Brad Kuvin Brad Kuvin
Editorial Director

Our Industry's Strengthening Pulse

July 1, 2017

A 2006 post to the website forum of Practical Machinist noted the “death” of the old Niagara Machine and Tool Works plant in Buffalo, NY, the site where the company in its various forms built stamping presses, press brakes and similar equipment. The blogger, who included several photos, expressed with great sadness: “It’s fascinating to be in a plant such as this, and to think of the activity that once went on there.”

Well, the same can be said of senior editor Lou Kren and myself as we researched and developed the articles in this issue of MetalForming commemorating the 75th anniversary of our parent organization, the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA). It’s fascinating to review PMA’s rich history and to ponder the critically important role it has played in the health and well-being of North American manufacturing. And, we’ve both reflected on the numerous missions PMA has undertaken to help metalforming and fabricating companies flourish. We hope you’ll do the same as you read this month’s issue.

Yet, just as the missions of PMA and MetalForming continue to live on, with a strengthening pulse, so does the site of the Niagara Machine and Tool Works plant. Yes, I am happy to share with you the news coming from the city of Buffalo and the state of New York: Demolition has started at the historic Niagara Machine site, as it undergoes a $60-million renovation to become a light-industrial business hub.

The plan, forwarded by the Buffalo Urban Development Corp., is to convert 100,000 sq. ft. of space (the complex once housed 235,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space) into a new state-funded $44 million workforce-training center. And, the site also will serve, as I recently learned, as the new and expanded home of the EWI Buffalo Manufacturing Works (BMW). Applied R&D performed by BMW fits into three targeted, burgeoning technologies: additive manufacturing, advanced automation, and metrology and inspection.

Note: Look for my in-depth article on BMW’s work in additive manufacturing in the next issue of our sister publication, 3D Metal Printing magazine.

Yes, it’s ironic, and fascinating, that a portion of the former site of the iconic Niagara press plant will be repurposed as an applied R&D facility, with a focus on new-technology developments critical to the future of our industry. The same goes for rejuvenating part of the site to support the training and education of the next generation of the manufacturing workforce, which of course will require a completely different skill set than for those trained to run Niagara presses.

Training the future manufacturing workforce and integrating state-of-the-art technology are recognized as critical to the continued success of our metalforming facilities. That’s what we heard from the industry professionals we spoke with for the special PMA-anniversary section that appears in this issue. As noted in Kren’s retrospective piece looking back on PMA’s rich history, while also providing a glimpse at its future, educating the industry always has been a focus for PMA, and that mission—more critical than ever—lives on.

Finally, Kren writes (citing an interview with PMA’s newly appointed president Roy Hardy):

“Key to competitiveness is linking members to the latest, most effective technology, making PMA a matchmaker for members and technology.”

Industry-Related Terms: Run, Center
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Training


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