Blogs for 03/2018

For the May issue’s focus on abrasive machining, I’m writing a multiple-source article about honing. One of the sources is Lapmaster Wolters LLC.
Not only is automation continuing to displace workers at manufacturing companies, the thought of being ousted by a robot is making some workers at those plants feel sick. That’s according to a study by three Ball State University researchers and a Villanova University professor.
There’s a Sands Casino where the Bethlehem Steel Corp. once stood. The casino was completed in 2009, just 8 years after the 100-year-old steel company filed bankruptcy. Ironically, the biggest obstacle facing the casino’s developer was a shortage of structural steel. Even more ironically, the developer ended up buying it from Nucor Corp., the onetime “minimill” competitor that Bethlehem executives scoffed at decades earlier for the startup’s embrace of electric arc furnace technology.
I recently spoke with Afzaal Mir, founder and owner of toolmaker FSC Cutting Tools Technology LLC, Greenville, S.C., about his business and life.
Customers of Cobra Carbide asked the company for made-in-America cutting tools and the West Coast manufacturer of drills, endmills, reamers and burs met their request. Until late 2016, Cobra sold tools in the U.S. that were produced either at its Riverside, Calif., facility or a plant it owned in India, which the company recently sold. It now produces all its tools in Riverside. “As more and more customers asked for made-in-the-U.S. product, we changed accordingly,” said Cobra Carbide’s CEO, Rakesh Aghi.
After helping customers to remove tramp oil from coolant for more than 40 years, Jim Petrucci, vice president of Oil Skimmers Inc., has yet to hear from anyone that doesn’t have at least some tramp oil present in an individual machine sump or large holding tank. When enough tramp oil seeps into coolant on a steady basis to justify the acquisition of oil-removal equipment, which is common, the Cleveland-based company offers oil skimmers to remove surface oil.
As the factories for U.S. manufacturers are increasingly becoming digitized and connected, the surface for cyberattacks is broadening. To allow experimentation on cybersecurity technology for the factory floor, the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, Chicago, officially launched its “Cyber Hub for Manufacturing” earlier this month. DMDII reported that the U.S. Department of Defense contributed $750,000 in seed funding for the hub.