• McNeil Industries has acquired the assets of Precision Guide Systems. Both companies are based in Willoughby, Ohio. McNeil Industries is an ISO-certified supplier of engineered sealing products, precision machined components, and special bearings. Its value-added services include subassembly and treatments for high-speed wear parts. Other products in the McNeil line include Maxim bearings, precision guide systems, and oxygen concentrator components.

    Precision Guide Systems manufactures special leader pins, bushings, and ball bearing retainers for the metal packaging industry. PGS developed and perfected flanged style guide pins and bushings, and continues to make improvements to them. Its primary products are specialty ball-bearing style guide systems and it also distributes Lamina Inc. products. These include standard ball bearing, plain self-lubricating, and Lamiglide-style components.

    PGS head Joe Novak will take on the role of executive vice president responsible for product and market development. McNeil Industries will provide administrative and operational systems for the combined companies while supporting the PGS sales team.

  • A budget request for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was submitted to Congress by the President on Feb. 7, and includes appropriations for manufacturing.

    Industrial Technology Services (ITS) could receive $46.8 million to fund the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program. This will help small manufacturers become more competitive and productive. In addition, an initiative for Scientific and Technical Research Services (STRS) includes a request for $19.6 million for advanced manufacturing.

    In other news, a new STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Data) standard has been introduced by NIST and PDES Inc., an industry consortium of aerospace, automobile, shipbuilding, and computer software corporations. Called AP203 Edition 2, it should help ensure that tomorrow's engineers will be able to understand today's complex designs.

    STEP is a universal format for product data that allows industrial partners with different proprietary software to understand and share engineering data. The new standard allows more sophisticated descriptions of proprietary designs and processes, thus eliminating the need for manufacturers to understand and consult a wide variety of original software programs.

    The standard covers three-dimensional mechanical designs and assemblies, and will help engineers duplicate or repair complex machines such as aircraft or ships, long after the original design and manufacturing software has been discontinued or changed. It will be published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

  • B&R Industrial Automation has increased its presence in the United States with the expansion of its exclusive sales territories by its distribution partners, PacMation Inc. and Integrated Motion Inc. Currently, B&R provides local sales and engineering support through direct sales offices and distribution partners in Washington, Idaho, Northern California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Georgia. All locations, including company headquarters in Atlanta, provide sales, technical support, training, and application engineering. Later this year, the B&R U.S. team plans to expand its Automation Partner Program even further to provide stronger local service.

  • Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc., Vernon Hills, Ill., has been contracted to supply automation products, machine controls, IT validation, startup, training, and support services at two new Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plants in Dundee, Mich. GEMA is an alliance between Chrysler Group, Mitsubishi Motors, and Hyundai Motor Co. that will manufacture four-cylinder automotive engines.

    The two facilities will begin producing “world engines” in September 2005 and 2006. “World engines” are four-cylinder, 1.8, 2.0, and 2.4-L gasoline engines for small and mid-sized vehicles. With leading-edge, flexible machining, assembly, and process technologies, the plants will manufacture 840,000 engines.

    The motion control solutions provided by Mitsubishi Electric Automation to the GEMA plants include about 250 Mitsubishi Electric Q PLCs, 400 A900 GOT HMIs, and more than 100 ME-J2S servos for complete engine assembly and head and block lines. More than 100 Mitsubishi compact C64 CNCs will also be used for head, block lines, and gantries on machinery controls.