Friday, September 28, 2012

Top Twitter Posts: Growing Up, Nifty Inventions and Heroes of American Manufacturing

Wait, how is it Friday again? Didn't we just write one of these? We enjoyed a week packed with planning, strategizing and prepping for our next events (read: Pack Expo, PTDA and AHTD coming up). In the meantime, we've kept our finger on the pulse of manufacturing and technology news via our Twitter feed. Here's some of what we found. Contribute your own thoughts during the coming week by following and interacting with us at @BWCnews!

Credit: Fast Company
1. "What Do I Want to Do When I Grow Up?" Is Wrong Question to Ask via Fast Company: We're all trying to figure out our personal goals — it's a quest that starts in kindergarten when our teachers ask us what we'd like to be when we "grow up." But that's the wrong way to look at life and careers, this author says. Instead, glean from the journey instead of staying all wrapped up in the destination. Jump on opportunities, collect new experiences and, basically, figure it out as you go. What say you? Ready to take a chance and try something new?

2. A Stairclimbing Handtruck on Design Magazine & Resource: Sometimes incredibly useful inventions involve simplifying an existing design. Here's a product spotlight about a three-wheeled extension to a dolly (or handtruck) that allows the user to push it up a flight of stairs. Since we're in the business of wheels and guided motion innovation, we can appreciate simple inventions like this. Moving companies everywhere, rejoice!

Credit: NIST
3. Heroes of American Manufacturing a video series by the National Institute of Standards and Technology: NIST has its own YouTube channel, one filled with informative videos about science, technology and advances in American manufacturing. Trust us, click that link and you'll get lost in an hour of informative clips about a whole range of fields, including information technology, manufacturing, fire research and electronics and telecommunications.

4. The Hardest Step in the Startup-to-Manufacturing Cycle on Design World: As the nation tries to figure out how to revive an ailing manufacturing sector, the discussion often veers toward startups, says Design World. There's a lot of attention focused on research, but not enough on actual production, the article says. Watch the video accompanying this story, too. What are your thoughts on the whole turning-ideas-into-reality thing?

5. History of BWC on As we celebrate 62 years in the engineering and manufacturing business, we look back and how we got to where we are today. We compiled a timeline of the early days of Bishop-Wisecarver (from before we even had that name!) to the present, the patents, the ideas and the teamwork that led to our present success as a global provider of motion technologies. Happy birthday, BWC!

BWC Celebrates 62 Years in Manufacturing

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Sixty-two years ago today, Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation was born. It came from a partnership between toolmaker/engineer/inventor Bud Wisecarver and bread tray salesman Ray Bishop. How did they meet?

Well ... Bud had put himself out of a job by improving efficiency at a Bay Area blinds and drapery manufacturer. He spent three years modernizing operations at Levelor, which doubled productivity, increased the linear footage produced and got the plant running 24 hours a day with the same number of workers who previously ran it for six. Bud did such a good job that he wasn't needed there anymore. So he began manufacturing screw machine parts through his first company, W.R. Wisecarver and Company.

Credit: @bishopwisecarver // Instagram
Bud's screw parts manufacturing reeled in a new client: Ray Bishop. Ray asked for help making a screw that would better secure bread trays during transport. Bud's invented solution was a locking bar later marketed "for the American trucker," to quote the fliers, as the Saf-T-Sta cargo holder, which you can see in a vintage ad to the right along with one for another truck accessory called the Thrif-T-Lok load bar. On a roll, Bud invented more delivery truck accessories for Ray, including a specialized bread tray known as the Flo-Carri.

The two worked on obtaining a patent for Saf-T-Sta, which they received in 1962. Five years later, Ray and Bud merged companies, naming the new one what it's called today: Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation.

ENGINEERING THE FUTURE Over the next several decades, Bud continued creating novel solutions to engineering challenges, eventually creating our signature DualVee® Motion Technology and a long list of product lines based off that double-row angular contact bearing design. Bud still works at the facility, even into his 80s now, except he's decided to take Fridays off. Like he always says, "If you do what you love then you'll never work a day in your life."

