Emily Probst joined the metalworking world in 2006 as the IMTS intern for Modern Machine Shop. Landing a permanent position as assistant editor for the magazine in 2007, her duties include covering new products each month, among others. Recently, Emily has put her journalism degree from Ohio University (Athens, Ohio) to use by administrating Modern’s blog as well as its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Please excuse the grainy photo I tried to quickly snap in the airport with my iPhone. If you look closely, you can just make out the Big Ass Fans logo.
On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I was surprised to see a Big Ass Fan above the baggage claim area at the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia. What caught my attention about this particular fan is the fact that I’ve noticed the company’s ads placed across the pages of Modern Machine Shop throughout the years. While I’ve seen these fans at tradeshows, I’ve never been able to see one used in an actual application until now. It was also cool to see something that, in my mind, belongs in a manufacturing environment used in an entirely different setting. Although I wasn’t surrounded by CNC machines and factory equipment, the fan did a good job of keeping me cool in the non-air-conditioned airport in a hot, humid country. This sighting might seem incidental, yet for me it was another example of how manufacturing and the products that support the industry improve our everyday lives.
Travis Blasier says that if you’re not educating for the future, you’re not helping yourself. In the photo above, which was the October winnining entry, he’s working at a Mori Seiki SL 400, one of the CNCs he helps keep running at the shop.
Remember the cool tool chest we featured in this blog post? As part of the “Tools You Can Use” contest at the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) at IMTS, Gardner Business Media awarded a 53" Kobalt stainless steel tool chest to Travis Blasier, 1st shift turning center setup at N. E. W. Industries.
Travis went to IMTS to learn more about turning centers. He says he’s a firm believer in education. “If you want to learn, it’s all there (at IMTS). All you have to do is listen.” He says he found the show fascinating and looks forward to the next one. “This is the place to go if you want to see all the new equipment. Everybody has so much to teach.”
Travis’ job is to keep all the CNC lathes at N.E.W. Industries up and running. The company has more than 25 CNC turning centers (mostly Mori Seiki) that run 24 hours a day. In the photo above, Travis is standing in front of a Mori Seiki SL 400 turning center. The company takes on high-mix, high-volume jobs ranging from bolts to car pedals to equipment for Oshkosh trucks. According to Travis, business is “booming.”
In 2006, Travis graduated from high school without a set plan. He saw an ad in his local paper that New Industries was looking for operators. Even though he had no formal education in the field, he figured he was mechanically inclined, so he’d give it a try.
He gives credit to his employers, a family-owned business established in 1983, because they are willing to hire people with no formal training. “The company takes a person they think they can work with and then we teach them. We have all the tools here to teach,” Travis says. He guesses that about half of the nearly 200 people at the facility working in three shifts have no formal training.
The company is now hiring, but it’s hard to get the right people in the door, Travis says. “It can be quite scary for a person coming in and seeing these big pieces of metal spinning so fast,” Travis says. But it’s a cool place to work and a cool industry to work in—it’s definitely not the dark and gloomy factory environment that manufacturing was in the past, he says. Travis has spent a combined two years at the company (he left for a couple of months to go to the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Florida) because its training philosophy matches his own. “My personal philosophy is if you’re not educating for the future, you’re not helping yourself.”
Travis was so happy to receive the toolbox that he started "rocking the air guitar."
With the Italian economy contracting, it’s important to note that while the country is not consuming a large number of machine tools, it certainly is exporting them. In fact, Italy ranked third as a major machine tool exporter in 2011, with exports totaling roughly $4,207,030. In 2012, that number is expected to grow to about $4,848,036,000.
This information was presented to international journalists by UCIMU, the Italian machine tools, robots and automation manufacturer’s association at the 28th edition of Bi-Mu, Italy’s biennial machine tool show. The show took place October 2 through 6 at the Fieramilano exhibition center in Milan. It attracted 58,875 visitors from 77 different countries and 1,160 exhibitors displaying 3,000 machines in the 90,000 square meters of floor space. You can see a small sampling of the machines on display in this slideshow.
Luigi Galdabini, president of UCIMU-Sistemi Per Produrre says that, “In spite of the difficult situation, and the recession affecting most countries of the Euro Zone, the show was successful in maintaining its size, even exceeding targets with a cautious optimism that gives hope for the near future.”
The show also focused on the impact of machine tools on daily life through the special exhibition event “Things for life. Technologies of doing.” This exhibit featured daily meetings with industry experts and provided an interactive path for students to see how products are made using machine tools. According to UCIMU, students generally want to stay in the office and not work in the plant because pants are thought to be dirty and noisy. One way to change this misperception is to show students the complicated, advanced products that are being manufactured in today’s shops and to make them aware of manufacturing as a viable, well-paying career opportunity.
The next show will take place September 30 – October 4, 2014 at the Fieramilano exhibition center.
As part of its membership to the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), GF AgieCharmilles supplied the Prince George County facility with an FO 550 sp die-sinking EDM.
GF AgieCharmilles is joining the ranks of facilities, schools and programs that are investing in manufacturing through the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM). The goal of CCAM is to bring global manufacturing companies together with Virginia’s top research universities and CCAM’s expert engineers and scientists. By doing this, members will be able to work on common industry challenges and bring their research findings straight to the production line. GF AgieCharmilles is a Tier 3 industry member, which means the company commits manufacturing equipment, tools and research instruments to CCAM to serve on its Technical Advisory Council.
The company has supplied an FO 550 sp die-sinking EDM system for a machining cell that is housed in CCAM’s new 60,000-square-foot research facility in Prince George County, Virginia, located near Rolls-Royce’s jet engine components plant. Features of the FO 550 sp include a double thermostabilization system designed to maximize accuracy by preventing the impact of temperature variations, a dynamic process control that suggests ideal electrode undersize and rationalizes the number of electrodes necessary for effective machining, and a high-precision C axis designed to increase positioning accuracy.
The International Manufacturing Technology (IMTS) reached a milestone Saturday—it welcomed its 100,000th registrant, John Adamczyk. Mr. Adamczyk is the global manager of engineering services at Chicago-based Littelfuse, manufacturer of circuit protection products.
John Adamczyk (far right) becomes the 100,000th registrant at IMTS.