ATI FirePro Certified for TopSolid CAD/CAM

Missler Software and AMD have tested and certified the latter company’s ATI FirePro™ workstation graphics cards to ensure optimized performance and compatibility with the integrated TopSolid CAD/CAM software suite. The companies’ joint development effort results in superior levels of real-time visualization for TopSolid customers.

The development teams from AMD and Missler Software worked together closely to ensure compatibility between TopSolid V6, TopSolid 7 and the ATI FirePro product family, thoroughly testing the ATI FirePro graphics cards with the TopSolid CAD/CAM suite. Test results justified the certification of the ATI FirePro products, from the entry-level ATI FirePro V3800 to the high-end FirePro V8800, by the Missler Software development team in Toulouse, France. The ATI FirePro line of graphics cards is proven to deliver a stable and high-performance graphics environment for TopSolid.

“Many of our customers have been requesting that we certify their favourite TopSolid solution to run smoothly with ATI FirePro graphics cards,” explains Dominique Laffret, vice president of strategic relationships at Missler Software. “Thanks to the recent certification, we offer increased choice and flexibility for our customers to work with the ATI FirePro product family.”

Antoine Reymond, global alliance manager for AMD, says that AMD is delighted that TopSolid and the ATI FirePro graphics accelerators are compatible. “It is logical for two worldwide players to cooperate in the common interests of our customers,” he remarks.

Camtek Has New On-Line Muscle

To provide enhanced services and information to its worldwide customer and dealer network, CAD/CAM software supplier Camtekhas upgraded its website at through a major redesign. The site has undergone a complete transformation. It now offers a new navigation system and access to a comprehensive search facility on every page.

New video content also has been added, including high-quality streaming video case studies. Camtek has augmented its product information, and has made more high-resolution screen shots available for viewing or downloading.

In addition, a dealer download centre is available. This feature gives Camtek resellers and OEMs immediate access to the latest software applications, help documents, and ancillary files.

Commented Martin Bailey, Camtek group marketing manager, site designer, and author of Marketing Your Business, “ receives a considerable amount of traffic, so I wanted to optimize it to ensure that visitors can locate the content they want quickly. There are several ways to get to the same content, and you are never more than three clicks away from a page.”

“We applied these changes in response to our customer feedback,” added Terry Antrobus, director of sales and marketing. “People wanted to see more product information and, with broadband now commonplace, they also wanted richer media content. We plan to increase the number of product and customer videos on-line over the next few months, and to regularly refresh the content with new material.”

Cutting-Fluid Research & Development Giant Dispenses Machining Advice

Acutely aware of the nuanced differences among machine cutting fluids and the enormous impact they have on machine and tool performance, Oel-Held UK Ltd. has established the largest research and development facility dedicated to cutting fluids anywhere in the world. At its multimillion-pound site, it has created a range of machining fluids suited specifically to particular production requirement along with a number of fluids developed exclusively for difficult or unusual applications.

Oel-Held offers a full spectrum of cutting fluids, from water-soluble fluids for simple machining tasks to specialist oils created for complex high-speed tool grinding or, for instance, for completing grinding and spark erosion operations on one machine. The company is therefore well positioned to give objective advice aimed at ensuring that the correct fluid is selected for an application rather than simply one that someone’s rep wishes to sell.

In addition, Oel-Held provides an applications analysis service to help eliminate problems related to the cutting fluid and to identify production improvements that could be realized through the use of a more appropriate fluid.

The company is perhaps best known in the UK for its Sintogrind fluids, uniquely formulated synthetic thin-bodied oils that eliminate the problems associated with conventional cooling fluids. Kevin Ford at Industrial Tooling Corporation Ltd. has offered this testimony regarding his experience with the Sintogrind line: “In the past I have used other fluids, but I have never come across anything as good. We have machines which are four years old and still perform as if they are brand new. There is no need to clean them because they are constantly cleaned during use.”

EMO Hannover 2005 Reaches New Heights

At its staging from September 14 to 21, EMO Hannover 2005strengthened its undisputed position as the most popular international trade fair for the machine tool industry. Over 160,000 trade visitors from 82 countries lined up to explore all the latest trends and cutting-edge engineering advancements for the manufacturing industries, as showcased by some 2,000 exhibitors from 39 different nations.

“This EMO vastly exceeded exhibitor expectations,” said Dr. Detlev Elsinghorst, the event’s commissioner, at the wrap-up press conference on September 21. “Even on the first day of the show, many exhibitors expressed great satisfaction with the high-yield business talks they were having with scores of visitors from all over the world.”

Attendance from abroad, representing 35% of all visitors, was well above that of the previous event in 2001. More than 10% more visitors came from overseas, especially from Asia and North America. The increase was particularly notable in the case of visitors from Japan and the USA. The next-largest foreign visitor contingents were from Switzerland, India, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, France, and the UK.

“Many exhibitors reported a huge leap in the number of specific inquiries fielded,” explained Elsinghorst. In some cases, exhibitors reported a doubling of requests for quotes as well as actual order signings—despite the fact that EMO is not positioned as a sales exhibition per se.

