Mastercam X Is Released

Those waiting for the release of Mastercam X CAD/CAM software can relax. The latest version of the Windows-based milling, turning, electrical discharge machining, modelling, and routing package was officially issued on August 15. The software is developed by US-based CNC Software and distributed in Europe by InterCAM Deutschland GmbH.

Users will see many significant changes from earlier releases in Mastercam X. So much of the software was enhanced that the manufacturer’s QC and usability processes took significantly longer than usual during development. But the extensive testing, though delaying release, has made the CAD/CAM tool much better, in the view of the developers. Throughout beta testing, the manufacturer made numerous changes in response to tester feedback. These were determined to improve flow and ease of use.

Planning and development has already begun for the first maintenance release of Mastercam X. The manufacturer’s intention is to offer regular, timely software releases in the future, and to deliver useful tools on a regular basis.

Hardinge-Bridgeport Sets Out Details of New European Strategy

A major reorganization of the operational strategy of Hardinge Machine Tools Ltd. and Hardinge-Bridgeport will see the UK operations of Hardinge-Bridgeport in Leicester become the hub for coordination of all of the company’s milling machine activities throughout the world. Meanwhile, Hardinge Machine Tools in Exeter will continue to have responsibility for turning and grinding products offered to the UK and Irish markets. The latter entity will also control the activities of Hardinge Machine Tools B.V. in the Netherlands.

Pat Ervin, chairman, president, and CEO of Hardinge Inc., commented: “The highly successful acquisition of Bridgeport Machines in November 2004 and an extremely positive reaction from customers to the way the two businesses were integrated so quickly has led to a resurgence of sales and a current order backlog of almost 130 machines.” Merging European operations through the UK was logical, he said, as it would enable the US headquarters of Hardinge to focus on global manufacture.

Heading European operations is now the joint responsibility of Bob Duxbury, managing director of Hardinge Machine Tools in Exeter, and George Brasseur, the Hardinge Group’s European business development managing director. David Andrew continues as sales director of the UK market but also become responsible for marketing across Europe the group’s turning, milling, and workholding product ranges.

Another highlight of the reorganization is the opening this month of a 1,000-m² Hardinge-Bridgeport showroom and technical centre in Krefeld, Germany. The site is earmarked to be the company’s European Centre of Excellence for hard turning applications.

Ervin expects annual European sales of the group’s machine tools to begin to surpass 1,000 units starting in 2006. The growing success of Viper grinding processes in the aerospace sector and of workholding products globally also strengthens Hardinge’s business position for the long term, he believes.

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The National Centre for Contact with Working Life for the Promotion of the Natural Sciences and Technology (RENATE) in Norway, which was founded by that nation’s Ministry of Education and Research, has committed to purchase up to 30,000 licenses of SolidWorks® Education Edition software to teach engineering fundamentals to more than 60,000 junior high school and high school students and thus reinvigorate Norway’s manufacturing industry. RENATE relies on ProNor, a local reseller authorized by SolidWorks Corp., for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.

Starting in Fall 2006, some 1,300 schools across Norway will begin to teach 3D computer-aided design (CAD) to students aged 14 to 18. The strong math and science focus of the programme will integrate lessons in 3D mechanical design skills to help the students cultivate an interest in possible design and engineering careers at an early age. This fall, RENATE will begin a staff development programme for teachers at each of the participating schools on how to use and teach SolidWorks.

RENATE’s mission is to strengthen education in mathematics, natural sciences, and technology throughout the country. Its Technology and Design programme seeks to attract students to engineering careers and bolster the skilled engineering profession, which has been languishing.

“The number of students that have abandoned bachelor’s degrees in engineering has increased in the past 10 years because students have complained about the curriculum being dull,” said RENATE centre director Odd Lauritzen.

After evaluating several CAD packages, RENATE chose SolidWorks partly because its short learning curve allows high school students to quickly understand product design principles so they can begin honing their 3D skills in just a few days. “Rather than being frustrated by trying to learn difficult software, they’ll be quickly rewarded with beautiful 3D models that they can visualize, modify, and perfect,” noted Lauritzen.

