ACE and Machine Tool FAQ
Who is ACE CNC Advancing Technology & Workforce for?
- Established machinists who want to learn more about physics-based machining parameter selection, different from what may have been learned in an apprenticeship program. This group may know a lot about machining, but might not be comfortable using an app for machining simulations. Participants in this group can expect to gain knowledge about measuring vibrations in a system, increase decision making ability regarding operation parameters, and become comfortable using an app for machining simulations.
- Next generation machinists, future manufacturing engineers, machine tool designers, and entrepreneurs who want to learn more about the benefits, opportunities, and rewards of a career in manufacturing, while gaining an introductory knowledge of the machine tool industry and its central processes. Participants in this group can expect to gain a clear understanding of the total context of machining and the machine tool industry, including its importance for US manufacturing and the US economy. Note: completion of the ACE CNC Advancing Technology & Workforce Program does not produce a fully-qualified machinist, but should be considered a comprehensive introduction to the field, for those who have no prior experience.
Why was ACE CNC Advancing Technology & Workforce developed?
Jobs in the Machine Tool industry are going unfilled and the need for skilled machinists is now. The ACE CNC Advancing Technology & Workforce program does not produce machinists immediately, but is designed to offer a no-cost comprehensive introduction to an unlimited number of interested people, and a no-cost continuing education opportunity for today’s working machinists.
There’s a lack of understanding among most of today’s students and their parents regarding what modern manufacturing facilities look like: high-tech, clean, and efficient. This program offers a no-cost, in-depth glimpse into this is a high-tech industry that enables people to work with computers and build rewarding careers. For the future generation of machinists and manufacturers, the ACE CNC Advancing Technology & Workforce program is designed to motivate entrants into the industry based on a clear understanding of the total context of machining and the important considerations.
For the existing workforce, already making parts, the ACE CNC Advancing Technology & Workforce program can help machinists make parts more efficiently by learning a new physics-based approach to vibration and how it affects machining processes. The program was intentionally designed to offer short, progressive training modules which can be accessed on-line at no cost and completed at a person’s own pace.
What is a Machine Tool?
Machine tools make the world’s machines. They are integral to our industrial economy, to our health and welfare, and to national defense. Machine tools either directly make, or make the tooling to make, almost everything. They are the basis of modern manufacturing and are fundamental to modern life.
What are Machine Tools used for?
Machine tools directly create aerostructures, automobile engine blocks, scroll compressors, turbine blades, valve bodies, propellers, and more. They make the mold tooling that makes bottles, lids, test tubes, tires, gas tanks, electrical housings, bumpers, dashboards, syringes, contact lenses, and cell phone camera lenses. They make the extrusion dies used to create N95 medical mask filter fibers, Kevlar fibers, pasta, medical tubing, PVC pipes, window frames, and polymer sheets. They make the forming tools used to manufacture auto body parts, white goods, cutlery, helmets, beverage cans, ammunition, wrenches, and more. They produce today’s energy systems, and are critical to U.S. success in cost effective energy generation and distribution.
What is the current state of the U.S. Machine Tool industry?
A low rate of investment in U.S. machine tool innovation for more than a generation has dramatically reduced the ability of the U.S. to generate and produce next-generation machine tools for the manufacture of all kinds of products ranging from medical equipment to transportation to defense materiel. Machine tool companies and domestic supply chains to build modern machine tools have been lost. Today, critical machine tool components commonly procured from overseas include steel, large castings, bearings, ball screws, guideways, spindles, and industrial controls.
Without a domestic machine tool industry, the approximately 30,000 US machine shops (more than 80% of which employ 100 people or fewer) must compete to purchase foreign built machine tools on the world market and demand is outpacing supply. As a result, the existing installed machine base has become dated, inefficient, inaccurate, and incapable of rapidly responding to changing national needs.
With the U.S. currently depending on long international supply chains for basic manufacturing components and equipment, including tooling for injection molds, stamping dies, and much more, our national and economic security has become dependent on foreign sources.
What are some new and future improvements to look for in the Machine Tool industry?
- Development of new sensing, planning and control strategies to increase the reliability of existing machine tools.
- Development of new processes and control algorithms to increase the precision of existing industrial systems.
- Development of materials and methods combining additive manufacturing, in-situ metrology, and precision machining to create high precision ceramic components.
- Research and application of hybrid processes to reduce cost and manufacturing time for dies and molds.
- Development of sensing and control strategies for automated fault detection in machining operations.
- Research and application of processes and materials to additively manufacture shape memory alloy actuators.