Industry Expertise In One Place

Take advantage of this uniquely focused concentration of industry-related exhibitors to stretch your imagination and challenge your creativity. PMTS is open to all, as is the Technology Conference.

The premier activity for the precision turning and machining industry will take place this month in Columbus, Ohio, from April 21 through the 26 when the Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS) will be held in conjunction with the Precision Machined Products Association’s (PMPA) 46th Annual National Technical Conference. This is the fourth biennial PMTS, and it has greatly expanded and improved since its initial appearance in 2001.

In this age of globalization, it has become increasingly important to be aware of new developments in technology as soon as possible. These developments can either promise a breakthrough in machining capabilities or lead to improved materials, tooling and services or practices, which in turn, reduces costs and can give us a better competitive position for our businesses. Not knowing early on what is being developed for our industry can be dangerous to your health. How many of us would have considered dry or near dry machining 5 years ago? What about using vegetable-based coolants or knowing how to select the best viscosity of coolant to say nothing of high-pressure coolants? How about hard turning? Experts and suppliers in all of these areas and more will be on hand to inform and educate attendees.

The list goes on and on. Take advantage of this uniquely focused concentration of industry-related exhibitors to stretch your imagination and challenge your creativity. The show is open to all, as is the Technology Conference. However, registration is necessary for the Tech Conference so you should make that registration immediately by visiting www.pmpa.org/meetings/techconf/. Both of these events can be an enormous source of ideas for continuous improvement, but you have to attend them to get this benefit.

This year, PMTS will have an added international dimension with presence of the 2007 Syndicat International du Décolletage Congress, which will be held during the National Technology Conference and the show. Representatives from France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden, in addition to the United States, will be in attendance, and other countries may well participate. These visitors are making a considerable investment of time and money looking for ways to improve their operations. This is a strong endorsement of the conference and the show and reinforces the importance of your attendance at both of these events.

As someone who has been involved in this industry since 1963, I have had the opportunity to see and participate in many industry advances that we now take for granted. Gormac Products (Racine, Wisconsin) has principally been a Swiss automatic shop, and I have taken great delight in finding and putting into use new equipment and ideas through the years. Today, we routinely buy multi-axis CNC equipment, often with automatic bar or part loaders, that was not available 20 years ago.

There was significant risk involved in many of these decisions. In hindsight, one of the things that I could have done a better job of was to pursue more aggressively the advantage that was to be had by the early adoption of CNC automatics. In the early 1980s the idea was new, the equipment reliability unknown, capital costs were high, and the production rates attainable were not as good as the equipment of today. Even worse, you had to program them instead of using cams, and you couldn’t see how the darn things really worked.

In short, there were lots of reasons not to charge ahead quickly. What was not immediately apparent to us was the possibility of doing more complex and precise production work without having to add secondary operations. Once we started to use these machines, we found many ways to do or improve things that we could not have done before. The expanded vision of what could be done with this equipment was an intangible benefit that we did not fully anticipate, and it was an example of how we needed “to think outside of the box” far more often that we did in those days.

With the world around us changing at an ever faster rate, not venturing into the unknown a little bit, or taking risks on new equipment and processes, may be more of a risk than standing still. We tend to hold back on new things until we are comfortable with these innovations. By going to shows and conferences like these, you can see for yourself what is happening to and in our industry. You may not need to purchase the latest and most expensive equipment right now, but you do need to be aware of what it can do, and think about how others might use it to their advantage against you. This process of learning about the latest developments in our industry can help you make better decisions sooner than you might otherwise. It will also give you an opportunity to dream about new or different ways to do what you are already doing.

In the January issue of Production Machining, the Last Word article by Monte Guitar, 2007 PMTS—Your Future Is Here, covered these topics in even more detail, but one comment that he made really stands out: “This show is the ultimate opportunity to harvest the expertise of our entire industry in one place and one time.”

You should be there. See you in Columbus.