Blogs for 12/2017

Since its founding in 2008, 421 graduates of the nonprofit school Workshops for Warriors, San Diego, have earned 2,500 nationally recognized certifications from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills Inc., the American Welding Society and more. Even more noteworthy is the fact that the educational institution exists to train military veterans for metalworking careers. Manufacturers have lined up to support that mission, with more than 70 corporations each donating $10,000 or more in cash, equipment or materials in 2016 and the first 7 months of 2017 alone. Workshops for Warriors must raise $2.5 million annually just to maintain current operations.
I attended ‘Integr8,’ an Industrial Internet of Things conference hosted by Automation Alley at Detroit’s Renaissance Center last month. At numerous breakout sessions, a common question from participants was, “How do I get started with getting my shop floor connected?” This was an event full of experts enthused by the possibilities that IIoT hold for manufacturers, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear many of them reply, in effect: “With moderation.”
A former NFL linebacker, Pete Shufelt credits his post-football career as the owner of Backerworks Manufacturing LLC to the day he asked his high school counselor/football coach about what elective classes to take.
The job training programs at Hononegah Community High School and Beloit Memorial High School include job shadowing, mentoring, summer apprenticeships and training workshops at cutting tool manufacturer Regal Cutting Tools, Roscoe, Ill.—but no internships. Working at Regal Cutting Tools means being considered a normal employee, not an intern, even if the worker is there part time and spending his or her days as a high school junior or senior. Although students are allowed time off for academic-related reasons, such as preparing for college admission tests, there are no exceptions for extracurricular activities, such as sports or clubs. “They need to make a decision whether they want to be part of that,” said Plant Manager Dennis Weiland.
In connection with the abrasive waterjet machining article scheduled for our March issue, I spoke with Jim Draper, owner of Rocky Mountain Waterjet, Greeley, Colo., who said when a parts manufacturer finds that waterjetting is a suitable process for a part or family of parts, the decision to outsource that work to a waterjet job shop or buy a waterjet machine for in-house production depends on the part quantity.
Not every holemaking job requires a high-performance, solid-carbide or PCD-tipped drill with an advanced coating. For many, a HSS jobber drill will suffice.
Imagine a beam of light traveling unimpeded for 13.5 billion light years, only to get deflected and distorted just before being captured by a telescope. That is something the builders of the Giant Magellan Telescope are working hard to avoid.