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).
When U.S. servicemen and women return from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, they often face joblessness and bleak prospects for a career. Yet more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs reportedly go unfilled in the United States. Workshops for Warriors, a nonprofit organization based in San Diego, is helping solve both of these problems. It provides free training and certification in manufacturing trade skills to veterans. Numerous suppliers of manufacturing equipment have rallied around this cause by supporting this organization with donations of cash, machine tools and shop supplies. Already a generous donor to Workshops for Warriors, the Gene Haas Foundation is now offering a matching grant for as much as $100,000 to increase support of veteran training.
Haas Automation entrusted four new CNC machines to Workshops for Warriors that are used for training students in the newly named Haas Technical Education Center. Pictured above is the spring 2013 CNC class.
As a writer who struggles mightily with his craft at times, I read that and said to myself, “Ain’t that the truth!” The quote in the title above is from a piece appearing in the latest IMTS Insider newsletter. In “The Top 10 List of Hints for Good News Writing,” Mary Uhrina offers valuable advice to writers, including those who may be tasked with composing news and exhibitor announcements related to the International Manufacturing Technology Show (September 8-13, 2014). A professional who does much of the wordsmithing for IMTS promotion, Mary understands the effort it takes to write and the strenuous effort it takes to write well. Her tips give comfort and encouragement.
11. Find a secluded spot away from email, telephone calls, text messages, desk clutter and drop-in visitors to do your writing. When a nearby office was vacant, I often retreated to this “fortress of solitude” to pull words out of my head—or to use Mary’s metaphor—out of my veins.
Neil Desrosiers, applications engineer/developer for Mazak (Florence, Kentucky) recently presented a webinar entitled “MTConnect—Downstream Applications to Increase Productivity and Competitiveness.” I attended the webinar and found it to be a superb discussion of this important industry standard. MTConnect is an open-source, royalty-free manufacturing protocol that easily connects shopfloor devices and systems to capture and share information in a common format such as XML. A recording of the webinar is now available for viewing at any time.
Neil does a fine job of introducing MTConnect and clearly outlining how it functions as a plug-and-play networking platform for manufacturing applications. Although he focuses on how MTConnect can improve utilization of Mazak equipment and boost productivity, he explains how the standard can be implemented on machines from any builder. MTConnect is not a Mazak product or Mazak technology, but rather an industry-wide development that can benefit any equipment supplier or end user.
I found Neil’s discussion of dynamic scheduling to be particularly interesting. Dynamic scheduling is a concept by which machine tools use MTConnect-compliant systems to automatically communicate with a shop scheduling system to adjust job assignments on a continual basis. In other words, machines will decide for themselves what parts to machine based on their capabilities and current scheduling priorities.
The recorded webinar lasts about one hour and includes the question and answer session at the end.
Not all shop waste is created equal, and neither are vacuum cleaning systems. Certain types of vacuum cleaners are better than others for various types of chips, dust, coolant and sludge. This article by David Kennedy, general manager of the vacuum cleaning division at Vac-U-Max (Belleville, New Jersey) describes various types of vacuum cleaning systems and identifies the shopfloor cleaning task for which each type is best suited.
It is not a product guide to the company’s industrial cleaning offerings. Rather, it is a quick-read reference that shows how cleaning equipment has to be as specialized as the manufacturing processes generating the waste.
The Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS) is like a great photograph. It is sharply focused, but has great depth of field. The focus in on precision turned parts, but the technology that surrounds and supports such part production is also highly visible at the event. If you want a clear and comprehensive picture of what precision machining looks like today, the exhibition and technical sessions at PMTS are in the “must-see” category.
From around the world, PMTS brings together manufacturers, suppliers and end users of products and services related to the production of precision machined products and turned parts, yet it is right around the corner at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Dates are April 16-18, 2013. Exhibitors will be displaying everything from bar feeders and multi-spindle machines to software and cleaning solutions.