Chris Koepfer

Chris Koepfer has been involved in metalworking for 30 years. His first 14 were in the machine tool group at Cincinnati Milacron where he honed his technical writing skills in turning, machining and grinding before joining Modern Machine Shop in 1992 as an associate editor. In 2001, he helped found MMS’ sister publication Production Machining, which speaks to the precision machined parts segment of the industry. Chris is graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, as are three of his four children, and an XU basketball fan—which can be as daunting as working in metalworking, he says.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 10. January 2014

Online Search Engine for Machine Tools


This month Techspex launched its version 3.0 for its online machine tool search engine. Since its inception in 1996, the site has hosted more than one million discrete visitors.

The goal of Techspex is to simplify, call it automate, the search process for companies looking for machine tools and related equipment to help move their businesses forward. The database houses more than 7,000 machine tool models from 500 builders, domestic and international.

Some of the upgrades in this new release include the ability for users to save model search results from complex, self-defined queries and share the dynamic URL with associates for viewing anytime. One can also download a PDF screen capture of any model specification page from the site's extensive database.

Whether your shop is in the market or not, click here to explore the site. It’s a good tool to know about for current of future reference. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 16. October 2013

Beer, Brats and Machine Tools

Being of German heritage, I never met an Oktoberfest I didn’t like. This fall has been rife with opportunities to attend various translations of this German tradition.

One recent celebration was at Absolute Machine Tools held at its Mason, Ohio, facility, a 40,000 square foot Technical Center, to see some of the new product lines the company is distributing. The company has been busy increasing the breadth of its machine tool offerings.

Augmenting its lines of You Ji VTLs, Johnford machining centers, Tontgai HMCs and Quick Tech multi-axis lathes as well as AccuteX EDM machines is the addition of Nexturn CNC Swiss-type and Precihole deep hole and gundrilling machines. Also on display was an integrated robot machine tool system that reflects Absolute’s new status as an authorized FANUC distributor.

Our hosts, husband and wife owners Steve and Courtney Ortner, put on a very nice spread of Bavarian foods, German beers served by costumed wait staff backed up with an um-pa-pa band. 

Being of German heritage, I never met an Oktoberfest I didn’t like. This fall has been rife with opportunities to attend various translations of this German tradition.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 11. October 2013

Slideshow: Design Catches On

This new machine is just one of the machines I saw at EMO that reflect the new machine tool design trend. SEE THE SLIDESHOW.

It’s been slowly evolving into the world of machine tool manufacturing. I’m talking about the use of industrial design applied to the historically purely functional form of machine tools.

At this year’s edition of EMO, this trend was not only obvious, it was pervasive. It seems to me that we have reached a tipping point and that the use of ergonomic and attractive machine design has come to stay.

I asked several company officials why the move to make a utilitarian device, such as a machine tool, look nice, and the answer was universal; our industry needs to attract a new generation of workers and the work environment needs to reflect the future we want these young people to be a part of. It does make some sense.

Shops have made great headway cleaning up their floors and upgrading their internal technology to reflect participation in a digital world. The workers of the future, and the present, are digital people.

Machine tools are the connection between input and output in precision machined parts and this trend we spotted demonstrates a realization of the fact that tool needs to look and work like they are part of the 21st century. After all, one executive told me, "We need to reconsider the shop floor simply as a place to work and consider it a machinist’s office."

To show what I’m talking about, go to the slideshow illustrating some examples of new machines that were on display at EMO. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 13. September 2013

Sandvik’s Virtual Hub Offers an E-EMO Experience

Online ‘Virtual Hub’ from Sandvik Coromant offers a live EMO experience. 

I’ve always operated on the premise that showing up is 80 percent of life. Well, sometimes one simply cannot “be there.” Cutting tool and tooling systems specialist Sandvik Coromant has an app for that.

In addition to its booth at EMO 2013 in Hannover, Germany, next week, the company will host a Virtual Hub digital exhibition on Tuesday, September 17, for those unable to attend the show. The Virtual Hub’s theater will host a number of webcasts during the show, including a live broadcast of the unveiling of an innovative technology that will set new standards for metalcutting performance. This will occur at 8 a.m. EST.

Visitors will also be able to engage in live chat sessions with Sandvik Coromant specialists based on the EMO Smart Hub. This includes two scheduled sessions. Mikaël Lövblad, business intelligence expert, Sandvik, will lead the first session from 4:30 - 5:30 a.m. EST, explaining how to optimize skills and knowledge. From 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. EST, Mia Pålsson, senior manager, product management, Sandvik Coromant, will discuss and offer more information on the latest innovative products for metalcutting.

Additional online resources available via the Virtual Hub include whitepaper downloads, brochures, videos and other materials that will be of interest to engineers and purchasers.

Worldwide registration for the Virtual Hub is now open online

A video introducing the Virtual Hub is online, also. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 28. January 2013

PMTS/PCx Registration is Open


For anyone involved in machining precision parts, Columbus, Ohio, is the place to be April 16-18. That’s the where and the when for the Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS) and the Parts Cleaning Expo (PCx).

To make your planning as easy as possible, because you really want to be there, online registration for the show is now live and pre-registration is free. How good is that?

Simply click here and follow the registration directions. The site has full details and information to answer any questions about the show and to make your registration as painless as possible.  

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