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 28. July 2015

Dock in the House

Caption:  The PM 750 from R&P Metrology is a portable device used to measure large parts on production machines lacking onboard inspection.

The PM 750 from R&P Metrology is a portable device used to measure large parts on production machines lacking onboard inspection. A docking system with a rotary table is also available. 

It’s always good to have options, and that’s what the PM line of gear inspection and measurement systems from R&P Metrology provides. Designed as a portable device, it is used to measure large parts on production machines lacking onboard inspection. It allows for inspection to be conducted on many different machines with a single measurement unit that is easy to transport between locations. In addition, a new docking station with a base plate and rotary table transforms the device into a standalone, full-featured, four-axis (+1 positioning) measurement system that is capable of profile and form measurements as well as gear inspection and 3D measurements.

The PM is a three-axis CNC measuring column, capable of gear inspection, form and profile measurements as well as 3D measurements. The system utilizes proven air bearing and linear motor technologies and industry standard 3D scanning probe systems from Renishaw. The standard models are the PM 750 and the PM 1250. The PM 1250EX (extended version) is also available for larger gears, as well as custom configurations.

R&P Metrology designs and builds its own metrology equipment concentrating on medium and large parallel axis gears, bevel gears, tools, shafts, bearing rings and 3D parts. It is represented in the United States by Kapp Technologies, which also provides support, service and sales throughout North America. Watch a video of the system in action.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 21. July 2015

Quality Builds Loyalty

Repeat business generally means you’re doing a good job, but when your customers actually recommend you to other companies, then you’ve begun to build an effective referral network

Repeat business generally means you’re doing a good job, but when your customers actually recommend you to other companies, then you’ve begun to build an effective referral network.

Whether you’re selling a product or service, it’s important to know how well you’re meeting your customer’s expectations. One indicator might be whether or not, based on past experience, they would recommend you to another company. That’s the information Lampin Corp.—a critical component manufacturer based in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, that specializes in right-angle gearboxes and spiral bevel gear drives—sought when it presented its customers with a survey known as “The Ultimate Question.”

Based on research by brand loyalty expert Fred Reichheld, a fellow at Bain & Co., the survey asks “On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being extremely likely, would you recommend Lampin to your friends or colleagues?” Collectively, the answers generate a “net promoter score, or NPS, which measures how willing a company’s customers would be to recommend that company to friends and colleagues.

The good news is that Lampin earned an NPS of 85.7, meaning that nearly all of its customers would give their recommendation. Conducted in coordination with the strategic Web marketing services organization Applied Interactive, the survey received a strong response rate, lending additional weight to the findings. “The Ultimate Question” is considered by many to be a reliable litmus test for customer satisfaction and, therefore, a good metric for planning strategic company growth. Go here for a video about the company’s MITRPAK right-angle gearbox.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 14. July 2015

Fluid Recycling ROI

Fluid recycling systems come in many different configurations so that they’re convenient to operate and fit seamlessly into your facility’s layout.  

Installing a metalworking fluid recycling system in your shop is guaranteed to bring about a return on your investment in terms of slashing costs for new coolants alone, but there are additional benefits to factor in as well. You will also improve workplace safety and employee health, since eliminating tramp oil from coolant reduces oil mist, improving air quality and reducing slippery surfaces. There are also legal considerations, since proof that you’re treating these liquids will protect you down the road should your disposal company incur any liabilities related to improper activities. And having a fluid recycling system in place will go a long way toward reaching environmental management standards for companies working toward ISO 14000 certification. This short video by Eriez HydroFlow provides a nice snapshot of what’s involved, and what you stand to gain by investing in a fluid recycling system.

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 7. July 2015

RAMTEC Ramps up Academic Outreach

Students are exposed to manufacturing career opportunities beginning in the 7th grade, with Vex Robotics summer camps and events at one of nine RAMTEC sites located across Ohio.

I met Chuck Speelman, superintendent of the Tri-Rivers Career Center in Marion, Ohio, during FANUC’s Open House in Oshino, Japan, last April. FANUC is a major partner in the Robotics Advanced Manufacturing Technical Education Collaboration (RAMTEC) that Mr. Speelman helped launch. My colleague, Derek Korn, wrote about the program here. Thanks to a grant from the Ohio Department of Education’s “Straight A Fund,” RAMTEC has established nine facilities across the state filled with manufacturing tools from automation and robotics suppliers including Yaskawa Motoman, Allen-Bradley, Mitsubishi, Parker Hydraulics and Vex Robotics. Students from 256 school districts are eligible to join educators, manufacturers and OEMs in certified training programs providing firsthand experience with the very equipment they’ll encounter on the job. A recent blog post by Ritch Ramey, RAMTEC coordinator at Tri-Rivers, presents a nice snapshot of the program, its varied offerings, current activities and its expanding efforts to help introduce students—as well as adults seeking new skillsets—to automation and robotics in manufacturing as a solid and rewarding career choice. 

Posted by: Russ Willcutt 30. June 2015

Ingersoll Hosts Liebherr Gear Seminar

After registering for the event, attendees gathered in the lobby of Ingersoll Cutting Tools in Rockford, Illinois, where a sampling of the company’s products are on display.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Liebherr Gear Seminar held at Ingersoll Cutting Tools’ U.S. headquarters in Rockford, Illinois. The two-day event was well attended, with representatives of many of the country’s top gear manufacturers on hand as well as industry giants such as Caterpillar, John Deere and 3M.

Nine presentations were made during the course of the event. I particularly enjoyed “Liebherr Automation Solutions” by Kevin Heise, who presented case studies of installations he’s managed in manufacturing and assembly operations around the world. When Mr. Heise and his team are involved in the planning stages of a new cell or production line, they tailor their proposals to meet the company’s specific needs, resulting in increased efficiency and throughput.

Additional presentations included “Innovative Gear Cutting Concepts and Technologies” by Markus Grebe of Ingersoll, “Metrology Choices for Gear Makers” by Andy Woodward of Wenzel America, “Current Trends in Gear Shaping—Efficient Machining of Gears with an Interference Contour” by Scott Yoders of Liebherr Gear Technology and Higher Efficiency and Quality by Hob Design” and “Higher Efficiency and Quality by Hob Design” by Juergen Friedrich of Gebr. Saacke GmbH & Co. KG. A tour of the Ingersoll facility was also provided, along with a hobbing demo featuring the Liebherr LC 500.

The presentations were quite informative, and the schedule allowed for plenty of time to ask follow-up questions, of which attendees took full advantage. I would encourage anyone interested in networking with colleagues and learning from a wide variety of gearing experts to be sure and attend this event the next time it’s being held. 

Chuck Elder, president of Ingersoll Cutting Tools, gave a keynote address opening the two-day session attended by many of the country’s top gear manufacturers. 

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