MMS Blog


Update: MT360 has been rescheduled to May 12-14, 2020. The column below has been revised to reflect the new dates. The speaker lineup is expected to remain the same. Save the date for the launch of this new tech-meets-manufacturing event.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to make industrial equipment predictive maintenance truly predictive.

One example I wrote about last year was Cosen Saws’ cloud-based predictive maintenance app that not only monitors blade life for the company’s CNC saws, but also predicts blade failure well before failure is immenent. A similar example is Mazak’s AI-based Spindle Health Monitoring System (SHMS) that is currently an option for its HCN horizontal machining centers (HMCs).

The Additive Manufacturing Workshop for Plastics has announced its complete lineup of technical sessions. Presented by sister brands Additive Manufacturing Media, Plastics Technology and MoldMaking Technology, the workshop will present practical applications of 3D printing technologies related to plastics processing. Topics include production at scale, digital modeling, design considerations, 3D printing versus injection molding and medical applications. The workshop will take place alongside Amerimold in Rosemont, Illinois, June 13.

Opening the Additive Manufacturing Workshop for Plastics at Amerimold, Editor-in-Chief Peter Zelinski will lead a discussion with guests Marc Mitchell, design center manager, Byrne Tool + Design and Lester Jones, vice president, Custom Mold & Design and TeamVantage. Mitchell and Jones will briefly share their experiences using additive manufacturing for multiple uses including the creation of prototype parts and 3D printed molds, giving a brief look into how AM is reducing production costs and increasing consistency in the process.

By: Wayne Chaneski 4/24/2019

Making Manufacturing Improvements Stick

Ever wonder why some improvements stick, while others seem to achieve short-term gains, but then lose momentum and ultimately fall apart? As someone who strives to help companies make things better, I think about this a lot. There are, indeed, many things that can have an impact on an improvement effort’s success including “real” employment involvement throughout the process: a clear understanding of the improvement’s objectives by all involved; a cross-functional, team-based approach to planning and implementing the improvement; meaningful metrics to show if things have really gotten better; some type of reward for those responsible for a successful outcome; and even recognition of the need to follow up on results and make adjustments when necessary. Whereas all these factors are important, I have found that management participation is a factor critical to making an improvement stick. Participation should not be confused with support. Support can be done remotely and often with little more effort than a few words of encouragement and appreciation. However, participation requires visible, meaningful involvement and a willingness to take on tasks that may not be considered part of a manager’s normal responsibilities. It may even require a manager to leave his or her comfort zone for a time and become a contributing member of the improvement team.

I have witnessed management participation in a variety of improvement efforts. During 5S workplace organization kaizen events, I have seen managers drive fork trucks, cut foam to make shadow boards for tools and supplies, print labels for storage locations and tape floor areas to show what should and should not be stored in specific locations. In machine setup reduction events, I have seen managers observe and ask questions about the steps involved; pre-stage tooling and material; organize setup carts; and complete the steps in a setup process themselves to see things from that perspective. As part of total productive maintenance (TPM) kaizen events, I have seen managers collect data at the machine and use it to determine how often and effectively a machine runs, offer suggestions to simplify routine maintenance tasks and even paint machines to look new. During department relocation efforts, I have seen managers moving furniture, drawers and cabinets. Also, I have seen managers participate in gemba/waste walks every day to review key metrics and listen/respond to employee ideas and needs. None of these actions require an extraordinary level of skill, and they are certainly within the capabilities of most managers, yet they demonstrate to everyone just how important the effort is. As such, these actions carry great weight. 

The image gallery above, based on Modern Machine Shop magazine’s Modern Equipment Review Spotlight, features a selection of the products we have recently published related to parts finishing with a focus on burr removal and parts cleaning processes. Find more items in the product page of our Parts Cleaning and Deburring Zones.

Swipe through the gallery for details on each product, and follow the caption links for more information.

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