MCCC students attend Tech Expo

MCCC students and faculty at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago’s McCormick Center convention center.

A group of MCCC students attended the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.

Professors Martin DuBois and Stephen Hasselbach and technician Mark Reaume accompanied 20 MCCC students to the 2016 show. 

The group left from the CTC parking lot at 6 a.m. Sept. 16 for the five-hour drive to Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center.

The IMTS mission statement is to provide attendees with ideas, information, and demonstrations of new manufacturing technologies.

Hasselbach, a welding instructor, said he observed presentations on many kinds of saws.

He visited Cosen, a saw manufacturer, where he not only got a presentation, but also won prizes.

“I ended up winning a raffle while there for a $25 pre-paid gift card,” Hasselbach said. “Later in the mail I received a Yeti travel mug.”

He attended the Fanuc robotics panel, since they are used in MCCC’s welding program, Hasselbach said.

“I visited several saw exhibits, since I feel the welding lab could use an upgrade,” Hasselbach said. “I also spoke with Scotchman about updating our iron worker.”

He met with the American Welding Society and Lincoln Electric trainers to help him introduce online methods to MCCC programs, Hasselbach said.

“I met to discuss web-based learning and virtual welders being implemented into our welding curriculum,” he said.

The next show won’t be until 2018, and Hasselbach encourages students to take advantage of the trip to expand their knowledge and connections.

“I believe the biggest advantage for students attending shows like this is to see how many opportunities there are in the manufacturing world and to start networking,” Hasselbach said. 

“It’s a great way to meet face-to-face with powerful industry leaders and employers who will be hiring people coming out of our programs offered here at MCCC.”

One of the revolutionary advancements in manufacturing demonstrated at the show was the Vader Liquid Metal 3D Printer. 

Zack Vader, the inventor, said liquid metal printing was a breakthrough when he thought to use a magnetic coil, replicating the same concept as inkjet printing, using electromagnetic propulsion from a nozzle to mold molten metal. 

The printer melts aluminum and its alloys to build parts for engines, aerospace, golf clubs, and other metal additives in a process called magneto-hydrodynamics, Vader said.

The company is already moving into higher temperature metals like copper, brass, and gold, he said.

Vader had to raise $1.3 million to push his technology forward; he started running the printer just last year, he said.

Alexandra Toledo, from the company THK, demonstrated linear motion and rotary robotics. 

“See the robot over there? In the neck and elbows are the parts that allow that movement,” she said. 

The company sells its gears and mechanisms to the automotive industry.

“Clients like Toyota and the Big Three,” said Nick Sakuma, THK’s regional manager, use the linear motion mechanics that we see in car seats moving forward or backward. 

Toledo said their technology also is being used in the medical field.

“The way you see surgeries are being performed, definitely have to do with robotics,” she said.