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Programming a CNC machine.

Northwest Machine Tool Expo is Your Growth Opportunity

March 17, 2023
The ideas now shaping machining and manufacturing technologies are exciting – and demanding – and entirely possible, because their available to everyone.

Machining is a highly personal business, and the return of in-person events over the past year has been a boon to people who make machining and manufacturing their business – and who want to grow in that business. For shop owners, operators, and others in the Western U.S., people who take their life’s work seriously, that progress will continue at the Northwest Machine Tool Expo and Conference in Portland, Ore., May 10-11.

The two-day event at the Oregon Convention Center will present dozens of businesses exhibiting machine tools, automation and control systems, cutting tools, program software, and wide range of products and supplier services – all of them offering new ideas and possibilities that will improve the work and results for machine shops and manufacturers.

Registration for the NWMTE is free. The event is scheduled for May 10-11 at the Oregon Convention Center, in Portland, Ore.

“We want to meet the decision-makers, of course, but with our product it’s also important to get to know machine tool operators,” according to Susie Corey, project specialist at QualiChem Inc., which develops and supplies water-treatment chemicals and metalworking solutions. “With metalworking fluids, there are various functional and practical factors influencing a machine shop’s selection – and we are trying to gain the operators’ acceptance. So we want to get to know them as well.”

The work of machine shops is evolving rapidly: Advances in manufacturing technologies happen as quickly as customers’ expectations and standards rise. That vitality is among the factors motivating exhibitors like Indicate Technologies, a provider of “advanced manufacturing solutions” like advanced dimensional metrology, additive manufacturing, and 3D scanning, for large and small manufacturers in aerospace, automotive, biomedical and electronics industries, and even home hobbyists.

“We attend many shows and conduct open-house events a couple times a year but we feel that the NWMTE allows us to reach potential new business in the Pacific Northwest,” explained Indicate Technologies’ regional manager Michael Hankins.

Thanks to its location, the NWMTE is an event with a particularly appealing clientele. “It’s a good geographical location for us because there's a lot of aerospace opportunity there,” explained Suzie Corey of Qualichem. “We've recently had a couple of our products approved by Boeing, and we're going to showcase that.”

Corey added that the event also is likely to draw visitors who manufacture components for the energy sector, semiconductor manufacturing, and medical parts production – all of which are important customers in need of practical and technical support.

This concentration of specialties will make the NWMTE an important venue for machine tool suppliers, such as Roscoe Precision Machinery, a regional dealer for Trak Machine Tool lathes and mills, and Hurco multi-axis machines.

“We’re going to have a Trak mill and a Trak lathe, and a Hurco five-axis machining center,” Roscoe Precision president Hans Barnes reported. “And we'll be doing machine demonstrations, so as machinists and business owners walk by they’ll have an opportunity to see how easy it is to make money with our products.”

Connecting with developers and suppliers is one reason to attend, but the Northwest Machine Tool Conference agenda also will offer visitors a selection of presentations on emerging topics like 3D scanning and printing, emerging capabilities in automation, and discussions of industry best-practices for adopting innovative technologies.

A highlight of the two-day agenda will be a keynote address by Mark Harris, President of CNC Machine Services Inc., who will speak on “Achieving Affordable Real-World Manufacturing Solutions Through Advanced Technology” on May 10.  Harris will discuss how innovations in advanced manufacturing concepts are making shops more globally competitive – including emerging manufacturing and automation technologies, including robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and additive manufacturing. Other seminars will address:
  Metal 3D Printing vs. Machining;
  Machining Best Practices;
  End Mill Troubleshooting and Proper;
  Coping With Labor Shortages in Manufacturing;
  CNC Machine Errors and Calibration; and
  Taking Advantage of Tax Credits.

In addition to the expo and conference, a parallel facilities engineering event, the Northwest Facilities/Managing Green Buildings Expo and Conference, will be staged simultaneously, with free cross-over privileges for Northwest Machine Tool Expo attendees.

The skills, the technologies, and the innovations driving the progress of machining and manufacturing are challenging, but they’re within reach because there are individuals working to make them possible and practical.

“Machine operators and programmers, and machine shop owners are who we aim to meet,” Hans Barnes detailed, “but from time to time there are a whole bunch of students showing up too – and that's a good thing because they're the future of the industry.”

Machine shop owners and operators consistently proclaim their personal stakes in their work, their associates, and their businesses. For machine tool programmers and operators, the personal gain is realized in the satisfaction found in a job well done.

And as Barnes said, they’re not the only ones. Budding machinists just starting out their careers, or students learning how to fulfill their creative instincts, are often effusive in describing their “passion” for manufacturing. Then there are the designers and entrepreneurs who are energized by the discovery that their ideas can be made real by the skill and techniques of programmers and machinists.

Michael Haskins of Inductive Technologies explained that the whole “mix of manufacturing decisionmakers, machinists, makers and students” are part of the appeal of the NWMTE. “Creative souls make our industry thrive,” he said.

You may see yourself in one of these examples – or you may want to meet those people. One of them may be a good fit for the machine shop you own or operate, or may have the right career opportunity for you. All of them will be on-site at the Northwest Machine Tool Expo and Conference.

Registration for the NWMTE is free. The event is scheduled for May 10-11 at the Oregon Convention Center, in Portland, Ore.

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