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UC Davis is regarded as one of the top public universities in the nation, and their College of Engineering is a primary reason why. Students are demanding more and more technology and UC Davis is keeping up with that demand.

Engineering Student Design Center (ESDC) is 10,500sq.ft. of manufacturing and learning bliss. With EDM, milling, turning, lasers, 3D printing, a full fab shop and an electronics lab the ESDC is better equipped than many of the local area shops.

At the heart of it all is the Engineering Student Design Center (ESDC) headed up by a staff of four and a student staff of 18. It is a 10,500 sq.ft. resource of learning prowess and manufacturing awesomeness. Just some of the equipment in the ESDC are: FARO Arm Scanner, a DMG MORI DMC 1035V ecoline mill, a DMG MORI DMU 50 5-axis mill, DMG MORI ecoTurn 450 lathe, a Sodick AP350 wire EDM, CO2 laser, an Omax 55100 water jet, 10 Bridgeport mills with ACU-RITE G2 controllers, and 10 Harrison-Clausing lathes with ACU-RITE controls, welding, saws and all support equipment needed for the many disciplines at the College of Engineering. The ESDC is better equipped than many of the local area shops. “All the machine tools are part of the student’s mental tool box when it comes to designing elements and producing them,” explains 25-year  shop manager Mike Akahori. “We are very well equipped as a shop when it comes to machines and staff. The student that comes here to do graduate work is pleasantly surprised when they see the machine tools available to them. I am sure they didn’t have the same level of shop at their previous school.  Our students are a bit spoiled and think it is this good everywhere, but honestly, UC Davis offers a pretty well balanced program.” Some schools like UC Berkley are more analytically based, while the Maritime Academy is even more hands on and directed primarily at ships. UC Davis College of Engineering falls about in the middle and offers plenty of both. “The College of Engineering invests a lot of money to have a facility like this, and to be able to staff it properly,” continues Mike. “We are very fortunate to have a leadership team that supports us and the program. Student and parent expectations get higher and higher every year so we constantly are raising the bar. It is great for the students. Chevron is one of our program sponsors and they are looking for graduates who are work ready. They can’t afford to babysit new hires for a few years and love how prepared our graduates are.”

The gyroscope project is a right of passage at the UC Davis College of Engineering. The mechanical engineering students make a gyroscope in their ten week class. It has to stand on its point for 2 minutes to pass the class. They just got done with 88 students running the competition for this quarter. The top time was just over seven minutes. Students are introduced to manual machining processes. So drill press for the holes, manual lathe for the spindle and so forth. They see the numbers go by and see the table move. That starts imprinting the process in their mind. So when they begin to use the ACU-RITE controller is isn’t just punching a button, it is punching the button and knowing that the button makes the machine do a specific task that they already have done manually.

Every year approximately 8000 students make their way into the ESDC for one project or another. Five hundred new students get introduced to the shop year after year, the majority of them coming from the mechanical engineering program. “Here at the ESDC we have courses scheduled throughout the week, both lecture and lab,” tells R & D engineer David Kehlet. “Students spend about 30 hours a quarter in the lab. They use that time learning the culture of the shop as well as the basics on cleanup, shop management, machine use and so forth. After they progress past the basic EME50 class they are welcome to come back any time during our open lab periods. Anyone qualified to use the machines is welcome to do so during open lab time. It might be for a specific course or for senior projects like Formula SAE or the steel bridge competition.” Machine time is first come first serve for the most part, but if a student requires staff assistance they need to make an appointment.  Students are encouraged to figure things out themselves, but occasionally they need assistance on the water jet or building a fixture for the DMG MORI machines. Students spend on average 2.5 years in the shop as they complete their studies. “We get better student retention as engineering majors by getting them involved in the ESDC sooner rather than later,” tells Mike. “Analytically and theoretically are not nearly as much fun as hands on experience building and exploring. Other schools even utilize our projects as part of their curriculum because it is a proven learning tool. The EME50 gyroscope project has been going on since the mid 70’s, and is a right of passage for students. It’s not uncommon for graduates to interview for a job and see a gyroscope on the shelf behind the person conducting the interview. They try and play it cool, but every one of them knows exactly what their time was and how they placed in the contest.”

All shop projects begin with a manual process and transitions into doing a similar process via CNC. From the Mechanical’s gyroscope and totem projects to the Bio Med’s digital microscope, the teaching and learning practices are the same; manual ops then CNC ops. “The mechanical engineering students make a gyroscope in their ten week class,” explains R & D engineer Shawn Malone. “I’ve been here at UC Davis for more than 20 years and the gyroscope is a staple of our program. Many engineering schools have students make a hammer or a screwdriver. We have them build a gyroscope. To pass the class it has to stand on its point for more than two minutes. We just got done with 88 students running the competition yesterday. The top time was just over seven minutes. We introduce to them manual machining processes first. So drill press for the holes, manual lathe for the spindle and so forth. They see the numbers go by and see the table move, take a radius curve and back. That starts imprinting the process in their mind. So, when they begin to use the ACU-RITE controller it isn’t just punching a button, it is punching the button and knowing that the button makes the machine do a specific task that they already have done manually. Good or bad the computer does what you tell it to do, so for them to visually confirm what they are telling the machine to do via the ACU-RITE controllers is a huge part of their learning process.” “You have to remember that we have a very diverse set of students that represents our diverse community,” adds Sherry Batin, R & D engineer. “Besides kids coming from different walks of life and different countries, we have a huge skills gap between those well versed in using a tools to those who have never seen an electric drill before. Building confidence is a huge part of their success in the engineering programs.”

The second undertaking for students in EME50 is known as the totem project. They begin with a 2” tall by 1.5” diameter aluminum cylinder, which they have to cut from aluminum bar stock on the saw and then face it to length. While they are learning those processes they are making a drawing. It is their job to design the north end with a milling op, a turning op, drilling op and so forth. Once they meet those constraints they are free to design any north end pattern or shape they want. They hand that drawing to someone else who then has to design the south end to mate to the north end drawing. “We utilize a precision fit feature that they must meet,” details David. “All 22 pieces must stack together in the end for them to pass. The fun part is once the drawings are finalized and everything is called out correctly, we make them exchange drawings with other students. The drawing they think they are going to make gets handed off to someone else. Some students do complex designs with harder features, while others just do the bare minimum. The whole time they have thought it all through on how they are going to manufacture their drawing. Well surprise, they are working from a drawing they have never seen before, just like in industry.” Students now have to figure out how to produce the part of the drawing and hope that all the information is easily conveyed. If not they have to go back to the designer and work with them to get the specs they need to produce the part correctly. That is just the north end. The south end is done on the CNC utilizing Fusion 360. “They learn to use the CAM software and see all the simulations,” continues Sherry “They specify the tooling, speeds and feeds and all that goes along with it. Outputting the G Code to the correct machine, setting it up and running it. South is all CNC and north is all manual. It allows them to compare the two similar experiences. How long did it take you to make the north end? 2 hours, ok. How long to do the south end? Three hours to program it and 2 minutes cutting chips. Now they start to see the threshold of when is it worth their time to invest in the CAM software versus just cranking it out manually with a sketch drawing.”

