By: Christina M. Fuges 24. August 2016

Benefits and Obstacles to Metal 3D Printing


With the continuing growth, expansion of real-world applications and increasing interest in 3D printing from moldmakers across the country, it is no wonder that my parent company, Gardner Business Media, launched an Additive Manufacturing supplement a few years ago. Today, that supplement has grown into a digital-first magazine and conference. In addition to MoldMaking Technology, I also contribute to this publication. And so, I believe it is important to let you know of this year's Additive Manufacturing Conference (AMC) 2016, presented by Additive Manufacturing MagazineThe AMC is taking place during IMTS on September 13-14th, and its agenda includes presenters from Autodesk, DMG MORI, Optomec, EOS, Caterpillar and Karma Machining and Manufacturing.

The two-day event will offer attendees unique ways to connect with leading suppliers, end-users and researchers of industrial applications of additive manufacturing technologies. It includes 20 technical sessions examining design, material, machinery and applications technology used in metal additive manufacturing.  Registration to the AMC also includes access to the more than 2,000 exhibiting companies at the IMTS. For a look at the additive technologies being showcased at IMTS, click here.  

Specific AM Conference topics include lightweighting, robotic additive manufacturing, combining additive and traditional manufacturing, software, automation and much more.

The AMC is dedicated to exploring the ways that additive technologies can be implemented in an industrial setting, offering technical insights on additive manufacturing technologies past and present, as well as the future impact and potential applications of emerging technologies.  In addition to the technical sessions, attendees will have access to the more than 20 sponsors who will be showcased in the exhibit/networking room where continued conversations can be conducted in a more relaxed setting.

 Registration and full event details are available at


By: Cynthia Kustush 23. August 2016

SLIDESHOW: Technology Showcase – Software, Part 2

Renishaw's probing software package is designed to automatically optimize on-machine measurement cycles to minimize cycle time and maximize productivity. " /> Vero Software will present its Surfcam CAM software for CNC programming. The software includes Surfcam Workflow and the Waveform Roughing strategy. " /> Autodesk's Netfabb software is designed to take additive manufacturing beyond prototyping and plastics to create production-grade parts at scale." /> CG Tech's Vericut version 8 is CNC machine simulation, verification and optimization software that simulates many types of CNC machining processes, including drilling and trimming of composite parts, waterjet cutting, riveting, robotic automation, multitasking and parallel kinematic machining." /> Open Mind Technologies USA will present its HyperMill Maxx Machining, a set of high-performance strategies within HyperMill CAM for improved roughing, drilling and finishing." /> Autodesk will feature PowerMill, a high-speed, multi-axis CAM solution for the verification and optimization of tool paths. In addition, the company will show its CAM modeling companion software, PowerShape, which connects with FeatureCAM for extraction/nesting of solid models." />


With IMTS just around the corner, it’s one of the best venues for exploring new machinery, new cutting tools, new hot runner options, innovations in automation and, especially, the latest in CAD, CAM and ERP software that invariably is required to make your manufacturing processes run faster and more efficiently.

So how about taking a peek at this slideshow preview to see a few of the products being featured in McCormick Place’s East Hall from September 12-17. For more information about each product, just click on the links provided.

Be sure to register for IMTS and stop by our booth #W-10 in the West Hall and say hello!


By: Cynthia Kustush 22. August 2016

Beyond Talking: Seeing is Believing


Last October the American Mold Builders Association’s Chicago Chapter hosted more than 30 educators from 17 area junior high and high schools at its first Education Symposium to enlighten them about advanced manufacturing and the career opportunities that exist for their students. Many of the educators said their eyes had been opened a little wider that evening.

This year two symposiums will be held. The first will be held on Tuesday, September 27, and the second on Tuesday, October 18, but this time teachers, career counselors and superintendents will have the opportunity to see advanced manufacturing in action.

