A recent Citrix report predicts that 2016 is set to become a watershed year for machine shops, noting that, “The industry is showing signs of reinvention in areas including automation, 3D printing and data analysis, and the next five years look to be pivotal in realizing this change.”

With U.S. manufacturing positioned for growth, it’s imperative industry leaders, like J&R Machine, continue to innovate and evolve. J&R Machine has transformed its machine shop and integrated the following emerging trends to improve efficiency and reduce costs in the new year:

3D Printing

To many, the idea of 3D printing (using a computer to create intricate objects out of thin air) sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. And while the concept may be abstract, 3D printing is currently very much “in vogue” in the world of manufacturing. The technology was originally developed for rapid prototyping, and there are plenty of reasons why it has seen a surge in popularity in machine shops. For example, J&R Machine will be incorporating 3D printing to yield faster production cycles by using it to assist customers in product design and evaluation. The possible benefits of 3D printing are truly endless, and J&R Machine plans to use it in a variety of capacities in 2016.

5-Axis Machining

5-axis machining refers to the ability of a CNC machine to move a part on multiple axes at the same time. This is in contrast to 3-axis machining centers that are limited to two directions. J&R Machine will be integrating a 5-axis milling capability to its machine shop this year with the goals of increasing accuracy, extending tool life, and allowing for a higher-quality surface finish. This revolutionary technology will also boost J&R Machine’s productivity by reducing the time and cost of preparing fixtures.

Displayed Performance Metrics

Today’s technology now allows employees of machine shops to view the same production metrics the company’s managers are monitoring. J&R Machine has invested in DMG MORI Messenger, a performance-based software measuring OEE (overall equipment effectiveness). The software provides detailed analyses and reports remotely through mobile devices and computers. All of J&R Machine’s machine tools are linked to the DMG MORI Messenger server with data being presented in real time, allowing J&R Machine to keep an enhanced eye on production and ensure smooth operations. Additionally, by displaying its metrics to employees, J&R Machine has seen measurable improvement on its shop floor.

Welding Automation

Robot welding has become an increasingly powerful and versatile manufacturing tool. With welding personnel becoming more expensive and difficult to find, robot welding allows many machine shops, like J&R Machine, to optimize staff by allowing highly-skilled welders to supervise multiple automated cells. The automation also produces the same quality results continuously, significantly reducing human error. Through robot welding, J&R Machine has also benefited from increased production.

Investment in Young Talent

Ultimately, the biggest opportunity for machine shops in the upcoming year is the recruitment of young, ambitious workers. Manufacturing is the industry that drives Wisconsin’s economy, and more and more schools are making the investment to help students prepare for an interesting, fulfilling and well-compensated career in manufacturing.

J&R Machine offers its employees great wages as well as a long list of benefits, including an in-house workout room. The average age of employees at J&R Machine is just 28, and the company is growing rapidly. The company looks to the local high school for students with the right attitude and skills. President Tim Tumanic prefers to hire high school graduates to ensure their training focuses on the methods that have made J&R Machine successful.


What machine shop trends do you expect to see in 2016? Tell us how your business is adapting to the rapid evolution of technology in the comments below!

To learn more about J&R Machine, please visit www.jrmachine.com, or contact J&R Machine at 715-526-5970.