The KEO brand is marking its 80th anniversary. A brand within the portfolio of ARCH Cutting Tools since 2011, KEO, founded in 1941, still stands for all-American quality, integrity, and trust. And building on that legacy, the brand is important to the ARCH Cutting Tools goal of leading the cutting tool industry into Industry 4.0.
“When we launched ARCH in 2011, we saw the potential of the highly-respected KEO brand in the industry,” recalls ARCH CEO Eli Crotzer. “Our long-range strategy was to build upon the trust and reputation of the brand, and to acquire diverse and complementary companies to drive our overall growth.”
With that comes a special responsibility, Crotzer notes.
“That trust in the KEO brand was important to the evolution of ARCH Cutting Tools and has contributed to the leadership in innovation that we’re known for today,” he says. “But, with that comes the responsibility to maintain the standards of the brand and all the related customer expectations.”
That outlook is shared by Jeff Cederstrom, president – ARCH Cutting Tools.
“The KEO brand, with its legacy of trust and reliability has helped us build today’s ARCH Cutting Tools. Manufacturing is now more complex and that means we had to expand our portfolio. The new KEO for the 21st Century is part of that expansion,” he says. “For example, the Patriot High Performance portfolio is built on our experience engineering specials, and in parallel to that, we’re building up the engineered solutions we offer – all through the new KEO brand.”
Fire. The wheel. Cutting tools.
Each of these contributed to the growth of modern manufacturing. While fire and the wheel considerably predate cutting tools, which first appeared during the Industrial Revolution, in the late 18th century; the contribution of cutting tools is equally important.1
And a milestone in history the year that KEO was founded drove the overall growth of the industry.
Wartime production of cutting tools during WWII skyrocketed, peaking in 1942, once the manufacturing industry realized it needed these to make planes, trucks, and tanks. Collectively, more tools were manufactured between 1940 and 1943 than had been made between 1900 and 1940.2
And KEO was just getting started.
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, when CNC technology was becoming common in manufacturing3, KEO was already ahead of the development curve.
KEO legacy, reputation – building better tools
“The KEO brand has made its imprint on American manufacturing,” says Bill Orris, sr. director, Product Development and Custom Solutions – ARCH Cutting Tools. “Throughout all industry segments within metalworking, KEO means true American craftsmanship. I like to say that there’s a KEO tool in every toolbox in America.”
KEO had a keen understanding of exactly what was needed in the mid-20th Century – reliability and uncompromising quality, Orris notes. That unprecedented quality – with accuracy of cutting edge and quality of substrates second to none – led to an unmatched sense of pride within the KEO brand, he added. That sense of pride, developed in the mid-20th Century, underpins an approach that led to sustainability and industry leadership in cutting tool solutions into the 21st Century.
“Eighty years ago, more than 60% of what customers were cutting was iron-based steel material,” Orris says. “Now, material classifications have grown exponentially – heat-resistant super alloys, exotic materials like Inconel and titanium, and higher silicon-based aluminum non-ferrous materials have made material removal more challenging for customers. Early on, KEO established its leadership by understanding the equipment, understanding cutting temperatures involved and delivering reliable solutions that customers could trust and rely on.”
As the cutting tool environment has changed dramatically, KEO, through its decades of insight and industry leadership, has remained ahead of the curve in delivering what customers need says Orris.
“Manufacturing and the cutting tool environment are now focused on efficiency,” he adds. “Everything is 10-times faster and more capabilities are required to maximize equipment utilization. CNC machine technology is driving this innovation. The greater their capabilities, the greater the demands on cutting tools.”
The company is meeting these accelerated 21st Century industry demands with its Patriot High Performance by KEO portfolio.
“The new Patriot HP portfolio offers more, and more versatile, high-performance tools from solid carbide to indexable milling options, in addition to indexable and solid drilling,” Orris says. “This is the result of our unique development process. Our engineers and craftsmen, using knowledge and proven solutions learned over decades of success, now provide the industry a comprehensive collection of high-performance products that significantly elevate our new KEO product portfolio.”
The evolution of the new KEO brand includes a transition to digital innovation as well.
“We’re proud to have evolved this KEO legacy into Patriot HP – that is true innovation,” Orris says. “Our next biggest step is the integration of digitalization and the adoption of Industry 4.0 principles. We are bridging the gap between a physical cutting tool that you can hold and we’re now allowing that tool – with its 80 years of legacy reliability – to communicate digitally. We’ve built out the assemblies of all the digital attributes and they can be shared digitally through any engineering software.”
In the 21st century manufacturing environment, companies are embracing Industry 4.0 technologies, and efficient access to digital product data is essential to meeting the level of precision that is required in the cutting tool industry today, according to Orris.
