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 30. January 2015

Three Things to Know about the Additive Manufacturing Conference


Well, maybe there are four things you should know about the Additive Manufacturing Conference. The first is the date: October 20-21, 2015.The other three key facts are

  1. It’s designed exclusively for industrial applications.
  2. The acclaimed Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will be part of the event.
  3. Several presenter slots on the program are still open. Abstracts for consideration are welcome.

The Additive Manufacturing Conference is a new edition of the original that debuted at IMTS 2014. The site for the conference is in Knoxville, Tennessee, home to ORNL. The conference will include a facility tour of ORNL, a global leader in advanced manufacturing technologies with a strong commitment to developing cutting edge industrial additive applications.

This technical event is about industrial applications of additive technologies. Specifically, it will cover processes, applications and materials to give you knowledge on how to (or if you should) implement additive in your facility. It is not designed for hobbyists or casual users of 3D printers.

If you have a topic you would like to present at this year's conference, please submit an abstract for consideration. The conference program will be filled with expert technical speakers, but there is room for users with positive, useful experiences to share.

Other event highlights include an opportunity to tour Local Motors’ new facility, which is opening next to ORNL in June of 2015. Local Motors made headlines at IMTS 2014 with its innovative Strati, whose major body components were created directly from a digital design using additive manufacturing technology.

One more thing: Space for the event is limited, so if you're interested in attending or have any questions, please complete this brief pre-registration form. By pre-registering, you will be the first to know when the program is announced and when registration opens.

Posted by: Mark Albert 27. January 2015

Additive Manufacturing Applications Today and Tomorrow

CECIMO's Fall 2014 magazine includes a table with current and potential applications for additive manufacturing.

CECIMO, the European Association of Machine Tool Industries, sees compelling opportunities for its members who venture into additive manufacturing of metal parts. A recent issue of the association’s magazine included this table of current and potential future applications for additive manufacturing in various industry sectors. It’s a handy way to size up what this technology can do now and what it might do very soon to fundamentally change how metal components are made.

Posted by: Mark Albert 23. January 2015

What to Know about Torque Motors

Torque motors are commonly used in indexing tables on machine tools. This succinct article helps you evaluate this and other applications in which power transmission for rotation calls for the advantages of a torque motor.

Torque motors simplify integration, offer high performance, reduce the cost of ownership and have an extensive working range.

The article was composed by Brian Zlotorzycki, a product specialist at ETEL, a Swiss designer and producer of components for direct drive technology. ETEL is part of Heidenhain, a supplier of machine tool CNCs, encoders, touch probes and other products for precise motion control and measurement.

Posted by: Mark Albert 16. January 2015

Digital Thread Boosts Data-Driven Manufacturing

Data embedded in a 3D model will serve as a “digital thread” that unifies and integrates all manufacturing steps to save time and cut costs.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is initiating a project to demonstrate how a standardized 3D model of a product can integrate and streamline production from initial design through final inspection in a continuous, coherent data-driven process. With this project, NIST researchers and their industrial partners intended to develop what they see as a new dimension to manufacturing capabilities.

The project will demonstrate the feasibility—and benchmark the advantages—of using standardized, 3D models for electronically exchanging and processing product and manufacturing information all the way from design through inspection of the final part. This tightly integrated, seamless string of activities is what manufacturers are calling a “digital thread.” The project is aptly named the Design to Manufacturing and Inspection Project.

This approach contrasts with the common practice of converting 2D computer-aided design (CAD) drawings into static documents. The 3D models will be embedded with data and instructions that computers can interpret and apply to key manufacturing functions. According to NIST, this development will open the way to significant operational and bottom-line benefits. These include reduced cycle time and cost, less duplication of effort, lower risk of errors, increased part yields and higher-quality products.

Collaborators in the NIST-led project include International TechneGroup Incorporated (ITI), Milford, Ohio, and Advanced Collaboration Consulting Resources, Summerville, South Carolina, who are interoperability-focused manufacturing-services providers. Also participating are Rockwell Collins, an Iowa-based manufacturer of avionics and communication equipment for defense and commercial uses; and Geater Machining and Manufacturing, an aerospace supplier located in Independence, Iowa. Other participants are CNC Software, a Tolland, Connecticut, maker of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software; Mitutoyo America, a maker of measurement equipment and software; and software vendor CoreTechnologie, Rossford, Ohio.

The apparent catalyst for integrating this project is a new international standard for incorporating computer-readable product and manufacturing information (PMI) into 3D models. These models do not require human interpretation of graphical depictions followed by manual data reentry. Recently published by the international Organization for Standardization, ISO 10303-242 (also known as STEP AP 242) enables designers and process and systems engineers to embed 3D representations of parts with actionable specifications for materials, geometrical and dimensional tolerances, and surface texture, as well as process notes, finish requirements and other information

In the new project, Rockwell Collins will use its CAD system to generate a 3D design of a part, complete with all feature tolerances and other specifications. The design will be translated into STEP AP 242 so that Geater Machine and Manufacturing can repurpose the model into the language understood by the software it uses to generate machining instructions. Independently, Geater will reuse the STEP AP 242 model in software to generate code that will direct a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to determine whether the part is manufactured as designed. The intent is to perform this step with no manual data entry. The project calls for researchers to verify and validate translations involved in the data exchanges at each stage in this thread.

The project will promote the implementation of data-driven manufacturing. “The various systems involved need to be autonomous, self-aware and self-correcting,” says NIST systems analyst Allison Barnard Feeney, leader of the project. “At the same time, they must be able to work harmoniously with human supervision and collaboration."

A full-scale demonstration of end-to-end interoperability is expected by summer 2015.

Posted by: Mark Albert 9. January 2015

Register Now to Become a PMTS VIP

The Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS) returns to Columbus, Ohio, April 21-23, 2015. Be among the first 1,000 to register and gain VIP status. VIPs earn rewards such as a free PMTS T-shirt, complimentary happy hour drink tickets, free registration and express check-in. Register early and be a VIP.

PMTS 2015 has more than 270 exhibitors displaying the latest in precision machining technology and showcasing ideas on how to improve processes and increase profits. Networking opportunities and other intangible benefits also set this show apart.

PMTS is presented by the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) and co-presented by Production Machining and Modern Machine Shop. PMTS is the precision machining industry’s signature event, offering the largest on-site gathering of precision machining equipment.

To learn more about the technical conference, special events, and to see who’s exhibiting at PMTS, visit

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