The New England Advantage

A recent report identified Connecticut and New England as having a distinct advantage over the rest of the nation as manufacturing continues to become more high-tech. This report “The Case for New England’s Manufacturing Revolution,” said the region benefits from highly skilled workers and an established network of suppliers and customers.
Designed to disprove the idea that manufacturing is a dying industry, the report also found that the median wage for advanced manufacturing jobs is between $70,000 and $80,000 per year. The industry has been showing strong numbers for a few years now.
In 2012, in the advanced manufacturing sector, Connecticut had 124,754 jobs out of the 376,517 in the entire New England region. The number of advanced manufacturing jobs in the area has to do with the high demand from the commercial aerospace sector.
There’s a backlog in orders of airplanes that will take many years to fill. Any airline that orders a Boeing 737 has a minimum wait of eight years before the aircraft can be delivered. Demand like that definitely helps keep the industry on its toes.
Many are confident that the industry will continue to provide jobs and contribute to the economy in the New England region. Brooks Associates continues to contribute to the New England advanced manufacturing industry by providing their customers with the machinery and service needed.

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Autodesk BUILD Space Sets a New Standard in Partnerships

We all know the value of networking and partnerships in business or in our everyday lives. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Adam Allard the operations manager of Autodesk’s BUILD space, the acronym for Building Innovation Learning and Design, currently under construction on Drydock Avenue in the Marine Industrial section of South Boston. I am borrowing much of my material from a well written article that appeared in the Boston Globe. It can be found by going to

Adam was kind enough to provide me with a spirited tour and detailed overview of this unique facility. Autodesk plans to open BUILD Space in the spring of 2015. The multi-floor, 70,000 square foot facility will house approximately 200 Autodesk employees. The BUILD Space will incorporate the latest Autodesk software used by architects, engineers and contractors among others. The unique and forward partnership philosophy of Autodesk will incorporate diverse fabrication technologies as part of this exciting project. The first and second floors of the building will include a 5 axis wood router, several types of robotics, 3D printers, machining & turning centers, waterjet cutting and laser cutting. The BUILD Space will be available to practitioners, designers, entrepreneurs, students and researchers giving them access to the latest fabrication technologies.

A few weeks after the Autodesk visit, our company (Brooks Associates Inc.) met with one of our builder partners to discuss improving our mutual visibility in the New England swiss machining market. One of the proposed events discussed was a series of seminars to allow our customers and prospects the opportunity to see the latest product offerings of this particular machine tool builder. I thought back to the visit with Adam Allard, and realized we need to do a much better job of collaborating with our supplier partners to be a better resource of information to our customers so they may be able to take full advantage of the machine tools they invest in. This included a CAM software package designed for multi-axis turning and milling machines. The other is a major cutting tool manufacturer. These two supplier partners would allow us the opportunity to demonstrate the maximum performance of the machine’s cutting capability. The benefits to the customer are quicker programming, reduced set up time, and improved part throughput and part quality. I realize this is not a new concept and many builders and distributors of machine tools are currently taking advantage of partnerships to develop relationships with new prospects and improve existing customer’s processes.

The bottom line for our company is that we can always be looking for ways to do a better job of partnering with our builders and suppliers. I would appreciate any thoughts or comments as to how your shop incorporates this concept into your business.

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New Discoveries in Machining

There is a constant flow of advancements in the world of machining. One such advancement was found recently by researchers at Purdue University that could increase efficiency in machining.
After discovering a type of metal deformation, called sinuous flow, they found a solution to suppress it. Sinuous flow results in very fine folds. Purdue researchers compared it to the patterns created during the flow of highly viscous fluids such as honey and natural rock formations.
This deformation was discovered using high speed microphotography and analysis to study cutting ductile metals. Researchers found that instead of shearing uniformly, as was assumed, the metal deforms into folds.
The solution: by painting the metal with standard marking ink or layout dye, the required cutting force during machining can be reduced by 50 percent while improving the surface quality. Using 50 percent less force creates less heat and vibration, which helps to reduce wear and tear of the metal and the machine.
Researchers only applied the ink to the free surface of the metal, not where it made contact with the tool. Other coatings such as nail polish, resins and commercial lubricants were also tested but none were as successful as the ink.
With the knowledge learned from this study, it can be concluded that there is a possibility for coatings with improved adhesion to be successful in suppressing sinuous flow when machining. It would also reduce required cutting force and energy consumption.

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Nikon Metrology Machine

Metrology is the science of breaking down measurements. Of the activities related to this science, the coordinate-measuring machine (CMM) like the Nikon Metrology Machine is specific to the activity of traceability and sensors.

Using three axes, each one has a scale system that indicates where it is located near the object and then displays these readings in a mathematical form. Arranged orthogonal to each other, the points of the axes can be analyzed by regression algorithms to determine the construction features. The sensors allow exact product dimensions to be measured and later reproduced.

The information provided by a CMM is what machining centers use to calculate the exact dimensions of a product. Without this product specific data, machines would not build with such precision. It is the physical geometrical characteristics of an object recorded by a CMM that allows the standard of replicability of products and one reason machining centers thrive.