The September symposium will be held at Industrial Molds Group in Rockford, Illinois, where attendees will get an eyeful of some of the latest machines and technologies used in manufacturing molds. A similar experience will take place for attendees of the October symposium as the Chicago AMBA will host it at the Technology and Manufacturing Association in Schaumburg, Illinois, where a great many moldmaking apprentices learn the skills that make them valued employees in our industry. The TMA’s training curriculum includes a related theory apprentice training program that has been recognized as one of the largest precision metalworking apprenticeship programs in the United States. In addition, TMA features hands-on learning in its state-of-the-art CNC training lab. Educators will see, up close, how apprentices are learning valuable skills for rewarding careers.

“As we began planning our 2016 symposium, we discussed ways in which we could reach more educators in Illinois,” AMBA Chicago President Francine Petrucci says. “We wanted to increase attendance at the symposium in October, and we knew that in Rockford there are many moldmaking and moldmaking-related companies. But Rockford is located about 80 miles outside of Chicago and educators from that area probably would not want to drive all that way on a school night. So we decided to bring a second symposium to them and asked Industrial Molds if they might host our event. Fortunately, they said yes and we’re very excited about it.”

Chicago AMBA is always looking for mold industry folks who might be involved on some level with a local junior high or high school (perhaps you have a child who is currently a student at that level?) and can help spread the word about these symposiums. If you do know a Chicago-area educator who might be interested, contact Chapter Coordinator Karen Norville via email at The chapter is also available to speak or participate in other ways at any career-related events in the region.


By: Christina M. Fuges 19. August 2016

Additive Manufacturing Digital Edition Now Online in Time for IMTS

With this issue of Additive Manufacturing magazine, I spoke with Baker Aerospace Tooling & Machining to learn how they are pushing AM development and educating customers at a new collaboration center for emerging injection mold technologies. The issue also visits with an Ontario manufacturer that sees hybrid manufacturing as a means for survival; reviews some experiments whose results support the viability of AM for ongoing production; previews some of the AM technologies to be exhibited at the International Manufacturing Technology Show; and, presents this year’s IAMA award winner for a technology that monitors thermal radiation to map the internal consistency of a metal part as it is being made. Click here for more.

By: Cynthia Kustush 18. August 2016

Throwback Thursday: Executive Decision Making in a Customer-Centric Organization


 If you read the Gardner Business Index for Moldmaking that we published yesterday, and if your heart fell just a tad because it wasn’t very encouraging (especially given that indicators early in the year told us to expect a rocking summer for US molds and molding), take heart. There are always strategies you can use to try and work around the bumps, chasms and pitfalls in your paths. To help you get your ideas going, this week’s Throwback Thursday blog presents a four-part series MMT published in 2011, when things weren’t going so hot, too, due to the recession.

The series is actually kicked off with an article that addresses (and is titled) The Executive Decision: Starting Point: Know Customer Needs. It was then followed up with three more installments titled Executive Decision Making in a Customer-Centric Organization, which discuss how to incorporate the balance between profitability, prioritization, investment options and timing, with all of these aspects tied to learning from your customers’ voices.

In the Starting Point article, learn how to lower the risk in business decisions through VOC (Voice of Customer). Our author is Ed Baker, who at the time was president and CEO of Quashnick Tool Corp., a moldmaker and injection molder based in Lodi, California. Here, Baker sets the stage for the series and tells readers, “I will show you how to get started painlessly with some useful tools, add structure and depth to the decision-making process, and increase decision reliability by the addition of more data/information.”

In Part One of the ensuing three installments, Baker discusses actual concerns cited by business owners and executives in our industry that he interviewed.

In Part Two, Baker discusses how to avoid the pitfalls that can dramatically limit one’s ability to carve out a niche and stay on the relative curve that is basic to productivity.

Finally, in Part Three, Baker helps readers recognize that it is essential to compete on more than just price. He discusses the challenges that can affect competitiveness in our industry and offers ways to find that “something” that helps set a company apart from competitors based on the customer’s focus.

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