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. 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.   

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 20. February 2015

Ride this Train

These two parts that are representative of the “how to machine it” information on tap at the OSG Train the Nation seminars.

Called “Train the Nation,” this popular OSG USA-sponsored training tour is back on track this year and next year. The program is an eight-discipline course covering all aspects of machining 3D parts. It is presented by top experts who will introduce current techniques that highlight programming, machining applications and cutting tools for successful processing of workpieces. OSG is a manufacturer of taps, end mills, drills and indexable cutting tools, located in Glendale Heights, Illinois. Its markets include automotive, aerospace, medical and die mold.

The first training session takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 7 and is the first of 14 seminars scheduled in various locations. Each training event is free of charge and runs from 8 a.m. to  5 p.m. with lunch included.

It’s an opportunity to expand the shop’s collective knowledge base by learning some of the latest techniques for machining from people who have been there. Click here to learn more about the Train the Nation content and schedule.  

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 13. February 2015

Rich Henning to Present at PMTS


Coming in April to the Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS), presentations from industry experts will be part of festivities through Knowledge Centers. On Tuesday, April 21 at 2 p.m., Rich Henning, president of Henning Software, will present "Provide Your Employees an ERP Portal Using Mobile Devices."

Mr. Henning's Knowledge Center presentation will explain how iOS/Android devices can be used in shops as a portal for employees to access the company’s ERP data.

The ability to access performance metrics, job assignments, work instructions and clock in and out of jobs using mobile, paperless devices is increasingly being used by manufacturers. Mr. Henning will lead discussions on how to move a business to this next level.

The knowledge centers will be held on the show floor and are accessible to all attendees. But you must be at PMTS in Columbus, Ohio. Click here to learn more and register.   

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 12. February 2015

Join Your Peers in San Antonio

Join your peers in precision machined parts manufacturing at the Management Update Conference in San Antonio, February 27-March 1.

From February 28 to March 1, the PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association) is holding its annual Management Update Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Since 1933, this trade association has represented the precision machined parts industry.

Association members and non-members will gather to hear presentations from industry and business experts on a range topics germane to the operation of manufacturing enterprises. It’s an excellent opportunity to network with your peers and learn about this association’s work representing the precision machined parts industry.

Click here to learn more. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 23. January 2015

60 Years and Still Moving Forward

This view of Vanamatic’s shop floor shows its aerospace manufacturing cell.


After 60 years in business, many shops have a “been there, done that” attitude. This is not the case for Vanamatic Company that has morphed from a multi-spindle screw machine shop into a flexible, precision machined parts manufacturer that handles the variety of long, short and complex runs that comprise today’s metalworking market.

The company serves the automotive, fluid power, refrigeration and general fittings industries along with its own line of low pressure push-on barb fittings. Using lean, self-directed manufacturing cells across CNC multi-spindle, CNC single-spindle and multi-spindle screw machines, the shop continues to innovate its approach to the art and science of metalworking manufacturing.

Through the years, we have written extensively about this long-time PMPA member because it continues to find new and better ways to make parts. An example is Vanamatic’s early use of PI (Predictive Index) to select and assign employees to tasks and teams that best suit the people. Read "How the PI Helps Vanamatic Develop and Retain the Best Employees."

Setup reduction has also been a passion for this shop as high-mix and low-volume jobs have redefined the traditional screw machine shop. It’s a second-generation family business that tries to stay ahead of the curve by pushing the innovation envelope. Click here to visit Vanamatic's new website. To read some of the stories we have published about this shop, click here. 


The owners of Vanamatic, left to right: Patricia Morris, James Wiltsie Jr., Jeff Wiltsie and Perry Wiltsie.  

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