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 27. March 2015

Junker Grows its Grinding Line

Estefano Zselics (Zema Production Director), Rochus Mayer (CEO of the Junker Group) and Osnir Carlton (Zema Development Director) are pleased about their future cooperation.

The Junker Group is growing. From now on, the Brazilian grinding machine manufacturer Zema is part of the corporate group. Zema was founded in 1953, has more than 80 employees and manufactures CNC grinding machines with conventional grinding wheels – up until now mainly for the Brazilian market.

With the takeover, the Junker Group expands its expertise as a complete supplier in the grinding sector: The customer is now provided with CBN grinding machines, corundum grinding machines and air filters from a single supplier.

Junker machines are primarily designed for grinding with CBN. To add to its product portfolio, Junker Group has now secured a qualified majority share (more than 75 percent) in Zema. That's because the company has sophisticated solutions for grinding with corundum, for example, for machining the flange and journal on crankshafts or transmission, turbocharger and cardan shafts.

Junker CEO Rochus Mayer says this about acquiring the majority shareholding in the long-standing Brazilian company: "Now we can fulfill any customer needs, open up additional markets and supply combined production lines (CBN, corundum)."

Zema already supplies global players such as Bosch, ThyssenKrupp and Fiat in Brazil. The Brazilians now appear to have found the right partner to help them sell their grinding machine worldwide. After all, the Junker Group, with headquarters in Nordrach, Germany, does have a worldwide sales and service network that is continually growing. The Brazilians should fit right in. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 20. March 2015

Demos on the PMTS Show Floor


Try to be at the Tsugami/REM Sales booth (101) at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday during PMTS. The company is planning live demonstrations for attendees featuring its line of Swiss-type and multitasking machines.

Included is the SS327-5AX, a seven-axis, 32-mm Swiss with a programmable, servo-driven B axis for complete machining of complex parts. For contouring operations, the B axis and C axis can be e synchronized to cut precise angles and sculpted contours.

Demos will be held throughout PMTS, but by assigning a time to shopfloor demos at this year’s show, attendees can better use their time at the show by knowing when demonstrations are being held. Tsugami will demonstrate several other models as well. Click here for more information.     

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 13. March 2015

'Easy Button' Made Easier for Mfg Day

Across North America, 360,000 people attended the 2014 Manufacturing Day event.

The partners responsible for Manufacturing Day have refreshed its website,, to make it easier for sponsors, companies, supporters and volunteers to participate in this year’s event. It is scheduled for October 2 this year, but it is not too early to think about getting involved, and this website is an entry point.

For 3 years, Manufacturing Day has celebrated the world of modern manufacturing as a direct means of inspiring the next generation of manufacturers across North America. It is manufacturing’s pro-active approach to show and tell young people why modern manufacturing does not represent many of their preconceptions.

Last year, more than 1,650 companies, educational institutions and associations in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico participated in Manufacturing Day events, which were attended by 360,000 people. With the launch of this new and easier to use site, Mfg Day is hoping to increase participation and move further in the important work of educating the public about the benefits of careers in modern manufacturing.

It’s a concerted effort to answer one of manufacturing’s most pressing problems. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Click here to access

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 6. March 2015

DIY Training


The Additive Manufacturing Division at Renishaw Inc. is picking up the training gauntlet with an internal program called the Applications Academy. It was established in 2010 as a result of an assessment of the company’s future business requirements, which reflected the need for applications engineers to service this growing segment of the company’s business.

The Academy recruits promising candidates who then spend 21 months training to become applications engineers. The program includes a 3-month induction that all graduates joining the company complete and qualify for placements within one of three different divisions within Renishaw.

The Academy is turning into an excellent recruitment tool for the company to evaluate potential employees ongoing. Demand for the program is at an all-time high with applicants doubling in the last year.

It’s a make or buy decision by Renishaw and in an environment where the availability of skilled recruits is rather thin, the decision to train internally seems to make the most sense. Many manufacturing companies might be well served to emulate this example. Click here to learn more about Renishaw’s program.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 27. February 2015

And the Winner Is …



The Oscar’s are over, but the awards just keep on coming. Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies will receive the first International Additive Manufacturing Award (IAMA) for its innovative methodology that that enables metal deposition (using laser cladding) to be integrated on a multi-axis CNC machine tool.

“Hybrid Technology is exciting because it offers a new way to adopt additive manufacturing—as an upgrade to a CNC machine tool. Adding tool-changeable deposition heads to an existing machine tool enables 3D printing of metal without the need to buy a separate machine,” says Dr. Jason Jones, co-founder and CEO of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies. “This significantly reduces costs and provides an intuitive adoption path for CNC operators. The combination of additive with machining capabilities, including in-process finishing, that cannot be delivered by either technology independently.” 

The award will be presented on March 6 during a reception being held at The MFG Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The IAMA is the result of a partnership between AMT - the Association For Manufacturing Technology and VDW-Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken (Germany’s machine tool builders' association).

AMT and VDW, with media support from Gardner Business Media and VDI Nachrichten and sponsored by the European Machine Tool Association, CECIMO, announced the annual award at IMTS 2014 last September. Along with the award, Hybrid Manufacturing Ltd. of Great Britain and Plano, Texas, will receive $20,000 in cash and a media package valued at $80,000 to promote its hybrid kit innovation. For more about this process, click here.   

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