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Russ Willcutt

Russ Willcutt joined Gardner Business Media as associate editor of Modern Machine Shop in January of 2014. He began his publishing career at his alma mater, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he produced magazines for the Schools of Engineering, Business, and Medicine, among others. After working as group managing editor for the HealthSouth Corp. he joined Media Solutions Inc., where he was founding editor of Gear Solutions, Wind Systems, and Venture magazines before heading up the Health Care Division for Cahaba Media Group.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 24. April 2015

FANUC Open House 2015

The CR-35iA collaborative robot on display during FANUC's open house has a soft green cover to protect human coworkers in case of a collision. Click the image for a slideshow from the event.

During the second week of April—and with snowcapped Mt. Fuji looming in the near distance—FANUC opened the doors of its corporate campus in Oshino, Japan, to customers, integrators, collaborative partners and select members of the trade press. As a showcase for its new equipment and technologies, FANUC’s Open House 2015 also included tours of its milling, robot, servomotor and repair factories.

The star of the show was the CR-35iA collaborative robot, which made its debut at IMTS 2014 as a prototype. Scheduled to be available to the North American market starting this summer, the distinctive green robot eliminates the need for guarding around in its workspace by automatically stopping when it touches, or is touched by, a human operator. The robot is covered with a soft surface to prevent injuries, and the green color is meant to signal approachability. Working in cooperation with its operator, the CR-35iA is ideal for assembly and heavy parts transfer.

Additional launches included the M-2000iA/1700L (long arm) and 2300 super-heavy payload robots; Zero Down Time (ZDT) preventive and diagnostic technology for scheduling maintenance and avoiding shutdowns; new RoboDrill, RoboShot, RoboCut and RoboNano models; and the 30i-B series CNC with a newly designed human machine interface (HMI). Go here for a slideshow of these and additional FANUC technologies, and be looking for a post focusing on my conversation with Rick Schneider, president and CEO of FANUC America, on the company’s academic outreach efforts—including a new CNC simulator for classroom training purposes—in the coming weeks.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 15. April 2015

Rebranding the Frontier Industrialists

Every company has its own story. Some are so interesting they seem tailor-made for a screenplay or a book. That’s certainly the case with L&H Industrial, whose remarkable history has been captured by Sam Hurst in the book “Frontier Industrialists: Fifty Years of Innovation at L&H,” available in print on Amazon and as a PDF at the company’s newly redesigned website.

Much more than a new online presentation, the website signifies the results of a year-long rebranding campaign, according to Jeff Wandler, vice president and director of sales and marketing. “After 50 years of enhancing mining equipment and heavy machinery, we’ve broadened the base of our operations,” he said. “The new branding will show how we’ve grown and how we’ll continue to provide the most innovative solutions to our customers in product, service and technology.”

Founded in Gillette, Wyoming—where it is still headquartered—in 1964 by Leon Wandler and Hank Barney, with six employees, the company has grown into a powerhouse primarily serving the mining, oil and gas, and railroad industries. Specializing in field services, design and engineering, and manufacturing and repair, L&H has locations throughout North and South America. It has recently undergone a major expansion of its gear manufacturing facility in Tempe, Arizona, which you can read about in the March 2015 issue of Gear Production, the quarterly supplement to Modern Machine Shop magazine.    

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 31. March 2015

Getting into Gearing?

Are you a machine shop that is considering getting into gear manufacturing as a new revenue stream, or has already purchased the necessary equipment to do so and wants to learn more? If so, Gear Production—the quarterly supplement to Modern Machine Shop—is for you. And you’ll also want to know about a valuable training opportunity that’s coming up soon. For nearly four decades engineers, technicians and others have gained an understanding of the mechanisms of gear noise generation, measurement and reduction by attending the Gear Dynamics and Gear Noise Short Course at The Ohio State University (OSU).

Beginning with the fundamentals of gearing, gear dynamics, noise analysis and measurements, the four-day course blends lectures with demonstrations, all powered by data compiled by OSU’s Gear and Power Transmission Research Laboratory. Attendees will learn why gears make noise, how the source can be identified, and methods for addressing gear noise challenges. Lecturers will also concentrate on gear system dynamics and acoustics, transmission error calculations and advanced signal processing. Real-world case studies will be presented, along with laboratory demonstrations and problem-solving exercises.

The course organizers are Dr. Donald Houser, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at OSU and founder of the Gear Dynamics and Gear Noise Research Laboratory, and Dr. Rajendra Singh, director of the university’s Acoustics and Dynamics Laboratory. All gear manufacturers will benefit from attending, but especially those targeting automotive, aerospace, process machinery and wind energy markets. The event will be held September 28 through October 1, 2015, on the OSU campus in Columbus, Ohio. Learn more by visiting nvhgear.org.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 12. March 2015

Samchully Celebrates New Facility

Find a link below to a slideshow of photos taken at the grand opening.

Samchully Machinery Co. Ltd. celebrated the official opening of its new corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility in Incheon, South Korea, on Friday March 6, 2015, with friends who gathered from around the globe, including strategic business partners and members of the trade press. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, President Hong Suk Seo addressed the crowd in the company’s spacious auditorium, saying “Samchully places technology and quality above all else. I believe that superior technology and quality are the result of skilled technicians and premium quality machinery.”

Both were on display immediately following Mr. Seo’s presentation when he personally led guests on a top-down tour of the facility, beginning with the rooftop soccer field and basketball court. From there visitors walked through various staging areas, watching technicians assemble manual, power and special chucks, drilling and tapping machines, rotary tables, and milling vises. Manufacturing operations are powered by machine tools from Doosan, DMG MORI and Gleason, including a new Yasda jig borer—the vast majority of this equipment was purchased specifically for the new facility, in fact. The event concluded with dining and musical entertainment in the company’s well-appointed cafeteria, where employees gather for their meals each day. Other amenities include locker and break rooms, a game room with ping pong tables and a café.

The day prior to the event, trade editors and Samchully dealers from Russia, France, Poland, South America, the U.K, the United States and Canada attended seminars and hands-on training sessions during which workholding devices were disassembled and then reassembled by company experts. Click here to view a slideshow of the new facility and the grand opening ceremony.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 3. March 2015

Strong Growth Projected for Industrial Robots

Lower costs and increased ease of use will spur significant growth in industrial robotics over the next decade, according to a study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the global management consulting firm and business strategy advisor. Forecasts indicate that the transportation equipment, computers and electronics, electrical equipment and machinery industries are expected to account for around 75 percent of advanced robotics installations through 2025. By then, robots should be able to handle 30 to 40 percent of automatable tasks in these industries. The biggest gains in labor savings will occur in nations that are at the forefront of deploying industrial robots, such as South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Germany, the study says. When adjusted for normal inflationary increases and other productivity measures, manufacturing labor costs in 2025 are projected to be 18 to 33 percent lower in these economies when advanced robots are factored in. 

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