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New Specs: Milling and Turning Machines from Hurco

30. March 2020
new specs from Hurco

Techspex has added and updated machine specs to our database of milling and turning centers from Hurco

Among the additions are specs for: 

  • The TMX10i High Performance Turning Center, a true slant-bed lathe with all-digital drives and motors with absolute encoders on all linear axes
  • The VMX50i-50T Performance VMC for batch production or die/mold work
  • The HMX630i Traveling Column Horizontal Machining Center, designed for low to medium-batch production runs

You can see and compare among Hurco’s machines newly added machine specs by visiting its Techspex showroom, linked above. While you’re taking note, be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter to stay current on additions and updates to the Techspex database.

 

New Specs: Grinding Machines from Alex Machine Tools

23. March 2020
New specs from Alex Machine Tools

Techspex has added and updated machine specs to our database of machine tools from India-based Alex Machine Tools. The additions include specifications on the company’s grinding machines, including surface rotary grinders and creep-feed grinders with various spindle and table configurations. 

You can see and compare among Makino’s machines newly added machine specs by visiting its Techspex showroom, linked above. While you’re taking note, be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter to stay current on additions and updates to the Techspex database.

 

New Specs: Machining Centers and EDMs from Makino

13. March 2020
new specs from Makino

Techspex has added and updated machine specs to our database of machine tools from Makino

Among the additions are specs for: 

You can see and compare among Makino’s machines newly added machine specs by visiting its Techspex showroom, linked above. While you’re taking note, be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter to stay current on additions and updates to the Techspex database.

 

February Metalworking Index and the Impact of the Coronavirus

Posted by: Michael Guckes 9. March 2020

The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking held onto January’s expansionary gain with a repeat 50.2 reading in February. Gardner Intelligence reviewed the six components that make up the Index and found that the reading of 50.2 was supported by a quickening expansion in production, supplier deliveries, new orders and employment. The index was hindered from making further advances by contracting activity in exports and backlogs. 

Gardner Intelligence is also carefully tracking the potential adverse effects that COVID-19, widely known as the coronavirus, is expected to have on the GBI in the coming months. The efforts of Asian governments in January and February — and a widening number of countries since then — to combat the spread of the coronavirus are having a detrimental impact on the world’s supply chain as quarantine measures affect workers, companies and cities.  In the short term, these necessary measures will nevertheless restrict the normal flow of upstream and sub-component goods, which are needed for the proper functioning of the manufacturing sector.

graph charting the Gardner Business Index: Metalworking through February 2020

The Metalworking Index (as seen in the top blue line) reported a second month of expansionary activity in February. The latest reading was supported by expanding production, supplier delivery and new orders activity. Gardner Intelligence expects that most (if not all) of its indicators will be subjected to shocks from the ripple effects of the coronavirus. The fact that the virus originated in Asia suggests that American manufacturers in the immediate future should pay particular attention to their supply chains and volatility in export orders (as marked by the red and gray lines in the bottom graph).

 

The Metalworking Index is unique in its ability to measure just the metalworking manufacturing industry on a monthly basis. This means that the Index will help us to quantify both the negative impact from the virus at present along with the timing and strength of manufacturing’s eventual recovery from it. 

At this time, it is particularly important for our readers to complete the GBI Metalworking survey sent to them each month. Your participation will enable the best and most accurate reporting of the true magnitude and duration of COVID-19’s impact. That reporting will enable you and your peers to make informed, data-driven decisions at a time when there may be a strong temptation to make impulsive gut decisions that could make a difficult situation worse.

 

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

Posted by: Peter Zelinski 20. February 2020

How important is the 25% tariff the United States recently reinstated on China-built injection mold tooling?

For Precise Tooling Solutions, this action by the federal government could not be more meaningful. Order activity is already making it clear that this will be a good year for the shop, whereas 2019 was not. By the middle of January 2020 — that is, just three weeks into this year — this Columbus, Indiana, mold builder with a staff of 40 had already booked more molds than it did for the entirety of 2019. Employees who might have grown accustomed to 40-hour weeks will now be called upon to work significant overtime. I spoke to owner and CEO Don Dumoulin about the change. How much of the upswing does he attribute to the tariff?

“All of it,” he says. The tariff went into effect during the final days of 2019. Since then, the shop has been hearing from mold buyers who had never been customers before — injection molders that, until that point, had been committed to sourcing their tooling from China.

2018 was a strong year for the shop, too. The tariff went into effect in July of that year. It was rescinded at the end of that year, and now recently restored, as the presidential administration apparently agreed with comments filed by 150 American mold builders on behalf of this action. Precise’s experience certainly demonstrates the effectiveness of the move. “The shop is humming again,” Mr. Dumoulin says. Meanwhile, he argues the tariff was also the right move.

A tariff is arbitrary, to be sure. This is one of its problems: It is a cost set by politics and bureaucracy rather than market forces and value. However, U.S. moldmakers have long struggled against arbitrary moves opposing them. Among these is the support foreign governments (China and others) give to their domestic toolmakers. By virtue of the tariff, the U.S. is now supporting its toolmakers as well.

The artificially lower cost overseas leads to another irrational factor, he says, which is the short-term actions of mold buyers. “U.S. businesses get caught up in cost savings that hurt their interests long-term,” he says. Molders saving cost by buying from foreign sources is particularly galling to him, he explains, because the mold frequently amounts to only 3-4% of the total cost of a plastic part. However, the loss of domestic moldmaking capability — a real possibility as significant amounts of mold work shift to China — would imperil plastics manufacturing. Since a new product made of plastic is defined by the mold, the ability to invent with plastics relies on access to moldmaking, and intellectual property is literally contained in the mold. If a tariff is “protectionism” — and it is — moldmaking is a capability arguably worth protecting, at least against artificial distortions.

Is 25% a fitting number? Again, arbitrary. But in this case, Mr. Dumoulin says that figure seems just right. U.S. molds are still costlier, but where the price difference compared to China used to be huge, the tariff now leaves the price of Precise’s molds generally within about 10-15%, he says. This gap is slight enough that the desire to buy domestically can close it. To many molders, the ease of proximity and the expectation of service, quality and delivery that come from sourcing from an American mold shop justify a reasonable price premium.

“Customers have always told us, if you can get the price within 20%, we will buy American,” he says. The tariff is now proving this to be true.


This story originally appeared in Modern Machine Shop magazine.

 
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