The BIM 110L project is a digital microscope assembly. The assembly is a cell phone stand embedded with an inexpensive magnifying lens to which the cell phone’s camera is aligned producing a magnified image of a specimen with focus capabilities. Everything they program they do directly on the ACU-RITE G2 controllers and it is easy. The controls are easy to learn, easy to use and user intuitive. The ACU-RITE G2 controllers are extremely powerful, and once the students figure them out they have no problems programming.

Mechanical engineering majors make up a large portion of the students enrolled at the UC Davis College of Engineering, but the Bio Med students have their own interesting shop project. The BIM 110L project is a digital microscope assembly.  The assembly is a cell phone stand embedded with an inexpensive magnifying lens to which the cell phone’s camera is aligned producing a magnified image of a specimen. Bio Med students are not as much into manufacturing, but they still need to learn how to program on the machines. “Our manual applications translate to the CNC on the Bridgeports,” explains Shawn. “They really learn fast based off what we give them. They learn thread milling for example, and let me say left and right hand threads are a completely foreign concept to most of them.  Always a manual op first, then again utilizing the 3 axis ACU-RITE controllers on our Bridgeports. The Bio Med students don’t go through the CAM training, but instead they learn conversational right on the machine. Everything they program they do directly on the ACU-RITE controllers and it is easy. They pick it up really quickly. The controls are easy to learn, easy to use, and user intuitive.  It is extremely powerful once you get to use to it.”

The UC Davis College of Engineering ESDC began utilizing ACU-RITE controllers back in the early 2000’s and just recently invested in an upgraded version. Last school year they added four new Bridgeport mills to the shop and equipped them with the ACU-RITE G2 controller. They took that opportunity to upgrade all the controllers on all the mills. When it came time to invest in new controllers they looked no further than Dave McCarthy at Heidenhain Corp. “We love Dave,” touts Mike. “His support of our program is amazing and product support is even better. We upgraded all the Bridgeport controls to the ACU-RITE G2 and couldn’t be happier with them. We had other controls in the past, but the ease of use and durability we get with ACU-RITE is fantastic. As you can imagine with the number of students we get in this program they see a lot of use and inadvertently a lot of abuse. We don’t worry too much because Dave makes sure we get great service and pricing on any replacement parts.  The G2 controllers are a big bump in technology for us. The previous ACU-RITE version we were using still had floppy disk drives. Now we have USB. Our codes are not super complex, but even still we would run across a student not understanding why they couldn’t save their program. You start doing 3D modeling in Fusion 360 and there is never enough space on the floppy. Dave is one of the good guys in the business. He drops by whenever he is in the area and takes a real interest in the students and our program.”

Shop techs are a key part of the ESDC. With only four full-time staff the ESDC relies on 18 shop techs to keep the lab running smoothly. Some days 18 isn’t even enough to support the shop. Spencer Cheng (above) hopes to get a job in manufacturing after graduation. (Right) Shop tech Deniz Akin helps a fellow student on a lathe op. Her only experience with tools came in the EME50 class, but that has sparked a desire in her to learn more about CNC.

The staff and shop techs all praised the ACU-RITE controlled machines as a great way to go from manual to CNC and back to manual as needed. All the teaching programs revolve around doing a manual element followed by a CNC element. Different projects for different majors, but the core concept of learning is the same. Here is the manual way, turn the crank and watch it move. Now program it to turn the crank for you. “You think about all the years they spent getting to this point in their education,” concludes Mike. “They struggled though the pressures of school and taking only upper division classes to get into a good college, but they never took a shop class. The ESDC adds an element they’ve never known before. They take those senses you feel manually machining a part and transfer it into CNC experience. It isn’t just a video game; they pick up a road feel that you only get by actually driving the machine. That experience translates directly to the next step in their journey.”

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Top – Cascade Engineering Technologies made their name in metrology. Their quality lab is world class with seven Zeiss CMMs. Cascade leverages probing more than most shops. Before a part even hits the CNC all the probing routine has been verified by Vericut. Bottom Left – Devon Ellis has been with the company since he was playing with Legos under his dad’s desk. Last July he was made director of engineering and oversees the engineering department, programming, fixturing, IT, document controls, CMM programming, estimating and quoting. Bottom Right – The shop is split into two work cells. The north cell is filled with Haas vertical machining centers including (3) 5 axis. The south cell has the larger 4 and 5 axis Makino and Matsuura horizontal milling centers along with the Toshiba TUE 150 vertical lathe.

Dirk Ellis founded Cascade Engineering Technologies 30 years ago as a contract metrology shop. The Canby, Oregon based outfit began adding CNC machining services around the turn of the century, but their core competency remains steeped in their metrology expertise.

With just under a hundred employees and 70,000sq.ft. of manufacturing space Cascade Engineering Technologies (CET) is set for continued growth. This Pacific Northwest manufacturer might have got their start checking other shop’s parts, but today they are a world-class aerospace manufacturer in their own right. “My dad founded the company back in the 80’s with a single Zeiss CMM,” tells Cascade’s director of engineering Devon Ellis. “As the business grew, we added light manufacturing to support our customers. Today, we have 20 CNC machining centers with a specialty in machining critical investment castings. Our sales pitch is that we are who you want when it comes to manufacturing large, complex, monolithic, thin walled structures because of our metrology focus.” Large and thin are relative for sure, but with a 60” work envelope on their larger mills and 78” on the lathe, large is actually pretty large.

Cascade leverages the power of Vericut as part of their intake protocols on investment castings. They write a probing routine and verify it in Vericut before they tie up time on their CMMs. The probing module is an added feature in Vericut and goes hand in hand with the machining simulations. They simulate the probing, they simulate the machining and in the end they get no surprises. Vericut ensures confidence from start to finish.

CET’s north cell is made up of Haas vertical machining centers, including (3) new 5 axis machine. The south cell houses their 4 and 5 axis horizontals. They have twin Makino T-1s, a pair of Matsuura MAM72-100H and their latest acquisition, a Toshiba TUE 150 vertical lathe. A state-of-the-art metrology lab supports all the machining. The lab alone is 4000sq.ft. and houses seven Zeiss CMMs. Cascade is an ISO9001 / AS9100 Rev D registered ITAR facility and everything begins and ends in their quality lab.

