Matthew Danford

Matt joined the MMS team in 2006 after graduating from Ohio University (Bobcats, not Buckeyes!) with a B.S. degree in Journalism. Over the years, his duties at MMS have included editing product releases, managing the case study section and writing short technical pieces. As of early 2013, he’s been fully focused on feature writing. Matt enjoys traveling the country—and the world—to see manufacturing technology in action and to learn as much as possible from those who design and use it.

Posted by: Matthew Danford 16. August 2013

AMT, USCTI Unveil New Market Intelligence Tool


AMT—the Association For Manufacturing Technology and the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) are collaborating on a new monthly data release that tracks an important index of manufacturing activity: cutting tool consumption. Given that cutting tools are the prime consumable in the manufacturing process, this analysis can provide a true measure of actual production and serve as a valuable leading indicator of future U.S. manufacturing activity, the organizations say.

Released August 14, the first iteration of the Cutting Tool Market Report (CTMR) shows that cutting tool consumption declined in June. Still, USCTI’s president expressed reason for optimism throughout the rest of the year. Click here for more detail.

The CTMR is only the latest resource for tracking industry performance. For its part, AMT also produces the United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report, which provides regional and national U.S. orders data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. Also, be sure to check out the wealth of economic data and research from MMS publisher Gardner Business Media, including the economics blog, the Capital Spending Survey, and the World Machine Tool Output and Consumption Survey

Posted by: Matthew Danford 6. August 2013

Aspiring Top Shop Already Has Plenty to Offer

Tom Bohnet (left), company president, and his son Brad Bohnet (right), project manager, say their new approach to tool management helps reduce scrap and rework by eliminating process variation.


The fact that an article about Applied Engineering’s approach to tool management will appear in our upcoming “Top Shops” issue is pure serendipity. Although I’d initially targeted that issue because of convenience and scheduling concerns, it soon became apparent that the article would complement coverage of the benchmarking program on a couple of levels.

For one, it demonstrates the importance of robust data in decision making—and that’s a key part of what Top Shops is all about. The idea behind the benchmarking program is to compare key performance indicators with industry leaders and make changes accordingly. Similarly, Applied Engineering’s approach to revamping the tool crib involved collecting and analyzing years of performance data on each individual cutting tool to see where improvements might be made. The result, in both cases, is better processes that deliver better outcomes.

A more direct tie-in relates to another critical part of the message behind Top Shops: goal-setting. Brad Bohnet, project manager at Applied Engineering, says the company is actively working to become one of next year’s Top Shops after failing to make the cut last year. To that end, it has taken the results and best practices from the Top Shops survey results and turned them into specific objectives. These include finalizing a 6S program, conducting more customer tours, and increasing book-to-quote ratio, sales dollars per employee, and R&D investment. The company has been using a project board to track both its progress and the obstacles it runs into along the way, and Mr. Bohnet says it hopes to be ready to apply for Top Shops again in 2014. 

Judging from what I saw during my recent tour of Applied Engineering, I would be surprised if the company didn’t make next year’s list. The company’s tool management strategy is just one example of a general approach to business that mirrors Top Shop’s emphasis on adopting an evidence-based approach to setting and pursuing improvement goals. 

Posted by: Matthew Danford 18. July 2013

Measurement Technology Transcends Limitations

Inspection of aerospace jet engine blades as well as industrial turbine, marine and compressor blades is among the most suitable applications for Nextec’s laser measurement systems.


Two recent MMS articles covering metrology advances should be of particular interest to manufacturers serving the automotive and aerospace industries. First, Renishaw has developed a new probe option for its Revo five-axis measuring head that enables users to measure surface finish on CMMs rather than with hand gages or dedicated machinery. The second article describes how Nextec Laser Metrology's laser systems use a different approach to beam triangulation and an adaptive control to provide a faster alternative to touch probes for parts with minute, sculpted features, shiny surfaces, and other features that often pose problems for non-contact systems.

Posted by: Matthew Danford 26. June 2013

Komet Expands Service Network

Personnel from Tri-State Tool Grinding and Komet USA pose for a photo during a recent ceremony, barbecue and plant tour to celebrate Tri-State Tool Grinding’s inclusion in the Komet Service network.

Tri-State Tool Grinding’s own logo isn’t the only name on the new version of the company’s business cards—they now sport the Komet Service brand as well. The additional name reflects the cutting tool manufacturer’s recent signing of Tri-State as a licensed service partner, a role in which the Cincinnati, Ohio-based shop will provide tool refurbishment services as well as Komet-brand standard and made-to-order solid carbide tools for customers within a roughly 150-mile radius.

Given Tri-State’s close proximity to Modern Machine Shop’s Cincinnati-area office, the tool grinding specialist’s June 20 celebration in honor of this achievement proved a convenient occasion to learn more about the program and both companies. The event included a ceremony and plant tour, and barbecue from Montgomery Inn—a local staple—seemed perfect fare given that a prime goal of the service network is to provide services on a regional basis. For customers, this is a better alternative than shipping tools to the company’s Schaumburg, Illinois location or even to its headquarters in Germany, the company says. It adds that access to Komet drawings enables Komet Service Partners like Tri-State to provide reground tools that retain their original geometry and coating characteristics, as opposed to becoming mere commodities. This model reportedly works well in Europe, where 17 partners have been established thus far, and the company hopes to duplicate that success here by adding 26 different regional partners by 2015. Tri-State Tool Grinding is the third partner to be signed, and the company expects to announce 5 more by year’s end.

To ensure quality service, Komet requires partners to meet strict requirements prior to being signed. These include sufficiently sophisticated equipment (particularly for measurement), in-depth technical expertise, and ISO 9001 certification. Five of Tri-State's technicians also went through a rigorous training and are now certified by Komet to regrind tools and manufacture special tools. 

A brief plant tour revealed plans to install a new Genius universal tool measuring machine from Zoller (Ann Arbor, Michigan), and the company also recently purchased a new Walter Helitronic Vision tool grinder from United Grinding (Miamisburg, Ohio).

Tri-State’s most recent equipment purchase, a Walter Helitronic Vision tool grinder, is equipped with a 13-position wheel changer that reduces setup time and eases grinding of specially shaped flutes and other features that require multiple wheels.


Jim Dinkelacker, co-owner of the family-owned tool grinding shop, says joining the service network will bring in more business that will accelerate the company’s already significant growth (it is currently considering a move to a new, larger facility). Other benefits of the new agreement include marketing and technical support from Komet.  

Posted by: Matthew Danford 24. June 2013

Exchangeable-Tip Drills Explained

This diagram depicts the tip interface of one of the more recently unveiled exchangeable-tip drills: Sandvik Coromant’s Corodrill 870. A webcast produced by the company provides an overview of some of the product’s most notable features.


The exchangeable-tip drill has earned its place as one of the top three drill types recommended for most common hole-making applications. However, as a relatively recent entry to the field that fills a middle, sometimes overlapping ground between the other two models, this design could potentially be underutilized. This article provides a basic overview of where exchangeable tips fit in vis-a-vis their solid carbide and indexable insert cousins.  

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