“In a recently announced relationship with MachiningCloud, that organization will now export tooling data of KEO products directly to our customers’ CAD/CAM, ERP, and other shop environment digital platforms, fast-tracking solid modeling and simulations,” he adds.
But over the past 80 years, it hasn’t just been about making better tools. For insight in how the business itself has evolved, Cederstrom again offers some insight.
Into the future – building better business
“We continually listen to our customers,” Cederstrom says. “The challenges and demands they face in today’s market have increased and, in addition to providing them the best cutting tools in the market, it’s critical that we also make it easier for them to do business.
“To that end, earlier this year, we launched a new digital integrated master catalog. Before that, in spring of 2020, we expanded our Warren, Michigan, campus and launched our state-of-the-art Centralized Distribution Center (CDC) – all at the original home of KEO. Combined, these moves further streamline how ARCH Cutting Tools provides its customers with the best products and professional service.”
This integrated catalog showcases the rich heritage of high-quality American manufacturing that defines ARCH Cutting Tools. And, in a sense, it also celebrates the rebirth of KEO, with the company’s expanded standard solid round tool offerings under the trusted KEO brand and its full indexable portfolio under the Ultra-Dex brand. The catalog integrates all the heritage KEO products, a full line of micro tools, and the Patriot High Performance milling and drilling tools in a format designed with the end-user in-mind, Cederstrom notes.
The next 80 and beyond
Just as KEO began at a time in history when the industry was changing and demands were becoming greater, the brand faces significant industry changes and increasing demands now. ARCH CEO Eli Crotzer shares insight regarding what that means for the new KEO today and for the future.
“There are trends in play now that have been developing within the industry for years – micro-sizing, more complex componentry in every sector, increasingly intricate products – including consumer products, like smartphones, as well as precision instruments for robotic and minimally invasive surgery; and all of these are utilizing new and exotic materials,” Crotzer notes. “These require increasingly precision performance from our industry.
“And these things are important because they impact people’s lives; they rely on them. So, when those manufacturers come to us to be innovative, accurate and precise, their customers are also relying on us,” he emphasizes.
That’s when trust can be most important, according to Crotzer.
“It’s inspiring working with this team,” he says. “Products that you can trust come from people you can trust. I see pride in workmanship in every one of our facilities and in every team. Our people have embraced change, driven innovation and secured our evolution. Our products have evolved, even the way we do business has evolved, because our people have evolved.”
What does that mean to ARCH Cutting Tools and its 80-year-old KEO flagship brand?
“I’ve been working closely with this team for more than a decade now and I see the pride and spirit in the 80-year KEO legacy is even stronger now, and it’s supported by trust and that legacy of excellence.”
Precision Drive Systems (PDS) celebrates 25th anniversary
“Over the course of our 25-year history, our talented team of engineers and technicians has collectively saved our customers millions of dollars with spindle-root-cause failure reports, spindle repairs and rebuilds,” says Allen Turk, CEO of PDS. “Their unparalleled workmanship and quarter-century of experience in rebuilding and repairing spindles have meant significant savings to our customers versus the expense of factory repairs and unplanned downtime.”
The company was originally founded in 1996 in Bessemer City as the exclusive North American sales and service center of Giordano Colombo spindles. This location was chosen to be the PDS corporate headquarters because of its proximity to leading manufacturing centers in the southeastern United States. Today the company is known worldwide for the integrity of its workmanship and delivery-promise reliability. PDS serves U.S. customers from its service center in Bessemer City and European customers from its repair facility in Lohne, Germany, and has highly qualified hands-on technical service partners dedicated to assisting and supporting customers around the globe.
HEULE celebrates 60 years
HEULE Precision Tools celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. HEULE opened its doors in 1961 when Heinrich Heule left his secure job with a large company to start his own business. After years of hard work Heinrich had a breakthrough in 1978 when he received a major order where the inside of automotive ujoints in large batch sizes had to be chamfered quickly and cost-effectively. Since there was no tool on the market that could do the job, Mr. Heule developed the tool himself. This tool would prove to be the steppingstone to an incredibly successful future for this company. Heinrich Heule continued to develop specialized tools while remaining focused on deburring.
For many years, HEULE has been a synonym for deburring solutions and innovative problem solving.
Today, HEULE is a leader in deburring all around the globe with subsidiaries in the United States, Germany, China, and South Korea and a worldwide network of sales partners ensures customer satisfaction. HEULE Precision Tools is the definition of quality tools and will continue to lead the market with innovation and dependability.
Ipsen USA experiencing hiring boom as company grows
Ipsen USA, a leading international manufacturer of industrial vacuum furnaces, is hiring for several positions across the United States as new furnace sales increase and the focus on aftermarket support intensifies.
“As business levels climb, we are looking for talented people to help us achieve the next stage of growth,” says Ipsen President and CEO Patrick McKenna.
