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 1. July 2016

Biennial Biorhythms

IMTS 2016 is right around the corner: Sept. 12-17 in Chicago.

Every two years, the metalworking industry gathers in Chicago for North America’s biggest ta-do. I’ve attended IMTS uninterrupted since 1980. For me, it has become as much a reunion with longtime friends and colleagues as it is technology testimony.  It’s really both. My career is measured by IMTS. It is how I mark time.

With each edition, AMT - The Association for Manufacturing Technology, the show’s sponsor, comes up with new ways to capture attendees' attention and help them become better informed about the manufacturing world we inhabit. In my many years of attending this event, one thing stands out huge: manufacturing is not stagnant. It is ever-changing and evolving, which demands staying on top of technology.

I’ve been told by my many mentors that showing up is 80 percent of the work we do. I believe this is true and my recommendation to each of you is to show up at McCormick Place in September. It’s as good as we get, and the take away is well worth the trip. Click here to learn more.


Posted by: Chris Koepfer 24. June 2016


Like many shops facing changes in customer demands, Pennsylvania-based American Turned Products (ATP) is making adjustments to its production mix to meet these new challenges. That includes adding centerless grinding capability.

Working with Allways Precision, a systems integrator from Chicago, the shop is now able to produce motor drive shafts for one of its customers using a fully automated, robot tended cell. It’s working beautifully.

Check out our article in the June issue about how this came about and click on the video to see the cell in operation. We’ve been covering the technology migration for traditional screw machine shops for some time, and this is another example of it. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 17. June 2016

Convenient Robot Training


Learning the intricacies of robotic operation, kinematics and programming, usually means a trip to the manufacturer’s training facility or the training facility of one of its representatives. A new Web-based training program, developed by ABB Robotics, lets students and trainees receive the same quality and depth without the need to travel. The training is called IRC5 and consists of course modules that are self-paced, with videos, interactive simulations and practice exercises that enrich the virtual learning environment.

The goal of ABB’s first Web-based course is to offer a top level training option to students or employees who might not have time in their schedules to dedicate to an off-site course.

Students who successfully completing the course and its cumulative exam earn a certificate of completion along with continuing education units (CEUs). Increasingly, robots are being used in manufacturing, and having a well trained staff is in the best interest of every shop.

Click here to learn more about this convenient training program. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 10. June 2016

Youth Movement

John Lang (right) and his son JP Lang represent two generations of metalworkers.

It seems millennials are on the top of many people’s list of audiences they want to reach. Manufacturing is not immune to this movement, as it tries to fill job openings with the next generation of workers.

The idea is to provide continuity to a business and ultimately an industry. Last year, PM senior editor, Chris Felix, wrote a story on this topic. It’s about a young shop owner who is making his way through the ups and downs of metalworking manufacturing.

The young man came by his manufacturing bug honestly. His father runs the machining and stamping operations for a Chicago-based OEM and used to bring his young son into the shop. In another generational twist, I wrote a story about his father in 2004.

Thanks to the Internet, both of these articles are available for you to read with the click of a mouse. For Chris Felix’s piece, visit "A Youthful Approach to Production Machining," and visit "Seeing a Multi Through Different Eyes" for my story about his father. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 3. June 2016

Video: A Resource for Cryogenic Machining


Cryogenic machining technology has helped manufacturers increase throughput, as well as improve surface integrity and part quality when used for machining operations. Cryogenic machining supplier, 5ME, has created an infographic and video presentation to help explain the cryogenic process and demonstrate how it can generate positive results in the metalworking shop.

For many years, cryogenic machining treatments have proven to be beneficial in numerous applications. However, the science behind those results has been difficult to determine. By accessing the resource center developed by 5ME, users and potential users can better understand how this process can benefit production in their shops.

Visit 5ME’s online cryogenic machining resource page.




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