Posted by: Miles Free 16. July 2015

The Meaning of 'American-Made' Cars


Industry Week reports that “Ford Plans Move for Compact Car Production Out of US.” What exactly does “buy American” mean these days?

In 2009, while two of the three bankrupt-thinking Detroit firms were using the government to bully their way through bankruptcy, running roughshod on their suppliers and creditors, I wrote a piece about “The New Domestics.” 

Here are a few points that I made in that article:

  • More than 70 percent of the value added in a new car is provided by the suppliers, not the assemblers
  • More than 300 companies have created jobs in Ohio as a result of the state’s “New Domestic” auto industry
  • Honda has plants or major operations in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas
  • Mercedes has a plant in Alabama, too
  • BMW has a plant in South Carolina
  • Volkswagen has broken ground for an assembly facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee (it’s been making cars since 2011 and employs 2,000 people)

So what is an American car? One made by my friends and neighbors, made from materials and parts purchased locally, one that the first digit of the VIN is a 1, and one that has more than 50 percent “domestic content.”

If you want to know more about American cars in 2015, read “7 Most American Cars.” 

What is the U.S.’s leading auto exported abroad? Read the surprising answer here

Postscript: This is not to diminish the role of Canadian manufacturers, nor their vehicle assembly plants. PMPA members in Canada produce high volumes of high technology system parts for the automotive markets—fuel injectors, anti-lock brake parts, fluid power system components and much, much more. But the irony of the whole Ford “wrap ourselves in the flag while we really export your jobs” marketing is the “driver” behind this post.

Originally posted on blog. 

Posted by: Chris Felix 15. July 2015

A Visit to Jenoptik


While in Germany last month, I had the opportunity to visit the Industrial Metrology Division (located in Schwenningen) of Jenoptik, specialists in photonic and mechatronic technologies. Jenoptik offers solutions in the fields of lasers and material processing, optical systems, industrial metrology, traffic safety automation, and defense and civil systems.

The company’s industrial metrology solutions combine tactile, optical, and pneumatic technology as well as pre-process, post-process, and in-process measuring systems for use as PLCs, on the shop floor, or in a metrology lab.

Check out this slideshow of several of the products on display in this location’s show room. I was especially interested in the pneumatic system that was set up for high production measuring of diameters on cylindrical workpieces.

Posted by: Lori Beckman 13. July 2015

Swiss-Type Machining Tips

Even a person who is familiar with conventional turning ceners can stumble when learning how to operate a Swiss-type lathe with its signature sliding headstock design.

With many shops adopting Swiss-type machining, operators need to start from scratch to learn the ins and outs of this platform and to ensure that the machining processes run smoothly. Training new operators on these lathes may consist of micrometers, reading prints and so on. This article from PM’s sister publication, Modern Machine Shop, gives tips from one shop who has been through the process of training for Swiss-type. Tips include knowing the difference between a headstock collet and a guide bushing; measuring each bar before installing; taking care when offsetting tools, knowing the workpiece material, and more. Read “New to Swiss-Type Turning” for the complete article.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 10. July 2015

Fair Friend Buys MAG Group

FFG Chairman Jimmy Chu.

Taiwan’s Fair Friend Group (FFG) has signed an agreement to purchase 100 percent of German-based MAG IAS GmbH. The agreement was effective June 17 and will be concluded in October. The companies will exhibit together at the EMO show in Milan this October.

The purchase will add German brands including Huller Hille, Modul, VDF-Boehringer and Witzig and Frank to FFG's portfolio. The combined company will operate under the name FFG Deutschland.

This agreement is the result of a long standing relationship between executives in both groups; FFG Chairman Jimmy Chu, MAG owner Prof. Mo Meider and CEO Dr. Reiner Beutel. Strategically, the deal is expected to be mutually beneficial by giving the German brands strength in Asia and China where FFG well entrenched and to help FFG grow its market shares in Germany and Europe.

More than 60 companies comprise FFG, and the acquisition of MAG makes it one of the largest machine tool builders in the world. Click here to learn more about FFG.

Posted by: Chris Felix 8. July 2015

July 2015 PM Digital Issue Now Available


Production Machining’s July Digital Edition is now available. This issue features emphasis topics of Rotary Transfer and Quality. This month’s cover story provides a look into a 155-year-old lock manufacturing company and its use of rotary transfer in a manufacturing cell. The cell performs 5-sided machining on 25 different lock body sizes, machining them complete and running them through a washer with virtually no human intervention. Our other feature examines the work of a metrology company whose high precision 3D mapping is supporting the installation of a new beam transport line for scientific research.

Turn to our Tech Brief section to learn more about cold forming, which has the potential to deliver precision engineered parts with as much as 80 percent less scrap than machining processes. Our Case in Point goes into a shop that was able to make adjustments to its tooling in order to eliminate the need for a second machining center.

Our July issue also features this year’s second Parts Cleaning section. The first feature in this section visits a high production stamping facility that is using an automated aqueous parts washer to help meet its strict cleaning requirements. We also take a closer look at ways to keep solvent cleaning safe, efficient, effective and environmentally compliant.

Take a look inside PM’s July Digital Edition today.

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