MMS Blog

By: Emily Probst 15. November 2018

Women Transform IMTS

One such opportunity is to help drive the digital transformation—to provide value for manufacturing companies by making data-driven business decisions. For example, the organization Women in Big Data presented the Digital Transformation Conference during IMTS to help both male and female attendees understand the value of data to make better decisions on the shop floor. The inaugural event’s panel consisted of Nina Anderson, data scientist for AMT–The Association For Manufacturing Technology; Kim Cato, IT director for Whirlpool Corp. NAR Integrated Supply Chain and Manufacturing; Ester Codina, managing director - Sandvik Coromant; Stephanie Hendrixson, senior editor of Additive Manufacturing magazine; and Elisabeth Smith, president and CEO of Acutec Precision Machining Inc.

The panelists shared their industry expertise on data analytics, digital integration and the technologies driving this transformation. Here are six key takeaways:

The first 3D printing process was developed more than 30 years ago, but the technology and its uses have changed dramatically over the past three decades. There are now seven types of 3D printing processes defined by ISO/ASTM, with numerous variations within each type, and the applications for these technologies have grown exponentially, expanding from rapid prototyping to tooling and molds to, more recently, end-use parts in production volumes.

It can be difficult to keep up and to understand how AM processes compare to more conventional processes like injection molding and machining. While some companies are diving head-first into additive manufacturing, others are still asking fundamental questions like: Is additive manufacturing the same as 3D printing? Will additive manufacturing replace machining? What are the best use cases for additive? If this list sounds familiar, the playlist above is for you. We’ve assembled a few videos to provide a quick introduction to 3D printing and additive manufacturing, with a run-time just over 10 minutes.

A big part of my International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) experience this year—more so than at past shows—involved video interviews and conference presentations. It was the same for many of our company’s other editors. In my case, I was interviewed for IMTS TV, I moderated a workforce development panel at our Top Shops workshop and I moderated an ExxonMobil/Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) panel that was live-streamed to more than 7,000 online viewers.

That live-streamed panel consisted of Tony Stewart, three-time NASCAR cup champion driver and SHR co-owner; Brad Harris, SHR director of CNC operations; and Ray Salazar, ExxonMobil equipment builder engineer. We talked about a variety of topics, but the event largely described how SHR’s in-house machine shop, like other shops serving automotive race teams, closely resembles a job shop. Both deal with high-mix/low-volume work, look for ways to speed setups and remain flexible, as they might not know what work will come through the door on any given day.

By: George Schuetz 12. November 2018

Just This Once, You Can Blame the Gage

For a change of pace this month, rather than advising those who use dimensional gages to not blame the gage when measurements are incorrect, I am going to address the times when one can blame the gage. The gage can be wrong, or perhaps I should say, a gage can go wrong.

One way that a gage can go wrong is through wear, and this is something that we are all inclined to overlook. This is likely because most users have come to think of the gage as a constant, like the mountains far off in the distance. Still, even the mountains will wear down with time.

Gardner Intelligence, the research arm of Modern Machine Shop publisher Gardner Business Media, reviewed the medical industry using Gardner’s proprietary data and the second quarter 2018 financial filings results of nearly 70 publicly traded medical firms. The review indicates an industry experiencing growth in revenues, earnings, free cash flow and capital expenditures. The latest quarterly results* signaled a slight increase in the growth rate of capital expenditures. The most significant financial improvement in the industry was in earnings growth, which turned positive during the second quarter after contracting during the preceding two quarters.

Capital expenditures, which includes spending on manufacturing and equipment, grew from 2.8 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2018 to 3.7 percent by the end of the second quarter. This reverses the slowing growth trend in capital expenditures that began after capital spending growth reached a peak of more than 17 percent in the first half of 2017. An analysis of quarterly data between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2018 indicates a statistically significant relationship between revenue change during a given quarter and capital expenditure change two quarters later. From this simple linear regression analysis – which considers no other factors – and assuming an accurate forecast of revenues based on the consensus Wall Street forecast, this model would predict total capital spending growth of 11.3 percent during calendar year 2018 before expenditures contract by 6.6 percent in 2019.

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