Back Issues

JUL/AUG 2013  

Follow us:

Find MICROmanufacturing on TwitterFind MICROmanufacturing on FacebookFind MICROmanufacturing on YouTubeMICROmanufacturing RSS feed
News/Features: Front Page

As a rule, I don’t use the word “create” to describe manufacturing operations. Create means to bring something into existence from nothing. Manufactured goods, be they gears, file cabinets or baseballs, are things made from something else.

In an era when society is looking for true role models, Dr. Karen Lozano, whose picture is on the cover, would be a great place to start. She’s the inventor of the Forcespinning process, the subject of our July/August cover story.

Revolution is more interesting than evolution. That’s why MBA candidates study Starbucks’ coffee-selling strategy—not its efforts to hawk CDs.

Auguste Rodin’s statue of 19th century French novelist Honoré de Balzac was among the first sculptures to present its subject impressionistically rather than realistically. Rodin depicted Balzac in a long, formless cloak topped by a rough-hewn, massive head that tilts back, nostrils flared wide as if the writer were inhaling his muse.

Our regular Down Sizing column owes a huge debt of gratitude to an industry intent on producing the tiniest of features on ever-smaller components for devices that continually shrink in size or improve in functionality. The column, which often offers a tongue-in-cheek perspective on how small certain products have become, would be—dare we say it—downsized without the micromanufacturing industry’s incredible ability to continually innovate and make things smaller.

Pro football players like to talk about “taking it to the next level.” Whether their goal is to help the team win a division championship, conference championship or the Super Bowl, they realize that, both individually and collectively, they must raise their level of performance to reach that goal. They have to execute plays better, block better and tackle better. They also have to learn new plays their competitors haven’t seen. If they stay at the same level, players and their teams will just be one of many also-rans at the end of the season.

People always seem to gravitate toward new things. Perhaps it’s a way to fight off boredom or simply the desire to seek new experiences. It helps explain why some people take up hot-air ballooning, or why opening new e-mail is always more interesting than dealing with the old e-mail deep in our inboxes.

You’re on your way to work, driving along, and suddenly there’s that familiar bone-rattling jolt. You’ve hit a pothole. Your morning coffee lies in a pool on the passenger seat, not on you—if you’re lucky. “Why don’t they fix that !@#$% thing?” you mutter.

I first encountered hybridization in manufacturing 25 years ago, shortly after being hired as associate editor of MICROmanufacturing’s sister publication, Cutting Tool Engineering. One of my duties was to sift through the vast number of press releases we received about new products. A release crossed my desk one day describing a tool I had never heard of—the Dreamer, a hybrid tool for drilling and reaming.

“Wow,” I thought, “how clever!”

Somewhere, Lee Majors must be smiling. Best known for his starring role as Colonel Steve Austin, an ex-astronaut outfitted with bionic implants in the 1970s TV series “The Six Million Dollar Man,” Majors made us all believe that one day humans could be rebuilt joint by joint. Today, most of the key joints in the body can indeed be replaced—hips, knees, ankles, wrists and fingers—all for a lot less than $6 million.