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Makers of Turning Cutting Tools Innovate in Tough Times

Senior Editor Bill Koenig

4/1/2016

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. Full Article

Employee-Owned Companies Look to the Future



Senior Editor Bill Koenig

4/1/2016

The employee owned companies of Fastener Industries Inc. (Berea, OH) produce some of the most basic products in manufacturing: nuts, bolts, screws, levelers and pins. It began with the Ohio Nut & Bolt Co., founded in 1905 to produce bicycle chains. The company switched to employee ownership in 1980. As acquisitions occurred, those companies were converted to employee ownership as well. Full Article

Shop Rode Automotive, Transitions to Aerospace



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

4/1/2016

Smiths Machine (Cottondale, AL) is a second-generation family-owned business that has transitioned from being a highly successful supplier of automotive parts to becoming a go-to supplier for defense and aerospace manufacturing. The change in direction for the company was not without its challenges. “Defense and aerospace part manufacturing requires a different business approach altogether,” said Tim Smith, vice president. Full Article

Oil Price Collapse Tests Industry’s Innovation



Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

4/1/2016

Though expectations in the oil field have been generally grim since oil prices tanked, forward-thinking companies are busy laying the groundwork for the day when oil prices rebound. There are always opportunities to develop new products for increased operating efficiencies and the need to supply replacement parts for wear items in continuing drilling and production operations. Highly prized are innovative solutions that improve machining performance, reduce operating costs, and provide a greater degree of automation to an industry that may face a shortage of skilled labor, jettisoned in drastic cost cutting moves throughout the industry. Full Article

Shop Buys First CNC Lathe In 1983, Rest Is History



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

4/1/2016

Axly Tool (Bad Axe, MI) is on a roll. In 1983, the company purchased its first Okuma CNC lathe. At the time, Al Rochefort ran an old Warner & Swasey turret lathe for Axly Tool, a small contract machining company with 15 employees. Management recognized the simple fact that if Axly Tool wanted to improve machining accuracy, increase production, and be able to quote on closer tolerance jobs, it would have to get into CNC machining. Turret lathe operator Rochefort was told that it was his job to find the best machine for them. Full Article

CAD CAM Software Crafts Fine Edge Custom Knives



Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz

3/1/2016

Rick Hinderer Knives (Shreve, OH) is well known within military and law enforcement circles for its custom-designed and expertly crafted knives. The company began 29 years ago as a one-man operation (Rick Hinderer) that fashioned knives by hand from horseshoes in a shop located within a chicken coop on the family farm. Before long, Hinderer’s reputation as a skilled designer and producer of custom knives grew. Full Article

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