Positions in Cherry Valley include:
- Health & Safety Specialist
- Mechanical Designer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Production Control Coordinator
Other openings include two Regional Sales Engineer positions in the Northeast and Western U.S. Candidates located within any of the following states may apply: AZ, CA, CT, ID, ME, MD, MA, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, UT, VT, WA, and WY.
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply at www.indeed.com/cmp/Ipsen-Inc/jobs or send their resumes to Resumes[at]IpsenUSA.com.
DMG MORI USA in Charlotte
DMG MORI USA opened a new regional headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, in May. In the approximately 1,250m² building, the machine tool manufacturer is integrating the branches in Nashville, Tampa, and Charlotte to create a central sales and service location for the entire region in the Southeast and East USA.
“With around 40 employees we ensure smooth service processes and design state-of-the-art manufacturing solutions for our American customers,” says Daniel Medrea, COO East Region, DMG MORI USA Inc, referring to the new regional headquarters in Charlotte. A 260 m² solution center is available to them for this purpose. Training courses on all aspects of versatile CNC technology as well as the digitization of machine tool manufacturing and the use of exclusive DMG MORI technology cycles are also part of the range of services offered at the new location.
A showroom with four machine tools provides practical insights into our product range. The range there includes the NLX 2500 SY universal turning center, the NTX 2500 turn & mill center, the DMU 65 FD monoBLOCK milling & turning machine and the CMX 50 U 5-axis machining center. The latter is also automated with a PH 150 pallet handling system.
For those who missed the Grand Opening, DMG MORI USA invites customers to a visit in Charlotte to:
- Personal tours of the newest Technology Center to meet with Sales, Service & Engineering teams
- Experience live demonstrations of the current showroom machines: CMX 50 U with PH 150, NLX 2500SY, DMU 65 FD monoBLOCK & NTX 2500
- See live integration of digital solutions for machine monitoring
PSG acquires Quantex Arc Ltd.
PSG, an operating company of Dover Corp. has completed the acquisition of Quantex Arc Ltd., a leader in single-use precision pumping technology. Following the close of the transaction, Quantex will become part of the PSG business unit within Dover’s Pumps & Process Solutions segment.
Quantex is headquartered in London, England, and has developed a fundamentally new innovative single-use positive displacement pump technology. Quantex’s products solve the challenge of enabling precision- and micro-dosing over a wide range of pressures, temperatures, viscosities and flow rates in hygienic and sterile applications where disposable pumps offer a superior value-proposition for Quantex’s customers. Quantex’s fixed-displacement rotary action ensures dosing accuracy without the need for periodic calibration. Single-use application requires no cleaning or maintenance, and reduces contamination risks, cleaning costs and maintenance downtime and expense.
“The addition of Quantex further expands PSG’s reach into biopharma and other hygienic applications. We are excited to add Quantex’s game-changing technology to our portfolio. The Quantex recyclable portfolio of products will enable us to expand our single-use application reach across the biopharma, hygienic, food and beverage and industrial markets,” says Karl Buscher, president of PSG.
Acme Manufacturing unveils new logo, branding to match innovative focus
Acme Manufacturing unveiled its new logo to symbolize its modern focus. The new design aligns with the company’s role as an industry leader in innovation.
With the new logo, Acme wanted to preserve their legacy by retaining similar elements of their past designs. The globe shape stands out from the text, serving as a modern representation of Acme’s expanding global footprint. The clean “Roboto” font style aligns with the automation technology that Acme engineers. The tagline “Shaping the future since 1910” contains a clever double meaning; it references the company’s fourth generation of family ownership, along with the company’s specialty in shaping materials through grinding, polishing, buffing, and deburring.
During the past year, Acme made many internal process changes that led to increased efficiency and more innovative solutions. This forward motion instigated the need for a new logo and branding to reflect the focus on perpetual innovation in a global market.
“Our business is expanding as the world shifts towards more automated processes and, with that, we will be expanding our digital footprint,” says Fritz Carlson, Acme’s president and CEO. “As automation continues to grow and advance in the subtractive manufacturing/surface finishing space, Acme wants to be the first place that customers look to find the most innovative solutions.”
Production, warehouse, shipping - where goods are produced, stored, sorted or packed, picking also takes place. This means that several individual goods are removed from storage units such as boxes or cartons and reassembled. With the FLAIROP (Federated Learning for Robot Picking) project Festo and researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), together with partners from Canada, want to make picking robots smarter using distributed AI methods. To do this, they are investigating how to use training data from multiple stations, from multiple plants, or even companies without requiring participants to hand over sensitive company data.