Today, as we celebrate 62 years in manufacturing, we look ahead as much as we acknowledge the work we've already done in building up our California company into a global provider of guided motion technologies. As we make our way into the future as technology continues to increase exponentially, we're always thinking of how to adapt ourselves. We're thinking of how to continue our strong tradition of innovation, invention and out-of-the-box thinking. So with that, let's celebrate this Friday and this birthday with thoughts of future progress ... maybe traditionally you're not supposed to share birthday wishes, but this one's too good to keep to ourselves!

[ Learn all about the history of Bishop-Wisecarver right here ]

Credit: @bishopwisecarver // Instagram

Thursday, September 27, 2012

HepcoMotion MHD: Putting the "Heavy Duty" in Linear Motion Control

HEAVY DUTY The MHD Heavy Duty Track Roller Guidance product line literally has "heavy duty" built into the name (the acronym stands for max-heavy-duty). It's a linear guide system designed for heavy mechanical handling industries, like welding, assembly, automotive or other industries that call for robotic transfer systems. The MHD comes as a kit with tracks and four bearing blocks made up of right and left block assemblies.

BUILDING BLOCKS Bearing blocks come with three large integral crown rollers. They're sealed for life to reduce friction and thus maintenance. That means it lasts longer and works more. The top tapered crown roller that carries the heaviest load is a tapered bearing, which supports higher capacities. Rollers on the side and lower region can adjust to remove play. The bearings' double-row tapering align in the direction of travel, which allows it to resist end loading and premature failure sometimes caused by axial loading.

FLAT TRACKS The MHD comes with a couple of hardened and fully ground 100-by-40 millimeter high-precision flat tracks. Rails are supplied at a length of 1461mm and are precision-manufactured to allow any guide rail with or without rack to be butted to any other guide rail. That allows for virtually limitless lengths. The system's accuracy, durability and low-friction linear guides make it well-suited for moving heavy automation equipment.

[ Click here to land on the HepcoMotion MHD info page ]

MHD pinions. Credit: HepcoMotion

PINIONS MHD comes with two sizes of pinions to match flat tracks with both straight-cut and helical racks. These pinions come with a metric module tooth form with a 20-degree pressure angle. They're made out of premium quality case-hardened steel. The pinions come with keyless locking bushings which allow them to be securely fitted to a standard shaft.

CARRIAGE SOLUTIONS MHD carriages can be engineered to fit any application needs. The standard elements include gearboxes, lubricating pinions, bearing cartridges and MHD blocks and pinions. Together, they can be built into a rugged, cost-effective rack-driven carriage, like the one pictured below.

MHD carriages. Credit: HepcoMotion

MHD systems have been used in robot applications, where a robot is mounted on a rack-driven carriage that allows it to travel along a linear axis for pick-and-place operation. The MHD slide moves the robotic pick-and-place arm from one workstation to another, as pictured in the image below.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Desktop Inspiration: Feeding Inventive Minds in This Motion Monday Edition

Wherever inspiration comes from, it's often more easily sparked when we turn our surroundings into a place conducive to creativity. For some people that means hanging up their favorite painting, their child's sketch, a token with some attached memory or meaning or a cut-out quote taped to a computer monitor.

Engineers are in the business of creating, so it's not surprise that bits of inspiration are posted all about the Bishop-Wisecarver offices. A walk through the office halls and manufacturing aisles will take you through some work stations decorated with quotes, pictures and models of prototypes ... the stuff of makers, thinkers, inventors. Here's a couple of items we found during a quick tour of the Bishop-Wisecarver headquarters ... What inspires you?

Quotes hung up on the marketing department's door. Credit: @bishopwisecarver Instagram.

Picasso, who says "Everything you can imagine is real." Credit: @bishopwisecarver Instagram.

This, from our Twitter friend @MetalFormer, sits on his desk. Credit: Steve Bottcher.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Watching the Space Shuttle 'Endeavor' Fly-over

FINAL DESTINATION Today we witnessed an exciting moment in history — and it looked like a jet plane giving a spaceship a piggyback. NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft left at 8:17 a.m. from Edwards Air Force Base in Florida to embark on a four-and-a-half-hour flight to Northern California (that's where we are) and then on to the LAX to retire forever.

