Encouraging Women in STEM Through Hands-On Internships

With the current skills-gap looming over the heads of just about everyone in the manufacturing sector, it’s clear that something has to change. Industrial companies need to widen the net to find talent. For many, this involves offering apprenticeships and internships to students. It also means opening the doors to more women in this field.

Female Engineers
Ji Ku, left, and Vanessa Pescatore on the shop floor at PFERD

In an effort to widen our recruitment efforts, PFERD has been offering internships to college engineering majors. This summer, we were proud to onboard two female engineering interns. Here are their stories.

Vanessa Pescatore – Mechanical Engineering Junior at Marquette University 

From a young age, Vanessa has been interested in engineering, taking classes throughout high school. Her teacher encouraged her to pursue mechanical engineering, and she hasn’t looked back since.

“My proudest moment was second semester freshman year when my design team placed third in the KEEN design challenge,” she said. “It was a month long design project that focused on conserving energy. I co-lead the team in making a working prototype for our project that granted us third place out of 17 teams.”

Here at PFERD, Vanessa works with other interns and engineers to design structures that will make production more efficient, as well as re-designing molds to make the brush making process faster and easier.

Back at school, she has her hands full with a number of leadership roles: She is the Philanthropy Chair for Alpha Omega Epsilon- the engineering and technical science sorority, where she organized and led a fundraiser to donate to The Girl Effect; she is a chartering member and Vice President of fellowship for Alpha Phi Omega,  the service fraternity; she is a member of the SAE Baja team to design, build, and race a baja car against other teams across the country – and she was the first female driver for one of Marquette’s cars this past winter; she was also a teaching assistant for the general engineering class for freshman engineers.

“My advice to other women considering this field would be to make sure you actually love what you are doing,” she said. “And to focus on what you actually want to do with the rest of your life while ignoring what society thinks you are supposed to do.”

Ji Ku – Mechanical Engineering Junior at Marquette University with a Minor in Math

Ji’s first introduction to engineering took place in high school through the FIRST Robotics competition, in which she competed on a team.

“It gave me a chance to do lots of hands-on work so I was able to learn how to use all the power tools,” she said. “I really enjoyed this experience so I decided to choose engineering as my major.”

From there she has continued to learn and grow as an engineer. Her biggest accomplishment thus far actually came while interning at PFERD.

“When I first got the molds that I designed and ordered from the tooling company, and saw operators using them, it was the biggest moment for me,” she said.  “It was exciting to see good brushes from the molds that I designed.”

She’s also been able to learn a lot about working internationally. Coming from South Korea originally, she’s been able to immerse herself in American education and manufacturing, learning the nuances of our language and culture.

“Throughout my internship experience, I have been learning a lot everyday not only about engineering but also about the professional work environment,” she said.

As a leading manufacturing of cutting, grinding, and finishing tools, PFERD is proud to work with the next generation of design engineers and help them perfect their craft. Even now, their talent is obvious, and we are excited to see what they produce in the future.

The Products You Need This Construction Season

While it seemed like warm weather would never get here, it’s finally feeling like spring and summer. Though many people are looking forward to vacations and downtime this time of year, there are certain sectors where things are just heating up. In fact, we’ve officially entered construction season.

Construction Worker
Construction Season 2017

For travelers and consumers, construction season may simply indicate delays and detours. But for industrial pros and folks in the construction industry, it’s a time for growth and reinvestment.

In-Demand Products for Construction Season

DUODISC® Combination Cutting & Grinding Discs

For professionals looking to boost efficiency this summer, the DUODISC® lets operators perform cutting, light deburring and surface grinding all with one wheel . These wheels conform to US and international safety standards and are perfect for cutting and grinding steel and stainless steel. For full details, see the product page.

CHOPSAW Cut-Off Wheels for Electric Chopsaws

Chopsaw cutting
Chopsaw cutting through metal

If you’re using electric chopsaws, make sure your cut-off wheels are in good condition. There are a number of options to choose from, and can vary depending on the type of material that will be used.

