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.)

Global Steel Production Up 7% in January
Global production of raw steel totaled 136.5 million metric tons during January 2017, a 1.75% rise from the previous month’s total and a 7.0% increase over the January 2016 total.
Aerojet Rocketdyne Buys Into Missile Technology
Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings agreed to buy Coleman Aerospace from L3 Technologies Inc. for $15 million in cash. Coleman, a systems engineering and integrator that operates as a prime contractor and subcontractor for suborbital launch programs, will operate as a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne.
GE Aviation Vows to 'Blueprint' CMC Material Production
GE Aviation is promising to develop a ‘blueprint’ for industrialized production of ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components, the advanced-material parts it is relying on to reduce weight and improve performance characteristics for its jet engine and land-based gas turbine systems.
Double-Digit Increases for Service Center Steel, Aluminum Shipments
North American service centers’ shipments of steel and aluminum products rose significantly during January 20176, with double-digit increases from December’s results and narrower but still notable year-on-year rises from January 2016. Inventory levels also rose, slightly.
US Cutting Tool Consumption Fell 4.3% in 2016
U.S. manufacturers consumed $176.04 million worth of cutting tools during December 2016, +4.4% from November, +12.5% than December 2015, and bringing total 2016 consumption to $2.042 billion, 4.3% lower than the 12-month total for 2015.
Singapore Airlines Books Big Order for Boeing Jet, GE Engines
Singapore Airlines has ordered 39 new aircraft from Boeing Commercial Airplanes, including 20 777-9Xs and 19 787-10 Dreamliners, an order reportedly worth $13.8 billion. GE Aviation also stands to benefit from the 777X orders, which will mean 45 more GE9X engines.
Scaling High-Performance Computing to Manufacturers’ Needs
Parallel Works is a startup business commercializing technology developed at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago to provide “supercomputing-as-a-service” to SMBs, helping them to achieve economies of scale in managing the expanding volume of information that is constantly redefining businesses and industries.
Honda, Hitachi Agree to Develop Motors for EVs
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. plan to form venture to develop, manufacture, and market motors for electric vehicles. They signed a “memorandum of understanding” preliminary to establishing the new company, which is to be capitalized at about $44.5 million (¥5 billion.)
Global Steel Production Rose in 2016, Just Barely
Raw raw steel production rose just 0.8% year-over-year during 2016, with a 12-month total of 1.628 billion metric tons for the year. Steel output decreased in Europe, North and South America, and Africa, but it rose in Asia, Russia and the CIS, the Middle East, and Oceania.
Software Deal Tied to Smart Manufacturing Strategy
Hexagon AB is buying MSC Software for $834 million in a debt-free transaction that the Swedish high-tech group claimed will strengthen its “smart connected factory strategy,” supplying enterprise “solutions” to vertical manufacturing sectors.
Third Straight Quarterly Decline in Machine Tool Orders
Italian manufacturers’ new orders for machine tools fell for the third consecutive quarter during Q4 2016, though the trade association representing that industry described the situation as “stationary,” with demand from foreign buyers showing notable strength. UCIMU, which represents manufacturers of machine tools, automation systems, and auxiliary products, said its members’ fourth-quarter 2016 new orders rose just 0.3% versus the Q4 2015 result, and that its index of machine tool orders (2010 average = 100) increased to 133.3.
GM, Honda Launch Manufacturing Venture for Fuel Cells
General Motors Co. and Honda Motor Co. are establishing an $85-million operation near Detroit to manufacture hydrogen fuel cells, which will be adopted by both automakers for future vehicles.
$2.1-Billion Award to Boeing for 15 Refueling Jets
Boeing Defense has drawn a U.S. Air Force contract worth $2.1 billion for 15 KC-46A tanker aircraft, spare engines, and wing air refueling pod kits, representing the third low-rate initial production lot for the refueling aircraft.
Rolls-Royce Supplying Power for Special Forces Vessels
Rolls-Royce is under contract to supply diesel marine engines and waterjets to power and propel two new, high-speed watercraft (“UNPAV”), to be used by the Italian Navy’s Operational Incursion Group (GOI).
Lockheed Promises to Meet F-35 Cost Targets
Lockheed Martin CEO Hewson indicated the group would meet the U.S. Department of Defense’s 6-7% target for cost-containment on the critical F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

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