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 2015

Opening Young Eyes to how it’s Made

High school students “kick the tires” on machine tools and composites at a tech camp hosted by Fives Cincinnati at its headquarters in Hebron, Kentucky.  

Aiming to influence career choices early, Fives Cincinnati recently hosted 19 students from 17 area high schools attending Northern Kentucky University's Engineering Technology Camp. The students received a guided facility tour where they enjoyed explanations of Fives manufacturing processes.

The campers also received detailed descriptions of aerospace composites technology, layup systems and metalcutting systems being built by Fives for customers. Hands-on exposure to semi-finished aerospace components reinforced the experience.

According to Morteza Sadat-Hossieny, Ph.D., engineering technology coordinator at NKU, "The goal of this camp is to familiarize participants with basic engineering/technology concepts to spark high school students' interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) career fields."

"High school students are often wide-eyed when they see the scale and complexity of the manufacturing systems used to build today's aircraft, and we hope this will positively influence their career choices," says Ed Bisig, director of human resources for Fives. "Visits like this serve a vital educational role in our community. We hope we'll encounter some of these young people again in the future through our hiring process."

Fives considers workforce development and apprenticeship programs for the technology sector a vital function for manufacturers. Since 2005, the company has invested more than $2 million in apprenticeship training alone.

The company also recently participated in the White House Upskill Summit, a national initiative launched by President Obama aimed at equipping workers with skills they need to get, and advance in, higher-paying jobs. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 10. July 2015

Fair Friend Buys MAG Group

FFG Chairman Jimmy Chu.

Taiwan’s Fair Friend Group (FFG) has signed an agreement to purchase 100 percent of German-based MAG IAS GmbH. The agreement was effective June 17 and will be concluded in October. The companies will exhibit together at the EMO show in Milan this October.

The purchase will add German brands including Huller Hille, Modul, VDF-Boehringer and Witzig and Frank to FFG's portfolio. The combined company will operate under the name FFG Deutschland.

This agreement is the result of a long standing relationship between executives in both groups; FFG Chairman Jimmy Chu, MAG owner Prof. Mo Meider and CEO Dr. Reiner Beutel. Strategically, the deal is expected to be mutually beneficial by giving the German brands strength in Asia and China where FFG well entrenched and to help FFG grow its market shares in Germany and Europe.

More than 60 companies comprise FFG, and the acquisition of MAG makes it one of the largest machine tool builders in the world. Click here to learn more about FFG.

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. 

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