[ Read more about the shuttle, its flight and retirement here ]

A good friend of one of our employees submitted photos taken as the shuttle flew across the Bay Area today. These photos were taken from his work site at Putnam Toyota, and it's so kind of him to share these images with us so that we can share with you!

It's sad to see a shuttle go out of commission, but it does proudly have two successful space missions under its belt. It'll go down in history ... and we're happy to welcome it to its new home in California!

[ Watch a video footage of the fly-over on the NASA website ]

Credit: Jeff Hershman
Credit: Jeff Hershman

Top Five Twitter Posts: Space Shuttle Flyover, 'Chutes and Ladders' and One Local Cop's Incredible Recovery

Between a supplier "matchmaker" event at the Chrysler building in Chicago and a Motion Industries vendor expo on the outskirts of Detroit, we've had a pretty productive week getting out there and meeting new people in various industries. But we'e also met a bunch of new people online — new followers of @BWCnews, where we keep an always-active online presence. It's one of the easiest ways to find us, engage with us and just stay on top of interesting industry news ... or whatever else catches our fancy. We'd love to hear from you — and maybe one of your tweets will end up in our Twitter Friday feature someday. Keep checking!

Credit: NBC Bay Area
1. Space Shuttle 'Endeavor' Flies Over Bay Area via NASA Ames Research Center: This NASA research center is about a 45-minute drive from our East Bay Area headquarters, so we didn't see the aircraft with the naked eye, but thankfully the good people of NASA made sure the whole world got to watch the historic flyover through a live online video stream. Plus, they kept us in the loop with a flood of tweets and Facebook picture posts. Way to tune us all in to the fascinating spectacle, NASA!

2. Amazing Recovery for Wounded Fremont Cop on This inspiring story tells us of the incredible, unlikely recovery of a Bay Area officer who got shot on the job. Through sheer tenacity, he recovered. This is an amazing testament to the idea of "Motion Without Limits!"

Credit: Rodney Miller
3. Chutes and Ladders — a Primer for Entrepreneurism? on How do you find opportunity in failure? Bishop-Wisecarver President poses that question in her latest blog, which touts the importance of the motto: "Try again, fail again, fail better, fail faster."

4. New MakerBot Replicator Might Just Change Your World on There's a bit of technological magic that's taking the world by storm ... it's a printer that allows you to design anything in your CAD software then print it into a reality as easily as it is to print a photo. Wired has a good little feature on the 3-D printing breakthrough that all the cool kids were buzzing about this week. Awesome stuff.

5. Meet Baxter, a Robot with Common Sense on Mashable Tech: Consider this little guy like the most reliable employee. It's a new type of android that uses "common sense" in the manufacturing work space, according to this story, which includes a nifty little video to demonstrate the concept. What that means, basically, is that the robot can be trained like a human to multitask, can learn a new task in about 30 minutes and works safely alongside people. The article also says the technology is relatively affordable, so manufacturers that otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford artificial intelligence like this can now have access to it. Fascinating!

Monday, September 17, 2012

We Jet to the Chrysler HQ and a Motion Industries Vendor Expo

Welcome to yet another #MotionMonday, our last before it's officially autumn, if you can believe it! We're in the full swing of things, having attended last week a networking event in Seattle for woman-owned businesses and now we're looking at a new week with two events in the Midwest this time. We also just got back from IWF in August and now we're gearing up for Pack Expo in October.

On the itinerary this month? The 13th Annual Matchmaker event hosted by Chrysler Group LLC followed by a Motion Industries Vendor Expo.

Credit: Chrysler

As members of the Astra Women's Business Alliance, it's been a great pleasure networking with many corporate supplier diversity types. Through Astra there are many great matchmaker events, and we look forward to the Chrysler event which takes place Wednesday in Chicago.

On Thursday, we'll be at a Motion Industry hosted event in the Detroit area where we will talk with distributors as well as other industry reps looking for guided motion components. If you happen to be attending this event, too, we suggest you check out Motion's website. You can also download an app to help you navigate through the trade show. For more info on the fair, click here.