RENATE chose SolidWorks also because it is the preferred design tool in many manufacturing facilities throughout Norway and the Nordic region.

Calling the Technology and Design programme a far-reaching initiative with a bold mission, Michel Gros, SolidWorks executive vice president for Europe, said, “We applaud Norway’s decision to take this proactive step to realign its science, math, engineering, and technology disciplines at the secondary school level. This commitment to modern teaching and learning will have an enduring impact on Norway’s economic future.”

Zimmer + Kreim Issues New Full-Line Catalogue at EMO

Machines and software, solutions and details, modules and possibilities—all these are presented in full in the new product catalogue from Zimmer + Kreim GmbH & Co. KG,which was released at the September machine tool fair EMO 2005. The sectioning of the catalogue makes clear to potential customers that they are dealing with a systems company that strives for flexibility in automation.

The new Zimmer + Kreim catalogue showcases state-of-the-art technology for mould and tool construction, including not only single high-capacity machines but also complete manufacturing systems. Quality assurance, which is of course essential to tool and mould makers, is the central theme of the catalogue.

“It was our goal to present our complete portfolio in one compendium which covers the business areas of cavity-sinking machines, handling systems, and software solutions,” said Wolfgang Emert, head of marketing at Zimmer + Kreim. He went on to point out that catalogue users can read about everything the company has developed so far and also catch up on the latest technological possibilities.

Zimmer + Kreim specializes in the areas of cavity-sinking EDM machinery, automated material-handling systems, and software-based machining-job management systems.

October Date Set for BI-MU 2004 Machinery Trade Show in Milan

One of Europe’s biggest-ever machinery trade shows will be coming to Italy October 1–6, 2004, when the Milan Fairgrounds hosts the 24th edition of BI-MU. This biennial event, held in even-numbered years, alternates with EMO, the international trade fair for machine tools and systems, thereby offering continuity to advances in the machinery industry. BI-MU is promoted by UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre, the association of Italian machine tool, robots, and automation manufacturers.

The 23rd edition of BI-MU, held in 2002, attracted 122,000 visitors to Milan from five continents. Nearly 2,000 companies participated, including 1,372 exhibitors occuping 94,000 m²of exhibition space. The contingent from outside Italy consisted of 973 companies from 36 countries.

New initiatives and more substance are planned to further increase the show’s appeal. Once again, BI-MU will be colocated with SFORTEC, the world’s leading trade fair for components, structural machining and global service subcontracting. There will also be specialized shows for welding, dies and molds, as well as a conference on quality control.

Information on the show’s website (www.bimu-sfortec.com) is constantly updated. The site also gives access to the electronic version of the exhibitor catalogue hosted on the ExpoPage website, as created by the Milan Trade Fair District and by the organizers of the main show.

Hardinge Buys Bridgeport; Will Maintain Bridgeport Brand and Sales

Hardinge, a leading global machine tool company with annual sales in excess of $200 million, has announced that it has acquired the major assets of the well-known British machine tools manufacturer Bridgeport Machines Ltd., which had gone into receivership. As a result, 62 Bridgeport employees in the UK and the Netherlands have joined the Hardinge Group. The Bridgeport brand will continue, and Hardinge says it will work to ensure continuity to Bridgeport’s existing customers.

The Bridgeport brand will be added to Hardinge’s existing portfolio of brands, which includes Hardinge high-precision lathes, Kellenberger and Tschudin cylindrical grinding machines, Hauser jig grinding machines, Tripet internal grinding machines, and Hardinge collets, chucks, indexing fixtures, and other industrial products.

Hardinge has had a business relationship with Bridgeport since 2002, when it began manufacturing Bridgeport’s knee mill products in the USA. Now Hardinge has acquired Bridgeport’s intellectual property rights, as well as its sales and support services division. This is expected to significantly increase Hardinge’s presence in the vertical and horizontal machining center market. Hardinge sales outlets around the world will have access to Bridgeport’s knee mill products, for example.

