Business Travel not Glamourous, but Rewarding

I recently visited four different suppliers within a 3-week span where I learned about new equipment and technology.

The schedule of an editor can be somewhat unpredictable. Sometimes I find myself in a bit of a rut, doing what seems like the same thing, day after day—sitting in my office planning upcoming issues, writing articles and columns, and proofreading material that is ready to go to print. When this routine continues for more than a month or so without interruption, I start to get a little bit stir crazy. Although this situation actually allows me more time to complete my work, I have a tendency to lose focus if it continues too long.

At other times the job requires quite a bit of travel for a variety of reasons. Sometimes this travel involves visiting shops that are doing interesting work so I can share their stories with our readers. I also often travel to tradeshows and conferences that not only allow me to see new equipment and learn about shopfloor production optimization, but also provide fantastic networking opportunities that introduce me to some of the best article leads for future issues of the magazine. And then there are the visits to the suppliers for our industry, whether it’s the factories where the equipment is produced or the distributors who help to deliver and support those products.

Whatever the reason for the travel, I usually find it a welcome change of scenery from sitting behind a desk at my computer for extended periods of time. It brings new ideas for subject matter that I believe will be useful to our readers, and it allows me to refocus, perhaps from a new perspective, on my regular monthly duties. Without mixing things up a bit, a column such as this might take me a week to write. But with limited time and a fresh mind, it can flow like a river.

I recently visited four different suppliers within a 3-week span (although two were on the same trip). These events proved to be quite informational as I learned about new equipment that the companies are offering and had an opportunity to sit in on some technology seminar sessions that provided more detail of the capabilities of certain machines.

On May 5 and 6, Heartland Machine & Engineering welcomed visitors to an open house at its headquarters in Franklin, Indiana. Heartland provides machine tool sales, service, engineering, and applied automation, acting as a distributor for such lines as Shigiya CNC OD grinders (vertical and horizontal), Hurise 1- and 2-spindle grinders, Palmary centerless and OD grinders, Bulova large vertical machining centers, and Clausing toolroom equipment. Here is more information about my visit and here is a slideshow of photos from the event.

From May 19-22, DMG MORI held its Chicago Innovation Days 2015 event in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. In the showroom, the company exhibited more than 30 high-tech exhibits, including two U.S. premieres (the NRX 2000 high-speed turning center and the DMU 65 monoBlock milling machine), along with the world premiere of the NHX 4000 II cell controller and the DMG MORI Wasino production lathes. Here's more information about Chicago Innovation Days.

Coordinated with the DMG MORI event, Big Kaiser Precision Tooling (next door) presented Breakfast & Learn technical sessions on May 19, 20 and 21. The company’s showroom also had more than 35 new products on display, while engineers provided presetter demonstrations.

On May 27, Exact Metrology cut the ribbon for the grand opening of its Cincinnati, Ohio, offices and showroom. The open house event featured educational classes covering specific technologies offered by the company. In the showroom, partner companies exhibited metrology and 3D scanning hardware and software. Check here for more information about this event.

I often wish I had more control over the timing of my travel. There are times when I know a change of pace could come in handy to refresh my mind and other times when getting away from the office creates a real challenge in meeting deadlines. A single event is usually easy enough to tackle, but a string of them close together may be more difficult. Regardless, it’s all part of the job, and typically the most rewarding part, at that.