[ For more info on upcoming events/trade shows we're attending, click here ]

Friday, September 14, 2012

Top Five Twitter Posts: Manufacturing Pianos, Crowdsourced Manufacturing and Managing Info Overload

Friday funday! We're a day out of our first-ever Astra Matchmaker Expo, this one in Seattle, where we networked with a plethora of other woman-owned businesses and supplier diversity scouts from various corporations. It was an interesting, productive day and we can't wait to share more news with you about our membership with Astra and its umbrella organization, Women's Business Enterprise Council. While we were busy at the expo, among other things, we also enjoyed a busy week on Twitter, where we learned more about recent changes to the U.S. manufacturing workforce, the way pianos are made and how one government agency is asking the public for ideas about how to better design military technologies. Here's a sample of what we found interesting. Follow us on our way to next week's "Top Five" post at @BWCnews!

1. How Steinway Makes Pianos by Hand on CNN Money: The manufacturing workers at Steinway have 150 years of craftsmanship on their shoulders — well more than a century of tradition, style and quality
Credit: CNN Money
behind their handiwork. It's a lot of responsibility and a little nostalgic since piano-making is somewhat on the decline as digital keyboards become better in quality and more affordable. Fall in love with pianos all over again by watching this video clip of employees at work inside a piano-making facility. It's hard to imagine pianos will ever go out of style.

2. Women in Manufacturing on CNN Monday: Can you tell we were a little stuck on CNN news this week? Here's another interesting story from the network, this one about the burgeoning female manufacturing workforce. Even though the nation lost 15,000 manufacturing jobs from July to August, per the latest info released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of women filling manufacturing and machine shop roles is on the rise as the field becomes more high tech with the simultaneous increase of computer-aided machinery.

3. Making the Information Firehouse Manageable for Data-Driven Decisions on Fast Company: Suffer from "analysis paralysis?" Information overload? This article picks the brain of a data technology expert, Dimitri Maex, who says the best approach is to figure out how to use the data instead of just taking it all in. Interesting insight from someone whose book on the subject recently hit stores across the nation.

Credit: New York Times via G.E. Research
4. Pentagon Pushes Crowdsourced Manufacturing via New York Times: The lead time for a military manufacturing project often runs from a decade to 20 years because of research, funding and the spiderweb of government red tape. But an arm of the Pentagon wants to change that. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency aims to reduce that design-to-production process by up to four years, according to this NYT story. How? By rewarding students at various universities a prize for their efforts in helping aid military research. Interesting — seems a productive way to speed up public manufacturing, research and technological development.

5. Newb in Space on In exactly 510 seconds, the fuel runs out and the rocket engines halt. Silence falls. As a newb in outer space, the first thought to enter Richard Garriott's head was, "We aren't very high. Hope we don't fall back to earth." Listen to the rest of the interview in this video clip. Amazing insight from someone new to the extraterrestrial universe.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Match Made in Heaven: Networking at the Astra Matchmaker in Seattle

Credit: Pamela Kan
IN THE ZONE Did you know that first impressions take six times to change and that they burn deep in a person's memory? That means if you mess up an introduction, you have to make up for it the next five times — assuming you get that many chances.

"Focusing on what people remember of you is far more important than trying to impress them with what you know," according to life and communications coach Fran Zone. "Your future depends not on what you  know, but how you capture people's imagination."

[ Read more about Fran  Zone and her communications strategy here on her website ]

Wow. That puts a lot of weight on your next nice-to-meet-you exchange! That was the topic of one of the presentations at today's Astra Matchmaker & Expo event in Seattle, WA, where BWC President Pamela Kan and our Senior Project Engineer Ariel Oriel spent the day networking with corporations and other certified woman-owned businesses. Zone opened the day's events with a talk about how to make the most out of the types of exchanges common at an event like the Astra Matchmaker — those quick introductions with peers, potential customers and sought-after corporate supplier scouts.

