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Robots in the Auto Plant: What Are They Up to Now?



Contributing Editor Ed Sinkora

9/1/2014

In its latest commercial for the Cadillac SRX, General Motors shows a bevy of robotic arms happily dancing around the car as part of its summer sales event. Robotics have certainly come a long way from GM’s multibillion dollar attempt to go lights-out in the '80s, when robots infamously painted each other and welded doors shut. Full Article

Mix and Match for Lightweight Autos



Contributing Editor Bruce Morey

9/1/2014

It is common sense—a vehicle that weighs less requires less fuel to move it. A number of studies show that reducing the mass of a vehicle by 10% results in anywhere from 4.5 to 6% better fuel economy—well worth the effort. The dilemma for automakers is that mass reduction needs to happen without compromising safety, NVH, styling, or size. Full Article

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To



Executive Editor James D. Sawyer

9/1/2014

A new era has dawned in motorized vehicle manufacturing. Until recently the dominant trend has been the implementation of lean manufacturing and continuous improvement processes to make automotive production more efficient. The new trend also stresses efficiency, but now there is a sharp focus on fuel efficiency driven by government regulation. Full Article

Bosch Breaks Ground on Technical Center Expansion in Plymouth Township, Michigan



Press Release - Bosch

8/25/2014

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder joined Robert Bosch LLC President Mike Mansuetti and other Bosch executives today in a ceremonial groundbreaking to publicly announce a 220,500-square-foot expansion of Bosch’s Technical Center located at 15000 Haggerty Road in Plymouth Township.“Bosch’s commitment to expand its presence in Michigan, while also enhancing its research and development work shows that Michigan truly is a great place to do business,” Snyder said. Full Article

Factory-Floor Data Drives Auto Efficiency



Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak

8/19/2014

It’s a given that automotive OEMs and Tier suppliers need to get components delivered on time, every time, in order to quickly and efficiently turn around parts to their own customers. With today’s enterprise resource management (ERP) systems, auto OEMs and suppliers alike depend on ERP developers to give them needed mobile access to data that’s often residing somewhere out on the cloud, and automotive customers also need their ERP systems to provide reliable part traceability, particularly in the case of product recalls. Full Article

Tech Front: Research Team Develops New Ultralight, Ultrastiff Additive Materials



Edited by Senior Editors Patrick Waurzyniak and Ellen Kehoe

8/1/2014

A team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL; Livermore, CA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA) has developed a new material for additive manufacturing processes that is as dense and light as an aerogel, but has 10,000 times more stiffness. This material is described in the researchers’ paper published in a June 20 article in the journal Science. Full Article

IMTS 2014: Somewhat Unique, Always Challenging



Executive Editor James D. Sawyer

8/1/2014

Gears are a somewhat unique product, said Alan R. Finegan, director, marketing, Gleason Corp. (Rochester, NY), however, “the processes used to produce them are still metalworking processes. Changes in gear making are likely to mirror those in the broader metalworking industry. Like many industries, gear manufacturing is a very mature industry and changes tend to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.” Full Article

VW to Build Crossover, Establish R&D Center in Chattanooga



Volkswagen Group of America

7/14/2014

The Board of Directors of Volkswagen Group of America (Herndon, VA) has decided to award the production of a new midsize SUV to the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. The Group will be investing a total of approximately $900 million in the production of a newly developed, seven-passenger SUV, and creating 2000 additional jobs in the US. About $600 will be invested in Tennessee. Full Article

Real-Time SPC Software Drives Bottom-Line Benefits



Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak

7/1/2014

Widely used by the automotive, aerospace and other mission-critical industries, statistical process control (SPC) software offers its users a simple way to monitor and analyze quality data from their manufacturing processes and machines using sophisticated statistical tools. Full Article

Shop Solutions: Auto Tranny Gear Can't Beat Automated Brush Deburring



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

7/1/2014

HHI Forging, the largest supplier of forged and forged/machined steel components in North America, produces wheel-end, transmission, drivetrain, and steering and suspension components for such transportation industry customers as General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, and Harley-Davidson. Full Article

BIG M 2014: Advanced Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Transforming Manufacturing



Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak

6/11/2014

New digital simulation, modeling and visualization technologies are enabling manufacturers to do things that weren’t possible that long ago. With new ultra-high-definition, 4K immersive virtual reality (VR) systems like the one at Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI), engineers can visualize new designs much more effectively by collaborating globally in real-time with the latest visualization technologies. Full Article

RAPID 2014: Laboring to Advance



Executive Editor James D. Sawyer

6/11/2014

It is hard to go to an exhibition like RAPID 2014 and not be excited by the advancements and innovation made possible by additive manufacturing. Couple that with THE BIG M, a co-located event aimed at “applying our best thinking to our most complex manufacturing challenges,” and you have a recipe for a high-energy gathering. There was, however, one undercurrent running through Detroit’s Cobo Center that was not announced as being part of the event: The skills gap and what to do about it. Full Article

Shop Solutions: Advanced Honing Masters Engine's Peaks and Valleys



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

6/1/2014

Dart Machinery (Troy, MI) is a world leader in manufacturing engine blocks for racing and high performance enthusiasts, as well as replacement blocks for a variety of Detroit V-8 engines. Dart uses the SV-20 advanced flexible honing system from Sunnen Products Co. (St. Louis) to “master the peaks and valleys” in honing cylinder bores to produce custom results with near-mass production efficiency. Full Article

Tech Front: New Process Allows Nanofibers to Grow at Room Temperature



Edited by Senior Editors Patrick Waurzyniak and Ellen Kehoe

6/1/2014

Researchers at North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC) have devised a safer method of growing vertically aligned carbon nanofibers (VACNF) with ambient air, rather than using toxic chemicals like ammonia at very high temperatures in a vacuum chamber. Full Article

Machine Builders Dig Deep into Their Bag of Tricks



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

6/1/2014

The challenge for manufacturing today is to meet the demand for tighter tolerances, better finishes, and shorter leadtimes for workpieces—all at a lower cost. Grinding results have always seemed to depend on the skill of operators who were privy to the mysteries described as some mythical “black art.” Full Article

A Revolution in Gear Manufacturing



Manufacturing Engineering Media Staff

6/1/2014

With demand for precision gears big and small growing across a wide swath of industries, along with the economy, new innovations in gear production technology are changing the way some manufacturing minds think about making gears in the first place, which hasn’t substantially changed in decades. Full Article

Heller Looks To Pump Up the Energy



Executive Editor James D. Sawyer

5/30/2014

Motorized vehicles were frequently mentioned during Heller WerkTage (literally Working Days) 2014 held at company headquarters in Nürtingen, Germany. That’s not surprising for a number of reasons. For one Nürtingen is not far from Stuttgart, where Karl Benz invented what is considered to be the first automobile. Benz was granted a patent for his invention in 1886. Eight years later the company now known as Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH was founded in Nürtingen.In the intervening 120 years both companies have grown and most often prospered. That’s illustrated by a little-known fact: since 2004 about 80% of the machining for heavy truck engines has been done on Heller machines.
Full Article

Cylinder Bore Coating: Ready for Prime Time



Edited by Senior Editor James D. Sawyer

5/29/2014

While lightweight materials now provide excellent solutions to the requirements of modern combustion engine construction, the quality of the cylinder surfaces has become the Achilles heel of this type of powerplant. Surface hardness, roughness, and texture are some of the determining factors for fuel consumption as well as for the durability and performance characteristics of the engine. To date, lightweight engine blocks use cylinder liners, but there is now a practical alternative in twin-wire arc spraying, an extremely cost-effective technology for coating cylinder bore surfaces of combustion engines. Full Article

UNITED GRINDING Launches Five New Machines



Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

5/25/2014

During a packed press conference in an auditorium at the Thun Expo, Stephan Nell, CEO of UNITED GRINDING Group, painted a glowing picture of the company’s financial performance and laid out an exciting vision for the Group’s future – celebrating the launch of five all-new or updated advanced manufacturing machines at the symposium. What’s more, Nell said the company will expand on its leadership in grinding by strategically adding other non-grinding processes to its machines and portfolio in the future, part of its focus to offer more efficient, smart production solutions to its customers. Nell said the company was open to adding these technologies through acquisition in addition to its own development.    Full Article

