PM Blog

The movers and shakers in the medical device industry are, well, moving and shaking it. There is a drive among the OEMs that call the shots to re-evaluate the number of suppliers that they do business with.

This is driving shops that wish to continue to be among those suppliers to do their own re-evaluation of how they manufacture the parts that their customers demand. In most cases, this means increasing the breadth of process capability beyond the traditional operations performed.

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In a project commissioned by Widia for the company’s booth at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), students from Cardinal Manufacturing exhibited the qualities that their program is designed to build—teamwork, professionalism, and technical skills—in machining a custom-made go-kart with Widia tooling. The Cardinal team will be at Widia’s booth and will showcase the go-kart that one lucky race winner will take home after the company’s customer event, taking place at K1 Speed on Wednesday, September 12.

“We feel very lucky to work with these students and support Cardinal Manufacturing. Not only does this program address the skills gap in advanced manufacturing and provide students a meaningful education, but also instills soft skills and professionalism that employers like Widia seek out,” says Chris Merlin, director of global marketing.

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IMTS 2018 attendees can do their part in the race to fill the skills gap as the Miles for Manufacturing 5K Run/Walk returns to this year’s show. The early morning race takes participants on a 3.1-mile loop down scenic Lake Shore Drive. Since the first Miles for Manufacturing event at IMTS 2014, it has been a popular way for attendees to start the day and support the industry’s next generation.

All participant fees and donations go directly to programs that prepare students for careers in manufacturing. Proceeds from the IMTS event will be distributed through Smartforce Development at AMT—The Association for Manufacturing Technology to FIRST Illinois robotics teams, FIRST Indiana robotics trams, the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program, and STEM middle schools in the Chicago Public Schools System, among others.

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Phillip Judt’s experience in the production turning industry began as a front-line machinist at a Swiss machine shop, eventually learning about CNC Swiss and CNC fixed headstock screw machines. Upon joining the team at Absolute Machine Tools, he has learned the ins and outs of even more CNC screw machines.

“Phillip has been instrumental in assisting companies to advance from cam-operated equipment to CNC screw machines,” says Courtney Ortner, Absolute Machine Tools’ chief marketing officer and Phillip’s nominator. “He demonstrates to customers the advantages and disadvantages of various modern methods of production machining.”

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The bar feeder is certainly the most common automation device found in precision tuning shops. Its ability to supply raw stock for part processing allows continuous processing, and in many cases, lights-out production for a full shift. For the same reason it is applied to a turning operation, the bar feeder is being applied to vertical machining centers as well.

Matching the correct bar feeder to an application can make the difference between optimum performance and mediocre efficiency. The article “Choosing an Automatic Bar Feeder” looks at some of the bar feeder types and where and how they can be best applied in the shop.

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