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Posted by: Peter Zelinski 30. June 2014

Model Machine Shop Video: MK Precision

Click on the photo above to watch the video on YouTube.

Here are three separate reasons why this video created by medical contract manufacturer MK Precision is worth watching:

  1. At around 2:50, company president Mike Klesh starts to describe how he himself is a recipient of implant components like those his shop machines. Diagnosed with scoliosis at age 20, he underwent dramatic spinal correction.
  2. The video also describes the shop’s philosophy of breaking down knowledge silos by aiming to train every shopfloor employee to perform every shopfloor role. Is your shop able to do this? In many shops, employees seek to protect their own value by guarding specialized areas of expertise. Ultimately, that behavior is a constraint on the growth of the business.
  3. If you are thinking of producing a video to promote your own shop’s distinctive value and capabilities, consider using this video as your benchmark. The Internet makes it possible for prospects to research you long before you know you’re being checked out (if you ever do know it at all). I think you will agree that MK Precision’s online video does an excellent job of representing the company to those unknown prospects.
Posted by: Mark Albert 27. June 2014

In the Groove for 50 Years

The Kaiser Tool Company is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Thinbit grooving tools line in 2014. Though the company was founded in 1964 by William and Hazel Kaiser, Mr. Kaiser began developing the small grooving tools in the couple’s garage and attic in the 1950s.  Such tools were not widely available at the time, and ordering custom grooving tools was expensive and time-consuming. The Thinbit line was created as a result, offering a selection of tools ranging from 0.010" to 0.050" in 0.001" increments.

Today, Kaiser Tool employs more than 40 people and produces nine different lines of cutting tools, including the Thinbit, Microbit and Littlebit lines. Its products are sold in the United States and 20 other countries worldwide. The company moved to its current industrial facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1994 and is still family-owned and operated. Lenore Perry, daughter of William and Hazel, has been company president since 1982.

Most important, Kaiser Tool Company continues to help manufacturing companies with successful solutions for demanding grooving applications. A good example is Mack Tool and Engineering, a contract shop in South Bend, Indiana, that is using Thinbit Groove ‘N Turn tools for tight-tolerance, application-critical operations such as cutting microgrooves on aluminum aerospace workpieces.   

In the Mack Tool and Engineering example mentioned above, Joel Christensen uses Thinbit Groove ' N Turn inserts ranging in width from 0.0195 to0.065 inch with sharp and full-radius tips. He regularly achieves surface finishes of 16 to 32 Ra.

Posted by: Steve Kline, Jr. 26. June 2014

May MBI Shows Five Months of Growth

 

With a reading of 53.7, Gardner Business Media’s May metalworking index showed that the industry continues to grow at a fast pace. The index was higher than 53.0 in each of the first five months of 2014, and the industry grew seven of the last eight months. The May index also was 10 percent higher than it was one year earlier, the third month in a row that it grew by at least that much. Annually, the industry has grown at an accelerating rate the last three months.

New orders increased for the eighth month in a row. During this time, the rate of increase in new orders has steadily accelerated. Production also has expanded for eight months; however, its rate of growth slowed somewhat in April and May. Backlogs contracted at a very moderate rate for the second month in a row, but compared to one year earlier, they are increasing at a rapid rate. The annual rate of change in backlogs continues to accelerate, which is a positive sign for future capacity utilization levels and capital spending. Employment has expanded since last October, in May growing at its fastest rate since June 2012. Exports contracted for the second straight month, while supplier deliveries continued to lengthen at a rate similar to that seen since last November.

Material prices have been increasing at their fastest rate since February 2013. After contracting in April, prices received by metalworkers increased in May at the second fastest rate since January 2013. Future business expectations improved in the month, almost reaching their highest level since early 2012.

Future capital spending plans have increased the last three months compared to one year earlier. In May, future spending plans increased 10.4 percent, the second month in a row of more than 10.0 percent growth. The annual rate of change accelerated for the second month in a row, reaching its fastest rate of growth since January. 

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 25. June 2014

Video: World’s Largest Additive Metal Manufacturing Plant

Avio Aero, a GE Aviation business, says its new 2,400-square-meter facility in Cameri, Italy will have the capacity for 60 machines making metal production parts through additive manufacturing. Filling that capacity would make this facility the largest additive metal manufacturing plant in the world. The video above describes the facility, as well as the advantage GE Aviation sees in additive production—advantages that include significant savings in time, material, energy, emissions and part weight. As the video shows, additive manufacturing allows what was once would have been an assembly of five pieces to be replaced by a single intricate component grown in an additive cycle.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 24. June 2014

Taiwan Machine Tool Industry is Booming

Shelly Liu leads a tour of Gifu Enterprise Co. Ltd.

A recent press trip hosted by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) provided me with an insider’s view of the impressive strides being made within that country’s machine tool industry. Over five days we visited a total of 10 manufacturers of various machines, components and systems, as well as the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association (TMBA), where we engaged in a question and answer session with Carl Huang, president. He described the industry’s desire to grow market share within countries such as the United States, Mexico and Canada, among others, and the efforts being made to support this endeavor. This includes formation of the M-Team Alliance, a collaboration between Taiwan’s machine tool manufacturers to help domestic companies boost product quality and international competitiveness. Having toured the manufacturing operations of the following companies, meeting with both executives and engineers, I can attest to the serious intent driving their efforts:

  • Tongtai—special purpose machines, vertical machining centers, lathes, horizontal machining centers (U.S. representative: Absolute Machine Tools, absolutemachine.com)
  • Honor Seiki (Tongtai Group)—vertical lathes, turning centers, grinding machines
  • Asia Pacific Elite Corp. (APEC, Tongtai Group)—high speed five-axis technology, industrial application technology
  • Yeong Chin Machinery Industries Co. Ltd. (YCM)—single- and double-column machining centers, horizontal machining centers, horizontal boring milling machining centers, CNC lathes, control software
  • Quaser Machine Tools Inc.—vertical, horizontal, five-axis, multi-face, five-axis and palletized machining centers
  • Goodway—multi-axis turning centers (five-axis, Swiss-type, twin spindle/twin turret machining centers), vertical and horizontal machining centers
  • Awea Mechantronic Co. Ltd. (Goodway Group)—five-face machining centers, five-axis machining centers, horizontal boring mills, bridge-type machining centers, vertical machining centers, tapping centers
  • Gifu Enterprise Co. Ltd.—automatic tool changers of all configurations
  • Tung Pei Industrial Co. Ltd. (TPI Bearings)—deep groove ball bearings, needle roller bearings, angular contact ball bearings for machine tools
  • Habor Precise Industries Co. Ltd.—machining center cooling systems

(View the slideshow here for a glimpse at what I saw at these facilities.)

Most, if not all, of these companies will be exhibiting at the upcoming IMTS event in Chicago, and the technologies being developed by these enterprises should not be overlooked. The Taiwan machine tool industry is becoming known for its attention to detail and the quality and versatility of its machining centers. Also consider attending the Taiwan International Machine Tool Show (TMTS) Nov. 5-9, 2014, at the Greater Taichung International Expo Center (GTIEC). Learn more at tmts.tw.

According to the 2014 World Machine Tool Output & Consumption Survey from Gardner Research, Taiwan is ranked seventh in worldwide production of machine tools; fourth in export; sixteenth in import; and tenth in consumption. Most of the companies I visited on this trip are in major growth mode, building new headquarters and production facilities. Their coordinated efforts are sure to make an impression around the globe in the coming years.

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