Investment castings are a nightmare for most shops not equipped with the tools and experience needed to do the job right. “An investment casting is where you want to make a component out of metal by first making a wax pattern,” describes Devon. “You build a shell, burn out the wax, pour metal in it, and inspect and repair the part until it meets the customer’s requirements. What’s left is a rough shape that requires finish machining. Each casting is a snowflake, the same, but with its own uniqueness. More often than not our customers are essentially consigning to us very high value material that we have to machine.” “The value comes from the time it took for the casting house to make the casting,” adds Troy Greenberg, CNC programming manager.  It could be three months worth of time before the casting gets to us. They need someone to machine it right the first time. There are no do-overs. If you mess it up, you can’t just go grab another a piece of metal off the shelf.”  There is a nuance with each casting that you don’t see in traditional machine work. That is where “best fitting” comes in. Casting is not a perfect science; each casting has a variance that is large in relationship to the machining process assigned to it. “You get five castings of the exact same part, made from the exact same wax tooling and they won’t be the same,” continues Devon. “There might be a little more material on this face, or it is rotated slightly. You have a non-perfect casting that has to be perfect when you machine it, and perfect when it goes on the airplane. This is where our core competency in metrology comes in. We can see in space through inspection modeling how it fits, and how it will fit after we are done machining it.”

The air inlet starts out as two pieces of billet weighing in at 1400lbs. The assembled finish weight is only 18lbs. With six machining operations and multiple trips to the CMM it has become a showcase part for Cascade. They purchased their first seat of Vericut specifically for this program because of the cost and complexity associated with manufacturing. Devon Ellis, director of engineering describes it as “machining a tin can out of a block of billet.”

Cascade takes in the casting and runs it though an extensive intake process that begins with a trip across one of their 7 Zeiss CMM machines. They inspect the piece of material and gather data on it. From there they are able to do an analysis and determine if it will yield a good part, and if so, how best to get that part. “We have created a methodology that allows us to verify component compliance at the raw material stage, before any chips are cut,” explains Devon. “From there, we define the exact path that will get us there. The result = no surprises. We call it “Starting with the end in mind.” We essentially have to find the statue of David in the marble. We know it is in there, but how do you physically adjust on the machine to match the perfect part inside the casting. That is where our 30 years of experience in metrology pays off.”

Cascade’s programmers write extensive probing routines before, during, and after machining the part. From start to finish they verify what they are doing matches the predicted accuracy from the information they already gathered. They verify all their probing routines in CGTech’s Vericut software. They simulate the part in Vericut and run the probing routines from there. “We have our simulated part completely probed and verified in Vericut before it even gets on our CNC machines,” details Troy. “The entire probing process is run through Vericut same as you do on a machining center.” Cascade also utilizes Vericut on their larger 4 and 5 axis machining centers. The probing module is an addition module available through Vericut and something you don’t find in every shop. “The programs we run in Vericut are our own,” continues Troy. “We tell it what we want to measure, and it does the simulation work. Check here, here, here and these other critical areas. Every probing routine is verified to work before we commit CNC time to the process.” Only after the routine is verified do they have the confidence to put it on the CNC. At Cascade probing verification is less about probe crashes (though still important) and more about confirming the logic of how they are going to go after manufacturing the part. “We leverage probing a lot more than most shops,” adds Devon. “Some shops might touch off 3 points to find a zero and that is about it, our probing programs are very complex with hundreds if not thousands of measurements.  There is direct communication of dimensional data between the metrology lab and the CNC machines.   And, all our machining centers are equipped with Renishaw probes, ensuring exact part placement every time.”

Cascade purchased their first seat of Vericut in 2013 to support a specific program that they felt would elevate their position in the aerospace manufacturing game. “My dad had his eye on this external airflow inlet for years. It was his white whale. He wanted to get this job so badly,” tells Devon. “Originally it was an aluminum investment casting, but a design change necessitated the part being changed from a casting to that of a billet hog out. We bid on it and got the job. Then we had to figure out how to manufacture it. At the time it was the largest, most complex part we had ever done. We really wanted this project to set us apart from other manufacturers. And it accomplished just that. It’s a showcase part for us still, one we are very proud of and like to show off. The challenges of manufacturing this air inlet are essentially machining a tin can from a block of billet.” The airflow inlet starts out as two pieces of billet weighing 1400lbs. The finished part when assembled together weighs a scant 18lbs. Cascade leaves a lot of chips on the floor, and if they inadvertently had a problem and scrapped one, someone would notice. “You have to machine it a certain way to relieve the stresses in the metal,” describes Troy. “At 60” with features as thin as .060 you machine one side and if everything isn’t right you flip it over and it can curl up and become a potato chip. Managing thin walls requires a lot of finesse.”

Cascade’s management team knew a lot was riding on the success of this project and wanted every available advantage. They turned to Vericut for a couple of reasons. “This was a high visibility job and we wanted it right the first time,” tells Devon. “It is expensive material going onto a really expensive machine. One slip up in programming could cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars. Spindles are not cheap to replace, and you can’t replace lost time, it is just lost forever. You don’t want to make a call that your machine is down, and the customer can’t build planes because of it. With no errors, and no problems in our process, customer confidence is reassured every time we deliver 22 beautiful parts a month.” Troy has been a Vericut user since the early 2000’s and reaffirms how it has saved his butt many times. “As a programmer you pride yourself on being good at your job, but we all make mistakes. Vericut ensures those mistakes are not costly mistakes. When you start messing with giant machines chewing though large quantities of metal at a high rate of speed you want to know before that button is ever pushed that everything will be just as you planned. That security starts with management buying the seat of Vericut, but every step of the process builds more and more confidence. I know my programmers did their job, and thanks to Vericut the people out running the machines know that too. Vericut isn’t cheap, it’s priceless. We thank Vericut every time it catches something we missed.”

Cascade’s 30 years of experience helps them thrive in a mission critical environment. As a tier 1 supplier to the biggest names in aerospace they take pride in the challenges that come with that responsibility and privilege. “The average run of the mill shop doesn’t want to deal with the complexities of managing the snowflake,” concludes Devon. “Here at Cascade the snowflake brings out the best in us, because we start with the end in mind.”

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When Eli Crane was given a bottle opener by his brother it opened more than just a beer for this Navy SEAL.

Growing up in Yuma, AZ. Bottle Breacher’s CEO and founder Eli Crane never dreamed of being an entrepreneur. He was athletic, played sports and occasionally got into a bit of trouble. Pretty standard stuff for American boys and girls of his generation. That all changed for him in 2001. “I was a senior attending University of Arizona, Tucson when we were attacked on September 11th,” tells Eli. “The next week I dropped out of school and joined the Navy. Specifically I hoped to become a Navy SEAL and serve on the front lines.” Eli didn’t complete SEAL training on his first attempt and spent a few years on a ship growing up a little as a gunner’s mate. He got a second shot at SEAL training and graduated with class 256. “220 of us started and only 24 of us finished,” explains Eli. “I spent the next nine years as a Navy SEAL, doing the best job in the world.”

