A Busy and Good Year

Turning Point

As we start the roll over to another year, I was thinking about some of the things in 2013 that stand out in my mind. These include stories, events and happenings.

One of the articles I tracked down appeared in our January issue. It featured a shop named Southwest Ohio Swiss Turn in Dayton, Ohio. The crux of the story is about lone wolf, Mike Mauro, who has managed to build a business running his single Star SB20 Swiss machine lights out using remote monitoring.

Mr. Mauro is a one-man show. He loads the FMB bar feed magazine, writes the programs, loads the programs, presets the tools and measures the complete parts. I enjoyed meeting Mr. Mauro and learning how he uses cameras that enable him to see into the shop from his office and even on his cell phone when away from the shop.

Making parts unmanned frees Mr. Mauro to do the pre- and post-process work and lets him go out to service his customers and solicit new work. He plans to grow the business, but is in no hurry, as the business model he has established is working fine for now.

Another story I especially enjoyed was a shop visit to Logansport, Ind., with 97-year-old workholding manufacturer Logansport Machine Company (LMC), which ran in our May issue. I spent much of the day with Jay Duerr, third-generation owner of this venerable OEM, who is bullish on U.S. maufacturing.

The shop has occupied the same site since 1916 and has undergone numerous expansions and renovations in the ensuing years. The business is built around design and manufacture of custom workholding solutions, primarily for automotive, but increasingly finding business in general manufacturing as the drive to automation continues to grow. 

 A company goal is to continuously invest in new and more productive machines and gradually reduce the average machine age from its current 7 years to 5 years. Moreover, Mr. Duerr has invested in the plant infrastructure as well with programs to modernize his 97-year-old headquarters. I enjoyed learning about the heritage of Mr. Duerr’s company.

These are only two of the many articles we published this year about a variety of products, services, processes and software germane to the precision machining industry to help it do business better and more efficiently. To help you search for topics of interest, we compiled a Year in Review on page 42 that lists what we covered.

But there was more to this year than articles and shop visits. One biggie was in April with the successful execution of our industry’s own trade show, PMTS. By all accounts, it was the best event to date. Visitors and exhibitors alike have high praise for the usefulness of this focused industry get together.

This year also reached a crescendo of private trade shows held by OEMs. The idea has been growing over the past few years and continued to proliferate this year.

Companies open up their technical centers and/or showrooms to a selected audience of customers, potential customers, distributors and press people like me. In addition to the host company’s offerings, suppliers to them are invited to participate and use the forum for technical presentations. You may have attended some of these in your region of the country.

I, too, attended quite a few such events, including a trip to Stuttgart, Germany, for cutting tool maker Horn’s Technology Days in June. I wrote a report on the visit in our September issue.

Additionally, there was a trip to Chicago in May for a DMG Mori Seiki event at its technical center and a co-located visit to Big Kaiser, which is DMG Mori Seiki’s neighbor. The company told us that more than 4,000 people attended this open house.

September brought me back to the traditional trade show circuit with metalworking’s biggie—EMO. Held this year in Hannover, Germany, this gigantic industry get together did not disappoint. Check out my report on this show in our November issue.

Oktoberfest was a popular theme for some of these open houses and with beer and brats at the ready. I managed to get to Absolute Machine Tools in Mason, Ohio, and flew to St. Louis for a day with Hydromat.

We have been pounding the pavement this year in search of information you can use. Count on more of the same in 2014. Happy New Year, and thank you for supporting Production Machining