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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 21. August 2015

Rack 'em Up

Probe changes can be incorporated into fully automated measurement sequences.

A new version of Delcam’s inspection software makes it easier to complete fast and accurate inspection of complex assemblies. Nobody likes to have to inspect parts and assemblies, so any progress in making the process more efficient is welcome.

An improvement for CNC CMM users in this new version is the addition of support for MRC20 and FCR25 probe rack changes. Delcam’s PowerINSPECT now incorporates probe changes into fully automated sequences. Enhancements to the probe database allow for definition of probe tools in terms of subassemblies, which can be docked in rack ports located on the CMM work table.

Once they are created, the subassemblies are allocated to specific ports in the probe change rack, and the physical location of the rack is programmed so the CMM knows where it is and which rack is being called for. The inspection software carries out the probe change and keeps track of the subassemblies as they move between the probe head and the rack.

Click here to learn more about PowerINSPECT from Delcam. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 13. August 2015

VIDEO: Hard to Visualize? Animate It

The cover feature of our September issue of Production Machining is about an application story on the use of CNC multi-spindle machines. In this case, eight-spindle machines are being used for complex parts and for double-drop production applications. The featured shop, Alpha Granger, purchased and applied Index MS 22-8 multis for its complex production work and is using these machines to profitably compete with single-spindle and Swiss-type machines.

This video, produced by Index, gives excellent insight into the complex workings of these machines, which can be difficult to visualize in real time. We thought those of you interested in multi-spindles might enjoy watching this before your copy of PM hits your desk. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 6. August 2015

A Treat with no Trick

Jeremy Hamilton and Gardner Business Media president, Rick Kline, at our recent ice cream party.

Last December, we published an article featuring Advance CNC Machining, a shop in Grove City, Ohio. Advance’s owner, Jeremy Hamilton, came to my attention through my longtime friend Giovanni Princippe, who is a turning specialist for DMG MORI who correctly assumed I’d be interested in hearing the company’s story. He was right.

My interest and focus was about how Advance’s business has grown from primarily a machining center house with the addition of sliding headstock Swiss-type capability. It’s a trend I’ve been seeing more of and covering as additional machining capability is finding its way to the shop floors as CNC becomes the programming coin of the realm. The thinking is that if one can program a machining center, then why not a CNC Swiss-type? All that information is in the story.

What’s different about Jeremy is he hasn’t forgotten. Last summer, he visited our headquarters in Cincinnati and treated our company to a local favorite, Graeter’s ice cream. No Cincinnatian worth his salt would pass on such a treat. That was Jeremy’s first visit and treat. 

Last week, he did it again, to the delight of our employees. He met with us, and we caught up with his company and himself.

Usually, we editors make our shop visits, get the story and publish it. In the case of Advance, Jeremy is a rare example of “paying it forward.” He suggested we make this an annual summer treat and the motion was carried unanimously.

Jeremy is an example of the kind people we get the pleasure of meeting and working with. It makes the work less work like. Click here to read more. 

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 31. July 2015

CT Scanning Looks Inside Metal Parts

The blue paint on the test casting indicates stress areas where leaking or breaking are suspected. The scans reveal voids and highlight the most serious problems.  

Until now, checking cross sections of castings and other metal parts required cutting open the parts with a saw and examining the sections. A new tool being employed by Exact Metrology in its new Cincinnati office is taking a page from the medical community to perform nondestructive testing and allowing a look inside castings and other parts.

The company has a new metrology grade GE CT scanner that can section parts in aluminum with wall thicknesses of six to seven inches and steel thicknesses of one inch. According to the company a recent job represents the first use of CT scanning for metrology in the U.S.

By literally looking inside a casting, 3D views are possible while generating true dimensional data of the scanned area. The workpiece (casting) was rotated 360 degrees in the x-ray beam’s path while multiple readings from various angles were taken.

Once the CT grey scale images were converted to voxel-based 3D point clouds, a CAD- to-part comparison was created for the customer. Seeing is believing and applying CT scanning to metrology allows us to see in entirely new ways. Click here to watch a video of the CT scan in action. 

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. 

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