Chris Koepfer

Chris Koepfer has been involved in metalworking for 30 years. His first 14 were in the machine tool group at Cincinnati Milacron where he honed his technical writing skills in turning, machining and grinding before joining Modern Machine Shop in 1992 as an associate editor. In 2001, he helped found MMS’ sister publication Production Machining, which speaks to the precision machined parts segment of the industry. Chris is graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, as are three of his four children, and an XU basketball fan—which can be as daunting as working in metalworking, he says.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 23. November 2015

Grob Holds In-House Exhibition

Grob’s in-house exhibition was well attended and included tours of the company’s sprawling Mindelheim, Germany, manufacturing headquarters. 

Recently, I attended an open house in Mindelheim, Germany, the headquarters of machine tool builder Grob. In attendance were customers, representatives from the company’s global distribution network and suppliers from tooling, software and workholding companies. It was actually a mini trade show.

Grob is a family business that began in 1926 in Munich. It moved to its current location in Mindelheim in 1968, building a manufacturing campus that continues to grow. I was told they are the second largest builder in Europe and that the concentration of manufacturing facilities at the headquarters represents the largest concentration of machine tool building in Europe.

The company also manufactures in Bluffton, Ohio, Brazil, and China. Part of the company’s manufacturing strategy is to make these three satellite plants capable of making the same product lines as the German headquarters. They do this by pursuing vertical integration.

Highlighted at the open house was the line of universal machining centers built around the company’s G series of HMCs with multitasking capability. These machines are modular in design and can be customized with workholding, palletization, extended tool storage and myriad of other modules to customize the base model to a given application.

The other side of the company’s business involves machining systems that serve the automotive industry, in which Grob holds a significant market share.

Another highlight of the visit is called Grob-Net 4 Industry. According to Christian Grob, this connectivity package was implemented and tested in the Grob factories and is now being offered to its customers. We’re seeing this trend from other machine tool builders as Industry 4.0 and what we call the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) gains momentum.

It was an interesting and enlightening visit. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 2. October 2015

Changes for DMG MORI in the USA

DMG MORI has announced important changes in how it goes to market here by transitioning to a direct service and sales model for the United States. This change will occur in phases through the end of the year. Over the next 90 days, the company will work with existing distributor, Ellison Technologies, to transition customer support to DMG MORI’s 27 regional service and sales centers.

The goal of this sales and service model is to expedite machine service and create direct interaction between the company and its customers. The new model will connect DMG MORI USA employees directly to customers in order to more efficiently speed up critical processes, such as managing service support and sharing new product improvements for U.S. customers.

To enact and sustain this change, the company is evolving its leadership model in the United States. Specifically, Dr. Thorsten Schmidt, who has served for the past 9 years on the board of directors, will serve as the DMG MORI USA CEO. Current head of U.S. operations, Mark Mohr will be moving to lead DMG MORI manufacturing as President in the Davis, California, facility.

These personnel changes are part of an effort to identify and foster internal talent to execute the company’s change in focus for its U.S. sales and service vision. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 9. September 2014

Micro-Drilling for Medical: I Know a Guy

On display at Absolute Machine Tools’ Booth S-8536 is a new deep-hole drilling machine for the small holes found in medical applications. Two models of the Precihole machine demonstrate small and larger gundrilling.

“The guy” you want to ask for is industry veteran Jim McGaffin, who is managing this new product for Absolute. He know his stuff and can provide good information on this technology. (However, before you see Jim, ask the hostess—she’s in the skeleton outfit—where he is.)

Holes as small as 1 mm for cannulated medical parts and as long as 12 inches are drilled using a counter-rotation process to maintain concentricity within the bore. The spindle rotates at 500 rpm while the gundrill rotates at 25,000 rpm using high-pressure, light cutting oil at 2,300 psi.

Next to Jim’s machines is a new line of Swiss-type Nexturn machines that Absolute is debuting at IMTS. But be sure not to forget about Jim.

Industry veteran Jim McGaffin is managing the new Precihole line of deep-hole micromachining machines for Absolute Machine Tools, Booth S-8536.

Also, to help you better navigate the show, be sure to check out the digital IMTS directory.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 15. November 2012

Passing the Baton

My son, Chirstopher, recently got married. Here is a picture of our happy family at the wedding.

Parenting involves raising our children. When we help teach our co-workers, we call it mentoring. In many ways, these two things are similar. It is the successful efforts of parenting that create ground that is fertile enough to accept and use mentoring efforts later in life. They are hand in glove and represent hope for the future.  

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 10. September 2012

Coming Home: Reshoring is Real

The reshoring worm has turned for many manufacturing businesses. Work is coming home from distant shores, and it’s a good time to learn how best to take advantage of the trend.
Harry Moser, a 45-year industry veteran and founder of the Reshoring Initiative, is presenting on the topic during IMTS to help U.S. manufacturers recognize the profit potential of using local sourcing and production, as well as the critical role they can play in strengthening the economy. Reshoring has been an important driver for manufacturing’s ascendency in the past few years, and it’s also important to maintain the momentum.
Moser presents on reshoring from the IMTS main stage, located between the North and South halls of McCormick Place, from 9:30 to 9:55 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, Thursday, Sept. 13, and Friday, Sept. 14. He explains how reshoring is an efficient means of reducing imports, increasing exports and regaining manufacturing jobs in the United States.
Reshoring is not passive. Moser will present manufacturers with tools to help explain the importance and profit potential of domestic manufacturing, such as recovery from offshoring’s poor quality, trade secret thefts, supply chain disruptions and lengthy delivery times.
Another aspect of the Reshoring Initiative’s mission involves proprietary Total Cost of Ownership Estimator software that’s free and available 24/7 at With this software, users can account for all relevant factors when trying to determine their total cost of sourcing decisions. Many of these factors can be overlooked, and this software is a tool to help make more informed decisions.
Visitors to this year’s IMTS are well-advised to plan some time on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday to hear what Moser has to say on the subject of reshoring. It may have a very positive impact on your business.

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