Blogs for 01/2018

I’m one of those annoying people who stays current on technology. I store my stuff in the cloud, patch my software religiously and have my fifth smartphone in as many years. Despite my geeky tendencies, however, I’m apprehensive about the effect that Industry 4.0 and the industrial internet of things will have on … well, the industry. Call it smart manufacturing if you like, but many shop owners and managers—especially those who grew up with black-and-white TVs and rotary phones—might secretly call it scary manufacturing instead.
When mass finishing—finishing many parts simultaneously—in a vibratory finishing system, the tendency is to use ceramic or plastic preformed cutting media, said Steven Schneider, technical sales manager at surface finishing company Kramer Industries Inc., Piscataway, N.J. Ceramic tumbling media are made with abrasive filler, much like a grinding wheel. For plastic tumbling media, plastic is mixed with abrasive filler and cast to shape. Ceramic media use aluminum oxide as filler, and plastic media use quartz or silica for cleaner results.
For our February issue’s Industry Briefs department, I’m writing an article about the Deburring Application Laboratory at Matrix Design LLC. The company designs, builds and installs robotic automation systems for deburring parts, as well as machine tending and material handling.
In connection with the article I’m writing about metalworking fluid filtration equipment for our March issue, I spoke with Irvin Kaage, president of Transor Filter USA, Elk Grove Village, Ill. The company provides the One Micron Filtration system, which removes particles larger than 1µm from oil, primarily for grinding.
The week after CemeCon Inc. held a ribbon-cutting Jan. 17 to officially open its new 15,000-sq.-ft. headquarters and CVD diamond coating facility, I spoke with Gary Lake, company president, to discuss the expansion and developments in cutting tool coating technology. The opening marks the fourth expansion of production capabilities since the company, which is a subsidiary of Wuerselen, Germany-based CemeCon AG, was founded in 1998 and the third increase in capacity for the CVD diamond process since 2014.
Every day, it happens. Someone from Houston calls, or maybe San Francisco, peddling precision-machined parts from China. Then there are the emails from people with fake names—like Lily, Annie and Susan—overflowing my inbox with offers of low part costs and excellent service. Please, China, I don’t want to buy machined parts from you. No metal stampings. No plastic injection molds or 3D-printed prototypes. And at the risk of offending those who do, you shouldn’t either.
Although millions of manufacturing jobs may need to be filled in the years to come as baby boomers continue to retire, many manufacturers already struggle with unfilled positions. One efficient way to combat the problem is by improving company websites, said Claudia Pennington, co-founder and CEO of DIY Marketing, Marietta, Pa.
E-Z Burr Tool Co. will continue to operate as an independent entity out of the deburring tool manufacturer’s Livonia, Mich., facility, with little or no change in procedures or processes, reports purchaser Cogsdill Tool Products Inc., Camden, S.C. The sale closed Jan. 3.