Our Modern Machines How Our Use of Tools Contributed to Our Modern Society


Tools for engineering

By simply looking around your environment, chances are you will see evidence of human ingenuity somewhere. From the smallest ball-point pens to airplanes and automobiles, many of our modern conveniences are thanks in large part to industrial machine tools and manufacturing. With a market size of around $90 billion, the machine tool industry is one of the key industries within the manufacturing sector. Machine tools did not simply spring up overnight however; they have evolved alongside of us over the course of thousands of years to become the modern tools of efficiency that they are today.

Machine Tools in Human History

Archaeological evidence suggests that the first machine tools were used around the 7th century BCE in ancient Egypt. The hand-powered lathe may have been used for everything from ship crafting to the construction of monuments and other ancient wonders. Tools such as these continued to be used over the course of centuries, yet it was not until the Industrial Revolution when machine tools as we know them today would first begin to emerge. It was Scottish inventor James Watt’s need for perfectly bored cylinders for his steam engine design that inspired the English John Wilkinson to invent the precision boring machine. Wilkinson’s design was further perfected over time as different power sources helped to make more advanced and precise tools — it would be no understatement to say that the development of modern machine tools shaped our very society.

Modern Machine Tools

Cutting tools, spinner machines, and other modern machine tools are constantly utilized in the industrial sector for tool engineering. As machines became more advanced, so too did the materials they played a part in crafting: for instance high-speed steels were developed around 1900 to replace carbon steels — the high-speed steels actually cut four times faster than those carbon steels. Today there are over 30 grades of high-speed steels across three main categories: tungsten, molybdenum, and molybdenum-cobalt based grades. As machine tools become more advanced and expensive, many manufacturers are taking care to invest in precautionary tools and systems to help decrease the potential for breakdowns and costly repairs.

Saving Time and Money With a Machine Monitoring System

A machine monitoring system provides diagnostic information to an operator to help ensure that the machine is running properly. By monitoring the parameter of condition such as vibrations and temperature, operators are able to get a better sense of how the machine is performing and how to determine if maintenance is needed. Of course, many machine monitoring systems can allow operators to fine-tune settings to get a more precise product as well. In addition to all of this, machine monitoring systems can also alert employees when oil levels are getting low or if there in an obstruction in the machine. By investing in state-of-the-art machine monitoring systems, many manufacturers are able to save thousands of dollars on costly repairs that could have been avoided entirely with proper care and maintenance.