PM Blog

Gardner Intelligence, the research arm of Gardner Business Media, has released the 2019 Capital Spending Survey, which projects accelerating growth for the machine tool market next year. In it, Gardner Intelligence sees machine tool consumption increasing 11 percent to $7.748 billion in 2019, following smaller growth in the preceding two years. In 2018, machine tool prices rose, and delivery times lengthened, a trend that is likely to continue given the planned spending by machine shops detailed in the report.

This year’s Capital Spending Survey also projects increased spending on every one of the six major machine types tracked by the survey. The full report provides a complete breakdown of machine sales by machine type, plant size, region and industry.

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OnRobot has opened its first U.S. headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Selected for its proximity to OnRobot partners, Dallas will also provide OnRobot with a central location that is easy for both customers and staff to visit for training, demonstrations and sales meetings. The company plans on recruiting nationwide for its Dallas-based positions with goals to grow the number of staff from currently four employees to 25 to 35 staff members in the next two to three years.

OnRobot provides hardware and software that is used with collaborative robots—or cobots—from a variety of robot manufacturers, such as Universal Robots, KUKA, FANUC and Yaskawa. The industry is now scaling up production as cobots have become the fastest growing segment of industrial automation, expected to jump ten-fold to 34 percent of all industrial robot sales by 2025, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

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Additive manufacturing is relatively new to machine shops, especially turning shops. But interest in the technology is growing, both from shops and their customers, as are applications that require turning shops to understand and use AM. The article “Additive Manufacturing in the Turning Shop” covers different types of AM, as well as how turning shops might encounter them and tips for implementing it.

AM has some advantages over machining, but it also has limitations. It can produce complex features in both plastic and metal, making it useful for parts that cannot be machined, including aerospace and medical parts, castings, and weldments. But its inability to produce highly accurate surface finishes means 3D-printed parts need postprocessing, such as turning, in order to be brought into tolerance. Turning shops can also use plastic AM to print tooling or prototypes.

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A manufacturing facility is currently being built in southeastern Wisconsin that will eventually be a 20-million-square-foot manufacturing facility. This facility is being billed as the most technologically advanced manufacturing facility on the planet. According to Matt Kirchner, managing director at Profit360 LLC and contributing columnist for Production Machining, “Predictions about the impact of this project abound, but my favorite one is that the Midwest will become the nation’s ‘Epicenter of Industry 4.0 Technology,’ bringing with it a host of new career opportunities.”

One of the lead industrial engineers working on this transformative project shared some examples with Matt earlier this year. Matt, in turn, shared 11 examples with us in his latest About Your Business column. Future manufacturing job titles include interface developer, app developer, automation engineer, systems integrator and more. To see the full list and the meaning of each title, read “Industry 4.0 Careers of the Future.”  

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Over time, multitasking has become well applied on the shop floor in machines that can perform different machining operations in a single handling. Turning, milling, grinding, material deposition, even laser cutting are finding a welcome place on many shop floors.

The concept of moving away from relatively dedicated machines has been evolving for a long time. The article, “Automated Inspection on the Shop Floor,” looks at a new inspection and measurement cell that is configurable to perform various functions automatically.

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