Robert Brooks

Editor-in-Chief, American Machinist

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)

Honda Plans Expansion at Alabama SUV/Pickup Plant
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama plans to invest $85 million to expand one of its light-truck assembly lines, describing it as the first stage of a multi-phase project to improve manufacturing flexibility, and logistical efficiency “for future models and prepare for future technologies.”
Rolls-Royce in Partnership for 'Smart Ship' Technologies
Rolls-Royce and Singapore’s Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine have reached a “memorandum of understanding” detailing their plans for a partnership to develop smart ship technologies. Their goal is to develop technologies for remote-controlled and autonomous ships, including smart sensing, digital twinning, and integrated modeling.
February Tonnage Shows Global Steel Output Stabilizing
Global steel production fell 8.2% from January to February, totaling in 126,579,000 from 67 countries, reported by the World Steel Association. That figure represents a 4.1% increase over the February 2016 total, and brings 2017 total global steel production to 26,416,000 million metric tons, a rise of 5.8% year-to-date versus the 2016 two-month total.
'Most Powerful' Laser Set to Arm Tactical Vehicles
A 60-kW combined-fiber laser has been developed by Lockheed Martin, and now will be delivered to the U.S. Army, for evaluation as a defensive weapon for deployment on tactical vehicles.
Lockheed Claims Continuing Progress in F-35 Cost-Cutting
Lockheed Martin continues to work to cut the cost of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, even as it negotiates terms for the eleventh and largest production lot to date. The goal is to cut a further $5 billion in overall costs.
Boeing Draws $3.4B U.S. Army Contract for Apache Helicopters
Boeing Defense has a new, $3.4-billion, five-year contract award to supply the U.S. Army with 244 remanufactured AH-64E Apache helicopters. It will be the first multi-year award for the advanced “E” model of the attack helicopters, which Boeing emphasized would ensure combat readiness and cost savings.
Shipments of Steel, Aluminum Dropped in February
Shipments of steel and aluminum products by U.S. service center operations declined during February, following an uptick during January, while the Canadian centers’ shipment “declined substantially, according to the Metals Service Center Institute.
Airbus Makes First Delivery to Iran Air
Airbus SAS made the first aircraft delivery to Iran Air under the “landmark” contract announced late last year. The A330-200 was delivered at the Airbus delivery center in Toulouse, France, representing the first of 54 wide-body jets, and 100 jets in total, to be supplied under the contract.
Boeing’s China Plant to Start Up in 2018
Construction is set to begin this month for Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ new plant in Zhoushan, China, about 100 miles south of Shanghai. The plant, developed jointly with Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., will complete Boeing 737 jets assembled at Renton, Wash., installing interior fixtures and painting on the “liveries” of the carriers that will operate the aircraft.
Caterpillar in Partnership to Develop 3DP Aluminum, Titanium Parts

Caterpillar Inc. has an agreement in place with FIT AG to design and produce aluminum and titanium parts using additive manufacturing technologies. “Caterpillar has a long history of creating innovative products designed to fit the needs of our customers and entering into a strategic alliance with a leader in additive manufacturing will help further that tradition,” according to Stacey DelVecchio, Caterpillar Additive Manufacturing project manager.

Machine Tool Orders Declined Again in January
Domestic manufacturers’ new orders of machine tools fell 40.7% from December 2016 to January 2017, from $425.18 million down to $252.21 million, and chilling for now some of the optimism that has been building in the U.S. manufacturing sector. The year-on-year comparison shows the January results fell 11.4% from January 2016’s total.
Embraer Introduces Final Variant of New Jet
Brazilian jet-builder Embraer S.A. unveiled the E195-E2 twin-engine jet for the first time this week, and followed up by naming Azul Brazilian Airlines as the launch customer for the extended-model regional aircraft. The E195-E2 is the last and largest of the E-Jets E2 series of medium-range aircraft, the first of which will be delivered next year.
High-Precision, High-Efficiency Ideas for Machine Shops
Precision is at the core of every effort in every machine shop, not simply to complete turning, grinding, milling, etc. with exceptional accuracy and finish quality — but to get every task, every problem, every idea or inquiry addressed effectively, efficiently and profitably. No wasted steps, no missed opportunities.
January Cutting Tool Consumption Fuels Optimism
Machine shops and other U.S. manufacturers consumed $173.05 million worth of cutting tools during January, an increase of 8.7% from December total ($159.17 million) and from January 2016 ($159.22 million.)
After $150M Investment, Honda Starts New Transmission Production
Honda Motor Co. started producing its new 10-speed automatic transmission at a plant in Georgia that was the site of a $100-million assembly line installation, and other changes in production processes.

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