A Handy Resource for Capital Equipment

Turning Point

When you peruse this issue of Production Machining, there is a good chance you may come across a product or service that might be useful to your business. That’s the role that a trade magazine serves today. Its purpose is to be a discovery tool, illuminating things you might not be aware of.

Back in the day, that was about as far as a reader could go. The next step in the process was to call or write to the OEM of interest and wait for them to send you specific material on what you are interested in learning more about.

Your inquiry turned into a lead for the OEM and was neither private nor efficient. Often, it generated a sales call from the company, which may not be timely for a shop that is not in the market to purchase right away. 

With the advent of the internet, this old model has been replaced with websites designed to help with research and maintain anonymity for the researcher until they are ready to move forward. The discovery ability of the trade magazine, when integrated properly with a website focused on machine technology research, is a fast and efficient means to get the right information without delay.

One such research tool that is available is called Techspex. Since 1996, this machine tool search engine has been helping machine tool users match their application needs with the best tools available.

Last month, the site launched its third generation with new and useful features that researchers will find helpful. Techspex houses more than 500 machine tool builders and 7,000 machine tool models from those builders.

While that is a robust database, the navigation is rather easy. It is organized by machine type, including lathes, mills, grinding machines, EDMs, CMMs and presses.

Within the machine type, the data becomes specification based and by providing desired machine attributes such as size, spindle speed, horsepower, machine configuration and a few other specifications, the search is quickly narrowed down. From there, more detailed research is available from the “short list” comprised of extensive information on manufacturers, importers and local distributors. 

Some of this detailed information includes photos, technical notes, editorials and video for many models. The search results generate model-specific data that can be listed in a downloadable spreadsheet and printed for side-by-side comparisons between builders and models. In the spreadsheet format, machines and manufacturers can be shared within the business or with satellite offices so everyone who should be is included in the loop.

In the precision machined parts industry, shops continue to expand capabilities into process areas that traditionally were not part of the demographic. The need to do more for a shop’s existing customer base is a driver of the shift.

In fact, the cover feature in this month’s issue of PM is about one such shop that is serving the medical industry. In addition to its stable of Swiss-type machines, it provides milling, EDM, anodizing and a Class 100,000 clean room. The company is increasing its varied capabilities to have better control over its critical processes and quality in this competitive industry. (See page 30.)

For a shop trying to research machine tools and equipment that is less than familiar, a tool such as Techspex can be invaluable. Users of machine tools and related equipment are welcome to visit the site at no charge to start a search or to just wander around the site to see what’s there.

Since its beginning, Techspex has welcomed more than a million unique visitors to take advantage of its continuously updated database on manufacturers, distributors and machine models. Of those visitors, 37 percent are from companies with fewer than 50 employees.

Allocating dwindling resources with the small to medium business community is a critical driver because of the ubiquitous skills shortage. Automating the process of researching a critical asset such as a machine tool and its attendant accessories allows better use of time for the researcher.

After all, somebody has to do the leg work. Why not simplify the process and still get the desired results. According to Nick Bloom, president of Techspex, the machine tool selection utility on the website typically saves potential buyers as much as 8 hours of preliminary research time.

Check out Techspex on PM’s home page at production
machining.com
or go directly to techspex.com