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Derek Korn

Derek Korn joined Modern Machine Shop in 2004, but has been writing about manufacturing since 1997. His mechanical engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Applied Science provides a solid foundation for understanding and explaining how innovative shops apply advanced machining technologies. As you might gather from this photo, he’s the car guy of the MMS bunch. But his ’55 Chevy isn’t as nice as the hotrod he’s standing next to. In fact, his car needs a right-front fender spear if you know anybody willing to part with one.

Posted by: Derek Korn 11. February 2015

Marshall Manufacturing Wins Romi Lathe at IMTS

Mike Burchill, president of Marshall Manufacturing in Minneapolis, stands next to the GL 170G gang-tool lathe that Romi provided for winning its IMTS 2014 machine giveaway.​

Mike Burchill, president of Marshall Manufacturing in Minneapolis, is the winner of Romi’s IMTS 2014 “It’s time I had a Romi in my shop” machine giveaway.

I know. You’re thinking, “IMTS was months ago…why are you just now announcing this?”

Well, there’s a reason.

You see, the prize Romi offered was a C 420 turning center. However, Mike says that particular model is a larger, more heavy-duty machine than Marshall could effectively use in production. Learning this from him wasn’t surprising because I had visited Marshall some time ago to develop this article about its machining (and bending) capabilities geared primarily toward medical customers.

So, Marshall and Romi worked together to identify options for swapping that lathe for a smaller, higher-speed model that was better suited for the work that flows through the shop. Mike explains that in the end, Romi generously honored the shop’s request to substitute the C 420 with a GL 170G gang-tool lathe, which Marshall is currently using to machine extruded ABS core tubes for reverse osmosis water filters. Mike says the new lathe is much more reliable and productive than the 20-year-old machine it replaced.

So, congrats to Marshall for winning the contest, and kudos to Romi for providing the shop with an alternative machine.

Posted by: Derek Korn 4. February 2015

A Side Benefit to Benchmarking: Gaining a Customer

JD Machine maintains a clean, organized shop in Ogden, Utah.

Our fifth annual Top Shops benchmarking survey is now live through the end of February, and this article explains more about it.

Another element of Top Shops is an Honors Program that highlights successful participating companies in each of the survey’s four primary sections: machining technology, shopfloor practices, business strategy and human resources. Honors Program winners are profiled in the pages of Modern Machine Shop and on our website. Ogden, Utah’s JD Machine was a winner in 2013, and Matthew Wardle, company president, says that the resulting exposure helped net a nice contract from a new customer. 

Posted by: Derek Korn 21. January 2015

Video: 1964 Game Show Demos Drilling through Human Hair

A number of years ago, I visited National Jet in LaVale, Maryland to develop this article describing its micromachining and micro-drill-manufacturing capabilities. Recently, I happened to learn that the company’s founder, JA Cupler, appeared on the game show “I’ve Got a Secret” back in 1964. This video shows the clip, which is interesting to watch for nostalgia’s sake and the drilling demo. During the demo (this starts around time mark of 6:00 if you want to skip ahead), a National Jet machinist drills a hole through a strand of hair (about 0.003-inch in diameter) using a 0.001-inch diameter drill.

Posted by: Derek Korn 12. January 2015

Fifth Annual Top Shops Benchmarking Survey Online

Benchmarking survey participants will receive four reports including an Executive Summary that compares responses between the Top Shops benchmarking group and the rest of the participants.

Modern Machine Shop’s fifth annual “Top Shops” benchmarking survey offers shops of all types and sizes a chance to see how they rate against similar machining businesses. All data collected from individual companies will remain confidential.

Participants who complete the survey will be able to receive a series of summary data reports of the results. Participants are also encouraged to enter the Top Shops Honors Program by providing their full contact information at the beginning of the survey.

Take the survey here.

Learn more about the Top Shops benchmarking initiative here.

If you have questions, please send an email to me at dkorn@mmsonline.com.

Posted by: Derek Korn 7. January 2015

Ball-Drive System for Accurate Table Rotation

Fourth- and fifth-axis rotary tables bring added flexibility to conventional three-axis VMCs. At IMTS, Koma Precision introduced the Tsudakoma RG series of rotary tables that uses a ball-drive system for table rotation.

As shown in the photo above, both sides of each ball remain in contact with the system’s worm gear, and each ball is located to within 1 micron of each other. The company says this design offers zero backlash/reversal error while providing a maximum indexing speed of 140 rpm with high accuracy, rigidity and torque transfer. In addition, the device, which is available in three sizes, is said to require no adjustments over its lifetime.

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