Jen and Eli Crane presented to the Sharks on Season 6 of Shark Tank. They left with two sharks investing in Bottle Breacher. They used the $150,000 to invest in a turn key Hurco machining cell. The package came with the Hurco mill, fixtures, pallets, and custom programming of the Bottle Breacher parts. Eli wanted a system that was easy to use and maintain for non machinists. The goal was to be able to cycle parts through it with a minimum amount of effort and with low overhead. They have been super happy that they chose Hurco. Hurco even ordered promotional bottle openers to help celebrate their recent anniversary.

Eli and his wife Jen started Bottle Breacher five years ago while he was still in the Navy. Eli spent his days training SEALs to take down ships, and his nights in the garage building bottle openers. “Bottle Breacher began as a humble operation and even now we are still very humble,” explains Eli. “Jen was running her own boutique online business while I was deployed. She was and still is instrumental in our marketing and online sales programs.” Eli would love to claim credit for inventing the bullet bottle opener, but that isn’t the case. “My brother was deployed as a Marine in the Philippines and he brought me a bottle opener made from a 50. Cal bullet,” tells Eli. “It was just a generic casing, worn, vintage looking, nothing flashy, nothing about it caught your eye, but it was still really cool. I knew right away I could improve on the concept.” A breacher on a SEAL team is an operator who is trained to get into a structure they are assaulting. It could be a plane, buildings, ships, rooms, anything. A breacher has the training to get the team in mechanically or explosively. “You have to get into that bottle somehow,” laughs Eli. “So you might as well breach it. I wanted to name our product something that represented the culture and my background, but also something that was catchy, be easy to remember, and had a little mystique about it. Not everyone knows what a breacher is, so it opens up to the story. Story as you know is so important to PR and marketing.” Just like that Bottle Breacher became a thing for Jen and Eli.

Eli made his first 500 units by hand with a cloth measuring tape, a sharpie, and his Dremel tool. Each opener took 7 minutes just to cut out. The SEAL mentality knew there was a better way; he just needed to find it. “I built my first fixture out of an old broom handle,” details Eli. “At the time I didn’t know about the term lean manufacturing, just that I needed a faster way to measure and cut. The broom handle slid over the casing perfectly allowing me to draw the cut lines in seconds.” It was simple, but a huge technology upgrade that helped him with production numbers. The first generation Bottle Breacher was just spray painted with a sticker put on it, but the feedback he got was inspiring. “The initial openers I made had the SEAL Team 3 punisher logo on them,” continues Eli. “The light bulb just turned on when I saw the reaction of  the team. They ordered a bunch of them for family and friends. SEALs are some of the coolest people on the planet, and companies are always giving them shoes, glasses, jackets because of it. So if they liked the bottle opener, then the masses would love it too.”

Understanding all too well that garage production was working ok, but it wasn’t great, the Cranes began to research manufacturing solutions that could boost production, reduce costs and yield a better product. As they were trying to grow the company, Eli and Jen were avid watchers of the ABC TV show Shark Tank. “We were watching Shark Tank and the entrepreneur was getting ripped apart for not having any branding directly on his product,” tells Eli. “We decided we needed an engraver to brand our products. We didn’t want to dip into our small nest egg just to buy a beat up used engraver, so I sold my chopper and bought a brand new one.” Sales tripled nearly over night for Bottle Breacher. Not because of the branding, but because now they could offer a fully customizable product. “We went from being limited to happy birthday, to happy birthday Sean and your birthdate on it. We blew up with personalization.”

Personalization with laser engravers tripled sales numbers almost overnight. No longer were they confined to generic sayings and greetings, but they could offer a fully customized product to customers.

With good sales numbers, a solid business model, and an incredible backstory Jen and Eli got their chance to face the sharks on Season 6 Episode 8 that aired in November 2014. Understanding that bullets and firearms don’t play well on network TV in the modern world Eli knew that the likelihood of being picked for the show was slim. He also knew that they had a product that was perfect for TV. “Ultimately the show is about entertainment,” explains Eli. “We have a cool product, and I was sure America would love to hear our story.”  They went on the show, gave their pitch, and left with two sharks investing in the company. “Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary both were interested in investing with us,” touts Eli. “Having two sharks was an essential part of my strategy. In the military redundancy is key. We have the saying “one is none, two is one” I wanted two sharks, and we got that. The biggest thing I hoped to get from the show was a tactical partnership or a mentorship because I didn’t know squat. Getting that and 150k was even better. We used that money to invest in a Hurco VM20i milling center and bring our machining processes in house.”

As Bottle Breacher began the research process, Hurco machine tools were repeatedly brought up in conversation. Local area shops had great things to say about the brand’s durability and ease of use. “We could have saved some money going with a different company, but I wanted a machine that was going to last us a long time,” explains Eli. “I am not a machinist, I don’t employ any machinists and I didn’t want to become a machine shop. What I needed was something that was easy to run and maintain for non-machinists.” They bought a turnkey machining cell from D&R Machinery. It came with the Hurco VM20i, pallets, the fixtures to match their machined parts, and all the programming pre- installed. “The goal was to be able to cycle parts through with a minimum amount of effort and with low overhead,” continues Eli. “After a short training we were able to jump right in to manufacturing our own parts. The controls are easy to use and we’ve had no issues. The Hurco has been such a great investment for us. When we add a new product to our catalog all I have to do is make a call. We buy another custom program and set of fixtures and begin the in-house manufacturing process. We machine it, powder coat and do custom laser engraving all in our Tucson headquarters. These days we pretty much only send out the chrome plating and anodizing.”

Being a SEAL taught Eli a lot about limits, problem solving and how to think outside the box. Thinking skills are key when you are thrown into an unfamiliar and hostile situation and you’ve got to make the mission happen. That skillset has been beneficial for him as an entrepreneur. “I went into this business not knowing about manufacturing, or accounting, or even business,” chuckles Eli. “But I knew I could build a team around me that did.” He’s found that successful people share basic traits with Navy SEALs. They are not afraid to get outside their comfort zone. They have the mentality that they will figure it out and work harder than everybody else. And they are confident enough in themselves to find the subject matter experts who can prop them up in their weakest areas. 

