The Tension Between Current and Coming Markets Cannot Be Resolved

A healthy business needs to keep that tension alive. That observation is one of several I have come to through my role during the past several years.

Additive Manufacturing

Does Metal Additive Manufacturing Belong in a Machine Shop? The Answer Is Mixed

Machining is a necessary capability for metal part production through 3D printing, but succeeding with metal AM demands a role and procedures much different from those of many machining providers.

Cutting Tool Inventory: A Big Concern for Small Shops

A job shop might have an amount of money tied up in tooling equal to a significant share of its investment in CNC machines. Here is how one shop owner thinks about tool management.

Will the “Great Resignation” Become an Opportunity for Manufacturers? Get Ready for the Returning 3 Million

The Great Resignation will become a Great Reapplication when employees currently able to stay out of the workforce return to it looking for something better. Machining employers that are already evaluating candidates for fit, without demanding specific skills coming in, might be positioned well to draw upon this wave.


IMTS 2022 Review: Attention to Automation Extends Beyond the Robot and the Machine

The advance toward increasingly automated machining can be seen in the ways tooling, workholding, gaging and integration all support unattended production. This is the area of innovation I found most compelling at the recent International Manufacturing Technology Show.

Building a Better Business: Lessons for Machine Shops From an Unexpected Source

Learning how to be a great manufacturer by listening to the insights of a different industry, homebuilding (which perhaps is not so different after all).

Shop Management Software

5 Reasons Why Machine Shop Ownership Is Changing

Mergers, acquisitions and other ownership changes are an effect of Boomer-age shop owners retiring, but only in part. Also important: The way we think about machining has changed.    

Additive Manufacturing

5 Tips for Getting the Most From the Historic Return of North America’s Biggest Manufacturing Event

Plan. Explore. Think of the future. And oh yeah, the shoes. Here is how to get the most from the major manufacturing event that none of us have experienced in four years, and that many will be experiencing for the first time.

What Are the Limits to Make-to-Order Manufacturing?

Automated storage and retrieval system maker Modula produces a product with 2,000 parts and hundreds of variations that has to be completed within a customer’s site. Here is a picture of what is possible in making a product tailored to the customer.

New Ways We Cover the Choices and Challenges of Machining

Recently added: a new resource for machining-related process challenges, and a new video series appreciating the distinctiveness of different shops.

Shop Management Software

The Secure Channel: ITAR-Compliant Link Connects Machine Shops and Machining Advisors

Confidentiality concerns plus a shortage of experienced staff can leave shops isolated from expertise. How a system developed by two companies might change access to specific, real-time advice on machining challenges.


Can Transparency Bring More Efficient Sourcing?

A resource that aims to be free for machine shops asks detailed capability information so parts can be matched to producers, and OEMs can target RFQs to shops that are ready to run the work.

Vertical Machining Centers

How This Motorcycle Startup Will Succeed With U.S. Production

Land Moto is the founder’s second motorcycle company. The first time, production was in China. This time, several factors help advance the effort to produce a low-cost bike in the United States. One of these is the way electrification opens doors to suppliers.

Additive Manufacturing

Do Modern CNCs Call for a New Programming Paradigm?

Complex workpieces such as AM parts present demanding toolpath challenges. But meeting the challenges reveals how much precision we’ve had all along — we just need the measurements and methods to use it.

10 Topics We Plan to Cover in 2022

We are looking for machine shops with stories to share in any of these areas. Contact us if we can report on your shop’s success.

10 Characteristics of a Valuable Machine Shop

What is your machining business worth? A recent event focused on machine shop ownership change revealed what machine shop buyers look for in making this evaluation.


Look Again — Multiprocess Machine Tools Hint at Machine Shop Changes

The acceptance of complex machine tools has measurably increased. Recent articles offer a multifaceted look at multitasking machines.

MMS Is Back on the Shop Floor, But There Are Differences

Modern Machine Shop editors visit machining facilities to report stories. We are now more mindful than ever that the chance for this visit is a privilege. Meanwhile, what we are there to report has changed.

Data-Driven Manufacturing

OEMs Are Well Equipped to Insource CNC Machining

Many OEMs are better equipped to insource manufacturing than they imagine themselves to be. Utilization data can reveal the capacity that is ready to be used an alternative to supply chains.

Data-Driven Manufacturing

Guarding Against Cyberattack Is a Drain on Machining Capacity

The Colonial Pipeline shutdown was a warning about the dangers of malicious use of data networks. However, as the full value of Industry 4.0 becomes apparent, isolating CNC machine tools from networks will be seen as an increasingly costly way to protect manufacturing from threats.


Challenges Reveal Value and Vulnerability of Small Machine Shops

Small business ownership is conducive to the kind of oversight and commitment that serves machining well, but small business also relies on the support and commitment of enterprises around them.

In the Supply Chain, Flexibility Equals Strength

Machining job shops offer lessons in supply chain resiliency. Also, goodbye and best wishes to a longtime teammate making a change.

Introducing Our New Podcast, “Made in the USA”: The Show for This Moment in U.S. Manufacturing

Join us as we talk about jobs, the supply chain, generational transition and other important themes that will shape the way forward for U.S. manufacturing. Hosted by Modern Machine Shop editors Brent Donaldson and me.        

Aberration or Accelerant: How Do You View the Past Year?

Will things snap back or will the changes last? In different areas, we might see a dramatic resumption, or we might have seen the new way coming into its own. Recent articles emphasize the different possibilities.

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