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 19. December 2014

U.S. Metalworking Continues Making the Cut


A recent joint release from the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) and the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT) reports cutting tool consumption for U.S. manufacturers was up 9.7 percent in October compared with a 3.3 percent increase in September. Strong cutting tool consumption bodes well for metalworkers as it indicates that shops are busy.

Cutting tool consumption is a leading indicator of both upturns and downturns in domestic manufacturing activity, as it is a true measure of actual production levels. Companies participating in the Cutting Tool Market Report represent about 80 percent of the U.S. market for cutting tools.

Going into 2015 with a strong fourth quarter gain in consumption seems to indicate that the manufacturing momentum of 2014 should continue into the New Year. Good news! Click here for a link to the report. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 12. December 2014

Survey: How Do You Use Media?


Manufacturing professionals need access to information. It’s an important aspect of doing business. With rapidly changing technologies and stiff competition, keeping up with products and processes that can be applied in your operation has never been more critical.

Today, there are various channels through which manufacturing professionals can access this information. Print, email, social media and blogs are some of the media choices available to companies looking to access relevant content for their businesses.

As a manufacturing content provider, we want to know how you use these various communication options in your businesses. For 5 years, we have surveyed our readers to study how manufacturers use the different media that bring them content.

Please take a few minutes to complete this annual survey. Click here to access the survey. Our business is to deliver relevant content to help you do a better job, and with your input, we can do a better job for you.  

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 5. December 2014

4,000 Pages of Info in Your Pocket

Manuals you can carry anywhere. ​

Documentation has always been a big part of the technology side of manufacturing. Machine tool maintenance manuals, cutting tool manuals, training manuals, troubleshooting manuals software manuals are among a few of the binders that have populated shops and shop floors forever.

With the digital revolution, much of that clutter is being replaced by mobile devices that are easily transported wherever the information is needed. Recently, control builder Siemens has expanded its Easy CNC app to include Android devices.

Eliminating the heavy manuals, this app provides 4,000 pages of CNC instruction, content and troubleshooting instructions at your fingertips. In addition, a handy G-code compatibility tool allows quick access to compatible codes for Siemens and ISO G codes.

Access to this new app is free, and you can download it to your mobile devices by clicking here

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 28. November 2014

Machining a Turkey Starts Upside Down

Visiting shops is the life blood of my job. Through the years, it’s been a pleasure to make the trips and report what I see. Most of the time, the report is about a shop’s technique, technology, practice or application that may be helpful in running your business. But on occasion, a shop visit turns out to be more than just an article about manufacturing. Sometimes there is a life lesson to be garnered.

Since this article posts during Thanksgiving week, I wanted to share one lesson I am thankful for that has served me well for over a decade. It started with an editorial assignment at RPM Carbide Die in Arcadia, Ohio, where I was to report on the company’s use of grinders to process carbide for a variety of industries.

My visit was also close to Thanksgiving, and the wife of shop owner Eric Metcalfe prepared a turkey for the employees and “lucky” me. I am the turkey cooker in our family, never failing to prepare our annual bird. I have messed up a few, but generally, we have a good feast.

My take away from the RPM visit, besides a good story, was a lesson in turkey preparation I have successfully used for many years now. Mrs. Metcalfe cooked the bird upside down. She said cooking with the breast down allowed the turkey to self-baste and eliminate dryness.

More details emerged from the interview, such as coating the bird inside and out with butter (not margarine) and using a cooking bag. She also instructed to coat the bag with flour to avoid sticking, put the turkey in a pan and cook it like normal.

The result is perfect and it has never failed. I guess the moral of the story is that machine shops have many interesting things to teach.

From all of us at Production Machining, we wish you a happy, heathy and safe Thanksgiving, and thank you for your support.    


Posted by: Chris Koepfer 21. November 2014

'Make the Leap' at Okuma's Technology Showcase Event


A trip to Okuma headquarters in Charlotte, depending on where you live, might be a respite come December 9-10 when the company hosts its technology showcase. It is also an excellent chance to see demonstrations of technology upgrades to make CNC machines and their operators more productive, and thus your company more profitable.

Demos include two- and four-axes lathes cutting side by side to show advantages of four-axis turning for the right applications. Also being shown are comparison applications between HMC and VMC machining centers.

The event includes a facility tour and an opportunity to interact with Okuma’s Partners in Thinc, who represent tooling, gaging, workholding and automation, as well as ways to integrate these peripherals. Click here to learn more.   

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