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FABTECH 2015 Highlights: The Show, GTC Student Wins Welding Competition, Customer/Partners Attending the Show Visit Precision Plus

Michael Reader

Representatives from companies from around the world come together once a year to attend FABTECH, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing exposition, to see everything from the most basic metalworking machines to fringe of technology equipment, products and services.

In 2015, the event was held over four days (November 9-12) at Chicago’s McCormick Place, spread over 700,000 square feet, and welcomed over 40,000 attendees from more than 90 countries.

FABTECH was first held in Cleveland, Ohio in 1981 to showcase advances in technology. Over the years, it forged partnerships with five key trade associations: FMA (Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International), SME (formerly the Society of Manufacturing Engineers), AWS (American Welding Society), PMA (Precision Metalforming Association), and CCAI (Chemical Coaters Association International), resulting in a show that brings together buyers and sellers, and features the latest. FABTECH also offers industry-targeted education.

The show appeals to a vast audience representing the varied and diverse makeup of the manufacturing industry—from the smallest job shop to the largest Fortune 500 manufacturing—as both (and everyone in between) are looking for innovating solutions that could increase their competitive edge.

Live demonstrations, educational sessions, networking and even welding competitions take place over the 4-day event. This year, special event presentations were on point with technology trends and featured programs on additive manufacturing/3D printing, security risks, women in manufacturing, the significance of teamwork within successful organizations.

An always-favorite event is the welding competition, where talented welders compete for the “Best Welder in America” title. The participants were graded on speed and quality, while they demonstrated their skill by making a single-pass SMAW weld with an E7018 on low-carbon steel. First place and $2,500 were awarded to Aaron Oetken, a self-employed welder/fabricator from Iowa. Andrew Miller, a welding engineer at Caterpillar received $500.00 and the third place in the competition. It is worth noting, however, that the second place winner and recipient of $1,000.00 was Tommy Ruge, a student at Gateway Technical College (GTC) in Racine, Wisconsin. Congratulations to Tom, his instructors, and GTC.

Representatives from Precision Plus typically attend FABTECH, as do some of their customer/partners. This year, management team members from a distinguished customer/partner located in Costa Rica, paid a visit to Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, after the show.

On this occasion, the representatives from the company gave a presentation to the entire Precision Plus Team on their company and products. They also discussed the culture they have developed with their employees, their customers and their supply chain partners from whom they require parts that have tolerances as close as +/- 0.0002”, confirming that the final product is not just a mere object, but the result of creative solutions that are obtained through collaboration and dedicated relationships.

In 2016, FABTECH is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 16-18, providing, once again a powerfully aligned hands-on, face-to-face business growth experience, featuring North America’s largest collaboration of technology, equipment and knowledge in the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson Meets with Precision Plus Interns

Michael Reader

On Wednesday, July 15, 2015, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson visited Precision Plus of Elkhorn to learn about the company’s Youth Apprenticeship and Summer Internship Programs and tour the facility.

Governor Scott Walker appointed Secretary Newson to office in October of 2011. He leads the state agency and is charged with “building and strengthening Wisconsin’s workforce.”

Earlier in the year, while touring Elkhorn Area High School, Secretary Newson had heard about Precision Plus’ programs from Kyle Gorst—a youth apprentice. That conversation peaked his interest to the point of scheduling a visit to Precision Plus He sought to find out, firsthand, about the programs and the apprentice/intern experience.

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Fifteen out of the current sixteen Precision Plus summer interns greeted the secretary and led him on a guided tour of the facility. Later in the tour, he held a town hall meeting with fourteen of the interns to hear their stories of how they came to be with the company, and talk about their career intentions after graduation from college.

Secretary Newson also explained the role of his agency, key in connecting employers and skilled workers, and the efforts DWD undertakes to assist job seekers with disabilities, while overseeing Wisconsin’s Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights and Worker’s Compensation programs.

Precision Plus welcomes local, state and federal legislators to visit its facility and to learn about the initiatives in place at the company to increase awareness of 21st century manufacturing.

For more information, please contact Barry Butters, Director of Education and Training via phone or email.

Representatives from Vitec Group and Parker Hannifin Visit with Precision Plus’ Employees to Show Components in Action

Michael Reader

Earlier this month, Precision Plus had the privilege of hosting representatives from two of Precision Plus’ customers: Dennis Giesler, General Manager of Parker Hannifin Quick Coupling Division in Minnesota, and Alonso Rojas, Supply Chain Manager at Vitec Group, PLC in Costa Rica.

On separate visits, both Giesler and Rojas made a presentation to the entire Precision Plus staff. Their talks included an overview of their respective companies and their products, and explanation of how the components that Precision Plus manufactures fit within their products—components in action.

Both men stressed the importance of the valuable contribution that each Precision Plus employee makes to ensure that the end products work correctly, one hundred percent of the time, acknowledging that in some applications, someone’s life may depend on the accuracy of the component.

 

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Parker Hannifin’s Quick Coupling Division is the world’s largest manufacturer of quick couplings. The company accommodates a wide spectrum of hydraulic and pneumatic coupling design requirements, varying in size and materials.This division also sells hydraulic swivels, check valves and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.

 

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Vitec Group is an international company that designs, manufactures, and supplies “high quality, world class, branded products and services that enable end users to capture exceptional images. Their products such as camera accessories, lighting and control, monitors, prompters, robotic camera systems, are primarily designed to support cameras used in broadcast, video and high quality professional cameras.

 

Precision Plus thanks both Alonso Rojas and Dennis Giesler for their time and consideration.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson Visits Precision Plus During Manufacturing Month 2014

Michael Reader

On October 6, 2014, Senator Ron Johnson visited Precision Plus of Elkhorn as part of his tour of manufacturing plants throughout the State of Wisconsin. October 2014, is officially designated as Manufacturing Month.

First on the agenda for the senator, was to participate in an executive roundtable with local business leaders to discuss the state of affairs at the Capitol, particularly in the area of manufacturing. Following the discussion, Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus, took Senator Johnson on a tour of the plant. The visit culminated in a town meeting with the staff of Precision Plus, where individuals had the opportunity to ask questions about issues that affected them at the constituent level.

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Photos courtesy of Walworth County Today

Senator Johnson’s visit marked the fourth time in 2014 during which a high-ranked public official visited the Precision Plus facility. Earlier in the year, Precision Plus also welcomed Wisconsin’s Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Governor Scott Walker.

In their initiatives to close the skills gap, Precision Plus continues to bring legislators and politicians through their facilities and hold frank conversations about the state of the manufacturing industry and the efforts that manufacturers, educators and organizations are making to overcome it. “The more we can do to show first-hand what we are doing,” said Reader, “the better opportunity to earn their support on legislation impacting manufacturing.”

Precision Plus Tours McHenry County College’s Advanced Manufacturing Department

Michael Reader

On September 15, 2014, Barry Butters, Director of Training and Education at Precision Plus and John McConville and Ryan Nuhn toured McHenry County College’s Advanced Manufacturing Department to learn about their manufacturing program. The facility was impeccably clean and featured manual machines as well as a CNC lathe and a CNC mill.

McHenry County is one of the fastest-growing manufacturing sectors in the region, accounting for more than 25 percent of the county’s earnings. McHenry County College offers a Fast Track Advanced Manufacturing Certificate, through a program that incorporates CAD (computer aided design, manufacturing processes, blueprint reading for manufacturing and CNC (computer numerical control) machining.

Manual Machines

CNC Lathe

CNC Mill

For more information on McHenry (Illinois) County College’s Fast Track Advanced Manufacturing Program, click here.