People don’t realize how difficult it is to go from being in the military to the private sector. If you don’t want a job in private security, law enforcement or as a fireman your choices are fairly limited. “The public needs to be educated in what our qualifications actually are,” explains Eli. “Too often a CEO or a manger looks at you and says oh you were a Navy SEAL, that’s super cool let me buy you a beer, but I don’t have a position for you.” Being a leader, problem solver, cool under pressure, dependable, disciplined, working with a team, teachable, all translate directly to the private sector. SEALs are the best in their business, and they have the skillset to be the best in other business too. “I’ve become a veteran’s advocate, and am trying to teach those CEOs how valuable we are in the work place,” concludes Eli. “Our skillset is more than just being a sniper and blowing things up. I hire veterans, and contract out with other veteran owned shops whenever I can. I try every day to pay my success forward. You can serve this country in a lot of ways that don’t require a mission and a gun. Being a SEAL was an awesome job. I got to fight real evil in the world. The knowledge I gained was amazing, and the brotherhood and camaraderie are second to none. Looking back I am so blessed and fortunate that I got to be a SEAL, but I can’t rest on what I did yesterday or today. I need to keep moving forward, pushing new envelopes and increasing the pace. Bottle Breacher is my current challenge, but isn’t going to be my last. If you are going through your life and not thinking about how you can positively impact people I think you are missing out on a lot.”

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Bob Lewis Machine began in 1973 as a one-man operation out of a garage in Torrance, Ca. Bob, AKA “Pops” would churn out thousands of parts from a tiny workspace. Bob Lewis Machine has come a long way since those garage days. With 5 axis milling and multi turret lathes, the AS9100 and ISO9001 certified shop is a trusted supplier to the most respected names in aerospace.

Pops’ big break came when Hughes Aircraft contracted with him to start manufacturing a family of parts. He opened an actual shop in Gardena, and then moved to a larger location in the mid 80’s. “We moved here in 1986,” tells Jeff Lewis, Bob’s son and current president at Bob Lewis Machine. “I’ve been with the company since I was 6 years old. Pops had my sisters and I in a manufacturing assembly line. He would get in an order for 1000 parts and one of us would drill it, the next kid would tap it. My older sister got the most complex jobs, apparently an 8-year-old was more skilled than a 6-year-old. You can image by the time I was done with high school I had enough of machining business and went out to do other things. I quit a few times, got fired a couple times, but it was all I knew growing up. I did everything from being a DJ to a deck hand on fishing boats, but ultimately I came back to work for him and took over the business when Pops retired in 2001.”

Bob Lewis Machine has a wide variety of milling and turning centers ranging from 5 axis mills to compact turning centers. Brands like Chevalier, Nissin, Kiwa, Fadal and Hyundai make up the milling department while Mori, Okuma, Hyundai and Hitatchi get the job done in turning.

Bob Lewis Machine (BLM) specializes in high precision prototype work for the aerospace industry. They machine mostly out of titanium and aluminum, but also work with copper and the exotic nickel bases super alloys like Inconel. The majority of parts produced are under the size of a softball, and a standard run might be only a few pieces. Business has been on an upswing the last few years and Jeff has taken the opportunity to invest in new equipment. In the last year Jeff purchased a new Hyundai WAI KF5600 3 axis mill, a Hyundai WAI E160a compact turning center and a Chevalier QP5X-400 5 axis mill. “We replaced a couple older machines with new ones,” explains Marcelo, head programmer and floor manager at BLM. “Our milling department has five Fadals, the new Hyundai, the new Chevalier 5 axis, a Nissin 5 axis, and a Kiwa horizontal. Turning has the new Hyundai, an Okuma, a Mori and a Hitachi. We are going more and more towards pallet systems and 5th axis machining. Our horizontal Kiwa has two pallets and there are half a dozen jobs he is setting up on it right now. Even though we are not a production driven shop, the ability to work offline while the machine is still cutting is paramount. It never stops running. We can switch between jobs if we need to because so many are set up on the pallets.” 

1 – The C axis on the Chevalier can cut and rotate the spindle at the same time for true 5 axis performance. 2 – Bob Lewis Machine’s programmers use FeatureCam simulation on every machine. 3 – This part went from 3 setups down to only two, but it has a callout of .001 true position and is very tough to hold.

Reducing setups has been a priority ever since they added their first 5 axis Nissin in 2011. Jobs that took six or seven setups are now only taking one. It made a huge difference in how parts were produced. “We came to grips with the benefits of 5 axis machining a few years ago,” tells Marcelo. “Fewer setups reduce the interaction with the operators, minimizing the opportunity to make mistakes. With the tolerances we hold all it takes is a little error loading a part to make a huge impact. A single setup is a great thing. Since all the features are being machined in one pass it has allowed our operators to run multiple machines during the longer cycler times.” BLM’s newest acquisition is a Chevalier QP5X-400 5 axis mill that they worked with NuTech Machinery in Ontario to purchase. It was bought right off the Chevalier showroom floor in Santa Fe Springs, CA. and been in production for just over a year. “I’ve noticed over the last few years the Korean and Taiwanese machines have really stepped up their game,” describes Jeff.   “The machines are smarter and everyone is raising the bar. They offer a great bang for your buck. Chevalier is known mostly for their grinding and 3 axis machines. The 5 axis was a new product line for them. It was the first unit sold on the west coast, if not in the USA. It is hard to sell a new machine when there are no others out running in shops for us to see, and admittedly we were skeptical. I sent Marcelo down multiple times to feed it code and check things out.”

Jeff freely admits that price was a driving factor in choosing the Chevalier over competitors, but the deciding point was the commitment and faith that Chevalier had in their own product. “The QP5X-400 has a lot of features and capabilities,” touts Jeff. “If it lived up to the hype, and if it delivered on the promises, I knew I would be a very happy customer. Chevalier was confident in their machine and they really stepped up by increasing the length of the warranty. It doesn’t cost them anything if the machine doesn’t have any issues, but it was a great piece of mind for me the consumer. That’s when I pulled the trigger. A little over one year in and we’ve had no issues with it. Beautiful parts come off it on a daily basis and the post sale support has been fantastic.”

4 – Jeff Lewis is the second generation owner at Bob Lewis Machine. It is hard to believe that he has over 40 year of maching experience at BLM. 5 – Inconel Material, .014” diameter holes with .050” interrupted counterbores with a true position of.001. 6 – Aluminum Material, .006” +/- .001” thin walls, all around. 7 – Aluminum Material, Precision Valve Body with multiple, precision, cross holes. Precision Bores, +/-.0003. True position held within .001. This was done in 2 setups, using the Chevalier.

As a demo model the Chevalier QP5X-400 came fully loaded with a high speed/high torque spindle, a laser measuring system, upgraded Fanuc controls, coolant through the spindle and much more. “We typically don’t buy a machine with all of the bells and whistles,” explains Marcelo. “Having all these features has been great. Most of the extras are geared towards speed and accuracy while machining harder materials. The spindle runs at 10,000 rpm and has crazy kinds of torque behind it. It has a torque meter that measures the load in real time, and it doesn’t even move when I’m getting after it on a titanium part. We noticed right away how good the finish is off the Chevalier. That has a lot to do with the strength of your spindle. A weaker spindle will give you vibrations and a much worst finish. Especially in harder metals.”

