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 24. July 2014

Fadal is Back

The new Classic Series Fadal VMC is on display at IMTS in Ingersoll Cutting Tools booth W-1822. 

This news flashed across my desk this week and, needless to say, grabbed my attention. Upon further investigation, the news seems to be quite true.

Michigan-based Merrill Technologies Group (MTG), a family owned manufacturer, has joined forces with Fadal Engineering to launch a new Fadal CNC full range product line. These are new machine tools from the leveling screws up, the company says, including the option using BIG Plus tooling on the spindle.

The new Fadal will manufacture in California and Michigan with plans to sell globally through a distributor network. The company will launch its new VMC, called the Classic Series, at this year’s IMTS. It can be seen in the Ingersoll Cutting Tools booth, W-1822.

Plans call for a continuous roll out of new models targeted at various markets through 2014 and into 2015. It’s an ambitious plan that will include the Performance Series with a CAT- 50 taper spindle, and the Heavy Series which will include large machining and turning centers targeting energy, off-road, aerospace and defense markets, the company says. 

Click here to learn more or swing by the Ingersoll booth at IMTS and see it for yourself. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 18. July 2014

There’s a Buzz in Cincinnati

Like an artist’s colony, Hive 13 provides makers and tinkerers a venue to pursue the art and science of manufacturing in a collaborative environment. (Photo courtesy of Chris Hodapp).

There seems to be a movement afoot in this country to reclaim our historic role as makers of things. We once were preeminent in this, but for some time we have lost our way a bit.

It has come to the attention of many—the media, government, economists and others—that buying things to the exclusion of making things is unsustainable. In many parts of the country, there is a grassroots movement building to accommodate the tinkerers of this generation.

Kids who were once drawn to shop class in school find many of those programs cut back or cut out. So what is a tinkering kind of kid to do?

Well, one example is taking root in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s called Hive 13 and is a place designed to enable those interested in making things access to a space and digital technology to “make” making things viable.

It’s like an artist’s colony where creative people come together to share and produce works that are in their minds. Likewise, Hive 13 provides a similar venue for those wanting to take an idea and make it real.

It’s a place where a diverse community of makers and tinkerers collaborate in pursuit of creative projects. Collectively, they promote science, technology, open source values and skill sharing to the betterment of the Hive.

Click here to learn more about this initiative growing in Cincinnati. You may want to plant such a seed in your area.


Posted by: Chris Koepfer 11. July 2014

Mitutoyo Opens New Center in Houston

Mitutoyo America’s newest M3 Solution Center in Houston, Texas. 


Measurement and inspection provider, Mitutoyo America, has opened its ninth technical center in Houston, Texas. The company calls these centers M3 (M cubed) as a nod to Rene Descartes’ influence on mathematics through his Cartesian coordinate system, which we still use today to identify a point in space as a set of numbers. It’s very handy for machine tools.

The new center is located within minutes of Houston’s George Bush International airport. According to the company, customers can schedule appointments for product demonstrations and acquire technical assistance for measuring solutions for challenging applications.

An open house is scheduled for July 16 and 17 for visitors to stop by and check out the new facility. Festivities include tours of the 8,000-square-foot center, refreshments, raffles and live product demonstration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. To RSVP, call Donna Boothe at 281-217-1864 or email her. 



Posted by: Chris Koepfer 3. July 2014

Never Forget

It’s hard to believe that the Fourth of July is upon us. In denial, my mind is somewhere back around April.

As we ready the hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages needed to properly celebrate the birthday of our country, it’s important to consider and remember our veterans. As everyone involved in manufacturing is aware, there is a gap between available jobs and people with the right skills to fill them.

However, there is pool of proven talent available to manufacturers willing to tap the resource. It’s our veterans who represent a ready supply of disciplined, serious potential candidates for modern manufacturing jobs.

One organization that exists to help bring veterans and manufacturers together is Workshops for Warriors. The organization is non-profit, dedicated to training, certifying and placing veterans in manufacturing careers.

So, perhaps as the food, fireworks and celebrations die down this weekend, consider checking out this important program. You owe it to your shop to find the right people, and accessing veterans is more than the patriotic thing to do—it’s good business.

Happy Fourth of July!   




Posted by: Chris Koepfer 27. June 2014

Getting Together

Hanan Fishman, president of PartMaker Inc., a division of Delcam Plc

There was quite a flutter in the industrial software world a little while back. The acquisition of Delcam and its brands, which include PartMaker by Autodesk, inserts the maker of AutoCAD deep into the CAM marketplace.

Most PM readers are familiar with PartMaker software and its well established presence in Swiss-type and multitasking precision machined parts manufacturing. Likewise, most readers also know something about Delcam’s suite of metalworking products.

In the July issue of PM, I asked PartMaker president and longtime friend, Hanan Fishman, to give his take on the new relationship. Delcam has been in the picture, as PartMaker has been a division of Delcam Plc for a while.

Autodesk is new to both companies. Click here to read Hanan’s thoughts on the acquisition and how he thinks it’s a good thing for our industry.

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