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 13. June 2014

Let’s Call It Additive Marketing

Tony Staub, president of Staub Inc.

I’ve known Tony Staub for a long time. He is the president of Staub Inc, which was called Staub Machine Company when I first got to know Tony. Back then, Tony’s contract production shop in Hamburg, New York, had a reputation for adopting new machining processes and investing in up-to-date, automated machine tools. MMS has featured his shop in several articles over the years. Its machining operations are still remarkable.

So I was pleased to get an email report of Staub Inc.’s findings at the recent RAPID show in Detroit, Michigan. In fact, the report arrived a day after the show closed (talk about rapid)!

It quickly occurred to me that there were many lessons to be learned from this report. Here are four I jotted down:

  1. This shop has aggressively moved into additive manufacturing and has launched this added business as a division called Staub Additive. The efforts to get this news out are energetic, too.
  2. The company is using today’s media well and wisely. The email message is timely, readable and informative. It’s interesting to see this shop’s take on the technology innovations unveiled at the show.
  3. The company clearly understands the importance of “building brand” and marketing its capabilities. Adding links to the message gets you to complementary content easily, too.
  4. Linking to the company’s website shows how well Staub is using the Internet, too. One thing that comes across there is the focus on skilled people as a key asset in addition to technical capabilities.

In general, the manufacturing industry needs to “build its brand” in the national consciousness. Manufacturing companies that are savvy about their own brand building help this cause, too.

Posted by: Mark Albert 6. June 2014

Machine Monitoring Proves Its Worth

Implementing a manufacturing execution system to monitor machine performance helped Magellan Aerospace improve OEE on  critical production cell. Image courtesy of the company. 

The experiences of these three machining companies document the value of implementing a manufacturing execution system for machine monitoring. In each case, MERLIN (Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network) hardware and software modules from Memex Automation led to productivity gains and improved overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

  1. Rose Integration of Carlton Place, Ontario, was able to make fact-based improvements to shopfloor systems and reorganize workflows and resources to generate an increase in OEE of 105 percent in one year.
  2. Magellan Aerospace of Kitchener, Ontario, went from a 36.9 percent OEE rating to a 85 percent OEE rating, and determined that a cell of three machines need not be expanded to a fourth machine.
  3. Innovative Mechanical Solutions Inc. (iMech) of Edmonton, Alberta, has made several advantageous changes to their tooling systems and can readily test the real cost of benefits of suggested new machining procedures. 

For the complete case histories click here.

Posted by: Mark Albert 30. May 2014

Empowering the American Supply Chain

Major U.S. industries such automotive will face shortages of parts and the production tooling to make them unless American suppliers step up to increase capacity. Frank Russo, CEO and co-founder of, a cloud-based sourcing marketplace, reviews the key strategies suggested for meeting this shortfall. His article looks at these strategies:

  • Early collaboration
  • Focus on total cost, not price
  • Management of the value stream

Mr. Russo adds that online sourcing technology can be a vital enabler in all three of these strategies.

Find the complete article here.

Posted by: Mark Albert 23. May 2014

Ballbar Basics

Silfex, a company that produces high-quality silicon components for the semiconductor industry, relies on ballbar testing to maintain the capabilities of its vertical machining centers, which operate under unusually harsh conditions. One reason ballbar testing is so useful to this company is that the ballbar test is rather easy to set up and conduct. For a short explanation of how a ballbar works, click here. For the full story of how Silfex makes superb use of ballbar testing data, click here

Posted by: Mark Albert 9. May 2014

These Coolant Videos Are Cool

Haas Automation has created a series of educational videos on proper coolant maintenance. The mix of animated graphics and how-to demos is just right (just like the mix of coolant concentrate and water should be).

The videos can be watched in any order, but I recommend starting with the Tools of Coolant video above. It covers the basics and sets the stage for the others in the series.

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