Posted by: Lori Beckman 13. April 2015

Delcam Waives Fees for Organizations Incorporating its Software


Recognizing the need for more technical training to be offered in order to bridge the skills gap, Delcam is waiving all fees for any non-profit organization incorporating its FeatureCAM and Delcam for SolidWorks CAM software in its manufacturing education programs. This applies to all non-profit institutions qualifying to Delcam Training Center (DTC) requirements in the United States and Canada this year.

FeatureCAM Training Centers, the forerunners to the Delcam Training Centers, were introduced over 15 years ago to help prepare students that wanted to further their education in engineering or get knowledge and training for entry level jobs in manufacturing.

For more information regarding on the Delcam Training Center Program and Delcam University, visit

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 9. April 2015

Happy Days at Haas

A good and informative time was had by all at the 2015 edition of HaasTec. 

Last month, Haas Automation held Haas Tech open house at its Oxnard, California, headquarters. By all accounts, it was a huge success. The 4-day event drew 3,300 visitors from North America and 48 countries with more than 330 students. Attendees were treated to machine demonstrations involving 20 machines along with extensive tours of the 1 million square-foot facility. Of the 298 chip-making machines in the factory, 70 percent are Haas brands representing real world demonstrations.

Highlights included an autograph session from Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Bush and a private Q&A meeting with him for 100 lucky attendees. In addition, 38 exhibitor booths represented major CAD/CAM, tooling and workholding manufacturers helped make the event even broader in scope.

HaasTec 2015 provided attendees an opportunity to see how the company makes its machines and rotary products, which goes a long way to show how Haas has seen such success over time. The next open house will be held in 2017. 

Posted by: Chris Felix 8. April 2015

April 2015 PM Digital Issue Now Available


The digital April issue of Production Machining is now available. This month’s issue is dedicated to all things PMTS.

The 2015 edition of the Precision Machining Technology Show promises to be bigger and better than ever. This eighth installment of the biennial event will feature more than 260 exhibitors as well as a strong lineup of educational sessions; live machine tool builder floor demonstrations; and intimate, in-depth knowledge centers on the show floor.

Check out our April digital edition to view an assortment of product photos and descriptions covering much of what will be on display at the show. You’ll also find useful tips for getting around Columbus and personal views of why this show is so significant to our industry.

The digital edition of the PMTS 2015 Directory of Exhibits is also now available to provide a quick skim-through of event schedules, session descriptions, general information, exhibitor booth and contact information, and floor plans.

Posted by: Miles Free 7. April 2015

The Difference Between Ra and Rz

While it is best to measure using the parameter specified in the print, there are rules of thumb available that can help clear up the confusion and convert Ra to Rz or Rz to Ra.

The methodology of measurement and what is measured are quite different. This is critical to understand if you will not be paid for your parts because the Ra you measured is not in fact the Rz surface profile that customer specified.

According to an article in Modern Machine Shop written by George Schuetz, director of precision gages at Mahr Federal, “Ra is calculated by an algorithm that measures the average length between the peaks and valleys and the deviation from the mean line on the entire surface within the sampling length. Ra averages all peaks and valleys of the roughness profile and then neutralizes the few outlying points so that the extreme points have no significant impact on the final results.

“Rz is calculated by measuring the vertical distance from the highest peak to the lowest valley within five sampling lengths, then averaging these distances. Rz averages only the five highest peaks and the five deepest valleys—therefore, extremes have a much greater influence on the final value.”

According to doctor blades manufacturer Swedev’s website, “Ra is the arithmetical average value of all absolute distances of the roughness profile from the center line within the measuring length. Rz is the average maximum peak to valley of five consecutive sampling lengths within the measuring length. Ra averages all measurements and does not have any discriminating value in separating rejects from acceptable cylinders.”

And by the way, the definition of Rz has also changed over the years. Which definition of Rz exactly is your customer using? How do you know?

You will find “Conversion Ratios” on the internet provided by well-meaning people. But how useful can these be when the range said to be equivalent goes from 4:1 to 7:1 to 2-:1? 4:1 is equivalent to 20:1? Really? Not in my math class.

Smart shops will avoid using these “approximations in name only” and communicate with their customers to determine the customer’s true need. Gambling on conversion factors that you found on the internet is not professional. It is an example of poor engineering practice, and it fails to serve and protect your customer.

Read this well written, not terribly mathematical treatment of the subject, titled “Surface Texture from Ra to Rz.” It’s a classic.

Surface finish measurement procedures, general terminology, definitions of most parameters and filtering information can be found in American Standard ASME B46.1 – 2009, Surface Texture, and in International Standards, ISO 4287 and ISO 4288.


Originally posted on blog. 

Posted by: Steve Kline, Jr. 6. April 2015

March Index Highest since June 2014


With a reading of 54.3, the Gardner Business Index showed that the production machining industry expanded for the second month in a row and at its fastest rate since June last year. The industry clearly has been trending up since November. The industry has expanded 3 of the previous 4 months. However, compared with 1 year ago, the index has contracted the previous 3 months. So, while the industry is growing, the rate of growth is not as fast as at the beginning of last year.

New orders grew for the third time in 4 months. Growth in new orders has been quite strong the previous 2 months. Production increased for the 15th consecutive month. The index has been on a significant uptrend since December, and it is at its highest level since June 2014. Backlogs have contracted for 7 months, but the index has been rising since November. Compared with 1 year ago, backlogs are contracting, indicating that the industry has likely seen at least a short-term peak in capacity utilization. Employment increased for the second month in a row, and the index was at its highest level since June last year. Exports continued to contract because of the relatively strong dollar. Supplier deliveries lengthened at their fastest rate since July 2012.

While material prices continued to increase, the rate of increase in March was its slowest since August 2012. However, the prices received index has steadily improved November 2014. Therefore, profitability at shops should be improving. Future business expectations have been generally flat for the last three months.

Plants with 50-99 and 100-249 employees saw slightly improved business conditions in March. Those with 50-99 employees are growing at their fastest rate since January 2012. But, the overall index increased primarily because smaller shops saw noticeably improved business conditions in March. Shops with 20-49 employees are growing at their fastest pace since August 2014. And, shops with 19 employees or fewer grew for the first time since May last year.

All four regions that generated enough response to the survey grew in March. The fastest growing region was the North Central – West. It grew at its fastest rate since January last year. It was followed by the Northeast, West, and North Central – East regions. The North Central – East region has grown every month but one since January 2014.

Future capital spending plans for the next 12 months contracted 5.4 percent in March. This was a significantly slower rate of contraction than the previous two months. Despite the recent month-over-month contraction, the annual rate of change has seen accelerating growth each of the previous 2 months. That is likely to change in the next month or two, though. 


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