MMS Blog

As scary as headlines and the associated economic headwinds may be, panicking about the novel Coronavirus benefits no one. Rather than acting rashly based on guy instinct, businesses should analyze and act on evidence, particularly data of the sort provided by Modern Machine Shop publisher Gardner Business Media’s own in-house intelligence division. Here, I talk to Michael Guckes, chief economist of Gardner Intelligence, about the data we track, how the metalworking economy is responding to the virus, and the advantages of a rational, data-driven response.

DMG MORI Invests in the Future by Providing Integrated Solutions

If there’s one takeaway I garnered from attending DMG MORI’s recent open house event in Pfronten, Germany, it’s that the company is investing heavily. It’s investing in its facility, its consolidated product line, and three key technologies that show promise in moving manufacturing into the future.

The event, which took place February 11-15, was well attended by the trade press and customers despite a travel ban with China due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and high winds canceling many flights across Western Europe. Attendees were able to see 45 innovative machines and 15 automation solutions. The four world premieres included the DMU/DMC 65 H monoBlock universal horizontal machining center, the modular PH Cell pallet system, the Lasertec 400 Shape for laser texturing and the Lastertec 30 Dual SLM for additive manufacturing.

By: George Schuetz 3/7/2020

What’s the Correct Reading?

What’s the Correct Reading?

I was recently contacted by a customer whose long-term supplier had manufactured a number of precision, hard-turned parts (0.4-0.8 Ra) inspected on the supplier’s CMM. Upon receipt of the parts, our customer used an air gage to verify the inspection results and found that more than half were outside of the specification. To verify the air gage, they used a manual bore mic, and these readings aligned themselves somewhat with those of the air gage. However, the parts measured on the CMM consistently ran 2 microns smaller than the air gage and 1 micron smaller than the bore mic readings. The questions to us was, “What’s going on?”

A CMM, a bore mic and an air gage all measure parts differently. About 90% of the time, the air plug is a two-jet plug measuring one diameter at one location. A bore mic is a three-point measuring system. But a CMM has many different routines for measuring a diameter. In the situation described above, it is most likely that numerous points were measured around the radius, and an average diameter was produced based on the user’s selection. That’s a far cry from the two points an air gage may produce and then again different than the bore mic. Beyond that, there are even more selections with the CMM — a form-type analysis for diameter could be provided and the diameter calculated on a least squared diameter (the average) or a minimum or maximum inscribed diameter. Mathematically, all may be correct but they are different values. Based on the form of the part, all are apt to produce slightly different diameter results.


Matt Danford, Modern Machine Shop senior editor and writer of our “Data Matters” column, spoke with me about a possible role for artificial intelligence (AI) in machine shops. He sees a path from machine monitoring to machine learning. Today, machining facilities are gathering data from CNCs using machine monitoring systems. A next logical step will be to use machine learning to find opportunities for process improvement within that data. Here is a video of our conversation, with transcript below. Also, be sure to download a collection of articles from Modern Machine Shop and sister publication Additive Manufacturing that explores the intersection of AI and manufacturing as it stands today.

February Metalworking Index and the Impact of the Coronavirus

The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking held onto January’s expansionary gain with a repeat 50.2 reading in February. Gardner Intelligence reviewed the six components that make up the Index and found that the reading of 50.2 was supported by a quickening expansion in production, supplier deliveries, new orders and employment. The index was hindered from making further advances by contracting activity in exports and backlogs. 

Gardner Intelligence is also carefully tracking the potential adverse effects that COVID-19, widely known as the coronavirus, is expected to have on the GBI in the coming months. The efforts of Asian governments in January and February — and a widening number of countries since then — to combat the spread of the coronavirus are having a detrimental impact on the world’s supply chain as quarantine measures affect workers, companies and cities.  In the short term, these necessary measures will nevertheless restrict the normal flow of upstream and sub-component goods, which are needed for the proper functioning of the manufacturing sector.