2,000 New Ford Kansas City Employees Celebrate Production of 2015 Ford Transit Van



Press Release Ford Motor Company

5/6/2014

Supported by 2,000 new employees and a $1.1 billion investment, the all-new Ford Transit van rolls off the line at Kansas City Assembly Plant today, as Ford aims to strengthen its leadership in the commercial vehicle segment.On sale this summer, Ford’s next-generation full-size van family will provide tradespeople and businesses with increased capability and innovative new configurations in the growing commercial vehicle market. Full Article

Shop Solutions: Ducati's No-Excuses Approach to Performance



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

5/1/2014

At Ducati Motor (Bologna, Italy) they don’t believe in doing things halfway. For many years, this company’s award-winning motorcycles have been characterized by the highest levels of quality, performance, and innovation. Machining is at the heart of Ducati’s success, and when it came to optimizing a demanding new cam lobe milling application it turned to Walter AG (Tübingen, Germany; Waukesha, WI) for the winning solution. Full Article

Johnson Controls Develops Stain-Resistant, Antimicrobial Coating for Automotive Seats



Johnson Controls

4/4/2014

Johnson Controls, a global industrial company with core businesses in the automotive, building, and battery industry, has developed a coating for fabrics that keeps automotive seats clean and hygienic. The coating repels dirt and liquid, and protects passengers from microbes and static. Full Article

Delcam Keeps Bloodhound SSC World Record Attempt on Track



Delcam

4/4/2014

Delcam Professional Services has manufactured its first part for the Bloodhound SSC (Supersonic Car) adventure, making the company both an SME Sponsor and a Product Sponsor of the project.  The component is part of the steering support column and so is essential in ensuring that the car remains on track during its world land-speed record attempt. Full Article

Additive Joins Subtractive on Advanced All-in-One Machines



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

4/1/2014

The path of precision machining has taken a decidedly unexpected change in direction. Yes, machining centers, in their various configurations of horizontal, vertical, and universal, continue to hold their preeminent positions in shops for their ability to create value-added benefits to individual workpieces or parts in serial production. Full Article

Is an Automotive Tooling Capacity Gap Looming?



Laurie Harbour, President and CEO, Harbour Results Inc.

4/1/2014

Will there be a significant gap in automotive tooling capacity within the next five years? If so, how will this affect reshoring or the demand that other industries, such as appliance, aerospace and consumer products, are placing on the automotive tool supplier base? These are the important issues that Harbour Results Inc. (HRI) investigated in its latest research. With HRI’s years of experience in automotive tooling it seemed obvious when looking at the data that there could be a problem but this needed validation. Full Article

Punching Above Its Weight



Senior Editor James D. Sawyer

4/1/2014

Is it better for an automaker to save weight by making components of new materials or by optimizing the design of components made of traditional materials? Full Article

Connecting the Digital World with the Factory Floor



Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak

4/1/2014

The classic manufacturing conundrum is how to make products quicker, cheaper, and better. Product lifecycle management (PLM) software attempts to help manufacturers answer that question with an approach that enables builders to produce higher-quality parts with improved designs that are more easily manufactured at competitive prices, all while drastically compressing the design-to-manufacturing cycle to beat the competition to market. Full Article

Ford Invests $500 Million in Ohio Engine Plant, Creates 300 Jobs



Ford Motor Company

3/28/2014

Ford Motor Company will invest $500 million to upgrade its Lima Engine Plant and add 300 new jobs to support production of the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost® specifically engineered for the next-generation 2015 Ford F-150. Full Article

Eaton, Cummins Westport Announce First Automated Transmission with Spark-Ignited Natural Gas Engine



Eaton and Cummins Westport

3/10/2014

Power management company Eaton and Cummins Westport, a joint-venture company of Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) and Westport Innovations (NASDAQ: WPRT/TSX: WPT), today announced an integrated powertrain package for the Cummins Westport ISX12 G natural gas engine that will provide customers with the first automated transmission to be paired with a spark-ignited natural gas engine in the North American market. Full Article

