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. October 2014

Reshoring Optimism

By effectively consolidating its 105,000 sq. ft. shop, TCI Precision Metals created 20,000 sq.ft. of additional manufacturing capacity.


Gardena, California-based TCI Precision Metals is ready for reshoring. The company recently announced a major shopfloor reconfiguration to free up manufacturing space for the influx on new business coming back to the U.S. from overseas.TCI was founded in 1956 and is a third-generation family business. It specializes in machine-ready precision blanks from aluminum, stainless and other materials for metalworking shops. It also provides contract manufacturing services, and it is in this area of the business that the reshoring is having an impact.

According to the company, contract manufacturers and job shops must provide the extended value necessary for OEMs to realize sustained benefits of onshore manufacturing versus offshore. That’s been the driver for TCI to reconfigure its shop floor, which has freed up 20,000 square feet for value added operations, including sub and final assembly.

Evaluating work flow, reducing bottle necks and rationalizing cellular and other in-process opportunities helped the company generate the additional manufacturing floor space with its 105,000-square-foot building. By “moving the furniture around,” the investment is significantly lower than building on or building new.

It may be worth noting for other shops that there may be such opportunities within one's existing plant. Click here to learn more about TCI.


Posted by: Chris Koepfer 17. October 2014

We Have a Winner!

Mike Burchill, president of Marshall Manufacturing, won a new Romi CNC lathe. 


Well, the golden ticket goes to Mike Burchill, president of Marshall Manufacturing, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With this ticket, Mr. Burchill will take delivery of the grand prize in Romi Machine Tool’s IMTS giveaway.

As part the company’s "it’s time I had a Romi in my shop” sweepstakes, a new Romi C420 CNC lathe will be delivered to Marshall, which makes medical devices and components for OEMs.

With a tax offset, the machine tool is valued at $63,000 and will go into production at Marshall as an augment to the shop’s turning capability. That certainly makes a trip to Chicago worthwhile.

Click here to learn more about Romi. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 10. October 2014

A Tool for Finding Tools

Located in the cloud, Novo from Kennametal is designed to simplify the cutting tool selection process and provide cut data for successful machining.  


It’s in the best interest of cutting tool manufacturers that their customers find the right tool for the job at hand. Shops looking for the right tool have a sometimes daunting task of tool selection from what seems like an almost infinite variety of cutters.

Kennametal believes that its Novo all-digital tooling and process planning resource may well be the solution to this problem for both the vendor and buyer of cutting tools. The company says Novo is much more than just an electronic tooling catalog. It’s an online resource that supplies optimal feed and speed recommendations, best-fit knowledge, solid models of complete tooling assemblies, spare parts lists and more. Because the system is online and continuously updated and refreshed with real time data, users have assurance that tools are available and will reliably fit their machines and processes.

Click here to find out more about Novo and Kennametal.


Posted by: Chris Koepfer 3. October 2014

Down Mexico Way

Jose Manuel Robles-Michelena, proMexico, spoke during the official launch of MMS Mexico during IMTS. The magazine and website debuts in January 2015. 


At the recently completed IMTS, Gardner Business Media, parent company of PM, announced the launch of a Mexican edition of Modern Machine Shop. MMS is a sister publication of PM.

“Mexico is a natural area of interest to us,” says Gardner CEO Richard Kline. “It is our next door neighbor and a member of NAFTA. Mexico is a gateway to key markets to the south and a vital supplier to the north. Its strong manufacturing base is growing rapidly and is a world top-10 consumer of machine tools.”

According to 18-year metalworking media veteran, Eduardo Tovar, who will serve as editorial director, MMS Mexico will not just be a magazine. “Before our first issue in January 2015, we will launch a website,, and will be introducing other electronic products in the first year. Manufacturing engineers in Mexico need access to technical information to help them improve production processes, and we want to provide that information in whatever media they prefer.” 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 26. September 2014

Swiss Laser was a Hit

Tsugami’s Swiss Laser demo was popular at IMTS. 

No, I’m not talking about the Hadrian Collider. It’s the new Tsugami S206-II, which debuted to enthusiastic crowds at IMTS earlier this month.

Using the in-house development resources at Rem Sales, which is the exclusive N.A. importer of Tsugami Swiss-type lathes, its sister company, Innovative Machinery Group, designed, built and integrated a laser to augment the new Tsugami Swiss.

This is not an accessory or add-on, says Product Manager Dale White. It adds fully programmable cutting capability to the six-axis capability of the S206-II: Chalk it up to another step in multitasking machine tool technology.

By adding a laser to a Swiss machine, the company is targeting the medical device market, but it’s fully able cut intricate and precise small parts for other industries. Click here to read more information on the machine. One prediction I’ll confidently make: There will be other Swiss lasers from other builders. 

Close-up of the Swiss Laser work zone.  

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