#ZAXIS

Machining Suppliers of the Future Will Be Both Bigger and Smaller

When we look for Top Shops in the years to come, what will we find? Through acquisition they’ll scale up and with technology they’ll scale down.

Hope Is an Asset: Here Are Machine Shops Following Clear Visions for the Future

A simple strategy offering a clear aim to hope for is particularly valuable during a disruptive time. Recently posted articles offer examples of shops following clear ideas for the way ahead.

Die/Mold

Die Makers Adapt to Challenges All Machine Shops Face

Die shops offer examples of adapting to the skills shortage and excelling at difficult machining. Plus, why reshoring should begin with die tooling.

Automation

Has COVID-19 Made a Case for Automation? Taught Us About People Instead

Recently posted articles offer various pictures of machining automation. Also, goodbyes to two long-time writers for MMS: Wayne Chaneski and Derek Korn.

Data-Driven Manufacturing

After Machine Monitoring, Is Machine Learning the Next Step? Getting Ready for AI in Manufacturing

Is artificial intelligence coming to machine shops? Automatically gathering data is already widespread. Automatically analyzing data is likely the next step. One book offers a useful perspective on what this will and will not mean.

What Comes Next: The Beginning of a Reshoring Policy for U.S. Manufacturing

The current crisis is a reckoning. Right now, the challenge is saving livings. But once we are free to look ahead, let’s learn the lessons and prepare ourselves better for the next crisis that comes.

Additive Manufacturing

OEMs and Job Shops See Metal Additive Manufacturing Differently

When should a machine shop consider production metal 3D printing? Part of the answer might be when that machine shop also does design. Cobra Aero is a small shop thriving with AM, because it’s also an OEM.

Turn/Mill

Acquire to Hire: This New York Manufacturer Sees Buying Shops as the Best Way to Add Staff

Designatronics’ CEO says, “We can access a few million dollars more business” with each skilled machining employee who can perform complex setups and other sophisticated work from day one.

Die/Mold

Because of the Tariff on Mold Tooling, This Indiana Mold Shop’s Business is Now Booming

U.S. molders are now buying their tooling from U.S. mold builders. Precise Tooling Solutions illustrates this, and its owner makes the case for why the tariff matters.

Does Your Machine Shop Need a Human Resources Professional?

Straton Industries employs a full-time HR person as part of its staff of 78. The owner now realizes the shop could have benefited from this help even when the staff was much smaller. Companies overlook the value and importance of this role.

What Machining Facility Should MMS Write About Next? Maybe Yours

The articles we develop often start with a manufacturing leader letting us know about the special way their shop is advancing or succeeding.

Not Every RFQ Needs Your Attention

This shop discovered the most profitable thing it could do with certain RFQs is to prevent them from ever reaching the quoting team.

Five-Axis

3 Mindset Changes for Lights-Out CNC Machining

Expanding capacity into the unattended hours calls for counterintuitive new ways of thinking about the work.

Data-Driven Manufacturing

5 Impressions of EMO 2019, from Automated to Autonomous Manufacturing

The robot show? Not quite that. But automation and the expectation of processes that can run unattended if needed are clearly core to manufacturing now.

Automation

Merging Advances: Lights-Out Machining Combines Automation and Focused Process Improvement

One of the most significant developments in machining right now is easy to miss because it is the union of two different advances coming together.

Data-Driven Manufacturing

10 Takeaways on How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Influence CNC Machining

The Consortium for Self-Aware Machining and Metrology held a promising first meeting at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Here are my impressions.

Additive Manufacturing

The Additive Manufacturing Conference in Austin Emphasizes Production. Join Me.

Additive manufacturing both competes with and complements conventional processes. AM’s increasing viability for scale production is reflected in our plans for the AM Conference.

Aerospace

Center of Excellence Is New Twist on Old Manufacturing Department Structure

The new Spirit AeroSystems facility for five-axis machining allows a small team to oversee a significant amount of machining capability. Is this the way of the future as machining systems become more automated?

Automation

Manufacturing to Meet Tech Community at MT360

I will hold onstage conversations with additive manufacturing and collaborative automation leaders as part of the new technology event to premier May 12-14, 2020, in Santa Clara, California.

The Case for Consistency

Why do manufacturers ask their employees to work within defined systems? Here's why consistency matters.

Data-Driven Manufacturing

The Starting Point for Machine Tool Monitoring: Data Analysis Is an Emotional Choice

For machine shops, the transformation that data-driven manufacturing promises to bring begins with machine monitoring, and there is a human component to this.

The Sign on the Wall When I First Met Mark Albert: “When In Doubt, Tell the Truth”

Not just writing, but writing with integrity, is the work and the craft to which Mark Albert gave his career.

How We Misread Productivity Gains in the Debate About Manufacturing Jobs

Manufacturing appears to lead other sectors in productivity growth, but productivity measures pick up factors besides automation. Recognizing this fact changes the terms of part of the public debate.

Automation

10 Ways to Think Differently about Robotic Automation

Take another look: A lot is happening in and around robotic automation. What robots might mean for machining and manufacturing is getting ready to change.

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