Posted by: Chris Koepfer 16. January 2015

New Faces, Old Hands

Cory Barrette, Michael Belanger and Jonathon Artiss have been added to Delcam’s support team in Windsor, Canada.

Delcam North America announced this week it has added more than 40 years of experience to its customer support resources team. Together, these three newly hired gentlemen represent a priceless commodity in the manufacturing trade: real world, hands-on experience.

Demand for Delcam’s CAD/CAM systems continue to grow as shops automate the programming function and create increasingly complex toolpaths for increasingly complex machine tools. Rendering service and technical advice to seasoned machine shops is a critical function for a software supplier, and finding people who can accomplish the task is difficult. Experience counts, and that’s what the company feels Cory Barrette, Michael Belanger and Johnathon Artiss bring to Delcam’s North American team, based in Windsor, Canada.  

All three have shopfloor experience with programming and operating machines that manufacture a variety of discrete parts. Hitting the ground running is vital to helping Delcam’s customers achieve the productivity gains they expect with using the company’s software.

And as most manufacturers know, the search for experienced people goes on continuously. Click here to learn more about career opportunities available with Delcam.  

Posted by: Chris Felix 14. January 2015

PM Buyer's Guide


In this space about this time each month I typically provide a link to the current issue of Production Machining’s online Digital Edition, along with brief summaries of the articles within. Our January issue, however, stands apart from the others, so it deserves different coverage.

In January, PM features the return of our Buyer’s Guide. While we do still have a Digital Edition version of this issue, most of the information provided will likely be more easily accessible and helpful via either the print edition or our website’s Supplier Directory. Here’s why I believe this:

In print, the magazine can remain on the reader’s desk or within short reach to allow quick reference for contact information for suppliers in more than 40 main product categories and 225 subcategories. Our online Supplier Directory goes a step further, covering additional categories and giving access to supplier showrooms that include direct links to articles and product descriptions.

Smart purchasing decisions begin with thorough research. Not only knowing what equipment is best suited for your application, but knowing where to shop for that equipment can make the difference between a pleasurable buying experience and a disaster. Regardless of what method works best for you, I suggest keeping our list of suppliers in mind when it’s time to consider equipment purchases.

Posted by: Miles Free 13. January 2015

Ancient Metal Ingots Recovered from Shipwreck


According to "Discovery News" this week, in an article titled "Atlantis' Legendary Metal Found in Shipwreck," cast metal called orichalucum, which was said by Ancient Greeks to be found in Atlantis, has been recovered from a ship that sunk 2,600 years ago off the coast of Sicily. The article says, "The 39 ingots found on the sandy sea floor represent a unique finding."

In continues, “Today, most scholars agree that orichalucum is a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity by cementation. This process was achieved with the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper metal in a crucible.

“Analyzed with X-ray fluorescence by Dario Panetta, of TQ – Tecnologies for Quality, the 39 ingots turned to be an alloy made with 75-80 percent copper, 15-20 percent zinc and small percentages of nickel, lead and iron.”

An Ancient Origins article reports, “The name orichalucum derives from the Greek word oreikhalkos, meaning literally ‘mountain copper’ or ‘copper mountain.’ According to Plato’s 5th century B.C. Critias dialogue, orichalucum was considered second only to gold in value and was found and mined in many parts of the legendary Atlantis in ancient times.”

Maybe the greenhouse gasses emitted by Atlantis’ cementation industries producing orichalucum caused the seas to rise, covering Atlantis.


Originally posted on blog. 

Posted by: Steve Kline, Jr. 12. January 2015

Industry Growth Resumes After 2 Months


With a reading of 50.9, the Gardner Business Index showed that the production machining industry grew for the first time since September. Compared with December 2013, the index grew 2.0 percent, which was much better than the negligible month-over-month growth in November. The annual rate of change continued to grow at a strong rate but it decelerated for the third month in a row.

New orders expanded after contracting the previous 2 months. Production expanded every month last year, but the rate of growth was the slowest the last 2 months of the year. Backlogs continued to contract, but the index was at its highest level since August. Annually, the rate of change in backlogs has been decelerating for 3 months, but the rate of growth is still quite strong. Therefore, the trend in backlogs indicates significant increases in capacity utilization and capital equipment consumption this year. But, capacity utilization should see its peak rate of growth in the first or second quarter of this year. Like production, employment increased every month last year, but its slowest growth was in December. The contraction in exports slowed significantly in December. The exports index was at its highest level since March, which was the last time exports grew. Supplier deliveries lengthened at a noticeably faster rate in December.

While material prices were increasing at a significantly accelerating rate earlier this year, the last 5 months have seen a lower rate of increase. December was the slowest rate of increase in material prices since August 2013. Prices received were unchanged in December after 2 months of very modest decreases. Future business expectations continued to improve in December. They were at their highest level since June.

Shops with 50-99 employees expanded at the fastest rate in December. They have been growing at a significant rate since October 2013. All other facilities saw significantly better business conditions in December. Facilities with 100-249 employees expanded after contracting the previous 2 months. Also, shops with 20-49 employees grew for the second time in 3 months. Shops with fewer than 20 employees continued to contract, but their rate of contraction was the slowest since May.

The North Central – East saw massive expansion in December, growing at its fastest rate since June and its second fastest rate since March 2012. The West and Northeast also expanded in December. The North Central – West contracted for the third month in a row.

Future capital spending plans for the next 12 months contracted 1.3 percent compared with December 2013. This was the first month-over-month contraction since August. The annual rate of change continued to grow, but the growth has been slower each of the previous 2 months.  

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 9. January 2015

Everybody Talks About the Skills Gap, But Some are Doing Something About It

Students get a first-hand look at several cutting demonstrations on state-of-the-art Okuma CNC machine tools.

The shortage of skilled young people to fill increasing demand for good, manufacturing jobs is no mystery. How to increase exposure to manufacturing in the 21st century is the challenge.

One recent effort to help change the skills gap was hosted by Okuma America at the company’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Area students were invited to visit and see first-hand career opportunities for engineers, machine tool operators, programmers and service professionals. They also toured the facility and were able to see several cutting demonstrations on state-of-the-art machine tools and to speak with Okuma sales and technical professionals in the CNC manufacturing industry.

As part of the company’s dedicated STEM development in the area, Okuma sponsored the Royal Robotics Team from Piedmont Community Charter School, who attended and demonstrated its award winning robot to the Okuma members. The Royal Robotics Team is a member of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and participates in the annual FIRST Robotics Competition. 

This is a winning strategy for other companies interested in doing something positive in their communities to help close the manufacturing skills gap. Ongoing, Okuma is hosting several student-related, educational events during the upcoming year, including a special event in October to celebrate Manufacturing Day.

The industry needs to reach out to change people’s minds about manufacturing opportunities for young people. 

The Okuma sponsored Royal Robotics Team from Piedmont Community Charter School demonstrates its team robot.

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