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 16. September 2016

Data-Driven Manufacturing Is Driving Mazak

The Mazak SmartBox provides cyber security to give factory owners and IT departments confidence to digitally integrate their manufacturing operations.

Mazak has long been a proponent—and prominent practitioner—of data-driven manufacturing. So it is no surprise that the “future of data-driven manufacturing” is one of the main themes in its Booth S-8300, where the spotlight is on what machine tools, software and interconnectivity practices can be applied today to prepare manufacturers for the future. The digital solutions on display include the Mazak SmartBox, iSmartLink and Smooth Technology, and the industry standard MTConnect. 

Read the full story online from the IMTS ShowDaily here.


Posted by: Mark Albert 14. September 2016

Put a CAP on Cybersecurity Concerns

One notable aspect of IMTS this time around is the large number of network-connected products and systems that promise significant boosts in productivity to manufacturing companies. Industrial control systems, for example, are becoming more interconnected, connectable and networkable, thus making data-driven manufacturing a practical reality on the factory floor. However, there are growing risks that threaten the security, performance and financial return on these control systems and the equipment they run.

UL, a global safety science organization, has an answer to mitigate this concern. You can learn about it in Booth E-4135. It’s UL’s new Cybersecurity Assurance Program (UL CAP) for industrial control systems. Using the new UL 2900-2-2 standard, UL CAP is designed to provide testable cybersecurity criteria to help assess software vulnerabilities and weaknesses, minimize exploitation, address known malware, review security controls and increase security awareness. UL CAP is intended for control system manufacturers who need support in assessing security risks while they continue to focus on product innovation to help build safer, more secure products. These steps will help protect the Industrial Internet of Things. The program should benefit OEMs, machine tool builders, system integrators and retrofitters who want to mitigate risks by sourcing products assessed by an expert third party.

“We’re aiming to support and underpin the innovative, rapidly iterating technologies that make up the Industrial Internet of Things with a security program,” says Rachna Stegall, director of connected technologies at UL. “The more industrial control systems become interconnected with other devices, the greater the potential security risks. The Cybersecurity Assurance Program’s purpose is to help manufacturers, purchasers and end users mitigate those risks via methodical risk assessments and evaluations.”

Industrial control systems that meet the requirements outlined in the standard can then be certified by UL as “UL 2900-2-2 compliant.” Additionally, since security is an ever-changing challenge, UL 2900-2-2 can be used to evaluate a vendor’s processes for design, development and maintenance of secure products and systems.

Posted by: Mark Albert 13. September 2016

Cell Automates Multiple Part Change-Overs

An automated work cell on display in Okuma’s Booth S-8500 demonstrates not only robots loading and unloading parts, but also automated production run change-overs. This means switching among a number of significantly different parts, not just members of a part family. In the cell, a Multus multitasking, CNC turning center performs a number of operations on a series of parts requiring three different three-jaw chuck face plates. A FANUC M-20iA industrial robot loads part blanks, unloads the finished parts and exchanges the chuck face plates as required.

Read the full story in the IMTS ​Show Daily.

Posted by: Mark Albert 9. September 2016

Precision Hole-Making Experts Come Together

One of Allied Machine & Engineering's manufacturing facilities in Dover, Ohio.

Allied Machine & Engineering Corp., a manufacturer of hole-making and finishing tooling systems, has purchased a majority of the shares of Wohlhaupter GmbH of Frickenhausen, Germany, Wohlhaupter USA and Wohlhaupter India. The company is best known for its innovative boring tools, but also produces facing and boring heads, grooving heads, clamping tools and customized solutions for boring operations. It is particularly well-known for its innovative, modular tool systems. Its most significant product developments include larger diameter boring tools and a line of digital boring tools.

“Allied Machine is a perfect fit with Wohlhaupter,” says Bill Stokey, president/CEO of Allied Machine & Engineering. “Both are family-owned companies whose foundations are built upon excellent quality, flexibility, and ability to customize products and services, as well as a preference for building strong partnerships with our customers. These commonalities will produce a seamless integration of our philosophies and services.” 

“By acquiring Wohlhaupter, Allied has added the world’s widest range of precision boring tools to our already vast array of available products,” adds Eric Tope, vice president of marketing and sales. “Equally important is the fact that Allied now has a manufacturing presence in Europe and an additional 30 field sales engineers throughout the USA, Germany and India.” Customer sales and support will continue to be provided by both Allied and Wohlhaupter.

For more news from the manufacturing industry, click here.

Posted by: Mark Albert 26. August 2016

Grinding Continues to Break New Ground

Groundbreaking at United Grinding

With hardhats and shovels at the ready, this sign stands in front of the empty lot that will be replaced with the new structure it pictures.

The title to this blog post suggests what I believe is the significant story behind the news of United Grinding's recent groundbreaking ceremony for a new North American Headquarters to be constructed in Miamisburg, Ohio. Grinding technology is becoming more flexible and more capable (hard materials and tight tolerances are demanding this), grinding machines are becoming energy efficient and more compact, and automated grinding systems are attracting substantial investments (particularly in automotive). These are some of the trends that are moving grinding processes into new applications and markets, so it is no exaggeration to say that grinding continues to break new ground.

Because United Grinding is a leader in grinding technology and has been responding to these trends for many years, the new facility will support the growth of the company as well as advances in grinding processes. The new facility will cover 100,000 square feet and reside on approximately 15 acres of land near Ohio Interstate 75, about 2 miles from the company's current location in the Dayton-area suburb of Miamisburg.

According to Stephan Nell, CEO of United Grinding Group, the new Miamisburg facility will not only further enhance customer-centric activities, but will also boost operational agility and expand parts, rebuild, retrofit, automation and preventative maintenance offerings in the North American market.

Currently, United Grinding North America, Inc. has two locations, its headquarters in Miamisburg and one in Fredericksburg, Virginia. While the Ohio facility houses surface, cylindrical and profile grinding business, the Virginia facility services the tool and cutter grinding machines and measurement systems sectors. Field service representatives are based out of both locations. Operations now in Fredericksburg will be consolidated in the new Miamisburg headquarters building. In addition to current employees who will move to the new headquarters, the company says it plans to create significantly more jobs in the next five years.

“The consolidation of resources is a strategic move to increase efficiency companywide and support synergy across United Grinding’s various product lines,” says Rodger Pinney, CEO and vice chairman of the board of directors at United Grinding North America. “The move is a key component of our new corporate strategy for continued growth and market share strength that we introduced in 2012.”

Brands under the United Grinding umbrella include Mägerle, Blohm, Jung, Studer, Schaudt, Mikrosa, Walter and Ewag.

groundbreaking speech at UG

Rodger Pinney addresses the crowd of reporters and well-wishers at the groundbreaking, while local dignitaries and company officials seated nearby await the cue to do some digging. 

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