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.


Manufacturing News Highlights - February 2020

12. February 2020

GWS Tool Group Acquires North American Tool Corp.

Located in Northern Illinois, North American Tool is a supplier of special taps, dies and gages.

GWS Tool Group has acquired North American Tool Corp. (NATC), the second such add-on acquisition in 2020 for GWS. With the addition of NATC, GWS says it strengthens its reputation as a multi-disciplinary manufacturer of high-performance custom cutting tools.

Located in Northern Illinois, North American Tool is a supplier of special taps, dies and gages. From solid carbide threadmills to high-speed steel taps and thread gages, North American Tool delivers specialized threading tools for applications across multiple industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical and general engineering.

“NATC is an exciting add for us,” says Rick McIntyre, CEO of GWS. “Their customer service model is one of the best in the business.”

“North American Tool is very excited to be joining GWS Tool Group, a company that embodies the attributes that have long made us successful,” says Curt Lansbery, president and CEO of NATC. “We have no doubt that this move to join GWS will be positive for our associates and will ensure the continued growth of the legacy that we have worked to develop.”

The team at NATC will continue to operate from the Illinois facility as a manufacturing arm of GWS Tool Group, and the company expresses intent toward continued investment in the facility, machinery and equipment, and human resources. Customers of NATC are said to expect continuity of the NATC offering and customer service disposition under GWS ownership.


Additive Manufacturing Conference Announces Call for Speakers

This year, the conference is seeking additive manufacturing end users in particular to come and present about their use of the technology.

The Additive Manufacturing Conference has announced a call for presentations for the 2020 edition. The event will take place September 15-16, 2020, at McCormick Place in Chicago alongside the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), North America’s largest manufacturing trade show.

“Our annual call for speakers has turned into a particularly rewarding part of developing our conference,” says Peter Zelinski, editor-in-chief of Additive Manufacturing. “Every year, through this call, we end up hearing from people advancing AM — people we weren’t aware of before they contacted us who are excited to share their work.”

This year, the call for speakers will serve a more focused purpose than it has in the past. Conference organizers are seeking presentations specifically from end users of additive manufacturing technology — that is, companies succeeding in a significant way at making production parts or tooling additively, or researchers unaffiliated with a technology supplier who are making important strides in learning what AM can do and how to advance its capabilities.

The deadline for papers is April 30, 2020. Abstracts can be submitted online.

Speakers receive a complimentary pass to the conference, access to the IMTS exhibit hall, download of the proceedings after the event and an invitation to all networking activities, including the grand reception.

Additive Manufacturing Conference attendees represent companies of all shapes, sizes and specialties, ranging from multinational OEMs to independent contract machine shops, covering a wide range of end markets and job titles. Their common interest is in evolving their application of industrial additive manufacturing technologies.


Renishaw Appoints New President

A 33-year industry veteran, Denis Zayia has worked for Renishaw since 1995. 

Denis Zayia

Renishaw Inc. has appointed Denis Zayia as president of its U.S. operations. He replaces Howard Salt who, while turning over the responsibilities of day-to-day operations, will continue to provide service to the organization as senior business manager of encoder systems.

A 33-year industry veteran, Mr. Zayia started with Renishaw as coordinate measuring machine business manager in 1995 and became national sales manager for industrial metrology in 2008. Prior to this most recent appointment, Mr. Zayia was vice president of sales and marketing, where he was responsible for Renishaw’s line of industrial metrology and additive manufacturing products. 

“Renishaw has been developing industry-changing products and end-to-end solutions for over 40 years,” Mr. Zayia says, reflecting on the past of the company he now heads. “Our first product was a touch trigger probe, which was developed to solve a manufacturing problem on Concorde engines. Today, we are helping manufacturers driven by the goals of Industry 4.0 with a wide range of technologies including additive, motion control, healthcare, spectroscopy, quality assurance and process control. I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to lead the organization through its next phase of growth.”


Coordinate Metrology Society Establishes Two-Tier CMM Certification

The first level certification is comprised of an online test, while the second level is a test of at least 400 hours of CMM expertise.

The Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS) has launched the industry’s first Level-One and Level-Two Certifications for traditional coordinate measuring machine (CMM) professionals. Applicants for the CMS Level-One Certification must submit an application, meet eligibility requirements, sign the CMS code of ethics and pass a peer review. Candidates for the CMS Level-Two Certification must possess a Level-One Certification, have two years experience using a CMM (minimum 400 hours) and submit an application with two references who can confirm their expertise. Both examinations will be conducted by CMS-authorized proctors.

Qualifying candidates will be notified and scheduled for an examination slot at the upcoming Coordinate Metrology Society Conference scheduled for July 2020. Certification guidelines, fees, and application forms are available at

The Level-One Certification examination is a proctored, online assessment consisting of about 200 multiple-choice questions covering foundational theory and practice common to most traditional CMMs. Additionally, the CMS offers a device-specific CMS Level-Two Certification examination, which is a practical, hands-on performance assessment for CMM operators. Once an application is processed and approved, the assessment can also be scheduled throughout the year at an authorized CMS Assessment Facility in various North American locations. Additional fees may apply.

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