreciate against other world currencies. Supplier deliveries continued to lengthen but the rate of increase has slowed the last two months.

Material prices have increased at a slower rate since June. Material prices were increasing at a rate similar to the first four months of the year. Prices received have increased the last six months. This is the strongest period of sustained price increases by metalworking facilities since the summer of 2012. Future business expectations took their biggest hit since December 2012 and were at their lowest level since October 2013.

Plants with more than 100 employees continued to grow but they did so at their slowest rate of 2014. Facilities with 20-99 employees saw significantly better business conditions in October. Once again they were growing at a rate similar to that of the largest facilities. Shops with fewer than 20 employees contracted for the fifth month in a row and the eighth time in 2014.

For the fourth month in a row, the South Central region was the fastest growing region by a fairly wide margin. Its index has been above 60.0 two of the last three months. The North Central - East and Northeast regions also expanded. The North Central – West, West, and Southeast regions contracted after growing for a number of months.

Future capital spending plans contracted 13.5 percent compared to last October. This was the fastest month-over-month contraction since February 2014. The annual rate of growth decelerated to 4.2 percent, which was the first time it decelerated since it began growing in April.

For more manufacturing economic news, visit Gardner's Economics News Blog.


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