Bringing the International Manufacturing Community Together

The world continues to get smaller, in a sense, as travel and communication become more efficient. These factors have also facilitated PM’s ability to cover technological advances in our industry from around the world.

It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to have to paint it.
— Steven Wright

Have you ever gone back to visit a place that you haven’t been to since you were a child? It’s funny how the mind can play tricks on a person in this situation. The memories of the earlier visit can leave the present-day adult a bit underwhelmed, thinking, “I thought this place was a lot bigger.” I remember at one time visiting the school where I attended kindergarten and first grade some 20 years earlier and realizing the building that once reminded me of a castle was merely a typical school that actually had relatively small classrooms.

As a kid, the world, in general, seemed so much bigger to me than it does today. In some ways it kind of was. After all, I was a lot smaller than I am now, so in a relative way, everything was bigger to me then. Also, advances in travel and communication during the last 50 years have, in a sense, brought everyone much closer together. So I really shouldn’t be that surprised to feel like I’m big in a small world.

The way the world has taken shape has also had a strong influence on the manufacturing community. The increased efficiency of communication and the speed of shipping has had a significant impact on the import/export business, speeding orders and delivery of both foreign and domestic products. We’ve watched as work has been lost overseas, and we’ve seen much of it return. Machinery and equipment in today’s U.S. shops comes from all over the world, and to stay ahead of the competition, it’s wise to be as familiar as possible with what equipment is available and capitalize on what will perform the best.

IMTS is a fantastic place to see the world’s selection of products for the manufacturing community. After all, it is called the International Manufacturing Technology Show. Well over 100,000 visitors from almost 120 different countries attend this event every other year, buying and selling the latest technology. The show is sort of like a manufacturing bazaar for the U.S., representing technology from all over the world coming together to form a communion of people with, in many ways, similar goals (in this case, attaining more competitive and higher quality production processes through advanced technology).

While Production Machining has focused mainly on American manufacturing, we’ve kept an eye on the international scene as well, as technology development is mostly without borders. If a new development hits the market overseas, and it can help our readers, we want to do everything in our power to find out about it and be expeditious in our reporting of it. We maintain open communications with many overseas suppliers, and we often travel out of the country to visit them. But we continue to seek out other ways of getting an early scoop on foreign developments.

Last year we welcomed aboard our European correspondent, Barbara Schulz. Stationed in Leverkusen, Germany (north of Cologne), Barbara is in a more logistically effective position for attending the trade shows, technology conferences, open houses and plant tours that take place in Europe. When we hear of news, she can quickly represent PM in face-to-face discussions with the companies involved and provide timely reporting, so our readers can be on top of the stories.

For this month’s issue, Barbara visited with two key suppliers. For our multi-spindle coverage, she visited with Schütte, in Cologne, who specializes in the production of multi-spindle automatics and CNC grinders. The article on page 32 provides an inside look at the company’s new eight-spindle CNC multi.

Barbara also recently had the opportunity to sit down with cutting tool supplier Iscar’s president and CEO, Jacob Harpaz. Mr. Harpaz opens up on his view of the metalworking industry from his unique position in Israel. See the European Report column on page 72.

We’re thankful to have Barbara’s “feet on the ground” providing easier access to the manufacturing scene in Europe and surrounding areas. Besides freeing up us U.S. editors for more coverage on this side of the pond, her contacts and experience go a long way in accessing the most knowledgeable people over there to get the information that best serves our readers.