NewsDesk: Methods Machine Tools Expands on West Coast
Methods Machine Tools Inc.—a supplier, developer and service provider of precision machine tools based in Sudbury, MA—launched its new location in Greater Los Angeles in late June with a two-day open house and a traditional sake-barrel smashing celebration.
Jamie Hanson, Director of Corporate Development at Methods, said the opening marked a critical stage of the company’s West Coast expansion, which also included launching an all-new facility in San Leandro in May. That 10,280-ft2 (955 m2) facility in Greater San Francisco will support Northern California, Oregon and Washington.
Hanson said the openings are in line with the company’s national brand and growth strategy.
The new 11,400-ft2 (1059 m2) facility in Anaheim supports operations in Southern California, replacing Methods’ previous center in Buena Park, CA. The technology center features the latest Methods’ machine tools and automation technology, and application experts are on site. Machines on display will include Methods’ new line of Yasda Precision Machining Centers, FANUC RoboDrill Vertical Machining Centers and RoboCut Wire EDM Machines, Feeler High Performance Machining Centers and Turning Centers, KIWA-Japan Horizontal Machining Centers and Citizen Swiss Turning Centers.
“We needed a world-class facility” to properly represent our portfolio, Hanson said, standing in the crowded new showroom outlined by high-tech machines, equipment and software demonstrations. “This is an attraction.”
More than that, the new facility shows that Methods has put its stake in the ground as an engineering and support resource for manufacturers in California, who are often making parts for the aerospace and defense, electronics, medical and energy industries.
Engineering support and service is a selling point that Methods believes continues to grow in importance as advanced manufacturing machines become more complex and manufacturers are constantly working to upgrade their knowledge during a fast-changing, high-tech era when skilled workers are in short supply.
“We think we have a pretty unique proposition for buyers,” Hanson said.
Methods doesn’t just service its machines, but offers full application services that will help machine shops determine the best way to build a part.
Support is “more and more of a requirement from customers,” Hanson said. “Customers need help.”
Methods also has the ability to expand its portfolio of offerings as business needs change. “We have the ability to say, ‘What kind of turning center do we want in our portfolio to help our customers?’ ” Hanson said.
Methods also works to help its builders who supply its machines as well, serving as a product development resource and advocating for its US customers.
Hanson said Methods is different in that it doesn’t just import standard machines. Rather, it helps develop the machines specifically for this market, working with the builder on changing features when necessary.
For example, on one machine from Feeler (Tapei, Taiwan), the Methods team made suggestions to redesign the spindle to make it more rigid, a move that improved its marketability in the US.
That’s why Feeler machines sold by Methods in the US bear the brand “Feeler by Methods” and machines from Kiwa are labeled “Kiwa-Methods.”
“It’s part of the value we give back to the builders, too,” Hanson said.
Methods also plans to unveil a new five-axis machine, under an undisclosed brand, for the US market at IMTS 2014 in Chicago this September, Hanson said.
Methods will be in Booth S-9119 in the Metal Cutting Pavilion. ME
US Cutting Tool Consumption Up 2.1% in April
April US cutting tool consumption totaled $175 million, according to a report released in June from the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute and The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). This total, as reported by companies participating in the Cutting Tool Market Report (CTMR) collaboration, was up 2.1% from March’s total and down 3.3% from April 2013. The CTMR data is estimated to represent about 80% of the U.S. market for cutting tools.
“This slow but positive growth is forecast to continue in the second half of 2014,” said Tom Haag, President of USCTI.
The CTMR is jointly compiled by AMT and USCTI, two trade associations representing the development, production and distribution of cutting tool technology and products. It provides a monthly statement on US manufacturers’ consumption of the primary consumable in the manufacturing process, the cutting tool. Analysis of cutting tool consumption is a leading indicator of manufacturing activity, as it is a true measure of actual production levels.
Manufacturing Growth Continues for 13th Consecutive Month
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in June for the 13th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 61st consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business released on July 1 by the Institute for Supply Management (Tempe, AZ).
The June PMI registered 55.3%, a decrease of 0.1% point from May’s reading of 55.4%, indicating expansion in manufacturing for the 13th consecutive month.
The ISM report is based on a survey of purchasing and supply executives, and readings below 50 indicate contraction, while those above 50 indicate expansion.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries tracked, 15 reported growth in June. The three industries reporting contraction were: Textile Mills; Chemical Products; and Plastics & Rubber Products.
Among the responses from those surveyed:
- “The strength of the automotive industry continues to drive the high demand for steel.” (Fabricated Metal Products)
- “Business is picking up once again.” (Machinery)
- “Business conditions are stable to improving.” (General Manufacturing)
For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/ISMMfgReport. ME
Optomec Awarded $4 Million from America Makes
Optomec (Albuquerque, NM) in late June announced that it has been awarded a project from America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The “Re-Born in the USA” project will focus on using additive manufacturing technology for the repair of aerospace metal components for the US Air Force. Specifically, the team led by Optomec will leverage the advantages of LENS 3D metal printing technology and the expertise of some of the world’s leading aerospace companies and industry organizations to advance a reliable, cost-effective approach to replace conventional repair processes such as manual welding. The potential benefits of using additive manufacturing to repair high-value metal components include lower costs, higher quality, longer life, and faster return to service. The term of the project is two years and is valued at $4 million ($2.6 million public share and $1.4 million private cost share). This is the third America Makes project awarded to Optomec this year.
