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).
With the iconic Art Deco façade of the Arizona Biltmore in the background, AMT's 2014 IMTS and Smartforce Rally Fighter sports cars bask in the bright Southwest sunshine.
For many of us in manufacturing, it seems that the industry is enjoying a figurative springtime of renewed vitality and growth. So it is appropriate that The MFG Meeting, an important event that brings together machine builders, distributors and end users from all areas of the manufacturing technology industry, opens today at the Arizona Biltmore near Phoenix.
This setting represents a fitting convergence of history, style and flowery splendor that reminds visitors from wintry regions of the country that springtime (the warming season of the year, that is) is not far off. The MFG Meeting is a joint event for members of AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA). Conference presentations, technical sessions and activities at the event are designed to help attending members maintain the momentum that has been propelling the manufacturing industry in recent years—a welcome turnaround that many pundits only a few years ago predicted would never happen.
The Arizona Biltmore is an historic resort hotel, the design of which was heavily influenced by America's most original architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, who helped oversee construction of the complex in the late 1920s. The hotel's bold, yet intricate, styling still seem fresh, hopeful and appealing—exactly the sort of image that manufacturing is projecting to a new generation of entrepreneurs, technicians, engineers and apprentices.
The hotel and its lush landscaping proved to be the ideal setting for a pair of the daringly different vehicles brought to the event by AMT. The 2014 International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) and Smartforce Rally Fighters are characterized as the world's first open-source production vehicles, designed and developed by a collaboration between Local Motors and a global community of designers, fabricators, engineers and auto enthusiasts. The vehicles represent a new era in manufacturing that is based on the latest advances in digital manufacturing, one of the trends being discussed and promoted at The MFG Meeting.
Local Motors co-creates vehicles and related components with a global community of designers, engineers, fabricators and enthusiasts.
Local Motors built one of its Rally Fighter open-source production vehicles on the show floor at the 2012 International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). For IMTS 2014, Local Motors is taking the concept of online design and hardware co-creation one step further. At this year’s show, the company will build and deliver the first direct digital manufactured vehicle.
This project is a partnership between IMTS sponsor AMT—The Association for Manufacturing Technology and Local Motors. It is intended to be a high-profile demo of how sustainable green technologies that use both additive and subtractive techniques can deliver stronger, safer, faster and more efficient vehicles.
Designed by the company’s global community and built using the material science and advanced manufacturing techniques available at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Local Motors plans to produce an electric vehicle that is purpose-built for the urban transportation needs of cities like Chicago.
Delcam President Clive Martell highlights benefits of Autodesk buyout at UK press conference.
The news is straightforward. Last November, Autodesk announced its intention to acquire Delcam, the CAM software developer based in Birmingham, UK. (Delcam's products include PowerMill, PowerShape and PowerInspect. Other Delcam brands include Featurecam and Partmaker.)
As of February 6, 2014, the acquisition was completed following a favorable vote by Delcam shareholders to accept the offer (reportedly worth $286 million, making this the largest acquisition in the CAM industry, according to Clive Martell, Delcam's President).
At a press conference last week at Delcam's UK headquarters, it was also announced that Delcam will operate as a wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary of Autodesk, with no significant changes planned for its business. In the short term, Delcam's existing customer base isn't likely to detect any disruption in service or operation as a result of this transaction.
Going forward, however, both Delcam and Autodesk see a strong synergy between the organizations, creating new opportunities for sharing technology and expertise. Chiefly, Autodesk brings to Delcam increased financial support, expertise in design and engineering as well as access to a much broader base of potential customers. Likewise, Delcam brings to Autodesk a suite of well-developed products and established brands that expand the larger company's foothold in manufacturing and fabrication.
I had several opportunities to discuss the acquisition in private conversations with Delcam's Clive Martell as well as Autodesk's Buzz Kross, senior VP for design, lifestyle and simulation products and Carl White, senior director, manufacturing engineering. My clear impression is that these key people share a similar outlook on the future of manufacturing as a digital experience that fulfils the imaginative impulse with a culmination in functional, marketable products. Importantly, they agree that this experience should be available to inspired entrepreneurs and inventors as well as global corporations with widely distributed manufacturing operations.
Gardner Business Media, Inc. today opened registration for Amerimold–The Event for Mold Manufacturing. Amerimold is scheduled to run June 11-12, 2014, in Novi, Mich. The annual show draws more than 2,500 owners, executives and engineers involved in the plastic injection mold manufacturing industry. The event includes an exhibit hall, technical conference and production sourcing events. Attendees and media can register here.
“Now is the ideal time to host an event in an active and strengthening Great Lakes manufacturing community. Thanks in large part to a surging automotive industry, our core attendee base of tool and mold manufacturers and injection molders have seen increased business,” says Allison Miller, Gardner’s director of events. Ms. Miller expresses enthusiasm for a venue that delivers access to the product technology, applications knowledge and business contacts.
Attendees are encouraged to register in advance of Amerimold 2014 to ensure the most efficient, economical and informed event experience. Additional information about the event, including housing and travel options, can be found here. Exhibit space is currently available. To find booth availability, exhibitor benefits and reservation information, click here.
The Bloodhound SSC is hunting for a new land speed record that surpasses 1,000 mph. This video from Delcam, incidentally, also marks a record for the company. The Delcam Advanced Manufacturing Solutions YouTube Channel now contains more than 1,000 videos. This channel includes product demonstrations, tutorials on new features in recent software releases, and testimonials from customers and technology partners.
To make the “hunt” for the right video in this collection faster and easier, the videos are now grouped into sections by product. There are separate playlists for each of Delcam’s CAM products, PowerMill for high-speed and five-axis machining, FeatureCAM for feature-based programming, PartMaker for programming turn-mill equipment, Swiss-type lathes and bar-fed mills, and the Delcam for SolidWorks integrated CAM system, and for the PowerShape CAD system and PowerInspect inspection software. Similarly, the customer testimonials are separated by industry, with individual playlists for applications such as automotive, aerospace and medical.