MMS Blog

The image gallery above, based on Modern Machine Shop magazine’s Modern Equipment Review Spotlight, features a selection of the product releases we have recently published about electrical discharge machining, which uses electricity to burn away material bit by bit. This spotlight includes a variety of EDM equipment. More can be found in our Zone dedicated to EDM equipment.

Swipe through the gallery for details about each product, and follow the caption links for more information. Products featured in this month’s spotlight come from the following companies:

Oftentimes, reducing machining time alone is not enough to meet challenging lead times. Shops may need to look at other processes to ensure the parts get to the customer on time. B.C. Instruments (BCI), a company based in Schomberg, Ontario, purchased new machines to keep up with a customer’s expedited lead times. But it quickly realized that even with the ability to produce complete parts in less than two minutes, it would not meet lead times if it had to spend three or four minutes inspecting each part. A new inspection system from The L.S. Starrett Co. (Athol, Massachusetts) has increased inspection throughput by 75% to help the company hit its customers’ lead times and perform additional inspection tasks.

Bruno Conzelmann established B.C. Instruments in his garage in 1971. Since then, the company has grown to include 150 employees working in six plants across Ontario and a plant in India. Despite this growth, BCI is still family-owned, with Mr. Conzelmann’s son Roger currently serving as the company’s president. “We’re a fast-growing company that takes pride in retaining and taking care of our employees, without a single layoff,” says Sean Smith, plant manager for small-diameter turning.

At last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the CEO of China’s largest online travel service predicted that the number of Chinese passport holders could nearly double in the next 24 months. If that sounds impossible, consider that less than 10 percent of Chinese citizens own a passport today. Then consider that from 2000 to 2017, the number of Chinese residents traveling outside of mainland China skyrocketed from 10.5 million to 145 million—an increase of nearly 1,400 percent—according to the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute.

The shockwaves of increased outbound travel from emerging markets such as China, not to mention India and the Middle East, are radiating across industries. But in many ways, this projected surge impacts one industry above all: commercial aviation.

A Dramatic Debut and Key Collaborations at the Paris Air Show

Soaring aerobatics, multi-billion-dollar deals and extensive displays of aerospace technology make the biennial Paris Air Show the aviation world’s signature event. This year, 315,000 visitors — including 276 official delegates from 98 countries — took in 2,453 exhibitions and signed roughly $140 billion worth of contracts and letters of intent. While the rivalry between Boeing and Airbus typically dominates headlines at the show, that rivalry was clouded by recent headlines surrounding Boeing’s 737 MAX after two recent crashes grounded the aircraft worldwide. While the two largest aerospace manufacturing companies in the world ended up securing a healthy $78 billion in orders — $34 billion for Boeing and $44 billion for Airbus — each was eclipsed by a record haul for GE Aviation.

On the show’s opening day, David Joyce, GE Aviation’s president and CEO, debuted the company’s GE9X engine to a packed room in the company’s pavilion near the Le Bourget airfield. The engine, which served as the cover feature of our special edition publication about next-generation aerospace manufacturing (more on that below), is a massive high-bypass turbofan that boasts 304 additively manufactured parts integrated into seven multi-part structures. The GE9X — the largest, most fuel-efficient engine the company has ever produced — represents the first time the company has placed multiple additive manufacturing (AM) materials and modalities into production toward a single aviation application, creating what the company calls a first-of-its-kind industrialized aerospace supply chain for AM.

Pioneer Service was nearly a victim of the truth behind the quote above from Henry Ford. The late 2000s were the start of a rough time for U.S. manufacturing. My company was no exception. As an owner, the realization that my company was in danger of failing kept me up at night. It was one part pride, one part self-reflection and about eight parts seeing the cars in my company parking lot. Each car was a family, and I had watched many of those children grow up year after year at our company events.

I was determined not to close my doors. My core business strategy was (and still remains) people first. Survival meant adapting, which meant we had to reinvent ourselves as a company with a move into Swiss CNC machining. We had work to do, but we weren’t laying anyone off.

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