Emily Probst

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.

Posted by: Emily Probst 25. March 2016

Amerimold: of Interest Well Beyond Mold Manufacturing

It’s the nature of mold manufacturing that some of the most advanced machining processes, latest production strategies, leading CAD/CAM software and most promising cutting tools are applied in this industry first. So, while Amerimold is billed as the event for mold manufacturing, there’s plenty of useful information for shops that want to stay up on state of the art in machining and manufacturing technology.

Amerimold connects more than 2,750 of the top owners, executives and engineers involved in the plastic injection mold manufacturing industry. Attendees will see the latest machine tools, materials, tooling, software, services and components for mold manufacturing.

Specific topics include mold design; lights-out machining; shopfloor automation; tooling and workholding; EDM; five-axis machining; mold maintenance; and material selection.

This year’s expert panel includes speakers from leading contract mold manufacturers like Unique Tool and Gauge and Crest Mold Technology; product technology suppliers like Makino and GF Machining Solutions; and materials and software providers including Open Mind Technologies, HRS Flow and Ellwood Specialty Steel. There is even the “Build” conference track focused specifically on die and mold machining solutions.

Along with the technical program, Amerimold will feature more than 125 exhibitors displaying products and serves for moldmaking and injection molding. The event also offers unique business networking events aimed at connecting mold builders, mold buyers and equipment suppliers.

Amerimold, the event for mold manufacturing, takes place June 15-16 in Novi, Michigan, at the Suburban Collection Showplace. Pre-registration, which extends through May 6, grants you free access to the exhibit hall and a discounted price on the conference. Full session schedules and registration are available here.

Posted by: Emily Probst 15. March 2016

Read the March 2016 Digital Edition

Read the March digital edition by clicking on the photo above.

Normally, Stein Seal would have no problem machining a large, bell-shaped workpiece like the one it contracted for in 2013. But to deliver the price point necessary, the shop need a mull-turn machine able to swivel the rotary table into a horizontal position. As a result, process time gets cut by two thirds. Turn to page 78 to read the full story.

Also in this issue:

  • How one shop used a web- and video-based training program tailored to its own specific practices to enable new hires to progress in stages from trainee to senior process engineer;
  • How data can prove the process for unattended machining; and
  • How MQL can be used for more effective deep-hole drilling.

Access this and more in the March 2016 digital edition.

Posted by: Emily Probst 10. February 2016

A Consultant's Tips for Growing Your Machine Shop

In search of new customers, new markets and new business, a machine shop might consider hiring an outside salesperson. When this person finds new business, it is important that he or she not be met with internal resistance. For instance, a shop might have to change its culture by making new types of parts or working for unfamiliar customers. The shop also might need to update its equipment and certifications to meet the technical requirements of new jobs. Unless this salesperson is backed by the entire team, business opportunity will be lost, says David Bassler, president of Bassler Sales and Management Consulting LLC.

With that said, an outside salesperson is only one element of a coherent business development strategy. Mr. Bassler has developed a list of tips that owners or managers of growing machine shops, along with their entire team, should embrace:

  • A website. If you don’t have one, get one. A subcontractor can easily and affordably build one.
  • A company page on a social media platform. The same subcontractor can create this as a package deal with the website.
  • Brochures and other marketing material.
  • An updated quality system. If you are not ISO compliant, many big OEMs simply don’t want to talk to you.
  • An understanding that when you solicit machined parts from a new prospect, they will likely only send you their hardest, most complex parts. Why should they send you easy parts? They can do those themselves.
  • Additional inside sales staff or someone dedicated to the role. Someone has to respond to all inquiries accurately and in a timely fashion.
  • An understanding that your machinists, engineers, sales staff and management will need to continue to grow, along with the organization, and that there is a need for continuous training.
  • An understanding that you will have to do things differently than you did in the past.
  • An understanding that a new customer is not a hindrance, but something the whole organization should embrace enthusiastically. If leadership embraces it, the rank and file will too.
  • An understanding that new machines, tools, measurement systems, software systems and specific personnel with niche training will be needed to aggressively pursue new business.
  • An understanding that this is good for everyone. Everyone needs to grow together.

A shop that does this can pursue new business from a whole variety of new customers, and win it, he says. And when the outside salesperson shows up in the prospect’s office, he or she is not the only one showing up—the entire shop is. Then and only then, can they all grow and succeed.

Posted by: Emily Probst 3. February 2016

Read the February 2016 Digital Edition

Read the February digital edition by clicking on the photo above.

The daily reporting document pictured on the cover of the February 2016 issue is a visual tool used by plant managers at Tech Manufacturing to easily check the previous day’s machine performance. The color red indicates a planned interruption (such as inspection or scheduled maintenance), while black indicates periods in which a machine is scheduled offline. Green, meanwhile, is in-cycle time. The machine is producing parts and making money during these periods. Yellow is what the shop doesn’t want to see. This color indicates unexplained non-cutting conditions. Click on the cover image above to access the digital edition of the magazine and turn to page 74 to read the full story.

Also in this issue:

  • How  machining IDs and ODs of 0.0160 inch with tolerances down to ±0.0001 inch led to the development of a new multifunction turning center;
  • How one shop took baby steps to integrate five-axis manufacturing; and
  • What Hydromat is doing to tailor its rotary transfer machines to specific high-volume applications.
Posted by: Emily Probst 20. January 2016

Searching for Good News in the Manufacturing Skills Gap

While the current employment outlook is seemingly bleak, with a high number of manufacturers reporting a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified production workers, there does appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel concerning the future of American manufacturing over the next decade.

So says Jon Iverson, CEO of Optis, in an article written in correlation to the company’s new qualitative research report, which looks into the state of American manufacturing to examine the current mood and make predictions for the future.

In the article , Mr. Iverson mentions three ways the manufacturing industry can begin to bridge the skills gap, ensuring a sustainable future.

  1. Use model-based definition. Design parts and automatically embed tolerances in the model. By doing so, product development can be streamlined.
  2. Use automation. Automating routine tasks enables personnel to concentrate on more intricate, complex and individualized procedures. According to the report, this will become increasingly important as manufacturers reshore to the United States, bringing more demand for operators and further impacting the skills shortage.
  3. Design more intuitive machines. A certain amount of “tribal knowledge” will be lost when the baby boomers retire. This insight needs to be “trained” into machines so less human intervention is necessary to make the future machine tool self-sufficient.

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