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Mark Albert

Mark Albert is editor-in-chief of Modern Machine Shop Magazine, a position he has held since July 2000. He was associate editor and then executive editor of the magazine in prior years. Mark has been writing about metalworking for more than 30 years. Currently, his favorite topics are lean manufacturing and global competitiveness. Mark’s editorial activities have taken him to numerous countries in Europe and Asia as well as across the United States many times. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana).

Posted by: Mark Albert 29. April 2016

Metalworking in the Age of Connectivity

A white paper from Walter Surface Technologies shows how its new Wi-Fi-enabled passivation tester is a striking example of innovative sensor technology, web-enabled networking, cloud-based platforms and mobile apps coming together to support the metalworking industry in the digital age. It’s a compelling case study of data-driven manufacturing in action on the shop floor.

Many metalworking companies apply processes and treatments to workpieces in the course of producing them for customers. One example is passivation, a process to make stainless steel corrosion resistant. Testing passivated workpieces to be sure the process was complete and effective can be a challenge. However, any company concerned about quality control and inspection will be interested in this discussion of how a handheld wireless diagnostic tool, Walter Surface Technologies’ Surfox Smart Passivation Tester, is an example of the Industrial Internet of Things at work. The device measures the chromium oxide layer found on the surface of stainless steel. This layer protects the metal from corrosion and rust. Within seconds, the tester syncs a numeric value of the quality of the passive layer to a smart phone and uploads the test results to the cloud.

The device integrates both the physical and digital worlds and provides real-time data that can be shared with customers. Using this device as an example, the white paper puts the development and implementation of web-enabled technology into a real-world context.

As a plus, the paper includes a primer defining many of the most popular buzzwords related to the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and Big Data is also handy and informative.

Fill out the form and download the white paper here.

Posted by: Mark Albert 15. April 2016

"Machinery’s Handbook" in Large-Print Edition

Machinery’s Handbook” is a classic reference volume that first appeared more than 100 years ago. The 30th edition, published by Industrial Press, is now out and is available for the first time in a large-print version. For those of us who have aging eyesight (like me) the 2,896 pages in this latest edition are more readable, but as useful as ever.

The new edition contains major revisions of existing content, plus a lot of new material. The new stuff includes an expanded metrology section including v-blocks and micrometers, vernier and dial calipers; a powder metallurgy section including additive manufacturing; information on sheet metal, presses and press working; and many new specs on drilling, reamers, grit sizes and more.

In addition, the metric content has been expanded throughout the book. Metric units are shown adjacent to the U.S. customary units in the text. Many formulas are now given with equivalent metric expressions, and metric examples have been added.

The large-print edition measures 7 by 10 inches. It weighs close to 6 pounds.

Posted by: Mark Albert 8. April 2016

Video: Scannable Code Promotes Sharing of Cutting Tool Information in a Data-Driven Manufacturing Environment

In a visually compelling demonstration, this 3-minute video shows how a dot matrix code on the body of a toolholder enables critical information about the cutting tool to be captured, moved about the factory safely and updated promptly on a central database. Although the video focuses on secure data exchange among a FANUC CNC machine, a Zoller tool presenter/measuring machine and a tool storage unit via a scannable dot matrix code on a Schunk toolholder, the video retains its clear instructional value.

Posted by: Mark Albert 18. March 2016

A Great Man with a Great Bow Tie

In accepting the Albert W. Moore AMT Leadership Award, Marcus Crotts spoke to the importance of manufacturing in the national economy. 

AMT–The Association For Manufacturing Technology presented the Albert W. Moore AMT Leadership Award to Marcus B. Crotts at its Annual Business Meeting March 5 in Palm Desert, California. The award recognized Mr. Crotts, founder of Crotts & Saunders LLC, a machine tool distributor, for his outstanding support of the manufacturing technology industry. His distinctive bow tie was also honored!

“Why are so many people wearing bowties to this business meeting?” I thought. AMT’s business meeting (which took place during the MFG Meeting, the conference for machine builders, distributors and end users) is a no-nonsense event, with important announcements and ceremony. I discovered the reason when Mr. Crotts’ award was given. In addition to his distinguished career (one marked by strong personal beliefs and strength of individual character), Mr. Crotts is well-known for his trademark—bold and colorful bowties. Hence, the wearing of bowties by leaders of the meeting. It was another way to honor the recipient.   

As Douglas Woods, AMT President said, “The Albert W. Moore AMT Leadership Award honors those individuals from our industry who have gone above and beyond by carrying out the mission of the association, and who have had a dramatic impact on our industry. Marcus has distinguished himself as an outstanding innovator, leader and advocate for the manufacturing technology and engineering industry.” (Doug was wearing a bow tie, too, by the way.)

The award cited Mr. Crotts for the leadership that garnered his company national recognition for its impact on manufacturing processes through improved basic design methodologies. It was also noted that, as Board Chair of the American Machine Tool Distributors Association in the 1980s, Mr. Crotts skillfully guided the association during the introduction of CNC technology.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Crotts said, “My father’s work as a machinist and his drive to be accurate inspired me to learn more about machining and engineering. For almost 60 years, I have been saying manufacturing creates wealth and this concept is not well understood by those outside the industry.” He encouraged members to promote manufacturing. However, he did not tell anyone to start wearing bow ties!

Posted by: Mark Albert 11. March 2016

Secure the Future of the Digital Factory

Conference in Chicago reinforced the reality of the digital factory. The Dallas event will reinforce its urgency.

The first step may be securing a spot at the [MC]² Conference, Workshop and Expo, April 19-21, at the Hotel InterContinental Dallas, Texas. March 18 is the deadline for early-bird conference rates. This event focuses intently on MTConnect, the digital factory and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Here are five reasons I recommend attending this conference:

  1. Small- and medium-sized companies will share their real-world success stories with MTConnect-enabled implementations.
  2. It will cover minimizing threats to the security of networks, equipment and information.
  3. Training and workforce development will be included as vital to the transition to the IIoT.
  4. It will put the importance of the networked, integrated factory in the larger context of national economic growth and stability.
  5. Technical workshops will be available to attendees who welcome immersion in the inner workings of the standard and its development process.

For more about why I think this is an important conference, click here. Conference program details and registration can be found here

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