PM Blog

The first thing most visitors to Cox Manufacturing in San Antonio, Texas, will notice is the digital billboard right outside the company’s main building—it’s visible from the highway that runs in front of the facility. What’s remarkable about the billboard is what’s on it—advertisements for open positions at the company, including openings for its apprenticeship program. Another prominent sign in front of the company’s second building (adjacent to the first) advertises rates for apprentices and graduates of the program.

Cox Manufacturing established its apprenticeship program about 10 years ago to train employees for careers in manufacturing. In addition to receiving training, apprentices receive pay and shopfloor experience. Acceptance to the program is competitive, and because the shop is always taking on new apprentices, having a consistent way to advertise it is important. A future article will take a closer look at Cox Manufacturing, including how apprentices are trained when they enter program and its use of FANUC machine controls.

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Three days packed with 13 technology presentations, 16 technical colloquiums and 1500 visitors on 4,000 square meters of exhibitions space; the fourth Grinding Symposium held by the United Grinding Group in Thun, Switzerland, was a great opportunity for customers, experts and company representatives to discuss a diverse range of topics including the advantages of digital solutions for production machine operators, how user interfaces should be designed to enable ideal machine operation, and what role additive manufacturing can play in machine building.

At the Future-Lab, United Grinding showcased current and future applications including additive manufacturing and laser micro-threading. The company is already using many 3D-printed parts in its own machines including the universal cylindrical grinding machine Studer Favorit as well as the WireDress system, which inhibits 12 3D-printed parts. On the Favorit, Studer leverages additive manufacturing technology to build parts such as the hydraulic block, which is more efficient in materials handling, storage and assembly, because the overall number of parts was reduced from five to one. Moreover, flow paths can be made with cross-sections that are square instead of round, reducing turbulent flow by 20 percent with the same channel width.

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Mazak’s Discover More with Mazak Northeast open house, held at the company’s technology center in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, aimed to combine technology, networking and education for its customers. The event, which customers attended May 14-15 and was open to students on May 16, included demonstrations of the company’s machine tools such as the QTU and Quick Turn series of turning centers, VC-500 5X five-axis machines, and Integrex multitasking machines, and displays of parts made using each machine. Attendees were also able to meet with representatives from local schools for “skilled labor networking” to help fill their employment needs. 

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A worldwide leader in automotive safety, this supplier, headquartered in Sweden, insists on seeking the best partners, technology solutions and operations enhancements to support its efforts toward lean efficiency. As such, in 2010, the company introduced to a couple of its U.S. plants a lean execution system (LES) designed to help manufacturers create a culture of sustainable continuous improvement while simultaneously boosting production, maintenance and QA metrics. The system’s effectiveness led to quick rollout across its remaining North American operations and eventual worldwide implementation.

Autoliv is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. It has more than 80 plants spanning 27 different countries, including eight in the U.S. The company develops, manufactures and markets airbags, seatbelts and steering wheels, selling to all leading car manufacturers in the world.

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U.S. Rep. Lou Correa (46th District) toured the 70,000 square-foot campus of Santa Ana (Orange County), California-based manufacturer, R.A. Industries, a manufacturer of complex precision components and assemblies to the oil and gas, aviation, defense and space industries, on May 3. The congressman serves as the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime.

On the company’s production floor, Rep. Correa honored company founder and chairman, Robert Follman. “I want to commend Robert Follman for his dedication to our local Orange County economy and for providing a workplace for skilled employees who contribute so vitally to our nation's aviation, defense and space industries supply chain. Our national interest starts at home. We need more training for future machinists and skilled workers to achieve the American Dream,” he says.

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