MMS Blog

The presidents of three Top Shop manufacturing companies explain why benchmarking their businesses is important. Herb Homeyer of Homeyer Precision Manufacturing says benchmarking is an important tool that "shows how well or how bad you are doing." Matt Wardle of JD Machine says it pinpoints what to work on in order to emulate other top shops. Mark Vaughn of Vaughn Manufacturing says it helps him look across the landscape of his business to find metrics for evaluating his operations in comparison to those of his peers.

The Top Shops conference, which runs September 5-7 in Indianapolis, will present ideas and technologies that have put shops similar to yours at the top. Attendees will learn not only how their operations measure up, but also how to make their operations measure up with those at the top. Learn more about the event and its speakers, and be sure to register for the Top Shops Conference. For more Top Shops information, visit our Top Shops Zone.

Taking place October 10-12 in Knoxville, Tennessee, this year’s Additive Manufacturing Conference highlights not just additive manufacturing (AM) technology, but also the systems, processes and strategies that make it viable. Technical sessions will address design, materials, equipment and applications for industrial AM, as well as supporting technologies ranging from process control to hybrid CNC machining.

Speakers represent OEMS, AM job shops, machinery suppliers and research organizations. Specific presentation topics include:

I was recently talking with an engineer working in the oil and energy sector. Back in the 1990s, he was working for a machine tool manufacturer as part of a small team in charge of purchasing capital goods. Their task? Decide whether to replace or rebuild a large CNC horizontal turret lathe (HTL). To offer a purchase proposal, the team needed to compare between the options, which entailed comparing between the specs of comparable machines from various manufacturers. As a matter of course for working at a machine-tool OEM, he had a database of machine specs from international machine builders already available.

“As a young engineer, it was an asset to me to be able to quickly see what other manufacturers made,” he says. (I am leaving him unidentified, since he spoke to me off the record.) After looking up comparable machine specs, the team ultimately decided they’d be better off rebuilding the lathe.

Manufacturing News of Note: August 2017

Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. (Vernon Hills, Illinois) has extended its service hours to provide customers with 24/7 technical support. These extended hours will be available through U.S. phone support for CNC machines and robots. The extended service hours are intended for emergencies that could result in costly downtime.

“Providing technical support beyond our normal operating hours allows us to respond quickly to unexpected breakdowns that occur during second- or third-shift operations, or even on weekends or holidays,” says Bryan Henderson, national service manager. “Our customers are under increasing competitive pressures to run their operations 24/7. We want to accommodate them during after-hours emergency situations, thus limiting the delays that can result from these unexpected breakdowns.”

Case Study: Manufacturing the Tools for Tattoos

When most people think of tattoos, they picture the designs permanently inked on someone’s body. Many of these are beautiful and intricate works of art created by a talented and gifted artist. But tattoo artist Dan Kubin has added another layer to his creativity; he designs and develops the machines used to apply tattoos. Moreover, these machines themselves are works of art.

Mr. Kubin became interested in tattooing when he served as a machinist and welder in the U.S. Air Force. He later began to design and develop tattoo machines manually, outsourcing their machining in bulk. This system was unsustainable, however, due to the number of different designs he makes, combined with the custom-nature of his work. His constantly evolving creativity was frustrating for everyone involved, he says.

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