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 12. February 2014

Top Shops Survey Deadline Extended


Some have asked for more time to participate in our “Top Shops” benchmarking survey, so we’re extending the deadline to complete the online survey to Friday, February 28.

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.  

Click here to take the survey.

Click here to learn more about the Top Shops benchmarking initiative.

If you have questions, please email me.

Posted by: Derek Korn 4. February 2014

Why a Few Degrees Matter

Five-axis machines enable two types of multi-axis machining operations: full contouring and positioning (a.k.a. 3 + 2 machining). Thought of as siblings, contouring would be the alluring one and 3 + 2 would be more on the homely side. This is because contouring operations feature complex simultaneous motion of all five axes during a cut while 3 + 2 only uses the rotary axes to position and then lock the tool and/or workpiece at different angles outside of the cut.

That said, many shops find great value in 3 + 2. One is Canada’s Moulexpert. It now leverages 3 + 2 to manufacture more reliable and effective molds for thin-walled containers. Among other benefits, this capability has enabled it to reduce setups of mold inserts from as many as 25 to two, as detailed in this story.

Posted by: Derek Korn 28. January 2014

Don’t Forget About the Top Shops Honors Program

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WSI Industries was the 2013 Honors Program winner in the Shopfloor Practices category. Learn more about some of WSI’s shopfloor practices and recent improvement efforts in this video.

Like our previous Top Shops benchmarking surveys, this year’s fourth-annual survey is divided into four main categories: machining equipment, shopfloor practices, business strategies and human resources. And again for this year, we’ll vet and select participating shops to be Honors Program winners for each category. Those four shops will be profiled in an upcoming issue of Modern Machine Shop.

This year’s online survey is still live and can be accessed here. Read this article to learn more about this year’s survey, and consider participating not only for the intel you’ll receive, but also for the chance to get a little exposure in Modern.

Posted by: Derek Korn 21. January 2014

Bond. Vitrified Bond.

Norton Abrasives has developed a new vitrified bond technology that features proprietary chemistry to achieve higher performance as well as extended wheel life for latest advanced grinding machines. The technology is said to offers three key advantages: cooler cutting conditions, considerable wheel form and corner holding, and faster wheel speeds.

The key lies in grain-adhesion chemistry, whereby less bond material is needed to provide the abrasive grain holding force. Learn more.

Posted by: Derek Korn 15. January 2014

Software Simplifies ISO Certification

This article describes the challenges K&E Plastics face machining glass-filled plastics. But during my visit, I also learned how this manufacturer used shop management software to simplify its ISO certification efforts.

K&E has used the E2 Shop System from Shoptech Software for 15 years, benefiting from easier and more accurate job quoting, improved job data collection, real-time reporting capabilities, and so on. However, it also leveraged this software platform to streamline its ISO certification process. The E2 Accelerated Quality Certification (AQC) program includes software and documentation as well as on-site consulting services for quality system training. Pre-assessment audits are conducted by a Shoptech quality management lead auditor to determine a shop’s readiness for an actual certification audit. During K&E’s pre-assessment audit in 2012, the Shoptech auditor found no major infractions and offered only a few recommended suggestions. Soon after, the shop received its ISO 9001:2008 certification on its first attempt. Because it is making a bigger push into the medical market, K&E’s next goal is to become certified to the ISO 13485 medical-device standard.

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