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Jedd Cole

Jedd Cole joined Modern Machine Shop as Assistant Editor after graduating with a B.A. in Rhetoric and Professional Writing from the University of Cincinnati in 2015, and after working as an intern with the magazine in 2014. He writes for Techspex.com and also assists with the editing of Modern Machine Shop's sister publications, Modern Machine Shop México and Plastics Technology México.

Posted by: Jedd Cole 21. May 2019

What Happens When Machine Shops Pick Up Swiss-Type Turning

As an entry point to Techspex, a free machine specification directory designed to help users do the research they need to more easily and effectively acquire new machine tools, we thought that 2019 was a good time to provide readers of the Techspex supplement, Machine/Shop, with stories of shops getting into new machine technologies successfully.

The feature in the May 2019 edition of Machine/Shop highlights the story of a shop whose owner took it upon himself to learn how to use a Swiss-type lathe, having had only traditional lathe experience. The writers of Modern Machine Shop (where this story comes from) and Production Machining have written several stories over the past few years about machine shops adopting and finding success with Swiss-type lathes. 

Here are a few stories to look at in addition to the one republished in Machine/Shop:

1. New to Swiss-Type Turning

What are some nuances to training a person to effectively operate a Swiss-type lathe? Vallorbs, a shop in Pennsylvania, offers some advice: understanding the sliding-headstock concept, learning the difference between a headstock collet and a guide bushing, and taking care when offsetting tools are a few of the nuggets of wisdom this shop provides to those new to Swiss-type lathes. Read more at gbm.media/swiss1.

2. Adding Swiss to the Machining Mix

Augmenting Advance CNC Machining’s machining center based-business with Swiss-type turning capability speaks to recent trends within the metalworking industry. Like many who adopt Swiss-type machining, the owner of this shop found benefit in the OEM’s training services to get his staff prepared to use the machines. Read more at gbm.media/swiss2.

3. Why Shops Are Looking More to Swiss-Types

These days, more traditional job shops are installing—or at least eyeing—Swiss-types. Some reasons include the availability of Swiss-types in “tiered” price points and sophistication, the ability to turn parts with or without the guide bushing, and quick change-overs, among other reasons. Read more at gbm.media/swiss3.

If you are thinking about diving deeper into Swiss-type turning, give these articles a read and be sure to register for a free Techspex account, where you can search and compare Swiss-type lathe specs to find the best one to start with.

Posted by: Jedd Cole 25. March 2019

Manufacturing News of Note: Rocket Engines, Employee Ownership and Events

rocket engine 

Orbex, a U.K.-based spaceflight company, has introduced what is being called the world’s largest metal rocket engine to be 3D printed in a single piece using the SLM Solutions SLM800. Orbex develops small satellite launch vehicles, and the 3D-printed engine part was produced specifically for Prime, a supposedly environmentally friendly rocket. The launcher uses only 100-percent renewable fuel to cut carbon emissions by 90 percent. A zero-shock staging and payload separation eliminates orbital debris. The launcher was design-optimized for selective laser melting, an additive manufacturing (AM) process, producing a structure 30 percent lighter and 20 percent more efficient than other launch vehicles in its category. Orbex aerospace engineers partnered closely with the applications engineering team at SLM Solutions headquarters in Lübeck, Germany, to ensure success transferring the design into selective laser melting production—a feat that required the partnership of the equipment provider due to the complexity and size of the component. Read More.

Here is some other news to note: 

Posted by: Jedd Cole 22. February 2019

Focusing on Workforce Development in 2019: 10 Stories You Need to See

employee training at Westminster Tool

Photo by Peter Zelinski, Modern Machine Shop

 

As 2019 unfolds, one of the most important topics on the minds of manufacturers everywhere seems to be finding skilled labor. As happens cyclically in all forms of modern industry, competition presents a moment of decision for shop owners: find ways to automate existing processes, or figure out how to engage more workers.

