Modern Machine Shop

MAR 2017

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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mmsonline.com March 2017 MMS 67 FEATURE C hris Joest, president and third-generation owner of Imperial Machine & Tool in Colum- bia, New Jersey, says, "Go to any industrial con- cern in this state, and probably you will find at least 5 percent of their manufactured parts could be produced more effectively through additive manufacturing." However, his shop is not interested in that 5 percent. At least not yet. Four years ago, this machine shop of around 40 employees expanded its capabilities to include metal additive manufacturing—that is, making production metal parts through 3D printing, spe- cifically selective laser melting (SLM) of metal p o w d e r. To d a y, i t h a s t w o m e t a l a d d i t i v e Additive Manufacturing Takes Its Place A fourth-generation family machine shop integrates metal additive manufacturing as another production operation. BY PE TE R Z E LI N S K I manufacturing machines from SLM Solutions. This capability is still so unusual in Imperial's area (and among the suppliers seeking business from Imperial's customers) that the shop has enjoyed a head start in finding and taking on those appli- cations that can benefit considerably from re- engineering a part to take advantage of the design freedom that additive manufacturing allows. "We look for the applications that let us say to customers, 'We can rock your world!'" Mr. Joest says. As a result, rather than courting the custom- ers that have 5 percent of their parts as candidates for additive, Imperial has been able to succeed b y s e r v i n g c u s to m e r s f o r w h i c h m o r e l i ke Christian Joest, great grandson of the founder of Imperial Machine & Tool, discusses perhaps the shop's most note- worthy resource today: two selective laser melting machines for additive manufacturing. The photo on the facing page shows parts made through addi- tive manufacturing now in the machine shop for a basic next step: removing the parts from the additive process's build plate.

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