Stephanie Monsanty worked as a summer intern in 2012 and joined the Modern Machine Shop team as assistant editor later that fall. She edits product and industry news for the print magazine as well as MMS Online. Stephanie completed her M.A. in professional writing at the University of Cincinnati in 2013, and also holds a B.A. in English literature and history from the University of Mount Union.
“Hindsight is 20/20,” the saying goes—but that doesn’t mean manufacturers have to go into the future blindly. Self-knowledge, benchmarking data and strategic planning are tools available to help prepare for what’s ahead, if not predict it. The 2014 Global Forecasting & Marketing Conference (GFMC) is another such tool. The conference, taking place October 14-16 at the MGM Grand Detroit in Michigan will offer reports on past performance as well as industry outlooks to help attendees plan for future success.
Hosted by AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the GFMC includes a line-up of presentations by industry experts including Marc Raibert, founder and CTO of Boston Dynamics; Bill Horwarth, president of 5ME; Mike Warner, director of market analysis at Boeing; and Steven R. Kline Jr., director of market intelligence at Gardner Business Media. Networking opportunities will also be available throughout the three-day event. View the full schedule or register.
Modern Machine Shop is sporting a new look this month, with a custom cover depicting the Chicago skyline foregrounded by the Cloud Gate (also known as “the Bean”) and IMTS balloon. Artist Charla Steele created the collage from magazine pieces that she tore out of past MMS issues and glued to a 40" × 58" canvas. Her goal was to produce a complete, whole image while still honoring its various parts, which are representative of the equipment, companies and industries we cover each month. “As readers explore its details, I hope they will gain a new appreciation for what’s in Modern Machine Shop each month,” she says of the collage, which will be displayed in the Gardner Business Media booth (W-10) at IMTS 2014, happening September 8-13 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Charla will also be creating another collage on-site at IMTS. Stop by Booth W-10 Monday through Thursday during the show for a firsthand look at her creative process.
Charla layered more than 500 magazine pieces onto the canvas to create the cover image.
Unlike “turning” or “EDM,” there is no one process or type of equipment that defines “micromachining.” Instead, micromachining references the end result—the tiny workpiece or feature that is produced, regardless of how or with what that result was achieved. Therefore, our May product spotlight includes a variety of products ranging from a benchtop lathe to a wire EDM to a toolholder designed to clamp very small tools.
Edge Factor’s Jeremy Bout (lower right) speaks to students about the eduFactor project during Purdue’s MSTEM3 500 event, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Speaking at a press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week, "The Edge Factor Show" host and producer Jeremy Bout reiterated the buzz about job availability that permeates the manufacturing industry. But talk isn’t enough. For students hearing about these fabled jobs, Jeremy says, “The question is: How do they get there?”
A new partnership between Edge Factor and Purdue University seeks to answer that question for middle and high school students across North America. With the support of industry partners, including leading benefactor Mastercam, the Edge Factor and Purdue are creating a series of interconnected multimedia materials to educate students about manufacturing. The eduFactor resources will soon be available to schools, thanks to the MSTEM3 Grant Initiative funded by Mastercam and others.
In Stage 1 of the project, announced at the press conference, Purdue is developing educational materials for each of the existing episodes of "The Edge Factor Show" and new series "LaunchPoint." In Stage 2, Edge Factor will produce more media to align with the overall curriculum created by Purdue. Each episode will serve as the centerpiece for a particular lesson, whether it’s as immediate as “Why do we need to learn fractions?” or as broad as “What is manufacturing?”
The goal is both to inform and excite students about manufacturing careers. Curricula developed by Purdue are intended to educate students on what manufacturing is and how it works, while building a positive image of manufacturing careers. Edge Factor’s distinctive show episodes provide context to help the message hit home.
“Edge Factor is the best storyteller for this message,” says Danny White, manager of Purdue Motorsports and MSTEM3 at Purdue University. That’s because each episode of "The Edge Factor Show" and "LaunchPoint" features real people and situations that bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts to life.
“The message of these videos is hope. It’s excitement. It’s advanced manufacturing. It’s real life!” says Jeremy. Bringing that link to the “real world” into the classroom may be the key to matching more students with manufacturing careers.
Magnetic tooling for robotic arms can be a useful alternative to end-effectors such as vacuum cups and pneumatic grippers. Unlike these devices, magnets need not rely on a constant stream of electricity for holding power. Other benefits of magnets include their lack of moving parts and flexibility to accommodate different types of workpieces.
DocMagnet’s Pick and Place (PNP) magnetic end-effectors, for example, use electricity only to switch the magnet on and off for reliability in the event that power is interrupted. The lack of moving parts helps the system last longer with little to no maintenance, and flexibility for various operations is possible. The video above shows the PNP system used on an LR Mate 200iC robotic arm from FANUC. As demonstrated in the video, the end-effectors can lift both round bar and flat workpieces interchangeably with ease.