PFERD chopsaw wheels are available in a wide variety of reinforcement styles and bond types, making it easy to cut anything from sheet metal and tubing to heavy rebar and solid metals.

Cut-Off Wheels for Circular Saws

Just like your chopsaws may benefit from new cut-off wheels, so too can your circular saws. Check to see if your current wheels are in good condition. If they’ve seen a lot of wear, consider replacing them. We supply a number of high quality cut-off wheels for circular saws, which include diamond-shaped bores as needed. Look for products that are designed for your specific material needs, including those for masonry or stainless steel.

Heavy Duty Maintenance Brooms

Brooms and cleaning supplies are an important “tool” in construction and contracting, since keeping a clean work space is key. Depending on the type of surfaces

Heavy Duty Maintenance Broom
Sweeping Up Debris

you’re working on, or the types of debris you’ll encounter, you’ll want to choose a broom made to accommodate that job. For example, fine floor sweeps are recommended for cleaning smooth concrete, while heavy floor sweeps are better-suited for rough pavement and factory floors.  Make sure you’re using the right type of broom for each job.

With the right tools and supplies, you can keep things moving smoothly this construction season. Don’t wait for things to break down before you put in an order for new equipment. Have an ample supply with back-ups ready, or better yet, replace old components before a break down occurs. You’ll be saving time, money, and stress by planning ahead. For more information or any questions, feel free to contact us so we can assist you in your product selections.

Supporting Students’ Interest in Welding Through Friendly Competition

For years now, the United States has been battling the effects of the skills gap in trade professions. Baby boomers are entering retirement, and not enough young people are interested in pursuing blue collar work.

To combat the skills gap, more and more schools, municipalities, and manufacturers are coming together in support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) training programs for students. By introducing technical concepts and applications to children while they’re young, there’s a hope of getting more of them interested in these types of hands-on careers when they’re older.

High School Welding Competition
Student Participants at AWS’ Welding Competition

Recently, we donated products and prizes for Sequoyah High School’s 8th Annual Welding Competition, hosted by the American Welding Society’s Chattanooga Section. The event took place Saturday, February 18th and brought together 15-20 instructors along with dozens of eager students. The projects involved working with steel pipe and steel plates.

Sequoyah High School’s welding program teaches students numerous processes, including oxyfuel cutting, plasma arc cutting, shielded metal arc, gas metal arc, and more. They also learn about safe practices and how to blueprint and layout their projects before beginning.

It was extremely heartening to see so many students who were not only interested in STEM, and welding in particular, but who already

Surface Finishing
Student Welder Showing His Skills

show such promising talent and skill.

Local industry leaders were also invited to attend the Welding Competition to further impress upon students the importance and value of this profession, while discussing career paths. Programs like this are so important in preparing the next generation to enter the workforce, and encourage them to improve their skills in the spirit of competition.

As a leading manufacturer of premium metalworking and surface finishing tools, PFERD was proud to donate materials and to have staff onsite to help make the event a success. We look forward to helping these students find their professions, and close the skills gap together.

Back to Basics: Lessons from a 200+ Year-Old Manufacturing Company

In today’s international economy, technology evolves rapidly, and trends are always changing. When a global company has employees spread out over six continents, it can be difficult to keep everyone on the same page and up to date. So how does such an established company such as PFERD keep our workers across the globe in the loop?

PFERD Headquarters
PFERD Headquarters in Marienheide, Germany

To begin with, even though we can trace our roots back to our founding in 1799, we have continually evolved throughout the years. We are focused on the future, with the intent of creating a legacy of success. By constantly changing with the times, we don’t have to make massive leaps forward every few years, only to fall behind by getting comfortable. We are regularly updating processes, innovate with new products and solutions, and so much more to keep our place as a leading abrasives and brush manufacturer.

