Techspex

NOV 2018

Techspex provides metalworkers free research and analysis tools to help them find the right machine for their job.

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A C O L L E C T I O N O F P R O D U C T S F R O M O U R P A R T N E R S 2 Jedd Cole Associate Editor, Modern Machine Shop 6915 Valley Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45244 PH: 513.527.8800 FX: 513.527.8801 Chairman Rick Kline Sr. Director of Custom Content Tom Beard Chief Data Officer Steve Kline Jr. President Rick Kline Jr. Group Publisher Travis Egan Director of Strategic Engagement Dave Necessary Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Kline Skavlem Treasurer Ernie Brubaker Director of Editorial Operations Kate Hand Change vs. Progress During IMTS, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence recognized Burt Mason, a portable arm measurement specialist, with a tribute for having attended a whopping 25 editions of the show over the past almost 50 years. On the occasion, he reflected on what he has observed in the industry. "Since 1970, the manufacturing industry has experienced steady advancements in computerization, the migration from 2D engineering drawings to 3D CAD models, data interoperability and standardization, and the current movement toward the digital thread," he said, adding that since 1970, "the portable arm measurement industry has progressed, with laser scanning ushering in a great step forward... Today, portable arm users have many options at their fingertips, as this hybrid measurement tool offers both hard probing and laser scanning." In 1970, automated machines were NC-controlled, with limited memory. Robots were not yet ubiquitous. And additive manufacturing was a mere pipe dream. After recounting the growth of CNC and CAD/CAM technology into the mainstream, Mason observed that these changes, being incremental by nature, were very gradual—"so gradual that if you asked people what they saw at IMTS that was unique or interesting, most people would say, 'There is nothing really new at the show this year.' Yet the changes were there show after show." It's a good reminder that change most often comes not in sudden grand revelations but rather the step-by-step meandering of day- to-day problem-solving and the effects of policies, both spoken and unspoken. If I can add anything to Mason's words, I'd say that change isn't identical with progress. For example, the movement toward the looming labor dilemma that preoccupies many a shop both large and small has been just as incremental (and multifaceted) as the developments in CNC and CAD/CAM technology. To agree with Mason's conclusion, it would do us well to pay attention to the incremental shifts that go on around us, whether or not they are intentional. Maybe that way we can contribute positively to the changes that we'll look back on in the future. It would do us well to pay attention to the incremental shifts that go on around us, whether or not they are intentional.

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