If recent product introductions are any indication, after the current ruinous downturn is over, a rising tide of orders will release a flood of highly engineered, flexible, efficient, and automation-ready machining centers for contract manufacturers and OEMs alike to consider. Manufacturers will be able to select machining centers, principally HMCs, optimized for their applications, whether stand-alone, or in cellular or flexible manufacturing configurations. Manufacturers are looking for ways to improve efficiency and increase throughput without buying another spindle or hiring another operator, says Tracy Ellis, Heller Machine Tools. Linear pallet systems are popular because they offer good production management opportunities, says Ellis. Robotics and hydraulic fixturing are just two of the many advanced areas covered by the Elaas Master Apprentice Program (HMAP), which takes top graduates from around the US and brings them to Haas for 30 months of hands-on training in the Haas machine shop.