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Home / Experts / Mike Riley

Mike Riley

Mike Riley is the former editor of Fabricating & Metalworking magazine.

Articles by Mike Riley

One More Thing That is Certain

For shops that still do business in the same old slow ways, death and taxes are certain. But one other thing is absolutely certain for those who want to stay competitive and profitable.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Many manufacturers are feeling cautious about the economy and hesitant to make new investments until they get a better sense of certainty. But things are changing faster than ever now. Here are some industry forecasts about some market sectors that could be hot and others that may not.

Buyer Awareness

This Product Showcase & Buyers Guide is designed to help you learn more about some of the new equipment and services that can give you a competitive advantage in your operations.

Bionics and the Future of Flight

Of all the advances taking place in the aerospace industry, none holds more promise than additive manufacturing, a disruptive mother lode of quicker throughput, more cost-effective components, and unimaginable freedom of design in lightweight construction and function integration.

Welcome to the Internet of Things

On this playing field, anything that can be connected, will be connected. Those who can adapt to connecting will thrive. Those who can’t, well . . .

Buyer Awareness

This Product Showcase & Buyers Guide is designed to help you learn more about some of the new equipment and services that can give you a competitive advantage in your operations.

Return of the Forgotten Economic Engine

State of the Industry: The sleeping giant has been awakened. As U.S. manufacturing enters into a vibrant new era where industry forces are disrupting the status quo, the eighth largest economy in the world should grow stronger than ever before.

Buyer Awareness

This issue is designed to help our readers research, plan and execute some of their most successful strategic investments over the coming year. 

The Brave New World of Obamacare

In the midst of a U.S. manufacturing renaissance, the disastrous rollout of Obamacare could put a crimp on manufacturers – particularly small shops. Of the nearly 11,000 pages (and counting) of new regulations imposed by this new law, no one really understands the full impact that lies ahead, what new regulations will be added, or how other arcane portions of the law will be changed in the future. Here is a general review of what we do know so far. 

The Elephant in the Room

Manufacturing continues to call on high schools to offer more skills training and increase their emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. But the coming generations we are trying to attract into our world need more than this. They need to understand why the companies that will value their backgrounds will also nourish their lives and their souls.

Sodick Showcases Wire EDM Linear Motor Drive Technology

The Smart Technology Event conducted live demonstrations of a new range of rigid linear motor driven Wire EDM machines and other high speed machine tools that offer small to mid-size shops a competitive advantage through improved part accuracy, repeatability, speed and acceleration.

Build It They Will Come

Mike Riley reports on how manufacturers are supporting the emerging MTConnect® and ISO 13399 standards for sharing tool and machine data that will help job shops large and small improve their efficiencies and increase capabilities.

The Shape of Things to Come

Take a few moments to think about a future of new digital marketplaces where, instead of people simply shopping for products online, they instead design and build the exact products they want. Talk about mass customization.

Continuing Education… On a CNC? (The Prequel)

Mike Riley reports on how this grassroots response – the heart of the new industrial revolution now taking place in America – recognizes how to use shop floor-oriented continuing education in advanced technologies to offset the profound impact of cheap foreign labor on U.S. manufacturing.

Competing in the World of Big Data

The manufacturing sector has come far in its use of analytic data, but not far enough. Ben Kerschberg of the BK Advisory Group explains why manufacturers who do not embrace a complete vision of using this tool will soon find themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage.

Uncle Sam’s New Role in Manufacturing

The economic rebound that American manufacturing is enjoying right now will not be sustained without our government helping to create a globally competitive business climate. Mike Riley explores the good news that Uncle Sam appears to have finally heard the word.

The Politics of Manufacturing

Unemployment is not going to improve in our country unless we have political leaders who actually address our overall decline in manufacturing. With a presidential election right around the corner, Mike Riley shares some thoughts to consider from Washington insiders about the relationship between our government and American manufacturing, and a tax proposal that could potentially boost U.S. manufacturing.

In Memoriam

As the excitement, wonder and awe of the IMTS 2012 event showcases the latest advances in metalworking technology, it is with a heavy heart that Mike Riley pauses to share the sad news of the passing of a great man.

