Peter Zelinski has been a writer and editor for Modern Machine Shop for more than a decade. One of the aspects of this work that he enjoys the most is visiting machining facilities to learn about the manufacturing technology, systems and strategies they have adopted, and the successes they’ve realized as a result. Pete earned his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and he first learned about machining by running and programming machine tools in a metalworking laboratory within GE Aircraft Engines. Follow Pete on Twitter at Z_Axis_MMS.
In casting, a mold produces the form of the cast part, while a pattern is used to make the form of this mold. Pattern making is therefore the heart of casting.
Danko Arlington is a company that recently turned to 3D printing—specifically, fused deposition modeling—as a potentially more efficient way to make castings. In a report on the company’s website, company president John Danko discusses the pros and cons of making patterns through additive manufacturing. According to Mr. Danko, those pros and cos include:
Incorporation of intricate features
Customers’ high interest in 3D printing
Risk of pattern distortion during printing
Difficulty repairing or modifying a pattern made through 3D printing
Potential distortion of 3D printed patterns by hot foundry sand
Click on the photo above to watch the video on YouTube.
Here are three separate reasons why this video created by medical contract manufacturer MK Precision is worth watching:
At around 2:50, company president Mike Klesh starts to describe how he himself is a recipient of implant components like those his shop machines. Diagnosed with scoliosis at age 20, he underwent dramatic spinal correction.
The video also describes the shop’s philosophy of breaking down knowledge silos by aiming to train every shopfloor employee to perform every shopfloor role. Is your shop able to do this? In many shops, employees seek to protect their own value by guarding specialized areas of expertise. Ultimately, that behavior is a constraint on the growth of the business.
If you are thinking of producing a video to promote your own shop’s distinctive value and capabilities, consider using this video as your benchmark. The Internet makes it possible for prospects to research you long before you know you’re being checked out (if you ever do know it at all). I think you will agree that MK Precision’s online video does an excellent job of representing the company to those unknown prospects.
Avio Aero, a GE Aviation business, says its new 2,400-square-meter facility in Cameri, Italy will have the capacity for 60 machines making metal production parts through additive manufacturing. Filling that capacity would make this facility the largest additive metal manufacturing plant in the world. The video above describes the facility, as well as the advantage GE Aviation sees in additive production—advantages that include significant savings in time, material, energy, emissions and part weight. As the video shows, additive manufacturing allows what was once would have been an assembly of five pieces to be replaced by a single intricate component grown in an additive cycle.
Matt Guse, the owner of MRS Machining in Augusta, Wisconsin (a company we’ve written about), took this photo of a moment that struck him in his shop, when the early morning sunshine streamed in.
“I came up with this photo when I was reflecting back on my dad,” Mr. Guse says. His father, who was a part of the business with him, recently passed away.
He says, “Some people like waking up to a natural, beautiful setting, but I like waking up to a great team of employees at MRS Machining giving it their all to help support manufacturing. I truly believe this was how my dad felt each day he came to work.”
Could this be a sign of the times? The notion of manufacturing in the United States is now so favorable—so cool, in other words—that automotive floor mat maker WeatherTech made this bragging point the theme of its clever TV commercial.