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 2. July 2015

More Room for Röhm

New North American headquarters for RÖHM in Suwanee, Georgia, include capacity to manufacture for the North American market.

Röhm Products of America, a provider of clamping and gripping technologies, has opened a new 32,000-square-foot manufacturing and North American headquarters facility in Suwanee, Georgia. Three times larger than the company’s previous location, the facility allows the company to manufacture in the United States for the first time as well as expand the service and support it provides customers.

The new facility gives the company the capacity to manufacture for the American market. The transition also enables the company to be more competitive, as it can better control the product manufacturing process as well as offer improved price points.

The facility also includes a 25,000-square-foot, air-conditioned service center and warehouse that protects the company’s ground steel products from rust and corrosion. It also features a showroom, demonstration area, office space, conference room and employee workout room. A training classroom seats up to 30 people. The facility also includes space for an on-site application engineering support staff.

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 25. June 2015

Learning by Seeing

Andreas Vollmer, sales manager and board member, briefs members of the trade press about the new things happening at Horn and outlining what we will see during this year’s visit. 

From June 17 to 19, German cutting tool maker Horn hosted the fifth edition of its biennial Technology Days event. This year, more than 3,000 customers, distributors and suppliers descended on the company’s Tübingen headquarters.

Having attended this event for four of the five editions, it has become one of my favorite dates on the calendar. For me, the attraction is seeing and learning about developments in the cutting tool industry.

One of the things that makes this event special is the combination of technical presentations, in English, and the depth of those presentations. This year did not disappoint.

Topics included grooving and parting-off stainless materials with discussion of the challenges and techniques to successfully accomplish this operation. Another presentation tackled longitudinal turning for making complex turned parts with an eye to the work area constraints of Swiss-type machines.

In total, there were eight such English language presentations. I’m summarizing here, but you can expect more in-depth coverage in future issues of Production Machining. It’s good stuff.

Horn is not standing still. Since my visit 2 years ago, construction has begun on doubling the manufacturing space on site and a six-story office building. The company is growing by investing in its future.

Click here for more information and watch for related articles in PM in the months to come. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 19. June 2015

Unique CT Scanner for Metrology Unveiled in Cincinnati

Demonstrations of a new GE CT scanner were a highlight of the Exact Open House at the company’s new technical center in Cincinnati. 

At a recent open house and ribbon cutting ceremony, Exact Metrology opened its new facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the company’s second field technology center with the other located in Milwaukee.

These centers offer 3D scanning, reverse engineering, quality inspection, product development and 2D drawings. A highlight of the Cincinnati opening was the company’s new GE CT scanner. It’s the first such industrial scanner applied in North America to metrology.

Like its medical counterpart, the scanner is able to “see” inside workpieces to determine if any flaws from the manufacturing process exist. Co-president, Steve Young, believes this technology will be applied to reverse engineering and will be especially useful in measurement of additive manufactured parts. “AM can and does create interior features that can only be verified and measured with a scanning system like this,” he says.

Click here to learn more about the metrology services and equipment available from Exact. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 12. June 2015

Good Day for Mazak and Team Penske at Indy 500

Two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya.  

Mazak Corporation, a Penske Racing technical sponsor, congratulates Team Penske and driver Juan Pablo Montoya on their outstanding performances at this year’s Indy 500 on May 24. Montoya took the checkered flag, and his win marks a record-setting 16th victory at the Indy 500 for Team Penske.

This year’s Indy 500 win is the second for Montoya, and it joins the many highlights of his second season driving the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. Completing the 1-2 Team Penske punch in Indianapolis, Will Power in the Team Penske No. 1 Verizon Chevy crossed the finish line just 0.1046 of a second behind Montoya to clench second place. And Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves, three-time Indy 500 winner in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Chevy, and Simon Pagenaud, in the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske car, both finished strong within the top 10 of the field. 

Roger Penske’s Penske Racing is the winningest team in Indy 500 history and relies on Mazak machine tool technology. With the equipment, the team produces highly engineered components that must quickly go from design to the racetrack and give the team a competitive advantage.

Mazak has been a Penske Racing sponsor since 1994, and the Mazak logo can be seen on all of the IndyCar mirrors, as well as on the NASCAR Series cars. Click here to learn more about Mazak and Team Penske. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 5. June 2015

Machine Shop Shops for Solar

Roof-mounted solar panels are saving Swissturn USA significant amounts of money on the shop’s electric bill. 

Swissturn/USA, a manufacturer of fine-precision metal and plastic components, has installed a 135.5-kW solar energy system on the roof of its Oxford facility in partnership with Solect Energy Development. The system is expected to cover as much as 30 percent of the company’s electricity costs, saving Swissturn as much as $20,000 a year.

The company’s stable of CNC Swiss-type and other computer-controlled machine tools run 24/7; even when the last workers leave, the machines continue to produce components. That’s great for productivity, but means the company’s electricity bills are massive. The company considered installing solar a few years ago, but was planning to move to a new facility.

“When we moved into our new location, we went first class with everything,” says Ken Mandile, president of Swissturn/USA. “Solar was part of the plan for the new building, and Solect knew exactly how to help us maximize our system. We’ve significantly reduced our dependence on the grid and have helped stabilize our electricity costs.”

In addition to the cost savings generated, Swissturn is also able to take advantage of state and federal financial and tax incentives, including SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates), which solar system owners earn based on the amount of solar energy their system generates.

“I was impressed how Swissturn created a culture of continuous improvement throughout the company, with employees contributing ideas to reduce costs and improve their operational effectiveness. This solar energy project will now help offset their energy costs and fits right into this company culture,” says Steve Bianchi, partner at Solect. “With solar, they have not only offset a significant part of their costs, but developed a solid revenue stream through SRECs as well while making a strong commitment to helping the environment.” Click here to learn more about Swissturn/USA.


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