Porsche Presents DMG Mori as Exclusive Premium Partner



DMG Mori press release

3/5/2014


With a motto of "Mission 2014. Our Return" Porsche is returning to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) after an absence of more than a decade. The new efficiency-based regulations of the WEC restricts energy consumption rather than restricting power output as had been the case in the past. This, in turn, encourages innovative technologies such as hybrid powertrains and inspires developments that could be applied to mass-produced passenger vehicles. DMG Mori, as the exclusive technology partner of the Porsche Team, will support Porsche in its return to the top class of world sports car racing. The WEC consists of eight rounds on three continents and includes the Le Mans 24 Hours as the season’s highlight. Full Article

NewsDesk: Manufacturing Network Takes Shape



Edited by Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

3/1/2014

During his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama on Jan. 28 again made manufacturing a centerpiece of his economic agenda—calling for the creation of a total of six manufacturing innovation institutes.   We have the chance, he said, “to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs.” he effort is part of Obama’s broader vision for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) that strengthens US industry. Full Article

IMTS Attendees To See Car Being Built by Additive Manufacturing



James D. Sawyer, Senior Editor

2/28/2014

Local Motors (Phoenix, AZ) is preparing to build the first direct digital manufactured vehicle later this year. The effort will be made at IMTS. The show runs September 8-13, 2014, in Chicago. The vehicle will be manufactured on a Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine from Cincinnati Inc. (Cincinnati). Full Article

Ohio’s EWI, OSU and U-Michigan To Launch New National Manufacturing Institute



PRESS RELEASE

2/25/2014

A leadership team from EWI, The Ohio State University, and the University of Michigan has been chosen by the Department of Defense to lead its new institute to advance lightweight and modern metal manufacturing technologies. The institute will ensure that the U.S. is the world leader in the application of innovative lightweight metal production and component/subsystem manufacturing technologies.  Full Article

Bringing it Home: New Hubs Aim to Make Manufacturing Technologies Relevant



Debbie Holton, SME Director of Industry Strategy & Events, Former Deputy Director of Technology Transition at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, now known as “America Makes.”

2/25/2014

As the White House announces two more innovation institutes today--one for lightweighting in Michigan and another for digital manufacturing in Illinois--a national manufacturing network is taking shape that has the potential to create new businesses and jobs. While technology is certainly cool, especially technology in manufacturing, this isn’t technology for technology’s sake alone.  Full Article

WPI's Metal Processing Institute is a Core Facility for LM3I



Worcester Polytechnic Institute

2/25/2014

The Metal Processing Institute (MPI) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is one of four core academic facilities for the American Lightweight and Modern Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (LM3I), a new $148 million initiative to be announced by the White House today that is aimed at helping to revitalize the nation's manufacturing capabilities and competitiveness.
Full Article

SME Contributes Workforce and Education Expertise in Support of Digital Lab for Manufacturing



SME

2/25/2014

In support of President Obama’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a grant to UI Labs in Chicago to create the Digital Lab for Manufacturing. This lab will be part of a consortium to develop and demonstrate digital manufacturing technologies and deploy and commercialize these technologies across key manufacturing industries. Full Article

President Obama Announces Two New Manufacturing Institutes, Launches Competition



The White House

2/25/2014

A Detroit-area based consortium of 60 companies, nonprofits, and universities and a Chicago based consortium of 73 companies, nonprofits, and universities are partnering with the federal government to launch two new manufacturing innovation hubs. The first new manufacturing innovation institute competition this year is launching today, one of four the Administration has committed to launching this year.   Full Article

The Latest News About the US Manufacturing Network



Edited by Assistant Editor Katelyn DaMour

2/24/2014

Click here for the latest news on the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. President Barack Obama announced the formation of a NNMI to strengthen US industry in March 2012 and renewed calls for it in his 2013 and 2014 State of the Union addresses. Full Article

NewsDesk: US Auto Sales: Best Since 2007



Edited by Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster

2/1/2014

Even though US light vehicle sales ended the year with a disappointing December—a consequence of ice storms and other seasonal factors—2013 was the best auto sales year since 2007.Overall, US consumers purchased 15.6 million light cars and trucks, a gain of 7.6% over the prior year, according to Autodata Corp., based on data released by automakers on Jan. 3. Full Article

