MMS Blog

Charlie Mitchell, machinist for Andretti Autosport, has described the race shop thus: “It’s like a job shop—like a prototype shop—but faster.”

Actual machining accounts for just a fraction of the time involved with a part moving from concept to reality. Design, engineering, programming and setting up a job consume the bulk of Mr. Mitchell’s workday. This does not include the time it takes the design engineers to diagnose the need for a new part on a car after a race weekend and prescribe a part for the fix or upgrade. By the time the job gets to him, time is already short. 

By: Wayne Chaneski 24. December 2018

Change and Behavioral Styles

I recently reread the short, but powerful book “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. As someone who frequently helps organizations introduce change, I find this book to be a valuable reminder of how differently people react to change based on their individual perceptions. Although most of us are not qualified to know how people perceive change internally, we can observe their behavior as it relates to change. We may even be able to go a step further and see if there is a link between a person’s behavioral style and how that person deals with change.

As Mr. Johnson writes in the book, some of us are extremely comfortable with change and will seek it out whenever possible. These change promoters are not satisfied with the status quo and believe change is vital to any organization’s success. Others are uncomfortable with change and try to stop it. These change resistors spend time and effort focusing on the bad things that could happen to both themselves and the organization if change occurs. Finally, others find they can adapt to change over time. They learn to take change in stride, recognizing that it may not be such a bad thing, and it could actually benefit both the organization and themselves.  

Consider this: Any seasoned machinist or programmer can walk up to a machine and know instantly if something is awry. The problem is that finding those qualified people is increasingly arduous, and most shops need their operators to manage multiple machines.

Imagine getting real-time updates when parts being made on Machine #5 are about to go out of tolerance, or getting notified that the the spindle bearings on VMC #2 will fail in three weeks.

The image gallery above, based on Modern Machine Shop magazine’s Modern Equipment Review Spotlight, features a variety of equipment used in turning applications, including lathes, mill-turns and cutting tools. Swipe through the gallery for details, and follow the caption links for more information about each item.

Products featured in this month’s spotlight comes from these companies: 

The ability to rapidly prototype is a big advantage for start-ups, which often need to quickly iterate on part features and designs to bring the best product to market as fast as possible. A Studio System for metal additive manufacturing from Desktop Metal helped a start-up company produce prototype parts for a new internal combustion engine faster and cheaper than traditional machining methods. It also helped improve the parts overall.

Lumenium is a Virginia-based start-up that is developing a new family of internal combustion engines. The company describes its inverse displacement asymmetrical rotational (IDAR) engine as a novel design for producing powerful, efficient internal combustion. Its geometry is said to permit efficient output from a small, light engine that consumes less fuel and produces lower emissions than traditional internal combustion engines.

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