The C axis can cut and rotate simultaneously, allowing for flawless round surfaces. “Round parts off the Chevalier are fantastic,” jokes Marcelo. “More than once Jeff has had to confirm we ran it on the mill and not a lathe. It is that good.” Surprisingly one of the most noted attributes outside of speed and accuracy is the coolant skimmer and recovery system. It filters out all the Waylube and keeps the coolant fresh. The machine has been running non-stop for a year and all BLM has done is top off the coolant. “The coolant system is something we probably wouldn’t have ordered if we built the machine from scratch,” tells Marcelo. “We don’t have it on any of our other machining centers, but really like having it now on the Chevalier.” As the head programmer Marcelo loves having the higher end Fanuc control with 525 megs of memory. Their other 5 axis machine only has 128 and they wish it had more. “All our programs on the 5 axis are large and complex,” describes Marcelo. “They take up a lot of memory. With only 128 megs we can’t load a full program into the control, but with 525 we can. It isn’t a huge issue by any means, but again just a nice bonus that comes with a higher end control.”

“Trust is a big deal,” describes Marcelo. “I trust that once I get my first article that the machine is going to do exactly what I want, exactly the same way, with the exact same precision. Part 10 is exactly the same as part 1. The repeatability is amazing, it inspires so much confidence in what we do.” “I feel we took a chance on the unknown and it paid off for us,” concludes Jeff. “It was a big commitment for us adding a second 5 axis machine. We are very happy with the service and support we’ve received and still impressed with the quality of parts the Chevalier is capable of producing.”

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Liberty Industries newest machining center is an Okuma MB-4000H. It has six Chick Workholding pallets and 182 tools. They just added the pallet changing system and are gearing up towards lights out manufacturing. The goal is to touch it only twice a day to load and unload parts. The speed and accuracy of the machine have greatly reduced cycle times.

Bill Carter went to school to become a woodworker, but a friend told him about an apprenticeship at Aerojet General to become a machinist. At 18 years old that sounded good, so he applied. There were over 500 applicants and they only took five people. He was one of those five. “I served my apprenticeship for year and made some friends,” tells Bill. “Turns out we were pretty good at machining. We worked on the Mark 46 torpedo program, Apollo missile and other aerospace and defense projects of similar nature. I went into business with my ex partner and his father, incorporating Liberty Industries in 1966.”

He and his partners went to the bank and put up $500 to buy their first machine tool, an engine lathe that they strapped a turret to. They split their time between their actual jobs and getting Liberty up and running. The business grew almost immediately, focusing their efforts on aerospace, but taking any job that came in the door. Bill’s family has replaced his partners, and Liberty stands taller than ever with advanced machining centers to support their customers.

For the past nine years there have been two Bills at Liberty Industries, Bill Carter the owner, and Bill Brock the son in law, and general manager. Both answer to Bill, so you need to be more specific. Big Bill, Original Bill, maybe even First Op Bill, will work, but you learn quickly that Old Bill is not going to fly with Bill Carter. With five decades of experience, Big Bill handles all the estimating and is always there to lend a veteran opinion when needed. New Bill tackles the duties of general manager and works his magic in the sales department. Jodie, Big Bill’s daughter, and Little Bill’s wife is the office manager and been with the company since 1997. “My dad hired me to answer the phones when my mall job wasn’t giving me any hours,” laughs Jodie. “I was so nervous when the phone rang. I would get up and run to the bathroom. Dad would page me over the intercom to get back to the office. I didn’t know what to do if they asked a question I was unsure of.” Big Bill laughs at how funny that is now with Jodie running the office. “She is fearless now. This place would stop without her,” he touts. “I’ve done everything to keep her here. Working with your family everyday is such a reward.”

Liberty Industries has a pair of Okuma Genos M560v vertical milling centers. They purchased the first one about four years ago and liked it so much they added a second one a few months later. This part is being held by the Chick One-Loc System on top of the Foundation grid platform . They are utilizing the capabilities of the Okuma to knurl it. They were not able to do this before getting the Okuma but both Bills tout the rigidity of the Okuma as the reason they can do it easily now.

Liberty Industries in El Monte, Ca. focuses most of their efforts on the aerospace industry. Manufacturing tight tolerance, complex parts are where they really shine. From planes to tanks, they expertly service the biggest names in the industry like Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin. With 4 and 5 axis milling and a dozen turning centers they are well equipped for the challenge. “When I first started this business, I wanted nothing but American machines,” tells Big Bill. “Liberty Industries was all Hardinge, I just wanted to buy American, and run American parts. Back then Hardinge offered a 1” CNC for say $40,000. I kept losing job after job and I couldn’t figure out why at first. Mori Seiki was selling a 1.25” machine for 25% less. It was either join them or go broke. We started to buy Japanese machines to stay in business, but now we love what they do and keep adding more. We still buy Haas machines too. They offer a lot of value for the money. It is because of their price point that we were able to make the step up to 5 axis machining without going broke.” Coincidentally the added business from the 5 axis is what allowed Liberty to be able to purchase their first Okuma vertical mill from Gosiger the local Okuma distributor. 

Big Bill has always been one to offer something different than what the other shops might have. It started way back in the 80’s when he bought a Mori Seiki ZL25 lathe. “It has 6’ between centers. I could turn a full size person in that thing if I wanted to,” touts Big Bill. “It has a 2- 5/8th hole through the spindle so we can bar feed the whole thing. Not everyone had that. I’d buy machines with as many tools as it could hold and a big table so I could setup up multiple jobs. The same thing when it comes to 5 axis machining and having a 6 pallet Okuma horizontal. Not everyone has advanced machining centers, so we have an advantage when it comes to bidding on the job and producing it.”

Liberty purchased their first Okuma Genos M560v vertical milling center four years ago. Right away they saw the benefits of more speed and accuracy. So much so that three months later they added a second identical machine. Last year they added an Okuma MB4000H horizontal system and upgraded it this year by adding a six- pallet changer. “We got all three of our Okumas from Gosiger and our favorite salesman Tom Tran,” tells Bill Brock. “Seriously, we’ve been buying machines of varying brands for many years and he is a great guy. Not just a great sales guy, but also a great guy. He worked with us from the get go and is very responsive to our needs. Gosiger and Okuma are phenomenal. We have a job that used to require outside grinding on the diameter, but with our Okuma machines it is now machined in house within the same spec. The MB4000H horizontal came stock with two pallets, but we liked the versatility of the pallets so much that we recently changed it to a six- pallet system. The pallet system is very compact and fits perfectly in the space we had. We have 182 tools available to support the number of pallets and jobs. We have all Chick Workholding pallets giving us the ability to have as many jobs setup on it as we have pallet sides. We are still learning how to maximize production and are slowly moving jobs over to that machine. The goal is to be running lights out here in a few months. We want to touch it twice a day to unload and load and let it do its thing the rest of the shift. You can even add a 5th axis pallet to the horizontal for even more capabilities, and that is something we are looking into as well.”