Bilsing Carbon Fiber Master Boom Meets GM World Tool Standards



Bilsing Automation

1/30/2014

Bilsing Automation has announced that it offers Carbon Fiber(CF) Master Booms that meet dimensional specification and standards as set by General Motors for its World Tool Boom. Full Article

Ford Brings Heavy Metal to Auto Show



James D. Sawyer, Senior Editor

1/21/2014

While the lightweight 2015 F-150 pickup has generated the most news for Ford at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), it is some heavy metal that is attracting the most eyeballs. A 37.5 ton (34 t) assembly line dominates the automaker’s 66,167-ft2 (6153-m2) display. Rising 22' (6.7 m) above the floor of Detroit’s Cobo Center, the line is about 150' (45-m) long and approximately 10 ' (3-m) wide. Full Article

Ford Hopes to Revolutionize Pickup Manufacturing with Aluminum Alloys



Senior Editor James D. Sawyer

1/13/2014

Ford is hoping to redefine the way pickup trucks are built with the 2015 F-150. Introduced Jan. 13 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the new truck will weigh up to 700 pounds less than its predecessor thanks to high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys currently already in use in the aerospace, commercial transportation and energy industries. Full Article

The Auto Industry: Rust Belt relic or high-tech hotbed?



James D. Sawyer, Senior Editor

1/8/2014

The auto industry is considered by many as being seriously old school. A study released January 8 by the Center for Automotive Research (Ann Arbor, MI), however, “finds the automotive industry is not only ‘high-tech,’ it is frequently a leader in technological developments and applications.” The study was prepared for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Washington, DC).According to CAR the report quantifies the current level of technology in the auto industry and compares it to industries that are generally considered to be technologically advanced. Full Article

SME's 'Manufacturing Letters' Journal Debuts



SME

1/8/2014

The first issue of SME’s newest journal, Manufacturing Letters, is now available. The journal fills an existing gap by providing an interdisciplinary forum for the rapid disclosure by researchers and practitioners of significant new findings, innovations and know-how across the broad scope of manufacturing. Full Article

Mary Barra to Replace Dan Akerson as GM CEO



General Motors

12/10/2013

General Motors today announced that Dan Akerson, who guided today’s GM to record profits and dramatic improvement in vehicle quality while closing the chapter on government ownership in the company, will step down as chairman and CEO on Jan. 15, 2014. Mary Barra, 51, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, was elected by the Board of Directors to become the next CEO of the company.  Full Article

Mary Barra Biography



General Motors

12/10/2013

GM's incoming CEO, Mary Barra was named Senior Vice President, Global Product Development effective February 1, 2011, responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of General Motors vehicles around the world. Full Article

Clean and Green Goes Beyond Just Cars and Trucks



David Tulauskas, Director of Sustainability, General Motors Co.

11/27/2013

Efforts to decrease dependence on petroleum and reduce carbon emissions extend beyond General Motors vehicles to our global manufacturing footprint. We are an industrial leader in ongoing energy and emissions reductions. Sound energy management policies help define manufacturing excellence, represent effective cost savings and offer obvious environmental benefits. Full Article

Simulation Lifecycle Management Delivers Speedy, Profitable Collaboration



Senior Editor James D. Sawyer

11/20/2013

As the automotive industry has made steady, positive strides toward making a comeback from the economic downturn, building-to-specifications is no longer the most efficient way for OEMs and suppliers to work together to develop innovative technologies. Full Article

Evaluating Servo-Controlled Presses



Glenn Nausley, President, Promess

11/13/2013

Since the first servo-controlled press system was introduced in 1991, the success of this technology in intelligent automotive assembly and test systems has spawned a number of competitive products in the market. When there was only one product to consider, the choice was easy. Today, it is more complicated. Full Article

Shifting Gears



Brandon Ruiz, Analyst, IBISWorld

11/13/2013

 Federally-mandated fuel and emissions regulations have led to increased innovation in the design and manufacture of auto transmissions. Full Article



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