Said Bob Duxbury, managing director of Hardinge Machine Tools Ltd., at the time of the announcement: “Bridgeport has an excellent reputation and brand in the marketplace, and we are excited by this acquisition and the opportunities available by adding the Bridgeport brand to our portfolio. In the long term we believe that we can grow Bridgeport’s sales, just as we have with our existing brands.”

J. Patrick Ervin, president and CEO of Hardinge Inc. in the United States, added: “We are excited to continue the tradition of the Bridgeport name and to provide worldwide customers with uninterrupted service and spare-parts support for the large installed base of Bridgeport machines. In England and Holland, we will be adding 62 knowledgeable, dedicated, and hard-working people to our organization. We are glad to have them as part of the Hardinge team.”

Ervin continued, “We will continue to look for opportunities to expand our product lines and global reach in the machine tool market. Hardinge’s growth strategy was started over a decade ago, and we remain committed to being a consolidator of valuable brands and operations in our industry.”

Hardinge Inc. (NASDAQ: HDNG) founded more than 100 years ago, is an international leader in providing the latest industrial technology to companies requiring material-cutting solutions. The company designs and manufactures CNC metal-cutting lathes, machining centers, grinding machines, collets, chucks, indexing fixtures, and other industrial products. It has manufacturing operations in the USA, Switzerland, Taiwan, and China, and distributes machines in all major industrialized countries.

Georg Fischer Sets Strategy for Success in Recovering Economy

At the company’s March annual general meeting, the shareholders of Georg Fischer AG approved all proposals of the board of directors, elected a new board member, and approved the 2002 annual report. In 2002 Georg Fischer reinforced its market position in a difficult environment and focused successfully on implementing its strategy.

Dr. Kurt Stirnemann was elected to the board, replacing Martin Huber as board delegate and chief executive officer. Huber now serves as chairman of the board. The other seven directors are Dr. Hannes Goetz, vice chairman, Prof. Gertrud Höhler, Prof. Roman Boutellier, Flavio Cotti, Ulrich Graf, Bruno Hug, and Gerold Bührer. Also effective as of the March meeting, Dr. Jürg Krebser took over as president of the Georg Fischer manufacturing technology group (Agie Charmilles) and Yves Serra became president of the piping systems group.

Its withdrawal from the plant engineering business and the value adjustment made on the stake in Coperion resulted in a net loss for Georg Fischer of Fr 20 million in 2002. Although sales declined by 11%, the company maintained or, in some areas, increased its market share. The far-reaching measures taken to cut costs in no way impaired its strength or momentum. Georg Fischer is ready to benefit quickly and powerfully from an economic recovery.

Custom Springs and Wire Forms

Communication Makes the Difference for Maker of Custom Springs and Wire Forms

McKees, PA—For Ace Wire Spring & Form Company, Inc. offer machining parts, aluminum die casting parts, metal parts, spring parts, plastic injection molding parts, etc. innovative CNC wire forming technology is a key capability that increases productivity while helping to ensure consistency of quality and on-time delivery. But it’s only one of several core competencies that have helped build the company’s reputation as a custom manufacturer of springs and wire forms. In business since 1939, the ISO 9001:2000-certified company makes custom and precision springs and wire forms for diversified applications, serving virtually every conceivable industry.

“Almost everything uses a spring,” says Linda Froehlich, owner of Ace Wire Spring & Form. “We make springs for mechanical applications in industries such as agricultural, aerospace, automotive, lawn and gardening, and power-generating equipment.”

Types of springs manufactured by the company include compression, extension, torsion, and coil springs, as well as garter, power, assembly, and specialty springs. Using CNC technology, Ace Wire Spring manufactures springs in wire diameters ranging from 0.003-inch to 0.625-inch. The firm’s precision wire forming machines are capable of forming round wire in diameters from 0.030-inch up to 0.312-inch, with a maximum length of 30 inches. They also form flat wire up to 2-½ inches in width and ¼-inch thickness, with maximum feed length of 15 inches, according to the company.

