PM Blog

As a fourth-generation machining industry family member, Jim Preston Jr. has a passion and energy for the industry. He has worked his way up as co-owner and vice president of Meier Screw Products since he began his career there 13 years ago. He is responsible for the shop’s upgrade from Brown & Sharpes to faster CNC Swiss machines, HMCs and VMCs in only a few years. The company has also become paperless thanks to Jim.

“Working in a small shop with 10 employees, ‘Junior’ quickly assumed leadership in many areas,” according to his father and nominator, Jim Preston. “For example, he has become safety coordinator, ISO management representative, IT administration, ERP programmer (his college degree is in computer science), UAW negotiator (we are a union shop in a right-to-work state), job/machine scheduler, material and tooling purchaser, and CAD/CAM programmer.”

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The sliding headstock machining concept was developed to deal with a specific manufacturing problem. The application required accurately and consistently turning shafts with length-to-diameter ratios that would need to be supported using a conventional lathe.

The concept of using a sliding headstock to provide the machine’s Z-axis stroke, using a bushing to guide the raw stock, was the answer without the need for support. It still is. Today though, the basic Swiss-type machine concept has evolved so far beyond the original intent that many of the parts that are processed on Swiss machines bear little resemblance to long, slender shafts.

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Technological advances are doing more than diminishing old constraints in manufacturing – they are driving major paradigm shifts in the industry. In this month’s About Your Business column, Diversified Industrial Staffing President Todd Palmer examines three predictions from futurist Peter Diamandis about the future of manufacturing.

Mr. Palmer gives a peek into Mr. Diamandis’ vision of the future, where technologies like 3D printers help enable mass personalization, and artificial intelligence can configure custom products. Studios and labs featuring additive manufacturing and easy-to-use design software will democratize inventing for startups and designers. And the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), AI and collaborative robots will serve as the basis of autonomous smart factories.

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Production Machining’s November Digital Edition is now available. This issue features emphasis topics of CNC Single Spindle and Parts Cleaning, with special coverage of Additive Manufacturing. The cover story profiles a successful shop that was developed through the efforts of its owner to learn all aspects of the business by doing. She has applied the correct technology where it is needed and managed to move a classic screw machine shop forward with CNC single spindle turning centers. For our other feature, we provide an overview of additive manufacturing and its uses and explain how it can complement turning.

In the Parts Cleaning feature, we visit a shop that implemented a parts cleaning machine that has gone beyond expectations, in part due to the support of the supplier. The Tech Brief in this section reviews the three types of solvent vapor degreasing systems.

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The Indiana/Southern Ohio Chapter of the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) is hosting an informational session on burr prevention Thursday, November 15, 2018 at Absolute Machine Tools’ Technical Center in Mason, Ohio. The event is free and open to the public.

At the event, Absolute Machine Tools’ VP of Sales Greg Knight and applications engineer Philip Judt will give a presentation about preventing burrs. The discussion will include proactive measures users can take to prevent burrs in both cam and CNC machining processes.

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