PM Blog

By: Paul Huber 7/16/2019

Developing STEM's Future Workforce

It’s a slow ride with many obstacles yet to overcome. Unfortunately, while most industrialized countries have improved their educational systems, the skill level of the average American student has not risen during the past 15 years. Our K-12 education must be improved in every state before we lose our competitive world market edge. This major roadblock is slowing down the creation of our future workforce to meet Industry 4.0 needs.

Thanks to a few private citizens, we now have alternate routes to reach our destination. Charles Vela used his STEM Institute to create a summer program for talented local youth in Washington, D.C. during the late 1950s. His science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum was quickly adopted by our nation’s educators and schools. One of his many awards was the Presidential Award of Excellence in science, mathematics and engineering mentoring presented at a White House ceremony in March 2004. Unfortunately, to date, only 17 states have implemented middle and high school STEM curriculum. Most others do not budget funds needed for hiring qualified STEM teachers.

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A bar feeder seems like a relatively simple device. The most common automation accessory in our world of high volume turning, it provides a reliable way of delivering material to the machine tool for extended periods of time, saving an operator from continually loading blanks into a chuck.

In reality, bar feeders have many nuances from one to another to make them more suitable to certain shop environments. Length and capacity are only the beginning. Other factors should be considered during the purchasing process as well.

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The Precision Machining Index registered slowing growth in June with a reading of 50.9. Readings above 50 indicate expanding activity and values below 50 indicate contracting activity. The further away a reading is from 50 the greater the size of the change in activity. Compared with the same month one year ago the Index is 11.3% lower due in primarily to a very strong reading in the prior year. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying components of the Index revealed that activity in supplier deliveries, production and employment supported the Index. The Index—the simple average of its six components—was pulled marginally lower because of slowing growth in new orders. The Index was weighed down heavily by contracting backlog and export, with both registering 30-month lows and exerting most of the downward pressure on index’s latest reading.

The sharp contraction in backlogs was caused at least in part by June’s divergent readings for production and new orders. Production activity during the month was comparable to the strong levels recorded nearer the market cycle peak in early 2018 while new orders activity registered only slightly increased activity. The result of this variance would necessitate that manufacturers depleted their backlog levels in order to allow for June’s strong production reading.

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Production Machining’s sister publication, Modern Machine Shop has opened registration for its Top Shops 2019 event, taking place Sept. 9-11, at Cincinnati, Ohio’s Duke Energy Convention Center.

The annual Top Shops event combines technical presentations and benchmarking data with peer-to-peer discussion and technology displays all aimed at delivering practical solutions and business strategies for machine shop owners, executives, engineers and managers. The Top Shops objective is to provide actionable insight that attendees can implement directly on the shop floor.

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Luxembourg-based Ceratizit Group invited more than 50 journalists from 15 countries for their Open Days 2019 press event from May 13-15 to present the new Team Cutting Tools, which, under the umbrella brand Ceratizit Group, combines the brands Cutting Solutions by Ceratizit, Komet, WNT and Klenk with the aim to become a full-range supplier in metal cutting.

"The definition of the product brand is independent of the production sites and applies equally to standard as well as special products," says Claude Sun, managing director of Ceratizit Deutschland. "All products of a product segment are clearly assigned to a specific brand." In other words, the brand Cutting Solutions by Ceratizit stands for indexable tools (turning, milling, groving) and solid tools with ultra-hard cutting materials, Komet offers indexable drilling, reaming and countersinking, spindle tooling and actuating tools, WNT stands for solid carbide-milling and drilling, HSS tools as well as tool and workholding solutions, and Klenk is known in the aerospace industry for its solid carbide drills.

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