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.)

Pratt & Whitney, Machinists Union Settle Five-Year Deal
Approximately 2,600 workers at Pratt & Whitney’s jet-engine manufacturing operations in Middletown and East Hartford, Conn., approved a new, five-and-a-half-year labor agreement. The contract goes into effect immediately and runs through May 2022.
Rolls-Royce Downsizing, Reorienting its Marine Business
Weakness in the oil-and-gas sector is one factor prompting Rolls-Royce Plc to accelerate downsizing and restructuring its Marine business. It will reduce total employment in the division by 800, and increase development of new electrical and digital technologies, and new propulsion technologies.
Tool-and-Die Makers Warn Against Tool-Steel Import Duties
The National Tooling and Machining Association and Precision Metalforming Association brought their members’ concerns about new carbon and alloy steel tariffs to a hearing at the U.S. International Trade Commission.
10 New Technologies for Machine Shop Performance and Convenience
Manufacturing technology never stops being complex: machine shop operators, managers, programmers, and leaders (sometimes, they’re all the same person!) want answers, options, and opportunities — products and processes that will help them do their work with fewer obstacles, better results, and maybe even more revenue.
Both Boeing, Airbus Claim Success in WTO Ruling
The World Trade Organization ruled that Boeing Co. received an unauthorized subsidy in 2013 in the form of tax abatements from the State of Washington, relating to Boeing’s 777X assembly operations there.
GKN Driveline Expanding eAxle Program with BMW
GKN Driveline is extending a global partnership with BMW to include supplying electric axle drive systems for a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X1 crossover vehicle, for the Chinese market. The new driveline system is part of a scalable family of eAxles used in the plug-in hybrid BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe.
Global Steel Production Rose 3.3% for October
Global raw-steel production rose 2.6% from September to October, totaling 136,522,876 metric tons, with similar percentage increases in most of the major steelmaking nations and regions tracked by the World Steel Association. Year-over-year, raw-steel production is 3.3% higher in October 2016 than in October 2015. Year-to-date, global raw-steel production is still slightly (-0.69%) below the January-October 2015 total.
Boeing Pegs Regional Demand at Nearly 5,000 New Jets
Boeing Commercial Airplanes forecasts demand for 3,860 new aircraft in the Southeast Asian region for the 2016-2035 period, with a projected value of $565 billion; and for 1,020 new aircraft for the Oceania region, a total it estimates at $160 billion.
GE Aviation Venture Building New Coatings Plant
Advanced Ceramic Coatings, a joint venture of GE Aviation and Turbocoating Corp., will build a new plant in Duncan, SC, to produce “environmental barrier coatings” for ceramic-matrix composite (CMC) jet-engine parts. The 62,500-sq.ft. plant will start up in 3Q 2017.
Service Center Shipments Continued to Slow in October
North American metals service centers’ October shipments continued to decline on a year-over-year basis, though U.S. centers steel shipments increased significantly over the previous month’s total.
GE Aviation, China’s Comac Collaborating on Digital Projects, Analytics
GE Aviation agreed with Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China to “explore and collaborate” digital customer and product support monitoring and diagnostics, “intelligent aircraft,” and Brilliant Manufacturing.
Boeing Downsizing Defense Operations for Greater Efficiency
Boeing Co. is downsizing its St. Louis-based Defense, Space & Security business unit, consolidating some operations and reducing employment by a “in order to push ourselves farther and win more business,” according Leanne Caret, president and CEO of the business unit.
Siemens Swings $4.5B Deal for Mentor Graphics
Siemens AG entered into a merger agreement with Oregon-based Mentor Graphics that will see the industrial group take over the design automation and industrial software developer for an estimated $4.5 billion, and improving Siemens’ resources for revamping industrial automation networks in preparation for the Industrial Internet of Things.
U.S. Machine Tool Orders Rose 56% in September
U.S. manufacturers’ new orders for machine tools surged 56% from August to September, and 52% over the September 2015 result, totaling $497.25 million for the month. The orders are explained as an effect of September’s IMTS 2016 event.
Lockheed CEO Stresses Strong Defense-Industrial Base
Against a backdrop of anxiety stemming from a revival of some Cold War-era military tensions, plus uncertainty following the U.S. presidential election, and recent controversies concerning the overruns of critical U.S. defense programs, Lockheed Martin chairman Marillyn Hewson spoke to a NATO industry forum to stress the importance of a strong “defense-industrial base.”
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