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Grants Awarded for Addressing Precision-Machining Skills Gap

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
The Precision Machined Products Association’s (PMPA’s) Education Foundation, Brecksville, OH, has announced the awarding of two grants to cover the cost of credentialing incurred by organizations interested in offering the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Right Skills Now (RSN) program for precision machining. The program kicked off in Ohio, with grants in support of the NIMS credentialing program at Lorain County Community College and Stark State College of Technology, as they launch RSN. These grants cover the schools’ NIMS registration and credentialing fees. Through this initiative, students at the two schools can earn four industry-recognized NIMS certifications.
RSN is nationally-recognized as a fast-track solution to providing highly skilled, certified talent to the shop floor. Students enrolled in the Lorain County Community College or Stark State Right Skills Now program will complete 16-24 weeks of coursework, which provides them with the knowledge and skills demanded in precision-machining careers. At the culmination of each course, students complete performance and theory assessments to obtain four industry-recognized NIMS credentials and enter into internships with local employers. Depending on the area of study, students will also receive as many as 20 credits toward an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
“The PMPA Educational Foundation is committed to supporting educational programs like Right Skills Now at Lorain County Community College and Stark State College that provide students with the skills that are most in-demand within the precision machining industry. The need for skilled and credentialed CNC operators is particularly strong in Ohio,” says Miles Free, PMPA director.
“This is just the start of our support of Right Skills Now,” adds Dave Knuepfer, PMPA Education Foundation president. “We are looking forward to helping more institutions qualify to issue RSN credentials and provide the skilled workforce that is needed in all of our shops. As other institutions adopt this program we will consider providing them with the same level of support. ”
For details on Right Skills Now, visit the NIMS website at For more on grant opportunities through PMPA, visit

New LaserCoil Website Details Patented Laser Blanking

Tuesday, September 15, 2015
LaserCoil Technologies LLC, Napoleon, OH, has debuted a website,, that details its patented approach to laser blanking from coil stock. The mobile-friendly website reveals − for the first time − video of the LaserCoil metal blanker in action as well as images and in-depth descriptions of LaserCoil’s laser-cutting products.
The website highlights how these blanking systems can produce parts from 2.1-m-wide coil at higher speeds than have been previously demonstrated with other laser-cutting approaches, according to company officials. This helps companies to achieve yield rates that allow them to consider laser-cutting blanks over traditional mechanical blanking processes. This can help metal processors and OEMs to eliminate the need for stamping dies and achieve greater flexibility and quicker changeover. The website further details how the system can be integrated with existing blanking-line automation to replace a stamping press.

Vari-Form Joins Crowne Group

Friday, September 11, 2015
Vari-Form, Troy, MI, a manufacturer of lightweight, hydroformed structural parts for pickup trucks, SUVs and light vehicles, has announced the acquisition of the company by Crowne Group, LLC. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We are excited to begin working with Crowne, a known leading manufacturer and distributor of component parts in the automotive industry, which has strong long-term relationships with many of its top customers including OEMs and Tier One suppliers,” says Jim Maraz, Vari-Form chief financial officer. “Combining our industry knowledge and building on our customer relationships will enable Vari-Form to maintain and further develop its product offerings for our OEM and supplier partners.”
Adds Stephen Graham, chief financial officer of Crowne: “Vari-Form represents an excellent strategic fit for Crowne with its industry-leading hydroforming technology and strong and expanding base of blue-chip customers, comprised of leading OEMs, Tier One suppliers and a growing number of European and Asian carmakers. We are excited to continue to expand our automotive product offerings and technologies and look forward to working with Vari-Form to successfully execute our growth strategy.”
Vari-Form has three manufacturing locations in North America with a technical center in Strathroy, Ontario, Canada, and a workforce of approximately 400 employees. Vari-Form also is expanding its global footprint with new plants under joint-venture relationships in Mexico and Italy, scheduled to begin operations this year.
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