Many exhibitors also emphasized the importance of boosting their profile on the international machine tools market and forging ties with new business associates and leads. “Not everyone in the industry is familiar with us,” said Dr. Stephan Kohlsmann of Profiroll Technologies in Bad Düben. “And EMO is thus the ideal place to raise our image.”

Participating exhibitors were in excellent spirits at the close of the event:

  • “We are being approached by customers from all over the world intent on really talking business. And it’s not just a matter of numbers; it’s also all about making the right contacts that can culminate in major projects.” — Chris Pockett, Renishaw plc,UK.
  • “Customers have come to us with specific inquiries and projects, and we can detect strong pent-up demand. The audience makeup is extremely international, once again underscoring the special role of EMO.” — Martin Engels, DMG AG, Germany.
  • “Our visitors came with a number of very precise inquiries. We were able to close a disproportionately high number of deals. Overall, we can see that the market is now more willing to invest – in Germany, in particular.” — Dirk Hemscheid, Yamazaki Mazak Deutschland GmbH, Germany.
  • “We were surprised to see such an upswing in attendance right from the very first day. We really hadn’t counted on so much interest.” — Markus Kurringer, Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik,Germany.

Visitors were especially interested in the themes of cost reduction in manufacturing, increased flexibility in production, and new machining methods. The integration of various production technologies was a pronounced trend: whereas dual-technology machines were common at the 2001 show, exhibitors in 2005 presented multipurpose machining centers with built-in lathing, milling, threading and drilling components, allowing them to replace up to five machines and reducing processing times by a whopping 90%.

Over 8,500 young people visited a special youth display at EMO to check out the latest technology and career prospects in machine tools and production engineering. Fabian Niehoff, a high school pupil from Neustadt, Germany, said that the special display “made technology come alive.” Like many other students, he made the most of this opportunity to touch base with exhibitors and company representatives.

The next EMO will be staged in Hannover September 12–19, 2007.

For further information:

VDW Verein Deutscher Werkzeugfabriken e.V.

SPE Toolmaking Conference Scheduled for EuroMold 2005

Organized by the Rapid Design, Engineering and Moldmaking special interest group (SIG) of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), an all-day conference entitled Modern Toolmaking: Crossing Borderswill be held in conjunction with the EuroMold trade fair on Thursday, December 1, 2005, in the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre. The SPE conference will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and will be conducted in English.

The purpose of the society’s SIG is to explore new technologies for making moulds more quickly and more economically, to report factual evidence of their outcomes in ordinary applications, and to help SPE members learn about potentially useful new techniques. This conference is one method by which new tool design and manufacturing concepts may be introduced to a sometimes skeptical and conservative mould making establishment that must be convinced that productivity enhancements are not overbalanced by the risk involved in adopting an innovative technology perceived as still immature.

This SPE Rapid Design, Engineering and Moldmaking SIG conference consists of nine presentations offered in three thematic blocks. The morning session, on “Increased Productivity of the Mouldmaking Process,” will describe innovative practices that may help speed the process either by reducing mould testing time or by streamlining quote generation.

The early afternoon session, “Combining New Mouldmaking Techniques with Traditional Ones,” presents original approaches used by some mould makers, such as incorporating rapidly manufactured tool portions with conventionally machined aluminium centerpieces. The conference concludes with a final two-hour rapid-tooling session on “New Developments in RT Materials & Machines.”

The managers and engineers for whom the conference was created may attend one session or all three. In any case, they will have plenty of time to visit EuroMold, which runs from November 30 through December 3. Conference sponsorships and tabletop display opportunities are available. SPE members receive discounted admission.

Italian Machine Tool Maker Acquires 100% Stake in Canadian Company

A manufacturer of horizontal machining centres and special-application machine tools, Gruppo Riello Sistemi of Verona, has acquired 100% of the Canadian company Tri-Way Manufacturing Technologies Corp. The purchase represents another milestone in Riello’s process of internationalization, following previous acquisitions of Mandelli Sistemi (Piacenza, Italy) and Burkhardt+Weber (Stuttgart, Germany) and the establishment of Gruppo Riello Sistemi China in Shanghai.

Tri-Way is headquartered in Windsor, Canada, across the river from Detroit, the American automotive capital. The medium-sized machine tool company has a long history of supplying equipment for manufacturing automotive components, counting among its customers the three major American automotive companies, General Motors, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler, along with the most prestigious subcontractors in the sector.

With its 90 employees and a 2005 turnover of €15 million, Tri-Way will be a reference point for Gruppo Riello Sistemi in the North American Market, which already accounts for 10% of its total sales. Renato Pegoraro, previously sales director of Riello Macchine in Verona, has been named to run the company in North America. He is an expert on the American market.

Said Andrea Riello, company president and CEO, “This acquisition is part of the industrial plan that was started back in 1992 with the aim of reaching certain volume levels and at the same time successfully competing on the global market.” Riello noted that the plan follows three guiding principles: internal growth, product innovation, and efficient organization.”