Cold As Ice Technology Is a White Hot Breakthrough

Want to get more competitive? Mike Riley reviews the recent advancements, capabilities and advantages of Minimum Quantity Cryogenics machining from MAG that will be on display next month at IMTS, including dramatic increases in material removal rates and extended tool life on difficult-to-machine materials.

The Long and Winding Road (Part Two)

Tomorrow is Here: Mike Riley reports on how EBDM could be the mother lode that Uncle Sam is searching for to improve the value of the F-35 fighter while other additive technologies are making impacts in medicine, in electronics, in the arts, and even in the home.

The Long and Winding Road

Mike Riley reports how the recent DoD agreement between Lockheed Martin and Sciaty points to EBDM as a promising new technology that could potentially change the world of machining high-value parts.

Labor Revisited, Part Two: A Different World

Much of our work right now is still physical, but we have all witnessed a lot of manual labor vanish into the digital world of sensing, digital communication, and intelligent response. Physical jobs are disappearing into the second economy, and guest columnist W. Brian Arthur believes this effect is dwarfing the much more publicized effect of jobs disappearing to places like India and China.

Labor Revisited

In part one of a two-part series, guest columnist W. Brian Arthur explores the rise of the digital economy that he believes is beginning to supplant the physical economy.

Armed to the Teeth

In the rapidly changing medical industry, the talented entrepreneurs at allshape AG are transforming the dental technician profession from a craft-based profession to one based on CAD programming as dental labs search for more sources to deliver customized and innovative dental implants as quickly as possible to patients.

2012 State of the Industry: Manufacturing Carries the Load

Insights for Strategy and Planning: In our deepest survey ever, fabrication and metalworking executives share their personal assessments of the current state of business, the market sectors they see with the most business activity, the critical issues and major trends that are developing within the industry, and how advancements in technology are changing how companies will compete during the coming year.

THE YEAR AHEAD: LOOKING GOOD

Guest columnist Chris Kuehl of FMA explains how the U.S. economy can grow in 2012 if four key issues are addressed clearly, logically, and in a coordinated manner.

TOUGH TIMES: THE IMPERATIVE FOR PROCESS CONTROL

Mike Riley presents a simple model from industrial metrology supplier Renishaw Inc. that explains the sources of process non-conformance and the process control methods to address them – something manufacturers will need if and when times get tough.

EDUCATION: CHANGING THE STATUS QUO

Doing More With Less: Guest columnist Dale Petts of Simonds International sees a perfect storm brewing as baby boomers retire and young people view factory work as dirty, dangerous and unfulfilling. But he also sees an industry that is discovering how online training technology can build the competitive value of its workforce.

LARGER THAN LIGHT

When Camman Industries was called upon to custom design chandelier lighting fixtures for a new church, they partnered with Acme Metal Spinning to fabricate the very large bowl structure.

DUST IN THE WIND?

The free market price for natural gas is about two-thirds of the subsidy given to wind, yet wind still cannot compete in the open market. With our nation being challenged to reduce its debt and shrink the federal budget, Mike Riley explains how the reality of business economics is beginning to erase some of the hype about this one-time darling of renewable energy.

2011 BUSINESS OUTLOOK: CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM

Things appear to be looking up in the metalworking industry. But one leading economist cautions manufacturers not to count their eggs before they’re hatched.

FAILURE TO PERFORM

Ed Zitney, Jr. of SKF Machine Tool Services identifies some potential root causes of spindle failure, along with recommendations to help keep unscheduled downtime at bay.

ONE LAST WISH: A SLOW BOIL

Mike Riley explains why our newly-elected Honorables must fight Boiler MACT, an EPA proposal that could devastate America’s manufacturing base and place 800,000 jobs at risk over ridiculous requirements on commercial and industrial boilers.

HYDROFORMING OUTSIDE THE BOX

Scott Pryer of Pryer Technology Group explains to Mike Riley how fabricators, in their pursuit of flexibility and competitive advantage through new sheet metal forming technologies, are discovering how to look to the past to realize the future.