Methodology behind traceability is based on the idea that instruments can be redeveloped based on a calculation or set of data regardless of size. Like ratios of ingredients to prepare a given amount of one recipe, the data from CMM should be able to be skewed to replicate the part at any given size. Some examples of this apply especially to the exterior of products. Select parts of aircrafts, ships, and other large machines are often produced in multiple sizes.   When several sizes and identical models exist, precise production of identical sized parts and the ratio between parts directly impacts the function and success of the completed product.

An example of the above can be applied to the select sizes the Nikon Metrology Machine is available in. Each machine can only measure pieces that can fit with its size. Where the Nikon Metrology C3 can measure small parts, and light materials, the larger Nikon Metrology C3 V GP can work on materials such as marine and locomotive equipment.

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Waterjet Cutting


Waterjet cutting is a process capable of cutting nearly anything using highly pressurized water. Using the high-pressure waterjets, or a combination of water and an abrasive substance – this water can cut through food, glass, metal, and much more.  A waterjet using abrasive substances is sometimes also known as an abrasive jet. Examples include the OMAX Abrasive Waterjet Systems.  A waterjet without the use of abrasives is used to cut softer materials and is typically called pure waterjet, or water-cutting only.

Amongst the variety of precision machine tools, waterjet cutting is known as the preferred method for fabrication of many machine parts. From 5-axis water cutting machines, to the more basic operating style, materials such as metal and glass are often cut with waterjets because of their precision and efficiency doing so. However, not everything can be cut with a waterjet. Diamonds and tempered glass are two known materials that cannot be cut with a waterjet. Diamonds are too hard, and tempered glass will shatter.

Beside the waterjet’s ability to cut most material, the machine can be programmed using the CAD system to draw out the part. The machine then adjusts the stream, pressure, and movement based on the information it receives and begins cutting.

Request an OMAX machine demo or contact Brooks Machinery to learn more about various machine lines.

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Milling Machine, the machine center

What’s the most versatile machining tool? If you answered: milling machine or mill, you’re correct. Though it’s not the only machine with a long list of capabilities, it’s ranked pretty high and can confidently be said to have initiated the machining industry. It is fast, efficient, and can produce all sizes and shapes with precision.

Simplified breakdown of the milling machine: a machine that holds and feeds material through a rotating cutter to produce a desired shape.

There are several classifications and methods of milling which are based on the placement of the axis and the location of the spindle and cutter attached to it. These include:


  • Peripheral: The cutter is mounted on an axis that is parallel to the work piece surface to be machined. The milled surfaced is a result of the teeth located on the periphery of the cutter body.
  • Face milling: The cutter is mounted on an axis which rotates perpendicular to the work piece surface. The milled surface is the result of the cutting edges located on the periphery of the face of the cutter.
  • End milling: The cutter is mounted on an axis that is vertical to the work piece. The cutting teeth are found on both the end face and the periphery of the cutter body.


  • Up milling: Direction of the cutter rotates in the opposite direction of the feed. Example, the cutter rotates clockwise, while the material is fed to the right. Hence, material is moving up the opposite way of the rotation.
  • Down milling: The cutter rotation and feed move in the same direction. Hence, the material moves down in the same direction as the cutter.

Milling machines have come a long way since their debut over one hundred years ago. With the advancements in technology, CNC, or computer controlled milling machines have the ability to produce more in less time, with less manual work. From switching out tools on its own, to controlling the speed and shape of multiple rotating axis, the milling machine has become a machining center. Every day different ideas are proposed and implemented to maintain the machining center’s ability to evolve with, and shape the world around us.

With so many functions, machining centers can be categorized further and named based on the application it was built to perform best.

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The CAM/CAD component

What exactly is CAM and CAD? Broken down, CAM translates to “computer-aided manufacturing” and CAD to “computer-aided design”; computer software that guides the processes of a machine. These terms are laden in manufacturing jargon, and if not alluded to, specifically required for most machining products. Most inventions throughout history have had one common motive: to make life easier. Often that means: to eliminate the human component. While machinery has taken over some of the manual work, the advancements of CAD and CAM have increased the need for highly skilled and specialized professionals that resemble computer engineers more than machinists of the past.

Partnership with Delcam (a leading supplier of CAD/CAM software) was a natural extension to the Brooks’ business as their mission to maintain the highest quality equipment, technical proficiency, and commitment to customer service. As a distributor of Delcam’s PartMaker, Brooks ensures that the products are available to fill your machine manufacturing requests.

Delcam’s Partmaker compliments several machine tools offered by Brooks including the full line of machines from Hurco, Ganesh, Nomura, and Willemin-Macodel. Additionally PartMaker holds two U.S. patents on its technology for automating the programming of the multi-axis Turn-Mill Centers and Swiss-type lathes.  They have also actively supported post processors for virtually every CNC machine built over the past 20 years and offer a variety of specialist CAM applications to fit the various niches of your advanced manufacturing needs.

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