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The Story Behind Production Machining's November Cover Image

Obtaining a good cover photo for each print issue of Production Machining isn’t easy, especially recently as we haven’t been able to visit shops to take shots ourselves.

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OB7 robot arm turn off a light switch

Starting from scratch to take our own cover photo for an issue of PM, or better yet, having someone else take it that is physically closer to the subject, can be the best bet. 

Obtaining a good cover photo for each print issue of Production Machining isn’t easy, especially recently as we haven’t been able to visit shops to take shots ourselves. Our goal is to find an intriguing shot that not only grabs the readers’ attention but also begins to paint the picture of one of the articles inside the magazine that we hope the reader will turn to. Plus, the photo needs to be the correct size, resolution and orientation to fit in the space. Easy peasy, right? Wrong! Because we can’t always count on using a photo that’s provided to us for a story that perhaps wasn’t even originally meant to be depicted on the cover, sometimes we need to be more creative to capture the image we want.

With all the obstacles facing us, starting from scratch to take our own photo, or better yet, having someone else take it that is physically closer to the subject, can be the best bet. 

For our November issue, for instance, the focus was on my feature story about how two seven-axis robot arms enable two second-op mills to run lights out in a machine shop in Ventura, California. Derek Korn, PM’s editor-in-chief, cleverly thought it would be ideal to have the robot arm, the OB7, turning off a light switch, illustrating the “lights out” aspect of the story. So

woman taking photo of OB7 robot

We were able to direct the sales and marketing coordinator-turned-photographer at Absolute Machine Tools, Nicole Conrad, to take a shot that was at just the right angle, lighting and orientation that we envisioned.

thinking about how to most practically produce a shot like this, he went straight to our lead for the article. He was at an Absolute Machine Tools open house when he first saw this robot, which led him to the idea of me writing this story. Absolute distributes and services the robot and is currently one of the only authorized OB7 integrators for CNC machining centers.

After a phone call to our contact there and getting our creative department involved, we were able to direct the sales and marketing coordinator-turned-photographer at Absolute, Nicole Conrad, to take a shot that was at just the right angle, lighting and orientation that we envisioned. The result: a unique image that portrays the message we want the reader to receive. And it’s pretty, too!

Read “Human-Like Robot Automates Secondary Machining Operations,” to learn more about this robot.