MMS Blog

By: Udo Jahn 16. December 2018

Can We Work Together to Address the Skills Gap?

Do you ever get the feeling that something is “off,” but you can’t quite put your finger on the problem or how to fix it? Welcome to the skills gap. We all know there is an issue, and we have a vague a sense of what to do about it, but we can’t seem to coordinate our efforts into a specific direction. All of us—the government, companies and schools—are throwing resources at the problem without a unifying plan. It’s chaos, and what’s truly heartbreaking is that if we got together and hammered out a plan, our companies and our country would be so much more successful.

I’ve spoken about this before, but when it comes to the skills gap, our problems stem from the following four areas:

Thomas Kurfess and Scott Smith are joining the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to support its research in advanced manufacturing. Their respective expertise in control systems and machine tooling expands the capabilities of the department’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL; their experience with industry, academia and the public sector is expected to enhance lab partnerships and promote adoption of new technologies by U.S. manufacturers.

“ORNL has been at the forefront of rapid advances in manufacturing technology, and Drs. Kurfess and Smith will lead critical programs in advanced manufacturing, automation and robotics that support the lab’s mission of delivering scientific and technical solutions to national challenges,” says ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia. Read More

Sponsored Content 14. December 2018

Mill and Turn Faster with Constant Chip Load

Improving machining strategies starts with the cutting tool. The key to more productive machining is using milling and turning tools in the way they were intended, at optimum feeds and speeds and, most importantly, optimum chip loads. Do that and you can dramatically improve metal removal rates, surface finishes and tool life.

For most shops, the barrier to achieving these gains is not their equipment but their ability to generate part programs that consistently keep tools in the cut under optimal conditions. Well-known CAM developer, Mastercam, has an answer for that with its Dynamic Motion toolpath engine.

“Our philosophy is competency breeds quality, and verification of quality is the holy grail,” says B&B Airparts owner Dan Barnard.

The Wichita, Kansas, company has been in business for more than 20 years offering customers in the aerospace and defense industries in-house machining, sheet metal fabrication, assembly and rapid prototyping capabilities. But it was a fundamental change more than three years ago to its overall approach to inspection—that is, establishing one inspection methodology to ensure quality control for each of its four disparate manufacturing processes—that has enabled the company to achieve an annual growth rate of 35 percent every year since. Mr. Barnard notes that Verisurf Software Inc., particularly its Universal CMM capabilities, was instrumental in facilitating this shift in thinking.

After 39 years as a writer and editor for Modern Machine Shop, Mark Albert will retire from a full-time role with the magazine at the end of the year. I recently asked Mark to look back and reflect on the nature and the meaning of the manufacturing technology changes he has seen during his career.

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