Software's next wave.

Position:Industry outlook 2009

Q: Your company in the last year partnered with both Mazak and Mori Seiki to create some innovative technologies. What role do these types of partnerships play in the advancement of software capabilities, and what insight can they offer you that you otherwise wouldn't have?

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Whether the national economy is booming or staring down the barrel of a lengthy recession, innovation holds the promise of stability. Being able to evolve and refine oneself can provide manufacturers competitiveness in good times or in bad. According to Bill Gibbs, president of Gibbs & Associates, leading CNC manufacturers invest heavily in developing new technologies with just that aim in mind.

"As much as I'd like to take credit for some of their ideas, this is not the role played by CAM software companies," Gibbs said. "Our role is to facilitate a machinist's ability to use the crazy ideas the machine tool manufacturers come up with."

Or, as Gibbs explained, it's one thing to figure out a...

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