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This New GE Factory Is A Blueprint For The Future Of…

This New GE Factory Is A Blueprint For The Future Of…

Sep 9, 2016

“This New GE Factory Is A Blueprint For The Future Of Manufacturing” By Mark Egan, GE Reports Welland has been known for decades as the city where the rails meet the water. But the Canadian transportation hub, notable for a canal that links Lake Ontario and Lake Erie with a cluster of railways, may soon redefine how we make things. That’s because GE broke ground on Friday on its latest “brilliant” factory here. It will be located just across the Canadian border from Buffalo, New York. The brilliant factory is GE’s new take on manufacturing. It involves machines that are embedded with sensors and connected to the Industrial Internet. The factory uses GE’s Predix software platform to stream data—over secure  links—into the cloud for analysis. Insights are then sent back to engineers with suggestions on how to improve operations. The divide between the lab and the factory also disappears in this approach, allowing for faster prototyping and commercialization of parts, according to Stephan Biller, chief manufacturing scientist at GE Global Research. Biller is one of the big brains behind the brilliant factory concept. He’s developing new ways to use data and analytics to transform factories into places that are constantly improving their operations and output . As a result, Biller says, factories no longer need to be located where labor is cheap, but can bloom where educated workers can make the most out of advanced technology. “By utilizing automation and the brilliant factory concepts, we are strengthening the base of North American manufacturing and equalizing the region’s ability to compete with countries where labor costs are cheaper,” Biller says. Welland makes a big point in his case. The city is located in Canada’s Ontario province where the manufacturing sector has been hit hard in recent years. It lost some 300,000 jobs between 2000 and 2014, according to a 2014 report by the Mowat Center at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance. The report says that Canada can bring back jobs by supporting research, educating workers and committing to boosting productivity. GE says the new factory, which will make massive gas engines and other components for GE businesses, will employ 220...

Michigan Molder Cuts Time, Not Corners

Michigan Molder Cuts Time, Not Corners

Sep 8, 2016

By Mark Langlois, Design-2-Part Magazine At Xcentric Mold & Engineering, software plays a key role in helping the company put high-quality parts in customers’ hands faster. When you see the name, you can’t help but wonder, “What’s eccentric about this company?” Well, for starters, Xcentric Mold & Engineering (www.xcentricmold.com) quotes a part within 24 hours, builds the mold within a few days, and delivers short run injection molded parts within 15 days. It guarantees the mold for life. But according to company president and co-founder Brendan Weaver, being Xcentric also means going all out for customers in a manner that is best described as “customer centric.” “It’s a little bit of attitude,” said Weaver in a phone interview. “We’ve always been innovative, and we make high-end niche products our competitors don’t want to make.” Xcentric Mold & Engineering, co-founded in 1996 by Brendan Weaver and his brother, Damon, makes low-volume custom parts for industries such as automotive, medical, and aerospace. The company provides quick-turn injection molding, CNC machining, and rapid prototyping at its 34,000-square-foot facility in Clinton Township, Michigan. Its main focus, Brendan Weaver told D2P, is to make sure that customers receive their custom-made parts with any required features—from simple to complex—in one to 15 days, without cutting corners or reducing quality. “We always strive to make the most complex parts faster,” Weaver said. Xcentric’s injection molding operation can handle internal and external threads; unlimited undercuts; insert molding; custom colors; tight tolerances; and multi-component assemblies. The company is ISO 9001:2008 certified, as well as UL and ITAR certified. “We help designers, engineers, and product developers get real custom parts in their hands as quickly as 1-20 days, from initial prototype through production,” Weaver said in an emailed response. “We produce all types of parts—plastic or metal, simple to the most complex. If a part can be injection molded or machined, we can do it quickly and at an affordable price. From medical devices, computer and electronics, automotive interior and under-the-hood parts, we have no limitations on what kind of part and application. As long as it is injection moldable or can be machined, we can do it.” Brendan and Damon are journeymen mold-makers...

Technology is replacing jobs. Are you ready?

Technology is replacing jobs. Are you ready?

Sep 7, 2016

By CNN Money WorkingNation highlights the trend of technology and globalization replacing jobs in diverse industries across the United States.        ...

