A few weeks ago I walked through the exhibition floor of WESTEC and had a great time looking over all the displays. There were Haas machines on the show floor, but they’re CNC grinders from a German company. Not the Haas based in Oxnard, CA. I’m told the two companies were founded by different men with the same family name but not related.
Haas Automation – the home team based in Oxnard, CA – did not participate in the industry trade show. They opted to hold their own event instead. Called HaasTec, I went and as an aspiring machinist I had a great time.
Haas subcontracts out the metal casting operations around the world. Those castings are brought to Oxyard to be machined and assembled. The Haas manufacturing floor is an endless parade of highly automated machinery working on their assigned jobs with minimal human supervision. Many of which are Haas machines built in the very same factory.
There were more people present on the assembly side of the factory floor, with machines in various stages of assembly. The manufacturing workflow is tracked in a computer database and we happened to catch a production manager with some time and he was enthusiastic enough about the system to walk us through a few of his everyday tasks that he can perform on his iPad. It was fascinating to see how high-tech the whole process has become.
After the factory tour we walked through the showroom and watched various sales representatives put machines large and small through their paces cutting metal. As a fun side bonus, we can take home some of these demo pieces as souvenirs.
It was well worth the >3 hours (round trip) drive to attend the event. I certainly enjoyed it much more than I would anything they could have set up on the WESTEC exhibition floor.