Some Good News

Normally, when a machine tool builder sells a machine it's not particularly big news, except of course for the builder. Unfortunately, its become easier and easier for virtually anything positive in manufacturing to be newsworthy.

Columns From: 10/1/2002 Modern Machine Shop, ,

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Chris Koepfer

Normally, when a machine tool builder sells a machine it's not particularly big news, except of course for the builder. Unfortunately, its become easier and easier for virtually anything positive in manufacturing to be newsworthy. That's not to discount the recent news out of Cincinnati Machine about the sale of the company's first Hyper Mach, a high speed gantry profiler. Actually, this particular sale would meet the standards of worthy news, regardless of the economic times.

The machine that Cincinnati sold to California aerospace manufacturer Brek is symbolic of how technological development can, and perhaps should, move forward. Machine tool manufacturing is an industry comprised of critical but relatively small companies. It's difficult for any single company to incur the cost and risk of advanced development using internal resources, specifically, cash.

Hyper Mach came to commercial fruition, in large part, because of a partnership between Cincinnati Machine and Techsolve, a Cincinnati based extension of the Edison foundation of technology centers located in key manufacturing centers around the state of Ohio. Development work moved forward with help from an $895,000 Ohio Technology Action Grant that was awarded last February.

In addition, an industrial advisory team, called "In Tech", supported Cincinnati and Techsolve in the development and application of the Hypermach technology. This team represented The Boeing Company, Caterpillar, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, three government labs and several universities. Other partners represented processing technologies such as tooling, and software development.

Together, this formidable team has brought to market a machine tool capable of an 8 to 1 reduction in weight on monolith airframe components and numerous other technological advances. To me, though, as important to metalworking as an advanced machine such as Hypermach is, the real story here is the process by which it came into being.

Behind a banner of moving the machining of aerospace components forward, builder, vendor, customer and government came together to get the job done. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-rare occurrence in our country.

I salute the parties involved, especially the state of Ohio, for forward thinking about the positive impact advanced manufacturing can have on the economy and security of the state and nation.

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