Makers of Turning Cutting Tools Innovate in Tough Times

Makers of Turning Cutting Tools Innovate in Tough Times

Sep 6, 2016

By Bill Koenig, Advanced Manufacturing.org Oil & gas market affects demand for tubing, which has impact on cutting tool makers Makers of cutting tools for turning applications are having to innovate and improve their products amid tough times—the falloff in demand for tubing for the oil & gas industry, a key market. That means, among things, they must continue to up their game in finding ways to cut hard-to-machine materials such as Inconel and titanium while still working on tools—despite the decrease in demand—that produce better tubing that can be used to drill deeper in more isolated places. “As these materials are pushed to be stronger and more heat resistant, due to the depths they are going, the tube gets harder and harder to machine,” said John Winter, product specialist-turning of Sandvik Coromant (Fair Lawn, NJ), which has come out with Inveio, a new coating technology for steel turning and cast iron turning grades. “So the need for new cutting methods, new cutting material and new coatings is a must moving forward.” “The high strength and heat resistance of these alloys plays a huge role in cutting tool selection,” said Eric Jenkins, indexable tooling technical manager of Kyocera Precision Tools Inc. (Hendersonville, NC), said in an e-mail. “Many factors have to be considered, including such things as the shape of the workpiece, the amount of stock removal and/or the presence of scale.” With nickel-based forgings, he said, “Customers can choose between different insert geometries as well as different categories of ceramics and carbides, depending on the specific details of the application.” ‘High-Temp Alloys’ “With the development of new materials like high-temp alloys, cutting tool manufacturers also have to develop new grades and geometries to machine and process these materials efficiently while providing long tool life,” said David Essex, turning product manager of Tungaloy America Inc. (Arlington Heights, IL). What’s more, all companies with ties to the energy sector are going to be called upon to do more. “Rapid changes in price, such as the halving of the oil benchmark between 2014 and 2015, naturally bring into focus the need for oil companies and their suppliers to reduce costs to maintain viable returns,” Paul Markwell,...

HP and Jabil: A 3D printing partnership to revolutionize…

HP and Jabil: A 3D printing partnership to revolutionize…

Sep 2, 2016

“HP and Jabil: A 3D printing partnership to revolutionize manufacturing” Stephen Nigro, President 3D Printing HP Although you might not immediately recognize the name, Jabil Circuit Inc. is one of the largest and most operationally advanced design and manufacturing solution companies in the world. You probably use office electronics or carry a smartphone that was designed, manufactured and/or assembled by Jabil for one of its many brand-name customers. And, as a top Jabil executive told a crowd of over 80 industry analysts last week at the HP Industry Analyst Summit in Boston, they’re extremely excited to be among the first users of the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution, the world’s first production-ready 3D printing system. “We’ve been a partner with HP on a variety of manufacturing fronts for many years,” John Dulchinos, Jabil’s Vice President and General Manager of Global Automation and 3D Printing, told me on stage at IAS. “We have tremendous respect for HP’s innovation, technical prowess, and ability to deliver solutions. So when we first heard HP was coming to market with a 3D printer,” he said, “they kind of had us at hello.” The feeling is mutual. It’s fantastic working with Jabil. They’re a lot like HP, with strong corporate social responsibility values, a world-class supply chain, a great culture of innovation, and a clear vision of the future. Jabil has already adopted 3D printing in its quest to make factories that are more responsive, more flexible, and more adaptive to its customers’ needs. So, I asked John, why is Jabil so excited about our introduction of the HP Jet Fusion 3D printers and processing stations? I wanted the analysts who cover HP to hear his answers, of course, but I also want to share his enthusiasm with everyone who wasn’t in Boston. “Only HP’s Jet Fusion 3D printers offer the speed, quality, cost efficiencies and open innovation platform needed to disrupt a $12 trillion manufacturing industry in the next decade,” John stated. “When we look at other 3D solutions on the market today,” John said, “they’re not viable at scale, and not viable to be able to take products to market.” He cited HP’s three decades of expertise in inkjet printing, precision mechanics, materials...

Silicon Valley Firm Provides Window into US Manufacturing

Silicon Valley Firm Provides Window into US Manufacturing

Aug 31, 2016

Building strong customer relationships is a priority for Advanced Machining Techniques, a company that combines pallet changers with efficient multi-axis machining to get the most out of its machines.