The industry at present (as at all times) demonstrates a mixture of these two approaches among owners of capital. The movement behind the so-called Industrial Internet of Things advocates ever-increasing levels of automation through software, machine interconnectivity and monitoring, and robotics. But many are also seeking new ways to find, hire and train new workers across manufacturing. While the so-called “skills gap” may be a fraught and unhelpful (or just plain incorrect) way of viewing the most recent crisis of productivity and labor in manufacturing as a whole, there are certainly struggles on the local level as shops of varying sizes decide how to adapt to their particular conditions of competition, productivity and access to labor. 

Modern Machine Shop and her sister magazines covering manufacturing from metalworking to plastic injection to composites have devoted a special effort in recent months to covering stories of shops addressing the development and engagement of workers and their training. But while the settings may be particular, the lessons learned span all areas of manufacturing. 

These stories are well worth your time: 

Posted by: Jedd Cole 20. September 2018

Change vs. Progress: Reflections from a 25-Time IMTS Attendee

IMTS Show floor

Image: AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology.

 

During IMTS last week, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence recognized Burt Mason, a portable arm measurement specialist, with a tribute for having attended a whopping 25 editions of IMTS! On the occasion, he reflected on the almost 50 years this represents: 

After recounting the growth of CNC and CAD/CAM technology into the mainstream, Mason observed that these changes, being incremental by nature, were very gradual—“so gradual that if you asked people what they saw at IMTS that was unique or interesting most people would say, ‘There is nothing really new at the show this year,’ yet the changes were there show after show.”

It’s a good reminder that change most often comes not in sudden grand revelations but rather the step-by-step meandering of day-to-day problem solving and the effects of policies, both spoken and unspoken.

If I can add anything to Mason’s words, I’d say that change isn’t identical with progress. For example, the movement toward the looming labor dilemma that preoccupies many a shop both large and small has been just as incremental (and multifaceted) as the developments in CNC and CAD/CAM technology. To agree with Mason’s conclusion, it would do us well to pay attention to the incremental shifts that go on around us, whether or not they are intentional. Maybe that way we can contribute positively to the changes that we’ll look back on in the future.

Posted by: Jedd Cole 20. August 2018

How to Make the Most of IMTS 2018

 

Next month, my colleagues will be descending on Chicago, Illinois—along with some 115,000 other visitors—to attend the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), set to take place September 10-15.

Why?

To learn. For us, the idea is to soak up as much as possible in order to share it with you, the reader, in the pages of Modern Machine Shop. But you’re also going there to learn: about new products, new technologies, new processes, new faces. But with over a million square feet of ground to cover and hundreds of thousands of attendees weaving their way through tens of thousands of exhibits, how can you make the most of the short time you’re at the show?

In collaboration with AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology, Modern Machine Shop published a blog post back in February with five keys to doing just that. They were:

1. Plan your visit by registering, downloading the MyShow Planner mobile app (link) and taking a divide-and-conquer approach to prioritize must-see exhibit. 

2. Listen to industry experts both in the booth and at one or more of the over 150 conference sessions scheduled. This year, IMTS will host learning sessions specifically geared toward owner-operated job shops, among them: 

  • Uncopyable: Creating an Unfair Advantage Over the Competition,” at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 12 or Friday, September 14. Gain insights from marketing master Steve Miller, who will discuss new ideas for business growth and lessons from his new book (complimentary to all participants) of the same title.
  • “The Unending Search for Qualified Labor” on Wednesday, September 12 from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. An elite panel of job shop peers will share how they are overcoming this major challenge facing our industry.

3. Connect socially with fellow shop types and potential suppliers, as well as tap into the state of the industry by talking with industry thought leaders.

4. Watch live demonstrations on the show floor and presentations in booths and conference sessions. 

5. Apply what you learn later by documenting your experience as you go (keep a notebook, take pictures and video, etc.).

Come to think of it, these tips are as useful for our purposes as they are for yours. All of us are trying to understand developments in the industry, and that’s what IMTS is all about.

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