Credit: Pamela Kan
MATCHING UP We got off the phone with Ariel this afternoon to ask how the day's events are going and he said it's been great seeing how interested attendees are in a woman-owned manufacturer of guided motion components. Our field of manufacturing has captured a lot of interest there, Ariel said, because our ability to make linear slides, rotary guides and other motion control systems and parts is rare in the woman-owned B2B space.

[ Click here for more info about our woman-owned certification ]

Although there are several manufacturers in the nation run by women, it's still a definite minority, according to the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, the organization that certified our woman-ownership and works side by side by Astra to help companies like ours network with diversity suppliers at various corporations.

REPRESENTING THE FIELD Bishop-Wisecarver being woman-owned definitely makes it a rarity, one we're proud to talk about. Female leaders in the field will hopefully encourage more women to enter the manufacturing sector, which is seeing an uptick in the number of female workers, according to CNN:
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, about a third of all manufacturing workers today are women ... [as] manufacturing is rapidly being transformed from a labor-intensive field to a high-tech one. The change, and a nascent pick up in domestic manufacturing, has created thousands of factory jobs nationwide that, experts say, more women are starting to seek out.
Interesting! It's always encouraging to network with other women business owners, and to read about how more women are entering historically male-dominated fields like our own!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Water Break, Quick Response and Reminder to Be Prepared

CALL 9-1-1! 
Bishop-Wisecarver felt like a castle for a good 15 minutes today as water from a toppled-over fire hydrant across the street flooded the entrance to our property, rising quite a few inches around the tires of cars parked out front. Turned out a massive semi turning the street corner near our building clipped the hydrant, releasing a 20-or-so-foot-high tower of gushing white water. We're fine, by the way! After alerting police dispatchers about the high-pressure fountain that popped up like a geyser, the city quickly sent a fire crew to the rescue, so within minutes the flow died down and some public works crew went to work scraping away the gravel debris that washed up to our walkway.

BE PREPARED All that ruckus came with uncanny timing because we had just been writing an intro to our monthly newsletter about being prepared. It is, we learned, National Emergency Preparedness Month, a time to check, update and double-check the safety precautions in place at work, at home and in your mind. It's important in event of a crisis, however harmless it may turn out to be, to know where to go, what to do, who to call. Commit to memory the emergency escape plan, for example (something we're reminded of quite often here in earthquake country). Or have a list of emergency and non-emergency phone numbers for your local fire and police departments.

KAIZEN Continuous improvement, lean manufacturing and the concept of "kaizen" all apply to your company's emergency preparedness, too. Make sure your employees' training and the company-wide emergency response plan is up-to-date.

BACK TO NORMAL The water drained pretty quick once the firefighters capped off the burst. And honestly, once we realized all was safe and no more water was being wasted, we sort of had a bit of fun capturing snapshots of the whole scene. Here are a couple more ...

Monday, September 10, 2012

#MotionMonday Scenes From the Manufacturing Floor: Metal Bits, Wood Chips and Plastic Shavings

Metal, cement, wood, plastic, glass — it's all extremely abrasive when you grind it up. We know these harsh application environments well! Some of our signature linear guide products are based on our DualVee Motion Technology because many of our customers operate machines in these types of rough conditions. What makes DualVee different? The 90-degree vee-edge creates a natural sweeping action so you've got unstoppable motion — that means a lot less downtime.

[ HOW? ]

Since the wheel's inner diameter travels at a lesser velocity than the outer, contaminants get naturally swept out and away. Basically, the velocity gradient makes a continuous sweeping motion, which keeps those tracks clean and free of gunk.

For this week's #MotionMonday post, we ventured out to our own manufacturing floor here at our San Francisco Bay Area facility to find photographic examples of the types of debris DualVee's famously known to kick to the curb. We found quite a few examples, like metal chips, plastic shavings, sawdust and wood debris ... but the list goes on. We even ran into Alex at the packaging station, where he assembles custom wood crates for shipment, and he gave us a quick tour of his workstation speckled with all kinds of wood shavings. No matter how much wood he saws up for crates, those DualVee wheels moving back and fourth on the saw never jam up.