“We are investigating how the most versatile training data possible from multiple locations can be used to develop more robust and efficient solutions using artificial intelligence algorithms than with data from just one robot," says Jonathan Auberle from the Institute of Material Handling and Logistics (IFL) at KIT. In the process, items are further processed by autonomous robots at several picking stations by means of gripping and transferring. At the various stations, the robots are trained with very different articles. At the end, they should be able to grasp articles from other stations that they have not yet learned about. "Through the approach of federated learning, we balance data diversity and data security in an industrial environment," says the expert.
Powerful algorithms for industry and logistics 4.0
Until now, federated learning has been used predominantly in the medical sector for image analysis, where the protection of patient data is a particularly high priority. Consequently, there is no exchange of training data such as images or grasp points for training the artificial neural network. Only pieces of stored knowledge - the local weights of the neural network that tell how strongly one neuron is connected to another - are transferred to a central server. There, the weights from all stations are collected and optimized using various criteria. Then the improved version is played back to the local stations and the process repeats. The goal is to develop new, more powerful algorithms for the robust use of artificial intelligence for industry and Logistics 4.0 while complying with data protection guidelines.
“In the FLAIROP research project, we are developing new ways for robots to learn from each other without sharing sensitive data and company secrets. This brings two major benefits: we protect our customers' data, and we gain speed because the robots can take over many tasks more quickly. In this way, the collaborative robots can, for example, support production workers with repetitive, heavy, and tiring tasks”, explains Jan Seyler, Head of Advanced Develop. Analytics and Control at Festo SE & Co. KG During the project, a total of four autonomous picking stations will be set up for training the robots: Two at the KIT Institute for Material Handling and Logistics (IFL) and two at the Festo SE company based in Esslingen am Neckar.
Start-up DarwinAI and University of Waterloo from Canada are further partners
“DarwinAI is thrilled to provide our Explainable (XAI) platform to the FLAIROP project and pleased to work with such esteemed Canadian and German academic organizations and our industry partner, Festo. We hope that our XAI technology will enable high-value human-in-the-loop processes for this exciting project, which represents an important facet of our offering alongside our novel approach to Federated Learning. Having our roots in academic research, we are enthusiastic about this collaboration and the industrial benefits of our new approach for a range of manufacturing customers”, says Sheldon Fernandez, CEO, DarwinAI.
“The University of Waterloo is ecstatic to be working with Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and a global industrial automation leader like Festo to bring the next generation of trustworthy artificial intelligence to manufacturing. By harnessing DarwinAI’s Explainable AI (XAI) and Federated Learning, we can enable AI solutions to help support factory workers in their daily production tasks to maximize efficiency, productivity, and safety”, says Dr. Alexander Wong, Co-director of the Vision and Image Processing Research Group, University of Waterloo, and Chief Scientist at DarwinAI.
The FLAIROP (Federated Learning for Robot Picking) project is a partnership between Canadian and German organizations. The Canadian project partners focus on object recognition through Deep Learning, Explainable AI, and optimization, while the German partners contribute their expertise in robotics, autonomous grasping through Deep Learning, and data security.
- KIT-IFL: consortium leadership, development grasp determination, development automatic learning data generation.
- KIT-AIFB: Development of Federated Learning Framework
- Festo SE & Co. KG: development of picking stations, piloting in real warehouse logistics
- University of Waterloo (Canada): Development object recognition
- Darwin AI (Canada): Local and Global Network Optimization, Automated Generation of Network Structures
U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders totaled $448 million in May 2021, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report published by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. May 2021 orders increased 11% over April orders and were nearly double that of May 2020. Total orders for 2021 topped $2 billion two months before that milestone was reached in 2020.
“Given the state of the economy last year, orders were expected to be up, but so far, 2021 is shaping up to be a historic year,” says Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “In only three other years since 1998 have orders surpassed $2 billion by May. Manufacturers across the industry have expressed broadly positive sentiment, so we would expect the remainder of the year not only to return to the pre-pandemic trend but also to exceed previous forecasts.
“Despite the general optimism felt across manufacturing sectors, one common impediment to growth is the inability to find sufficient labor. Manufacturing employment is still about half a million jobs below pre-pandemic levels, and the current number of open positions in the manufacturing industry is double the February 2020 level. Growth with fewer employees occurs regularly during manufacturing recessions, according to work done by the Brookings Institution. Studies have found that manufacturers in a position to do so will leverage a slowdown to invest in greater automation and more sophisticated production equipment. The result is a more productive in-place workforce, but continued growth is dependent on a larger, more skilled manufacturing labor pool.“Now, and during the recession, our members have reported that automation and new-tech sales continued to grow or barely saw a pause in order levels. Without these investments, growth in recovery would have been more susceptible to supply chain disruptions. We have seen industries with modest domestic capacity increase investments in production capacity by multiples of pre-2020 levels. Metal valve manufacturers, whose products are used as components in nearly every corner of manufacturing, increased orders by staggering margins in May 2021, suggesting that U.S. manufacturers are shoring up supply chain risks by looking to domestic sources.”