The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has been granted $292,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to partner SME Student Chapters with existing Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) at universities nationwide.

IAC assessments focus on industrial energy conservation techniques through energy audits and assessments of manufacturers. This grant broadens the program to assess manufacturing processes for energy savings.

Starting this year, SME will partner with six universities, incrementally expanding the program over the next three and a half years. In total, SME will partner with all 24 IACs participating in the DOE program, providing invaluable hands-on industry experience for future manufacturing professionals.

“SME’s student members are the future manufacturing workforce, and engaging them with the IACs across the country will provide them with critical skills and training while producing real cost savings for small to mid-sized manufacturers.” said Joe LaRussa, director of membership. “This program typifies how SME, industry and government can collaborate to strengthen manufacturing as a critical component of the U.S. economy.”

University-based IACs across the country provide students with critical skills and training to conduct energy assessments in a broad range of facilities. SME faculty advisors will work directly with IAC directors to guide the students during the assessment process.

Since 1981, the IACs have performed nearly 15,000 assessments containing more than 117,000 recommendations. Industry assessments have resulted in energy savings of saved 530 trillion Btu (British thermal units) or more than $5.6 billion. More information on Industrial Assessment Centers can be found on their website.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking. Through its many programs, events, magazine, publications and online training division, Tooling U, SME connects manufacturing practitioners to each other, to the latest technologies and to the most up-to-date manufacturing processes. SME has members around the world and is supported by a network of chapters and technical communities. A 501(c)3 organization, SME is a leader in manufacturing workforce development issues, working with industry, academic and government partners to support the current and future skilled workforce.

For more information, visit:

Published in SME

Makino announces its new horizontal machining center technology, Inertia Active Control (IAC), for improved productivity through direct-drive rotary table optimization. By effectively reducing non-cut times resulting from table rotation, IAC technology gives manufacturers improved efficiency and profitability.

“Every second of non-cut time that can be eliminated from the machining process provides manufacturers with a step above the competition,” says David Ward, Makino’s horizontal product line manager. “IAC technology provides that advantage by evaluating and optimizing the acceleration and deceleration settings on a per-pallet basis. For a production manufacturer, this could mean thousands of additional parts produced on each horizontal machining center over a year’s time.”

The foundation for IAC technology lies in Makino’s direct-drive (DD) rotary table design that provides inertia feedback from the B-axis motor to the machining center’s control system. While acceleration and deceleration rates for standard rotary tables are typically set for maximum inertia and weight to ensure accuracy, IAC uses data from the DD rotary table to quickly evaluate and adjust acceleration and deceleration settings to optimal levels for the specific pallet condition.

IAC technology is currently available on Makino’s nx line of horizontal machining centers, the a51nx and a61nx. These 40-taper machining centers extend the capabilities of the highly successful a-series with a host of technologies for next-generation productivity, accuracy and reliability. The a51nx and a61nx feature pallet sizes of 400mm and 500mm, respectively.

Direct-Drive Rotary Table

Makino’s DD rotary table offers high-speed positioning capability while reducing B-axis complexity and eliminating backlash, caused by wear. Included in the table’s design are cooling jackets that remove heat from the motor and table bearings assuring sustained dynamic accuracy. Its fully programmable axis with 0.0001-degree resolution enables full four-axis contouring capability for complex part geometries.

To find out more about IAC and other new control technologies from Makino, visit and register for the “New Control Technologies” webinar series.

Published in Makino

International Automotive Components Group (IAC), a global tier-one supplier of vehicle interior components and systems, today announced that it is acquiring automotive interior component supplier AMPRO Molding, LLC, based in Anniston, Ala. AMPRO is located in close proximity to key OEM customers based in the southeast region of the U.S.

AMPRO manufactures a variety of vehicle interior components that align with and enhance IAC’s current portfolio of products. The AMPRO acquisition reinforces IAC’s commitment to establish facilities near its OEM customers, while enhancing its technical and product portfolio for the global automotive industry.

“Early in our discussions with AMPRO, it became obvious that the AMPRO team would be a good fit with the IAC Group,” said James Kamsickas, IAC’s president and CEO of North America and Asia. “AMPRO has a wealth of automotive interiors experience, outstanding commitment to a diverse customer base and a company culture that will blend well with IAC. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to establish our first facility in the state of Alabama and further support our customers in this geographic region.”

The acquisition includes a 157,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility located on an 11-acre site. The operation employs 150 hourly and salaried personnel and utilizes the latest manufacturing equipment and processes, further extending IAC’s ability to create a unique value proposition for its customers and differentiation in the industry. Furthermore, it will broaden IAC’s product mix outside of the automotive industry to commercial and industrial manufacturers.

“IAC Group has successfully acquired and integrated 12 companies since the organization was established in 2006,” said Wilbur Ross, Chairman of IAC Group. “Our leadership team has done an exceptional job identifying, integrating and improving each of the companies around the globe. This acquisition of AMPRO is one additional and important step in continuously aligning our global infrastructure to support the needs of our customers.”

The AMPRO acquisition follows a host of acquisitions by IAC from 2006 to 2009. Most recently, IAC acquired flooring & acoustics supplier Stankiewicz International Corp., located in Spartanburg, S.C.


International Automotive Components Group (IAC) is a leading global supplier of automotive components and systems, including interior and exterior trim. . IAC Group’s 2009 sales revenue was approximately $3.2 billion. The company’s North American sales were approximately $1.4 billion. IAC operates more than 80 manufacturing facilities in 17 countries and employs approximately 23,000 people around the world. For more information, visit


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