Liberty Industries is a family owned and run business. Of their 18 employees only four of them don’t have another family member as part of the team.

“When I bought the first Okuma it wasn’t for me,” explains Big Bill. “It was for my daughter Jodie, Bill, their kids and everyone who works for me. I didn’t need it, but the future owners of Liberty Industries did.” Liberty Industries employs 18 people and only four of them don’t have someone related to them also working here. Father and sons, father and daughters, nephews, uncles, sisters, brothers, wives and husbands, it is all family. Danny started by sweeping floors three decades ago and is the lathe setup guy now. “The employees are what make us great,” adds Jodie. “We don’t have what we have because of us. It is all because of them that the business is able to succeed.” “You can’t beat working here with family,” concludes Bill Brock. “Jodie grew up here and our kids are growing up here. We have employees who have been here 30 years and their kids work here. It is a great place to work. We take a lot of pride in our parts, in the company and in our families, because here at Liberty Industries it is all the same thing.”

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SKM Industries Inc. is a Valencia, Ca based job shop focusing on commercial, medical and aerospace parts. Sanjeev Kapoor started the company in 1992 renting spindle time from another shop to run his parts. From day one Sanjeev has cut his own path, embracing technology, and inventing solutions to meet his needs.

A mechanical engineer by trade, Sanjeev Kapoor began his manufacturing career in a manual shop working for others. It was the 80’s and the owners took him to the Westec trade show where he was exposed to CNC for the first time. “Right away I saw the added value in CNC,” tells Sanjeev. “I convinced the owners to buy a Bridgeport with a CNC control. That was 1986. I liked computers, and had a little programming experience from school, I knew I could program it, but they took a little convincing. Within a couple years we had half dozen CNC machines and were running Gibbs Cam.” That shop did a lot of production work to take advantage of the still relatively new CNC technology. Sanjeev was programmer and production manager. “I began to look at ways to reduce the cost and maximize production,” explains Sanjeev. “I learned right away the value of good tooling.  Fewer tool changes means less down time and less worker interaction. Decades later I still apply the same principles, focusing on tooling and fixtures that can reduce cycle time at the same time reduce interruptions. “

When Sanjeev went out on his own and started SKM Industries Inc. he spent the first year in business renting spindle time in a shop in Camarillo, Ca. “I helped them out with their prototype work, and they let me rent open time on their machines,” touts Sanjeev. “It worked out well for about a year until I could purchase my own CNC machines. I started with a Fadal mill and a Mazak lathe. I’ve been adding machines ever since.” SKM moved to their current 11,000 sq.ft. manufacturing facility in 2008 where they house 15 Haas and Mazak CNC machining centers. “As a job shop we have to be ready for anything,” explains Sanjeev. “We have 4 axis milling and advanced turning centers. We work in all materials ranging from aluminum, steel, plastics, copper and brass to more exotic alloys like Kovar. One of our largest customers is an OEM and we make hundreds of different part numbers for them. We run anywhere from 5 pieces to 50,000. We prefer the production runs, but are always ready to help out a customer who needs a smaller quantity. We use the latest version of Gibbs Cam and it is all set up to maximize high speed machining. Our high speed machining practices allow us to be competitive on pricing even with smaller run quantities.”

This 4140 part has a hardness of 40 Rockwell. Previous tooling only yielded a maximum of 8 parts per corner of the insert. The new YG1 inserts are delivering 24 parts per corner of the insert and cost less than half. SKM has switched over and uses YG1 inserts whenever possible, regardless of materials.

Technology is a big part of manufacturing at SKM, and high speed machining on all materials is at the forefront. Peel milling with 5, 6, and 7 flute end mills is common practice regardless of material. “We are using a 5 flute end mill for high speed machining on aluminum,” describes Sanjeev. “Most people use a 2 or a 3 flute conventional tool.”  More flutes offer them the ability to machine at a much higher speed. “High speed machining is taking a smaller cut, but going much faster,” continues Sanjeev. “You have less wear on the tooling, less wear on the machine, no chip trapping issues, and less load on the part. We cut at 600” a minute, only taking 30, 40, or 50 thou axial cut at a time. The load on everything is very light and we get way better life out of everything involved. We have fewer tool changes and they never break. It is a very stable process allowing you to predict life expectancy regardless of the job. If a tool lasted for so many cutting hours on this part, it will last that many cut hours on any part because the process is the same. We monitor loads on all the tools so before the tool breaks we change it out. That is pretty standard practice in shops running large diameter tooling, but it is rare that you see it on small tooling like we use. A larger tool has the ability to break and do a lot of damage, but for us we use it to get the absolute most life out of the tool and replace it before it breaks and shuts down the machine.”

At 600” a minute, tooling is a key element when it comes to producing a quality part. Sanjeev relies on Jonathan Saada of High Speed Corp to help him get the most out of his tooling investments. “Jonathan has so much experience, he is a wealth of information,” describes Sanjeev. “I’ve known him for many, many years and I always make the time to talk to him when he comes by. That is not the case with most sales people. He introduced us to YG1 tooling about a year ago and I’m so glad he did. We’ve seen an increase in tool life and a decrease in tool pricing across the board.”

SKM made the switch to all YG1 high speed end mills. They were using 7 flute end mills for high speed machining of steel until Jonathan from High Speed Corp brought in a 6 flute. He said try it at the same feeds and speeds and let him know what you think. They got 25% better tool life out of it without changing anything else.

“YG1 is a completely new tooling line for us,” tells Jonathan Saada of High Speed Corp. “Sanjeev is one of the few people who are always eager to try new things. He has a different way of looking at tooling than most of my customers. He doesn’t just look at the price of the tool; he looks at the throughput from the tool.” Sanjeev explains that people often confuse the price of the tool with the price of the tool per part. He can look at his self made Job Shop Manager MRP system’s hard cost matrix and see exactly what the cost was to make any given part factoring in labor, tooling, outside processing, materials, and so forth. “YG1 are one of the biggest end mill manufacturers in the world,” continues Jonathan. “Getting tools out in the real world was important and I knew SKM was a perfect fit. I know that SKM produces only the highest quality parts and I knew that Sanjeev would give me honest, and informed feedback on each YG1 product he tested. His data collection processes are fantastic, so we would know right away how effective the YG1 tooling compared against his current and past tooling choices. I brought him YG1 Dream Dills, YG1 4, and 6 flute end mills, and YG1 turning inserts. He was able to beat the competition in every category.” Sanjeev developed and coded the JOB Shop Manager MRP system himself, which is designed to manage and integrate data for every work order and also deploy it on iPads at every work station so that any revision changes, prints, travelers, run times etc. are live everywhere at all times.