We posted the following photos on our Instagram feed, which you can find on your mobile device. Just look for us under the handle @bishopwisecarver to see these instasnaps as we post them in real-time. Any ideas for the next edition of Motion Monday? We'd love to hear your ideas!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Top Five Twitter Posts: Energy Policy, Manufacturing in the News, and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Did you catch Pamela Kan's radio interview earlier today? It's something we've looked forward to all week — a chance for her to rep the manufacturing sector on a public broadcasting forum, however briefly. Well, we posted a recap of the talk (see previous post) and look forward to the next opportunity for her to share her thoughts as a manufacturing executive. But lots of other things happened this week, too, even though Labor Day made it a four-day work week. We heard about those just-released national jobless figures, posted some new application stories, made new Twitter connections and read some fascinating news stories about new scientific findings. Here's a sample of some of the tweets that captured our attention this week ... of course, you can follow us in real-time at @BWCnews. Happy tweeting, all!

1. Jobs and Energy Go Hand in Hand on Manufacturing's been in the news a lot lately as the elections heat up, as the Dems and GOPS bring up energy policy, job creation and the like at their respective conventions. Here's an interesting post by the National Association of Manufacturers that weighs in on the unbreakable bone between energy policy and manufacturing, a sector that NAM says consumes about one-third of the nation's energy supply. Fascinating to see the impact of the manufacturing sector on every other facet of American life.

2. Women Entrepreneurs Struggle to Grow Their Business on Huffington Post: We're suckers for a good infographic. And as a certified woman-owned business, we perked up when we saw this post about women business owners. Check it out!

3. Building CNC Routers on YouTube: CNC routers are fun to watch in action — so we can't help but scour YouTube for new videos of the linear slide-guided mechanisms. Here's a recent one of a woodworking machine that popped up on Twitter this week. Look at that guy go!

4. A Promising Wikipedia Overhaul on Fast Company: Click that link ... OK, now what if Wikpedia looked like that. Pretty spiffy, huh? We dig the new (potential) redesign!

5. Manufacturing Loses 15K Jobs on Pamela Kan discussed this during her KCBS radio interview earlier today ... and NAM framed the news really well in today's blog post here, too. Interesting to see the downward flux. Any ideas on how we can improve the outlook for skilled labor jobs in the near future? The distant future? Tune in to Pamela's radio spot to hear her thoughts.

Credit: US Bureau of Labor Statistics/NAM

Bishop-Wisecarver President Tunes in on Manufacturing Jobs in California

JOB TALK Earlier this morning, the nation saw its latest batch of unemployment figures — and it wasn't a pretty picture, or at least not as good as we hoped. The U.S. economy grew by 96,000 jobs in August, a boost, sure, but far below the projected 130,000 the experts told us to expect. That brings the country's latest jobless rate to 8.1 percent, a two-percentage-point drop from the previous month, according to info published today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But that dip came from a contracted labor force, not new jobs, we're told. The current labor participation rate? A measly 65.3 percent — lower than its been since 1981, according to the labor bureau. Worse, the nation lost 15,000 manufacturing jobs.

So what does that mean for California, which is trying to bolster that sector? And what's manufacturing's role in improving the outlook for our state workforce?

ON AIR Bishop-Wisecarver President Pamela Kan ] dialed in to KCBS radio this morning, an hour after those stats became public, to weigh in on the subject. The manufacturing executive was recently handpicked by Gov. Jerry Brown to serve alongside other private sector leaders on the California Workforce Investment Board. In her new role, Kan will advise Brown on economic and workforce development policy to try to get more Californians back to work.

KCBS started the interview by asking Kan to comment on her new CWIB post and what she hopes to add to the group.

"I hope to just bring the perspective of being a smaller manufacturer to the board," she said during the live interview. "The board is a mixture of different sectors ... I have about 55 employees and I also have a union workforce, so [I want to] bring that perspective to the board."

EDUCATING THE FUTURE She also wants to bring in a focus on education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, she told the radio station. But there's a need for a skilled labor force in the manufacturing field, she added, a type of training that's not necessarily offered by four-year colleges.