“There’s the easy way to make a spring and there’s the right way,” says Harry Bollinger, chief sales engineer. “We do it the right way.”

At Ace Wire Spring, “doing it the right way” is a process that relies greatly on communications with customers. It requires asking the appropriate questions, actively listening to the answers, and doing everything possible to understand the customer’s objectives. The process is built on an understanding that each customer has a unique problem that they’re trying to solve.

“Asking questions is key,” says Sanford (Sandy) Glick, the firm’s national sales manager. “But you have to ask the right questions.” By asking the right questions, Ace Wire Spring can get a clear understanding of the environment in which the spring or wire form is intended to function. The company is then in position to produce the parts that are best suited to meeting customers’ requirements. Questions are typically aimed at understanding operating conditions such as heat, atmosphere, and stress level, all of which are important in selecting the appropriate material or choosing a coating to protect the part. But the company is also aware that tolerances initially specified in designs for springs are often not necessary to achieve the manufacturer’s objective for the part.

“People put machine tolerances on drawings, but bending metal is not the same thing,” says Glick. “By asking customers why they’ve chosen the tolerances that they have, we can get the information needed to solve a problem and reduce our customer’s costs.”

With four engineers on staff, Ace Wire Spring can readily assist customers with design for manufacturability issues by providing recommendations on part design, tolerances, and material selection. The company verifies all part designs with its engineering software, a practice that uncovers potential problems, for example, that could result from a specified dimension that puts too much load stress on a spring. If such a dimension is found, the company will consult with the customer and recommend a spring design more suited to achieving the customer’s objectives. “That’s how we create alliances,” says Bollinger. “We become part of our customer’s team.”

Ace Wire Spring’s thorough knowledge of metallurgy informs its selection of appropriate materials for a wide range of operating conditions. Issues such as high-temperature performance, resistance to corrosion, and fatigue properties under conditions of vibration are some of the metallurgical considerations that Ace regularly evaluates.

The company also strives to accommodate its customers’ needs by working to develop new equipment, machinery, and plastic tooling suited to their manufacturing requirements. But regardless of the project, Ace Wire Spring is always mindful of the essential role that communication plays in technical problem-solving and, ultimately customer satisfaction.

“We’ll call a customer if we’re going to be late, or if we see a problem with material—we don’t surprise them,” says Bollinger. “People are often amazed that we’re doing this.”

Orycon Control Takes On Europe with New Sales Agent in Switzerland

Suma Consulting of Benken (SG), Switzerland, is the new Swiss sales agent for Orycon Control Technology Inc. Orycon plans to add additional sales and technical offices in strategic European locations in the near future.

Orycon has distinguished itself in the United States as a manufacturer of high-precision, high-reliability, and user-friendly hot runner systems.

“I believe that we are long overdue in entering the European market,” says Sal Benenati, president of Orycon. “We can offer hot runners that are easier to use, more reliable, and more competitively priced. As a company, we have 23 years of hot runner experience, and many of our innovations have been adopted by other suppliers around the world.

“I know that our entry will have a positive impact in the European mould making industry.”

Enge Plas Named as Service Rep for Trexel in Singapore, Malaysia

Enge Plas Automation PTE Ltd. is now the service representative for Trexel, Inc. in Singapore and Malaysia. Trexel will continue to handle direct sales on its own. Trexel is the exclusive worldwide developer and licenser of the MuCell microcellular process technology. Enge Plas is known for its expertise in plasticating component service.

Enge Plas technicians have received expert training at Trexel and are fully-certified to support licensees in Singapore and Malaysia.

The MuCell process is suitable for a wide range of injection-molded, extruded, and blow-molded products. The technology is designed to reduce product costs while enhancing design and processing. MuCell parts, which have a solid-like appearance, contain less material than parts produced through other methods, yet maintain most of their former properties. The process also can eliminate stress, warpage, and sink marks, and greatly improve productivity. These benefits allow designers to specify lightweight, polymer-saving foam materials for products in which conventionally foamed materials would be unacceptable.