PM Blog

On Wednesday, June 6, TechSolve hosted a public unveiling of Blue Arc machining technology at its Cincinnati headquarters. Blue Arc, first launched at the 2016 International Manufacturing & Technology Show, is a non-contact metal removal process that uses electro-erosion to produce an EDM-like surface. Developed in partnership with GE and Mitsui Seiki, it is an effort to produce parts out of superalloys such as Inconel and titanium faster and more efficiently.

Robb Hudson, CEO of Mitsui Seiki USA Inc., and Andy Trimmer, principal engineer, GE Global Research, were on hand to introduce the machine with a presentation, then a demonstration of it in action, followed by a Q&A session afterwords. The Blue Arc, according to Mr. Hudson, follows the tool path of an end mill, although he and Mr. Trimmer are quick to advise not to think of this technology as conventional machining.

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View PM’s June 2018 Digital Edition

Production Machining’s June Digital Edition is now available. This issue features emphasis topics of Bar Feeders and Systems Integration with special coverage of the Automotive Industry. The cover story is an overview of how to select the best bar feeder for the application to maximize the production benefits of this technology. For our other feature, we look at a multi-generational family business that tapped into its internal shop talent to install cooperative robots on selected equipment, doing most of the integration themselves.

The issue’s Automotive coverage is a case study of Ford Motor Company’s use of cleanliness analysis systems to find microscopic particles in transmission components.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Trade Show Experience


Keeping up with technology in today’s competitive manufacturing landscape requires a dedication to education. That means taking a proactive approach to learning in all its various forms; online resources, training opportunities, and especially industry events like conferences and trade shows.

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Registering 59.7 for May, the Gardner Business Index (GBI): Precision Machining rebounded to near record territory after a drop in April. Compared with the same month one year ago, the index is 7.1 percent higher. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying data indicates that supplier deliveries, employment and production lifted the business index higher. The components, which lowered the index’s average-based calculation, included new orders, backlog and exports.  In a surprise move, exports expanded strongly during the month, posting the highest reading since 2011.

This month’s data again supports Gardner Intelligence’s manufacturing business cycle theory, which posits that new orders and production precede changes in supplier deliveries and employment. As new orders abruptly increased during the first quarter of 2018, manufacturers made immediate but limited changes to their production levels. However, for shops to sustain increased production levels, or achieve more than modest production increases, manufacturers must ultimately alter supply delivery schedules or volumes and potentially increase employment levels. These changes to supplier deliveries and employment typically happen months after the initial change in new orders, making them lagging indicators. The recent peaks in supplier deliveries and employment would thus be expected based on this theory.

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Programming Upside Down Lathes


The mechanical advantages of the inverted vertical turning center are well known and advantageous when correctly applied. Using the main spindle of the CNC VTL as a self-loading/unloading device is like getting a robot free for the price of the machine.

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