Is The Moment Now?

There comes a time when the progress of technology reaches a crucial point where the decision to invest in new processes, new applications or new equipment becomes literally a life-and-death matter. The shops that take bold action will survive, even flourish.

Columns From: 8/1/2001 Modern Machine Shop, ,

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Mark Albert

Mark has been writing his Mark: My Word column every month since January, 1981.

There comes a time when the progress of technology reaches a crucial point where the decision to invest in new processes, new applications or new equipment becomes literally a life-and-death matter. The shops that take bold action will survive, even flourish. The shops that hold back will struggle, even perish.

As you read this in August 2001, I’d like you to consider three related events that put this theme into immediate perspective.

The first event is this special issue of Modern Machine Shop itself. Where do you stand on high speed machining? How does your organization compare to the ones described here? Are you keeping up? Are you ahead? Behind?

In the case of high speed machining, I believe that the moment of truth is not quite upon us. High speed machining is clearly gaining momentum but pioneering efforts are still underway. Only the shops and plants that are not looking into it at all right now are at risk. Mold and die shops are the most likely to reach the vital juncture before the rest.

The second event to consider is the Hard Steel Milling conference sponsored by Modern Machine Shop. This event will take place September 26-27, 2001, in the Chicago area. Hard Steel Milling, a special application of high speed machining, is catching on. Now is the time for mold and die shops to get ahead of competitors who are less aggressive and forward thinking. The real urgency is to sign up before attendance reaches its limit. Because the conference features a unique format mixing technical presentations and live demonstrations, only 150 end users can register. See page 270 for details.

The third event is EDM ’01, also sponsored by this magazine. This conference and tabletop exhibit, scheduled for October 17-19, 2001, in downtown Indianapolis, focuses on automation for electrical discharge machining. Here is a case where timing is the most sensitive. The future of many mold and die shops hinges on improving overall efficiency.

Automating EDM and integrating it with other computerized machining processes appears to have enormous promise. But chances are that when orders for molds and dies come roaring back, only those shops that have already slashed labor costs and boosted throughput will be able to participate fully. Details about this conference are on page 254.

Whatever aspect of metalworking is your preoccupation, pay attention to the critical technologies. Don’t let The Moment slip by.

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