NC Software Shows Steady Growth
The market for NC software grew 5.4% in 2013, according to a report released June 19 by market researcher CIMdata Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI). Estimated end-user payments grew from $1.56 billion in 2012 to $1.64 billion in 2013. The market growth rate reflects solid overall NC spending, CIMdata said, continuing the recovery from the downturn in the global economy. CIMdata projects that growth in manufacturing will continue and end-user payments for NC software will increase in 2014 by 6.3% to $1.74 billion. For more information, see www.cimdata.com.
Openings, Expansions & Moves
Hwacheon Machinery America was slated to move into a new technical center in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnshire, IL, on July 15. Purchased and remodeled by Hwacheon, the building will provide larger quarters for training, a showroom for machine demonstrations, service engineering, spare parts stocking, and applications engineering, said Michael Huggett, President of HMA. The company plans an official grand opening of the facility on Sept. 7, the day before IMTS 2014 opens its doors. This event will be attended by company officials, dealers and customers as well as Hwacheon Machinery staff.
The ExOne Company (North Huntingdon, PA), a global provider of three-dimensional or 3D printing machines and printed products to industrial customers, in June announced the planned opening of a new combined Production Service Center (PSC) and Machine Sales Center in the Lombardy region of Italy this summer. Said Omar, most recently ExOne’s European Sales Director, will be ExOne Italy’s Managing Director. The location, consisting of an approximately 3300 ft2 (307 m2) facility, was selected due to its close proximity to foundries and operations supporting the aviation, automotive and other industries around Milan, Torino and Venetia.
Greenerd Press & Machine Company Inc. (Nashua, NH), a builder of hydraulic presses founded in 1883, in June announced the appointment of Jerry Letendre as CEO. Letendre succeeds former Greenerd President Tim Dining, who recently moved on to another management position outside of the machine tool industry. As Letendre takes on the CEO role, the company has also begun executing a growth strategy, fully supported by capital investment, the addition of key engineering staff and increased production capacity. Letendre began investing in Greenerd in 2005. In 2012, he acquired all outstanding shares of Greenerd.
DE-STA-CO (Auburn Hills, MI), a manufacturer of positioning and holding equipment, in June announced that Mats Ceder has been appointed president. Ceder succeeds John Podczerwinski, who announced his retirement after leading DE-STA-CO through three years of record earnings. Ceder comes to DE-STA-CO from Genesis Attachments, which designs and manufactures attachments for the demolition and scrap-processing industries, where he had served as vice president and general manager since 2009.
Hexagon Metrology (North Kingstown, RI) in July announced an update of its PC-DMIS software used for the collection, evaluation, management and presentation of manufacturing data. The new PC-DMIS 2014 software introduces tools and technologies that will help measurement devices perform better, increase the effectiveness of inspection planning time, and make it easier to complete complex inspection routines.
The updated PC-DMIS 2014 includes more than 17 major and 81 minor enhancements with a number of productivity advancements that improve speed of common programming tasks and to improve the overall user experience. Many of the updates are based on real-world user feedback from the PC-DMIS forum and Hexagon’s technical support teams, noted Ken Woodbine, president of the Hexagon Metrology software division.
ERP software developer Infor (New York) in June announced the Infor Automotive Exchange, an electronic data interchange (EDI) and release accounting system designed specifically for automotive tier suppliers. Infor Automotive Exchange works directly with Infor Syteline, the company’s ERP product that focuses on high-volume manufacturers such as tier automotive suppliers. Infor Automotive Exchange will help enable tier suppliers to quickly and efficiently communicate order demand, shipment and labeling information with their OEM customers using Infor SyteLine as the core ERP. Infor Automotive Exchange comes with preconfigured translations, business partner order rules and documents delivered as a single set. Infor Automotive Exchange can be used on-premise or hosted as a full Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment.
PLM developer PTC (Needham, MA) in July announced that it has finalized its acquisition of Atego (Cheltenham, UK), a developer of model-based systems and software engineering applications for approximately $50 million in cash. The acquisition enhances PTC’s portfolio of product lifecycle management (PLM) and application lifecycle management (ALM) solutions, and strengthens its commitment to supporting customers’ systems engineering initiatives with new modeling capabilities. Atego’s market-leading Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) solution connects engineering, architecture modeling, physical product definition, and system verification functions.
Data management software developer TDM Systems GmbH (Tübingen, Germany) in June announced its partnership with Machining Cloud GmbH (Stans, Switzerland) to facilitate the flow of data from cutting-tool manufacturers to customers and their shop floors. The partnership ensures that TDM Systems’ customers will have access to the cutting-tool manufacturer’s complete library of up-to-date data, increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of its tool and process-management systems.
SME (Dearborn, MI) and 3D Systems (3DS; Rock Hill, SC) in June announced a collaborative initiative to enhance high school industrial arts and vocational education classes through the new M.Lab21 initiative. This program will offer starter kits to transform shop classes and incorporate additive manufacturing into curriculums.
SME (Dearborn, MI) Vice President and Fellow Dean L. Bartles, PhD, FSME, received one of two 2014 Martin K. Starr Excellence in Production and Operations Management Practice Awards from the Production and Operations Management Society, an international professional organization representing the interests of production and operations management professionals. Bartles, who has been an SME member since 2002, is currently the executive director for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute. He previously served as vice president of advanced programs and strategic growth for the Ordnance and Tactical Systems Division of General Dynamics Corp.
NewsDesk is edited by Editor-in-Chief Sarah A. Webster. Please email NewsDesk submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was first published in the August 2014 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.
Published Date : 8/1/2014