The word is continuous.When other manufacturing companies were tapping the brakes during COVID, Mazak Corp. did the opposite, continuing expansion at its Florence, Kentucky, campus, which now is comprised of almost one million-sq.-ft. under roof.“During the COVID period, we completed an expansion of our North American parts distribution center,” says Dan Janka, president of Mazak and chairman of the board at AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. “We also opened a brand-new spindle rebuild facility, and we didn’t lay off a single associate.” Since Mazak Founder Teruyuki (Terry) Yamazaki made the decision in 1968 to have a footprint in North America, the company has made 20 expansions at Florence. Mazak manufactures more than 70 different machining solutions (“Mazaks building Mazaks”) at the facility, with most models targeted for North and Central America. The company also imports over 300 different models to serve vertical industries.A World of Firsts“Mazak was the very first to introduce multi-tasking technology to the world, and we continue to pioneer technology that provides single-setup complete part machining,” Janka notes. “For example, we’ve since added the ability to do hot wire laser deposition 3D printing inside a high-precision five-axis machine tool, specifically our HYBRID Multi-Tasking machines.”Janka sees tremendous opportunity in hybrid technologies, as well as the continued evolution of digital technology to augment the sophisticated machine tools developed today. With AI, optimization is exponential.“We started dabbling in AI about five years ago,” he says. “We partnered with the University of Cincinnati and Dr. Jay Lee*. We were able to develop a system of spindle monitoring whereby, within a range of plus or minus 10%, we can predict the life of the spindle and the area of the spindle that’s most susceptible to failure.”Continuous Workforce Mazak University (MU), now three years into development, consists of four levels of training and more than 400 online classes that employees can take. A mission priority is retention, which has improved dramatically, as has Mazak’s ability to recruit. For example, if an employee wants to move to a different or higher-level position, they can use MU to find out what they need to learn in order to move into that position, as well as seek tuition assistance outside of MU. MU demonstrates Mazak’s commitment to providing all employees with future possibilities and potential for continuous improvement.“My vision for the world is a world where there’s a continuous pipeline of young, excited, energetic, skilled folks entering the world of manufacturing here in North America,” Janka says.Check out the future of machine tool manufacturing by connecting with Mazak in booth #338300 at IMTS 2024.*Dr. Lee is now with the University of Maryland. 
What is the world according to Dan Janka? “Continuous” characterizes Janka’s outlook on manufacturing, a world where people, innovation, improvement, and progress never cease. Janka envisions a horizon of endless potential. Hybrid and digital technologies — along with AI — present an expansive continuum of opportunities for the future.