Emily Probst is the associate editor for Modern Machine Shop. She joined the staff in the summer of 2006 as the editorial intern editing product releases for the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). Hired full-time in 2007 after graduating with a B.S.J. from Ohio University, she edited product releases and columns until 2012, when she moved to her current role of writing and editing case studies for both print and online media channels. In this role, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world as well as visit some interesting shops and trade shows in the United States. She also administers Modern’s blog as well as its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.
As a visitor to Gosigerfest 2013, which was held in Dayton, Ohio, I had the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of vendors and have a little fun along the way. One of the main draws of the two-day event, aside from the German food and festivities, was the opportunity to meet with more than 50 vendors to discuss their expertise in bar feeders, CAD/CAM, coolant and high-pressure systems, inspection and tool monitoring, tooling, workholding, and finance. Entire exhibits halls were dedicated to Okuma and Hardinge demos.
As a machine tool and accessories distributor, Gosiger works to distinguish itself from its competition through three main problem-solving outlets.
- Engineered Systems: This division is responsible for providing shops with turnkey solutions—from machines to tools, including processes and documentation on how to run this process.
- Automation: According to the company, some shop owners assume that automation is complex and expensive. However, Gosiger says it works to create scalable automated systems that are very user friendly.
- High Volume: Gosiger’s high-volume team researches strategies used worldwide to bring speed, accuracy and reliability to a shop’s unique situation.
Gosiger's Dayton facility (top left and bottom right) was originally used by the Stoddard Motor Kit Company, which manufactured Maxwell automobiles (top right). A tribute to the facility's original use was demonstrated with a historic car show.
These personalized fencing hilts were produced by the University of Tsukuba
on a multi-material Objet350 Connex 3D printer from Stratasys.
This case study from Stratasys gives a brief glimpse into some of the technology that goes into improving performance for Olympic athletes. Researchers at the University of Tsukuba, Japan used an Objet350 Connex multi-material 3D printer to create customized hilt grips for Japan’s fencing team, which won the Silver in the London 2012 games.
The digital September issue of Modern Machine Shop is now available. The cover story highlights the unexpected benefits of robotic automation. Two other stories touch on the topic of automation—one in a mold shop, the other for lights-out production.
We also cover a variety of other topics including how average chip thickness dictates milling performance, how flexible fixturing can speed CMM inspection, and how CAM software was able to improve one shop’s turnaround times, just to name a few.
To replace formerly state-funded training for skilled manufacturing workers, Connecticut Spring & Stamping (CSS) developed its own in-house apprenticeship program. The program is designed to train enough skilled workers to meet its capacity and continue company growth, which is approximately 20 to 30 percent per year over year.
The manufacturer of precision parts for the medical, aerospace, firearms and defense is currently training a group of 11 people in the skill sets required for tool and die makers. For example, the program includes specific tracks for CNC production setup, press and fourslide diemakers, stamping press setup operators, fourslide setup operators and heat set setup operators.
“Well-paid manufacturing jobs requiring manual skills are out there, and as the skilled workforce ages, it is becoming more and more difficult to fill critical positions with trained employees,” says Kathy Bellemare, director of human resources at CSS. “What training exists has a near-exclusive focus on non-manufacturing skills. While we are extremely proud of the program we have developed, we still hold out hope that technical institutions and local community colleges will step up to fill the void by establishing training programs and internships to meet the needs of manufacturers.”
The apprenticeship program is funded using grants such as the Connecticut Department of Labor’s 21st Century Skills Training Program and the Advance Training Grant Program.
Debbie Sterling is an engineer from Stanford who has created a new kids’ toy aimed at attracting young girls to the field of engineering. The toy company, called Goldie Blox, consists of a book series and construction toy (now available at Toys R Us). The book follows Goldie and her friends as they go on adventures and solve problems by building simple machines. The goal is for young girls to read along and build what Goldie builds using their toolkits.
According to Ms. Sterling, she only knew engineering even existed because her math teacher from high school said she should explore it. “I’m creating a toy company that teaches little girls what engineering is, making it fun and accessible. I’m making sure that girls don’t have to rely on a serendipitous comment from a teacher to realize their passion for engineering,” she says.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we wrote another “Meet a Manufacturing Engineer” story—about 15 years from now in which something as simple as a kid’s toy convinced somebody to go into engineering or manufacturing? It will be interesting to see what resources and tactics actually work to attract, educate and train the next generation.