"It's an issue I think our state struggles with," she told interviewers today. "We have a pretty high dropout rate and I think one reason is that we've stripped a lot of the K-through-12 education away from having any sort of experience [with] technical skill sets."

Those technical skills sets could staff manufacturing and machine shop jobs like those at Bishop-Wisecarver or any other similar company. That's why it's important to keep kids interested in tactile, technical vocational training — the labor force needs it.

"Kids that tend to have a desire ... to make things aren't necessarily as engaged in school because when they go to school they hear everything about having to go to a four-year college," she said.

What's happened is that community colleges have picked up the responsibility of offering that vocational training, Kan continued. There's an unmet need out there for trained manufacturing workers — and that training doesn't have to lead to a college degree, she said.

Ultimately, to strengthen the manufacturing sector will only improve the economy, she said. We need people "who make things."

"You can take us as an example," Kan said. "We supply into all industries because we make a basic product that allows lots of different people to make things move ... but the skill set that's taken across the board to support these [jobs] is all pretty basic ... if you have a CNC machine, you have to have someone that has to write and modify the code for the CNC machine. It doesn't matter what the end product is."

Double Product Feature: Linear Slides for Twisting Cables and Rotary Guides for Turning Turbines

DOUBLE FEATURE Too much of a good thing is a very good thing, and in today's application spotlight, we're featuring two HepcoMotion products back-to-back. From machines that twist cable to the heavy handling of robust turbines, today's engineers need linear slides and rotary guides they can count on. Check out how these very different products were used for motion without limits.

CABLE TWISTING MACHINE The controllable movement of the DLS [ driven linear guidance ] is used in this machine for making special twisted cables that end up on custom wiring looms. The servo motor-driven head is mounted on the DLS carriage and powered by a programmable drive/positioner. This interfaces with the AC motor, inverter and switch arrangement used to control the movement of the linear axis. The system allows for a consistent pre-determined twist angle to be achieved while the length is easily varied to produce the required dimension for the cable. The whole process is supervised by a PLC system, which is also used to control other related processes such as cutting and terminating the cables.

TURBINE HANDLING FIXTURE The durability and strength of HDRT [ heavy duty ring track ] can carry loads up to nearly 9,000 pounds — that's a lot of lift! In this example, a turbine rotor is mounted on a tooling plate which is fixed to a gear cut ring. The rotor can be turned with a handwheel to facilitate inspection and maintenance. The beauty of the HDRT track system is that the combined ring and straight slide components can be pieced together to form virtually any path. The outside and inside vee rings work with three bearing sizes and two lubricators.

To learn more about these application stories and others, visit us online:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Do We Revitalize California's Workforce?

Better late than never! Here's to a Tuesday edition of Motion Monday...

If you're anywhere with a set of speakers, a computer, cell phone or radio at 6:20 a.m. (PST) Friday, tune in to KCBS 740 AM or 106.9 FM to hear an interview with Bishop-Wisecarver President Pamela Kan, who's scheduled to discuss the state of California's job force and her recent appointment to the state's Workforce Investment Board. Exciting stuff!

The California Workforce Investment Board was founded in 1998 to advise the governor in workforce policy and development. We were happy to hear last week that Gov. Jerry Brown handpicked  Kan to this year's advisory board along with 29 other private sector members.

The board's role is seen as very important, especially since California struggles with a 10.7 percent unemployment rate and even higher rate of underemployed residents. Kan's experience in the manufacturing sector will help in advising Brown on new workforce development initiatives, the board says.

Some of the group's goals this years, according to its website, include: 
  • Grow industry sectors with the highest potential for good jobs
  • Create career pathways for the people who need it most
  • Combine resources from multiple partners
Those goals are outlined in a document called the Strategic Workforce Investment Plan, which spells out the five-year vision for the California economy. The strategy articulates a goal of blending several education, training and employment funding sources. The goal comes from much discussion, some of which was facilitated through several regional meetings held earlier this year in various parts of the state.

If you'd like to learn more, you can see all the documents and meeting minutes from the board's activities on the Regional Focus Group page on the CWIB website.