With over three decades of experience, Sanjeev is not one to just believe the hype that comes from a tooling salesman. But he is a person always looking for any gain in performance. For him the first real test came on a part that he has years of past data to compare to. “I was running a job in 4140 at 40 Rockwell,” describes Sanjeev. “The max we were getting was eight pieces per corner of the insert. These were not cheap inserts, but a respected tooling brand that cost $16 or $17 each. The YG1 insert on the same job lasts for 24 parts per corner and costs only $6. So we got a huge gain in tool life, and pay less for it. It was amazing; we didn’t believe it at first. We run 1200 of that part a month and the results speak for themselves. I switched over to YG1 on every turning insert available on every job. Same thing for end mills. We were using 7 flute end mills for high speed machining in steel and Jonathan brought in a 6 flute. He said try it at the same feeds and speeds and let me know what you think. We got 25% better tool life without changing anything else. They too have a much lower price point. It has been a really, really good change for us. We switched all the end mills too. YG1 are adding more and more tools to their catalog and if I need that tool I don’t hesitate to order it from Jonathan.”

One of the things that really sets SKM apart is that Sanjeev has trained every operator. They don’t hire people who have been a machinist in other shops. “We like to train in- house,” tells Sanjeev. “We want a clean slate, and have found that starting from zero is the best way to teach good habits instead of inheriting bad ones.” An example of those good habits is that the operator checks critical dimensions on every single part. Not every five, or every ten parts, but every single part. “The best complement I’ve ever got from a customer was when he told me how he could calibrate his mic off my parts. We’ve virtually eliminated the problem of not being able to find skilled workers. I hire young people, I believe in the youth. I hire college students and work with them on their schedules. My latest hire had no manufacturing experience. He applied with a background in bookkeeping. There was something about his resume that struck me and I called him in for an interview. He always wanted to be an engineer, but it didn’t work out that way. In high school he tried to buy a table top CNC mill for fun. I explained that he isn’t going to get to utilize the experience he already has, and he didn’t care. He just wanted to get his foot in the door. He starts next week.  Youth is the future of manufacturing, and it is key part of our success. They are young, eager and hungry for knowledge. I like that.”

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Machine tool importer and distributor Absolute Machine Tools, Inc. received the PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association) 2017-2018 Technical Member Participation award at the association’s annual meeting on October 6, 2018, in Orlando, Florida.
Technical Members of PMPA supply the machinery, tools, materials and other items used by manufacturers of precision products. The award recognizes suppliers who share their expertise and latest developments at national technical conferences, exhibit at the association’s Precision Machining Technology show, speak at chapter and national meetings and serve as PMPA leaders. Including Absolute Machine Tools, just seven of the association’s 170 technical members will receive the award.
In announcing award winners, the PMPA said, “Through their active participation, PMPA’s Technical Members contribute greatly toward keeping the Association thriving and progressive. Each company’s level of participation for the past year is measured, with those who are truly outstanding qualifying for the Technical Member Participation Award.”
Also in 2018, Absolute Machine Tools is marking its 30th year as a machine tool importer and distributor in the United States. The company sells and supports a comprehensive selection of machine tools, including its Nexturn Swiss-type lathes and Lico multi-slide CNC screw machines and twin spindle multi-slide mill/turn centers of that are of particular interest to PMPA’s precision part making membership.

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MC Machinery announced Scott Lindley has joined the team as the new Pacific Northwest regional sales representative. He will use his vast knowledge in machining applications to support local customers and look to grow Mitsubishi Laser product sales.
Lindley was an Aviation Electronics technician in the United States Navy and then went on to study CAD/CAM manufacturing at Western Washington University. Now a veteran, Lindley has a wide variety of experience under his belt, including being a manufacturing instructor for five years and sales representative.
Most recently, Lindley worked as a Northwest regional sales representative at an industry leading nesting software company. He worked with manufacturers, steel service centers and job shops

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Jim White, national sales manager of Carmex USA, has announced the opening of a new distribution center to serve the expanding west coast market. Located at 15571 Chemical Lane in Huntington Beach, California will carry the complete Carmex line.
Carmex manufactures a wide selection of high-precision cutting tools with emphasis on thread milling and Swiss-style machining.
In making the announcement, Jim White commented, “The west coast and adjoining areas have been especially receptive to the products we sell in terms of –both quality and function. The aerospace, defense, medical, energy, and communications sectors have created extremely heavy demand for our tools. As thread milling is rapidly replacing tapping in many areas and the machining of complex small-sized parts has become more prevalent, Carmex’s years of involvement in both areas have provided a source of tooling and assistance to both OEMs and job shops.”
Carmex has also recently added additional support staff to the west coast area.
Jim Casteen, recently appointed regional manager, is responsible for the western US-Denver west. Jim’s background includes assignments on both the customer side and with major tooling manufacturers, including Kennametal and Seco Tools/Sandvik Coromant. A member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, ASME, AMTDA, AMT, and ADS, Jim comments, “Thanks to my previous work assignments, I have been able to assist customers with challenging machining applications. I see a great potential for the thorough approach that Carmex brings to both engineering and customer service. In addition to an extensive product line, we have the capability to respond with highly specialized solutions for unique situations.”
Leonard Ahumada, recently appointed territory manager, is responsible for Southern California, Bakersfield south. Ahumada brings wide-ranging experience to the position, having worked on the customer side. He holds NIMS certification in areas including machining measurements, job planning, CNC operation, and CNC programming. Ahumada stated, “Coming from the customer side in the manufacture of high-precision parts, I can understand and anticipate the end-user perspective on tooling needs and systems.”

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Cubic Corp. said that it is in the process of hiring 150 people in San Diego for new positions in its transportation business.
The moves come on the heels of $2 billion in recent contract wins for mass-transit fare collection equipment in New York; Boston; Brisbane, Australia; Sydney and the San Francisco Bay Area.
In an Oct. 4 announcement, Cubic also said it is working with San Diego city hall to upgrade its headquarters in Kearny Mesa to accommodate company growth. Cubic plans to finish construction in 2021.
Some of Cubic’s most advanced mass-transit technology has been developed in London. In the recent announcement, Cubic transportation chief Matt Cole said he expects the company to upgrade San Diego’s mass-transit system with advanced features seen in London’s mass-transit system. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is a longtime Cubic customer.
Cubic, with roughly $1.5 billion in annual sales, also has a defense electronics business.

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