Classic Ferraris along the Onda Rossa (Red Wave) made clear the connection between automotive production and the Italian machine tool industry.
A line of gleaming Ferraris welcomed those attending the Bi-Mu/SFORTEC machine tool show Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2014, in Milan, Italy. On display at the Onda Rossa, or the “Red Wave,” the sleek vehicles made an immediate connection between the renowned automaker and the Italian machine tool industry.
Between the 1,060 exhibitors at the biennial show, 47 percent of whom hailed from outside Italy, some 3,000 machines were on display. New features included the CIS-RP&3D area, devoted to additive manufacturing, and Focus Mecha-Tronic, showcasing optimized machine management and connectivity. Pianeta Giovani (Planet Youth) attracted high school students keen on learning about careers in manufacturing, and there were educational sessions available for all attendees. The show also served as the platform announcing the launch of The Italian Additive Manufacturing Association (AITA) with Luis Galdabini—president of Cesare Galdabini Spa and head of UCIMU-Sistemi Per Produrre, the official sponsor of Bi-Mu—serving as the association’s first president.
News that Bi-Mu had been awarded “sustainable event” status by ICIM, the Italian independent certification body, for best ecological practices buoyed the spirits of all those attending the show.
Click here for a brief slideshow of things that caught my eye during the show.
DiSanto Technology moved into additive manufacturing recently, but it built its business on machining. The company’s Shelton, Connecticut, plant has about 55 CNC machine tools.
Metal additive manufacturing machine maker Arcam has acquired DiSanto Technology, the user of Arcam’s electron beam melting technology that we reported on in this article. DiSanto was a successful medical-industry machine shop before the company moved into additive manufacturing for producing surgical implants. Thus, with this acquisition, one thing Arcam gains is machining capacity and expertise. As the article at the link above points out, additive manufacturing and CNC machining go together, because the implants made this way have to be machined, and because making those parts creates the need for related components made through machining.
With this move, Arcam also essentially completes a North American supply chain for additively manufactured parts, because the company also recently acquired Canadian metal powder manufacturer AP&C. Arcam can now supply raw material, additive machines and finished products. Read the company’s own statements about the acquisitions of both companies.
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With a reading of 52.3, the metalworking industry grew in August for the eighth consecutive month and the 10th time in 11 months. The rate of growth rebounded somewhat from July, which had the slowest rate of 2014. The month-over-month rate has been in double digits five of the last six months, and the annual rate of change has grown faster for six straight months and is at its fastest rate since April 2011.
Both new orders and production increased for the 11th month in a row, and both of their indices grew at a faster rate than in July. Backlogs have contracted for five consecutive months, although this rate slowed in August. Despite the contraction, the backlog index was 33.5 percent higher than it was one year earlier, the fastest rate of monthly growth since July 2010. This indicates that capacity utilization should increase rapidly in the upcoming months and likely will average more than 80 percent in 2015. While employment in metalworking continues to expand, the rate of growth in August was the slowest of 2014. Exports have contracted faster as the dollar has strengthened, and supplier deliveries have been lengthening at a steady rate since September 2013.
Material prices have increased relatively steadily and significantly since August 2013. Prices received increased the last four months, the strongest period of sustained price increases by metalworking facilities since summer 2012. Despite all the good news, future business expectations fell to their lowest level since September 2013.
After contracting in July, future capital spending plans increased 22.6 percent over last August, the fastest month-over-month growth since November 2013. The annual rate of growth accelerated to 6.0 percent, its second fastest rate of growth since March 2013.
You probably didn’t know how effective your machining center could be at OD turning. A tool like the one seen here can make it possible to machine precise cylindrical features of an otherwise odd-shaped part without resorting to a lathe, and doing so in a way that achieves finishes superior to what circular milling can achieve. The tool shown here is supplied by Big Kaiser, which prepared this article on the various tooling types that might be used for OD turning on a machining center.
Women in Manufacturing (WiM) has released new survey results with several promising findings for the future of women in the manufacturing sector. The survey, co-produced with Plante Moran, reviewed more than 870 women who are currently working in the manufacturing industry and young women who are just beginning to consider their career options.
The results found that young women ranked compensation as the most important factor they are seeking in a career, followed closely by work that is interesting and challenging. What is promising about these findings is that more than 80 percent of women in manufacturing today say that their work is interesting and challenging, and half of women in manufacturing say that compensation is the most significant benefit of the sector.
The survey also found that 74 percent of women working in manufacturing say that the sector offers multiple career paths for women and that more than half of women in manufacturing today think that the sector is a leading industry for job growth for women. In addition, 64 percent of women working in manufacturing reported that they would recommend a career in manufacturing to a young woman.
However, despite these high numbers, many young women remain unaware of the opportunities available to them in the manufacturing sector. Less than half of young women believe that manufacturing offers the interesting and challenging work they’re seeking and less than 10 percent of young women placed manufacturing among the top five career fields that they think will offer the most opportunity for young women.
This discrepancy is particularly relevant because today is Manufacturing Day—a day focused on introducing manufacturing to young people and their parents.
“On the whole, these survey results should be seen as a call to action in a space where there is great opportunity,” says Allison Grealis, WiM director. “When we know what young women are looking for in careers, we are in a better position to demonstrate how manufacturing can help them meet their aspirations. We have long known that women are good for manufacturing; and these survey results go a long way to showing that manufacturing is good for women, too.”