Thursday, July 17, 2003

Makino offering tool show

Industry notes: Manufacturing

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Despite tough times in the aerospace industry, Makino, the machine tool company, expects about 250 customers for two days of presentations on its latest technologies starting today at its Mason plant.

"The turnout was better than we expected, given the condition of the industry,'' sad Mark Rentschler, market manager. The seminar was designed to tie into the Inventing Flight celebration in Dayton. Makino is inviting customers to be its guest at this weekend's Dayton Air Show.

Makino, which will be previewing some of its latest technology including a new grinding machine with many of the capabilities of a traditional metal-cutting machine, has split the two days of seminars and demonstrations into two topics.

Today's sessions will focus on turbomachinery applications and Friday's sessions will focus on structural components machining.

Rentschler said that despite the worst recession in recent aerospace history, companies are looking for equipment to bid on defense contracts - especially work on the Joint Strike Fighter - and to improve their overall manufacturing methods.

Machine tool orders still show weakness

Orders for machines that cut and form metal totaled $140.8 million in May, according to two industry trade groups.

Machine tool orders, a key indicator of future manufacturing activity, were down 36 percent from the May 2002 estimate of $221.3 million, said the Association for Manufacturing Technology and American Machine Tool Distributors' Association. The trade groups compile the data from information supplied by participating manufacturers and distributors.

The May figure was off less than 1 percent from April's $141.9 million.

For the year-to-date, machine tool consumption was $697.9 million, down 24 percent from the $923.5 million recorded in the same period last year.

Rite Track acquires two new product lines

West Chester-based Rite Track, a manufacturer of wafer processing equipment for the semiconductor industry, has acquired the 8X and 9X track product lines from ASML Holding NV in the Netherlands.

Financial terms weren't disclosed. Rite Track, which moved to West Chester from the West Coast in 1994, said the acquisition makes it one of the industry's largest track suppliers.

Rite Track said it can provide new and remanufactured parts for ASML's systems and is assuming service support for its systems.

Honda engine plant marks latest expansion

Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. today will mark completion of a 48,000-square-foot expansion of its Anna, Ohio, Engine Plant.

The plant, which employs 2,850 people producing four-cylinder and V-6 engines, is the largest engine plant in the world, Honda says, producing 1.16 million engines annually on three assembly lines.

The latest $20 million expansion is on top of a $100 million investment completed last year.

Monday, Toyota Motor Manufacturing announced a $20 million expansion of its recently opened Huntsville, Ala., engine plant to produce V-6 engines for its pickup trucks.

The Huntsville plant, which opened two months ago, now produces V-8 engines.

The new expansion will add about 150 jobs and increase production capacity to 250,000 engines annually, Toyota says.


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