Of course, even with the advent of technology such as e-mail, video chat, and conference

Training Session
PFERD Employees Attend a Training Session

calling, there’s little that can replace face-to-face meetings and training. Which is why every year around February, PFERD brings its team members from around the world to our international headquarters in Marienheide, Germany for training, brainstorming, sharing best practices and getting to spend time with peers from our diverse markets. These multi-day training sessions help keep our team up to date on:

  • Training on new product development
  • New regulations introduced in global markets
  • The latest innovations, internal and external, that can be used to improve business practices
  • New marketing communications materials including catalogues, sales tools, and display programs
  • Discussing and developing trade show strategies
  • Addressing different market needs and advancing the company strategy
  • Best practices for use in daily business

By having this face time with our global colleagues, we can tell them what has worked for us, and just as importantly, we can learn what has worked for them, and incorporate it into our own processes. We recently had some of our team members head to Germany for trainings, and are excited to share what we learned with the rest of our North American division.

Keep connected with us here at PFERD for the latest in grinding, cutting, surface finishing, and other metalworking solutions. You can see what we are doing through our Twitter account, connect with us via LinkedIn, and keep up on all of our latest news. You can also learn more about our company by watching our corporate video on YouTube. We are proud to have grown so much in our 200+ year history, and look forward to continuing our success long into the future.

Seeing is Believing – POLIFAN®-CURVE Flap Discs Offer Unmatched Grinding Precision

A fillet weld, the joining of two perpendicular pieces of metal, often presents a difficult challenge.

Grinding a weld seam
Grinding a fillet weld with a POLIFAN-CURVE flap disc

Anytime two pieces of metal are joined through welding, there’s going to be a resulting seam and excess slag. If fabricators and welders want to create a finished product without obvious seams, they’ll need to grind the surfaces where the two pieces of metal were joined. With fillet welds, this grinding takes place in hard-to-reach angles and corners.

Removal of fillet welds is historically accomplished with a bonded (or “rough”) grinding wheel, which is difficult to control, and leaves a gouged, uneven surface that needs to then be smoothed with a finer secondary operation. With POLIFAN®-CURVE flap discs, however, fillet weld seams and slag disappear in seconds, leaving a smooth finish. This also makes it easier to find cracks and inclusions in the fillet if any are present.

Using this disc, welders can grind and finish their work in one step, which saves time while providing a seamless result. The design of POLIFAN®-CURVE is truly what sets it apart from conventional flap discs. While conventional grinding products typically have only one grinding surface, this patented flap disc has three working surfaces – the top face, bottom face, and radial edge –it is not only the secret that allows it to get into tight corners or over odd curves, but it also gives the user a lot more abrasive to work with.

The radius edge of a POLIFAN®-CURVE disc has an additional advantage: Grinding a weld away to a perfect radius is not only a cosmetic advantage, but a structural one as well. A near-perfect radius causes any stress points in the workpiece to be evenly distributed at the weld seam.

Depending on the application, there are several varieties available, ranging in size from 4 ½  to 7 inches diameter, and abrasive options including Zirconia, A/O for

Grinding flap discs
POLIFAN-CURVE Disc Varieties

aluminum and Ceramic Oxide. One example of a project that was completed thanks to the POLIFAN®-CURVE can be seen on YouTube, as Garage Bound, LLC repairs a vintage semi stack holder. We’re always excited to see how customers in real life applications are using our products in their workshops on a daily basis.

More examples of POLIFAN®-CURVE’s grinding and surface finishing capabilities can be found on our YouTube channel. Because this is patented technology,  PFERD and our authorized distributors, along with select retail outlets, are your only source for this one of kind product. For more information, feel free to read through the POLIFAN®-CURVE  product brochure, or give us a call at (800) 342-9015 to discuss your needs. And if you have your own video to share, be sure to give us a shout on Twitter so we can share it in our networks, too!

FABTECH 2016 – A Great Event for the PFERD Team!

Another FABTECH Expo has come and gone, and at PFERD we believe that 2016’s version was a huge success!  FABTECH’s importance in the fabrication, welding and finishing industries is reflected in the strong attendance both in number of attendees and in the vast number of geographical markets around the world visitors represented.  This year’s FABTECH drew attendees from 120 countries with a total of 31,110 visitors over the three day event.