STUDENTS, MEET YOUR NEW TEACHER MR. ROBOT

The future of manufacturing automation is being revealed in these advanced robots, which are both smart enough and engaging enough to rival humans at some teaching tasks. Mike Riley takes an exciting ? but somewhat creepy ? glimpse into the world of tomorrow.

MANAGING AN INFLECTION POINT

U.S. manufacturing is on the brink of a profound change in the way it conducts business. Mike Riley explains how small shops must recognize and prepare for this in order to survive and remain competitive.

STRATEGY: PLACE OLD ON HOLD

Mike Riley examines how the phrase ?a crisis is a terrible thing to waste? has taken on a life of its own at this machine tool builder, which is using the downturn to prepare for the recovery and develop new products and services.

THEME SONG

Mike Riley examines why the institution that revolutionized the way we build things is now associated more with recalls than with quality because they left the two themes they helped establish.

THE EMPLOYEE MEETING

Food For Thought: Mike Riley presents a reasonably accurate portrayal of what could occur in a typical small business with the current political climate.

LESSONS FOR A POST RECESSION WORLD

No Return To Normal: Facing reduced revenues, manufacturers are struggling to find deeper cost cuts that will save them until the recovery. But if the automotive industry serves as an indicator of things to come, Mike Riley identifies some other lessons that every business might consider to prepare for a very different future.

NAKED AND UNASHAMED: ECONOMIC CENTRAL PLANNING

Living In Neverland (Part Two): Mike Riley reveals how cap-and-trade is not only the largest tax increase in history, but an economic restructuring that threatens to cripple steel manufacturing and alter our entire business model of free enterprise.

LASERS KICK IT UP A NOTCH

The Best of Both Worlds: Higher speeds and innovative cutting techniques are making 2D laser cutting more versatile and productive on all materials, including thick non-ferrous materials. In the world of 3D laser processing, modular 5-axis laser cutting systems are being tailored to specific application needs. Mike Riley takes a closer look at how these technologies are transforming the industry.

LIVING IN NEVERLAND

Cap-and-trade is a controversial bill based upon the flawed science of global warming. It represents the largest tax increase in history. In part one of this series, Mike Riley explains how this bad bill could cripple manufacturing.

WHO MOVED OUR CHEESE?

Mike Riley revisits a business fable that answers this question by examining some concrete steps we all must take to survive this troubled economy ? and to be prepared when it returns.

UNSEEN GREEN

Environmental Disconnect: Is our planet really ?going green?? Take a drive through your town and count the number of solar panels or wind turbines actually being used. Mike Riley explains how the education portion of the stimulus package could really be effective.

PICTURE OF HEALTH

The Doctor Is In: Mike Riley conducts an examination of the medical side of Obamanomics that reveals why universal healthcare is not good for manufacturing.

A TOAST

Commentary from Mike Riley: A salute to no more cone tops, no more crowntainers, no more church keys, and – with all due respect to Jimmy Buffet – no more pop tops.

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO

A crumbling economy … over two million taxpayers out of work … millions more have lost their homes … demand for CEOs to work for free … let’s give ourselves a raise! Commentary from Mike Riley.

THE INDUSTRY & OBAMANOMICS

What’s hot, what’s not. Critical issues and solutions. potential trends and disruptive technologies. Mike Riley explores all of this and some thoughts on the new administration, too. Who could ask for anything more?

SHOW STOPPER: THE DEMISE OF THE DOLLAR

Part Two: What’s the end game? Is there a new kid in town? Not yet. But get ready, it’s coming. Mike Riley answers the question no one wants to ask.

Calendar & Events
The Assembly Show
October 27 - 29, 2020
Virtual
AmCon Cincinnati
November 4 - 5, 2020
Duke Energy Convention Center – Cincinnati, OH
AmCon Detroit (Novi)
November 17 - 18, 2020
Suburban Collection Showplace – Detroit (Novi), MI
Southern New England Design-2-Part Show
December 3 - 4, 2020
Mohegan Sun Exposition Center, Uncasville, CT
AmCon Seattle (Tacoma)
February 9 - 10, 2021
Tacoma Convention Center – Seattle (Tacoma), WA
AmCon Wichita
March 3 - 4, 2021
Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center – Wichita, KS
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