JK Machining has been cranking away out of Kalamazoo, Michigan since 1980. The company makes high-production molds designed for 1 million+ cycles, churning out AC outlets, trim bezels, cup holders and other automotive interior components as well as molds for the medical device industry.

These customers expect high quality, better mold-parting lines, better finishes, tighter tolerances, and reasonable costs. Most of all, they want it fast. President of JK Machining, Henry Kalkman, told Modern Machine Shop magazine that his company used to have a 18-22 week window to make a mold.

“Now that’s down to 10 to 12 weeks,” he says. “All of our customers want to get to market faster. Offshore moldmakers have an advantage in cost, and are bringing up their level of quality. They are our main competitors.”

Expanding upon their already sizable Portland presence, Daimler Trucks announced they're opening a new Automated Truck Research and Development Center. The center will be at their company HQ on Portland's Swan Island industrial park, just down the road from Applied CAx's offices.

The center will spearhead a global network of hundreds of engineers, the company says, devoted to the field of automated driving. As a large user of Siemens PLM's NX, we look forward to their ongoing R&D engineering efforts in conjunction with Daimler Trucks locations in Stuttgart, Germany and Bangalore, India.

Our CAE support team made the trek last week to join 25+ engineers to look at upcoming features in FEMAP v12. The team says they're excited with upcoming features, with many "quality of life" items included to improve functionality and ease of use. As our FEMAP support engineer Brian Kolb said, "There were items that I was thinking about  just last week."

Scheduled for a mid-summer release, we're hoping to get our hands on a beta version soon. In the meantime we're happy to share a few photos and the slide presentation our FEMAP guru gave at the event: "Linear and Nonlinear Analysis with FEMAP and LS-DYNA."

To make sure you have the latest PLM software versions and have customized support, we offer maintenance contracts with our seats & licenses. This service allows you to optimize your team's use of your investment along with updated software versions.

Benefits include:

• Siemens PLM software updates: bug fixes, new software enhancements, ongoing feature improvements
• Siemens PLM software upgrades: major feature improvements, new technologies & methods
• Technical support from Applied CAx’s application engineers
• Personalized phone support of your team from our team
• Scheduled customer care visits
• Applied CAx web training seminars
• Access to Applied CAx’s library of online tutorials for FEMAP, NX CAD, and NX CAM
• Access to Applied CAx’s API libraries
• Siemens GTAC technical support

We recently held a great event for the Pacific NW community showcasing what NX can do. It's something we do twice a year to showcase both NX Software and our talents.

In his welcome speech our CAD-CAM-PLM director Pat Barrett kicks things off by highlighting some industry & usage trends we're seeing.

Interested in our next event? Sign up for updates and keep tabs on our Portland NX Users Group and our Seattle NX User's Day.

Possible precautionary tale for cutting-edge manufacturers

photo credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

Tesla’s been under pressure for some time now. In order to justify huge expenditures, such as their $1.3 billion Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, the company set seemingly manageable goals for production of the Model 3 sedan. The company reduced its target down to 2500 vehicles a week, but has been clocking in at 2000 vehicles. This under delivery has caused jitters for both the company and its investors.

Recently however, some financial analysts pointed at a surprising possible source of the problem: over-automation on the factory line. In particular they called out the attempt to automate final assembly.