PFERD at FABTECH

FABTECH gives us at PFERD an invaluable opportunity to meet face-to-face with end users.  We had several visitors this year that brought their metalworking challenges directly to our booth.  Not only does this give us an opportunity to use our expertise to solve problems, but it provides us with an opportunity to see some of the unusual applications our customers deal with on a daily basis.

FABTECH is a premier venue for us to highlight the breadth of our portfolio and demonstrate the innovative solutions we bring to users.  Unique, innovative products such as our  CC-GRIND®-SOLID grinding disc, POLIFAN-CURVE® flap disc and DUODISC® cutting and grinding disc were featured in our grinding booth where visitors saw firsthand how these products perform in true applications, and the benefits these products bring to their everyday tasks.

PFERD Grinding Booth at Fabtec

While we are well known for our grinding, cutting and surface finishing applications with hand tools, our brush station gave visitors a first-hand look at our power brush solutions for industrial applications on CNC and robotic machines.  Work pieces and videos highlighted deburring applications with our M-BRAD® composite brush portfolio which focused on overall value through optimization of work processes was a primary focus of our message to visitors.

The PFERDVALUE® program  which highlights how our products and solutions address concerns with operator health and safety, as well as delivering cost savings and productivity increases really resonated with attendees.  A fun and interactive way we were able to demonstrate factors such as noise, vibration, haptics and emissions was with our interactive ERGOCUBE displays.  These displays gave a simulated physical experience of how PFERD’s products improve upon these key areas of concern for operators in the metalworking industry.

PFERDVALUE® program

As PFERD is committed to being an innovative, solutions-oriented manufacturer, we look forward to interacting with both current and future end-users at the FABTECH show. It is an annual highlight of the imagination, innovation, and expertise of the PFERD team, and we can’t wait for FABTECH 2017!

PFERDVALUE® Program at FABTECH 2016

FABTECH is the largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event in North America.  This year it is being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from November 16-18 and PFERD will be there exhibiting at Booth N2004.  As always we will have a strong presence highlighting our precision products and power tools, with a focus on our PFERDVALUE® program.

grinding booth at fabtech
PFERD Applications Specialist in the grinding booth

The PFERDVALUE® program was launched a few years ago to address increasing concerns regarding operator efficiency, health and safety as well as cost savings and process optimization.  It contains two core elements PFERDERGONOMICS® and PFERDEFFICIENCY®. At FABTECH 2016 we will have interactive demonstrations integrated within the exhibit that will display what the program is.

The two core elements of the PFERDVALUE® program:

PFERDERGONOMICS®: This core element of the program captures how PFERD solutions address the human factor with consideration to the health and safety of the operator and how consumables play a part in supporting the human factor.  We will be demonstrating this through interactive displays that focus on four primary concerns: emissions (such as dust), vibration (“white knuckle syndrome”), haptics (force/effort) and noise.  The focus will be to educate on these critical factors and to show process oriented solutions rather than merely products.

ergocube
Try our ERGOCUBES at FABTECH

PFERDEFFICIENCY®: The other core component focuses on work-in-process to ensure cost savings and productivity increases.  This part of the program relies on four basic tenets:  energy savings, waste savings, time savings and resource savings.  Reducing total cost rather than looking solely at the consumable cost is what this program highlights and is our target for every application.  Our high performance burs and M-BRAD® range of composite brushes in off-hand applications such as automatic cut-off, deburring and surface finishing are prime examples of PFERDEFFICIENCY.

Other innovative products that PFERD is known for including our POLIFAN®-CURVE flap discs will be on display and featured in our grinding and finishing booths.  POLIFAN®-CURVE is a  unique product that brings significant advantages to rough and finish grinding applications, and exemplifies several objectives of the PFERDVALUE® program.  With a patented configuration, the POLIFAN®-CURVE flap discs has three fully usable working surfaces as opposed to the single surface of conventional flap discs.  This design makes it the perfect tool for grinding fillet welds as well as unusual curves. Come see our live demonstration in the PFERD grinding booth!

Be sure to visit the PFERD team at BOOTH N2004 at FABTECH 2016, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest news on our show plans.  If you can’t make the show and want to learn more about the PFERDVALUE®   program contact us here.