“After having extended the product range and reached the right dimensions to face the global market,” continued Riello, “with the acquisition of Tri-Way we are now ready to fulfil the needs of such a demanding and technologically advanced market as that of North America. Our efficient sales network is now present with appropriate structures in the major product-consumption areas: Mediterranean Europe, German-speaking Europe, China, and North America.”

1,000th ‘Power User’ Achieves Certification in SolidWorks Program

SolidWorks Corp. has reached a milestone in its international program to recognize the most proficient users of its 3D mechanical design software by designating the 1,000th Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP). The CSWP program makes it easier for design engineers to market themselves and their services, and helps employers identify individuals who excel at quickly designing sophisticated products.

Stephen Borg, CEO of Acorn Technical Services of Oak, Nebraska, USA, is the 1,000th CSWP. Certification helps him assure new customers that he is qualified in 3D mechanical design with SolidWorks.

“CSWP certification really means something,” Borg says. “Only skilled and proficient engineers even attempt the exam. So when we tell new customers we know SolidWorks, they don’t have to worry about our skills. And if I’m hiring a CSWP engineer, I can be confident that he or she is proficient with SolidWorks.”

Although challenging to obtain, CSWP certifications have doubled every year since the exam’s inception. Many software vendors offer certifications based on the results of a question-and-answer exam, but SolidWorks also requires a hands-on demonstration of modeling skills. Candidates must show that they have advanced skills in building parametric solid models and can adhere to evaluation criteria for accurate design specifications. By the end of the eight-hour exam, they will have modeled a minimum of six challenging parts, assemblies, and drawings.

“Design engineers who are proficient enough to become CSWPs become part of a special community of proven SolidWorks talent and solid modeling innovators,” said Jeremy Luchini, SolidWorks certification program manager. “SolidWorks is especially attentive to their feedback on our products, and their suggestions often show up in the next product release. We’re proud of the success of this program, which is challenging enough to be meaningful and accessible enough to be achievable.”

CSWPs receive event discounts, business card logos, SolidWorks active wear, and a listing on the Solidworks website. Information on the CSWP program is available on line.

American Mold Builders Report Shows Importance of Injection Molding in Ireland

Applied Market Information Ltd.‘s latest guide to the injection molding industry in Ireland shows plastics processing as the most important component of the plastics industry in that country. Last year it consumed an estimated 26% of all polymers. Injection molding is now substantially greater, by volume of material used, than either pipe or film extrusion.

As outlined in AMI’s Guide to the Injection Molding Industry in Ireland, the strength of Ireland’s injection molding sector is due the country’s success in attracting foreign investment in advanced manufacturing industries over the past two decades. Since 1980, 40% of American investment in European electronics has come to Ireland, and over 300 overseas electronic companies operate there. Some 80 medical device companies operate in Ireland, including 10 of the world’s top 15 device companies.

Many of these companies have their own molding shops, but there is also a substantial subsupply sector to support these foreign-owned enterprises. Of the 154 companies listed in AMI’s guide, 50% are in-house. Over 60% of all injection molders in Ireland are owned by a foreign parent, with American companies the largest investors, followed by German businesses.

A downturn in demand for IT and computer products in 2001 did have an impact on the injection molding industry with several companies shutting down in 2002. However, the medical devices industry remained a strong sector.

For 2002, AMI estimates that consumption of polymers by the injection molding sector amounted to 63,000 metric tons. After a disappointing 2001, demand rose by 3% over the previous year, in line with the average trends for a five-year period from 1997. AMI forecasts that for the next five years, demand will increase on average by 2% per year, which would result in an injection molding sector of about 70,000 metric tons by 2007.

The main challenge facing the industry is its reliance on foreign-owned OEMs with their global manufacturing capabilities.

ARRK Adds Two Project Advisers For Its Operations in the UK

The British rapid prototyping and tooling services organisation ARRK Product Development Group Ltd.has hired two new project advistors, John Lister for the UK Northwest Area and Helen Fowler for the Southeast Area.

Lister brings a wealth of experience with him to ARRK, having worked in engineering all his life. He was previously with a large US firm noted for the development of locking and latching systems for the auto industry. Lister will focus on strengthening ARRK’s production capabilities throughout the world, from SLA prototyping to production tooling.

Fowler comes to ARRK with a strong background in electronics and new customer development. ARRK expects that her background will make her a great asset for the company as it seeks to continually develop its levels of customer service.

CwnLong Centralizes Sales Operations in Houston

CenLong Tech. has announced that it has completed consolidating its North American sales operations, centtralizing them at the company’s headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company’s mill in Lorain, Ohio, will continue to produce its broad range of bronze products, but it will now operate solely as a production and shipping center, while the headquarters in Houston will be the focus for all business operations. Shipments will continue to originate from both warehousing facilities direct to customers.

In addition to its domestic operations, National Bronze & Metals maintains a network of offices in Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. The company specializes in a comprehensive range of brass, bronze and copper alloy rods, bars, wires, tube sections and hollow bars. It also maintains a state-of-the-art foundry for the production of bronze alloys, ranging from simple to complex shapes, to meet any detailed specifications.