ISM PMI – Growth Slows In August Manufacturing

September 1, 2015

At 51.1% the August PMI came in below the anticipated value of 52.8%.

The numbers indicate growth, but the change indicates that in the manufacturing sector growth is slowing, and new orders and exports in particular are vulnerable. This was the 32nd consecutive month of growth of manufacturing, and the 75th consecutive month of expansion in the broad economy.


Manufacturing growth is slowing in August 2015.

Manufacturing growth is slowing in August 2015.

 “The August PMI® registered 51.1 percent, a decrease of 1.6 percentage points from the July reading of 52.7 percent. The New Orders Index registered 51.7 percent, a decrease of 4.8 percentage points from the reading of 56.5 percent in July. The Production Index registered 53.6 percent, 2.4 percentage points below the July reading of 56 percent. The Employment Index registered 51.2 percent, 1.5 percentage points below the July reading of 52.7 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 48.5 percent, a decrease of 1 percentage point from the July reading of 49.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 39 percent, down 5 percentage points from the July reading of 44 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices for the 10th consecutive month. The New Export Orders Index registered 46.5 percent, down 1.5 percentage points from the July reading of 48 percent.”- Bradley J Holcomb, Chair, Institute for Supply Management, August Report on PMI.

Generally speaking, values above 50 percent correlate with a growing manufacturing sector.

In the August report, Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Fabricated Metal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; and Machinery Markets showed growth, while Primary Metals; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Petroleum & Coal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; and Transportation Equipment all showed declines.

The Prices index (reflecting raw material prices)was down five percentage points from July to come in at 39 percent. Normally this would be good news for manufacturers, but  is actually reflective of a weakness in demand for products worldwide.

Business Insider reports that two PMI indicators from China also fell in August:  China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to a three-year low of 49.7 in August from 50.0 in July. The unofficial Caixin-Markit manufacturing PMI slipped to 47.3 in August from 47.8 in July. Any reading below 50 signals contraction. Business Insider

Graph courtesy Calculated Risk Blog

Twenty-Five Years of Software Success- Henning Software

August 28, 2015

It’s not every post that I write that I can start with a reference to DOS desktop computing, but in 1990 that was the engine for Henning Software’s Job Estimating Software.

Sony Discman 1990's music

This is how we got our music in 1990 when Henning started writing job shop software.

After successfully creating job estimating software, Henning Software realized it would need to keep expanding their software offerings into a fully developed ERP system in order to grow in the market.

“At the time, most of ERP software available was minicomputer based and priced upwards of $50,000, which was too expensive for smaller shops,” Mrs. Henning says, co-owner of Henning Software. “We thought we could make something better, but we needed more than job estimating software. We needed our software to manage all operational and accounting areas of a manufacturing business.”

In their 25 years in the job shop manufacturing business, the Henning’s and their company have been active participants and supporters of PMPA, especially  through our technical conferences where, as likely as not, they are presenting on IT and leading edge technological developments.

Today, Henning Software’s customer base spans all across the U.S. and Canada. And at PMPA conferences, many of the Henning’s customers will be in attendance. Job shops, contract manufacturers, screw machine shops, tool and die shops, and metal fabricating companies are among the kinds of manufacturing companies that rely on Henning Software for their ERP, Estimating, and Accounting software needs.

For more information about Henning Software and their ERP solutions click here

Article in September issue of Production Machining on Henning Software Long Time Success

How do you remember the 1990's?

How do you remember the 1990’s?

For some PMPA members, 1990 was when they first started managing their shop using Henning Software.

You do remember the 1990’s right?

Discman photo courtesy wikimedia

Fashion photo credit

OSHA National Emphasis Program on Amputations Updated

August 27, 2015

“The intent of this NEP is to target workplaces with machinery and equipment that cause (or are capable of causing) amputations, while maximizing the Agency’s inspection resources.”

OSHA Natiomnal Emphasis Program on Amputations 2015

OSHA updates NEP for amputations.

OSHA recently issued an updated National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Amputations. The NEP has been in existence since 2006 and is targeted to industries with high numbers and rates of amputations.

In this latest update NAICS code 332710 Machine Shops  and most other 332 NAICS code Categories are listed as Targets.

See Appendix C in the PDF

What else did we note when we looked at this?

-They will be asking for your DUNS Number

-They will be checking compliance on the new requirements for reporting work-related fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye.

Updated Directive

Change to Reporting requirements that went into effect January 1, 2015: Updated Employer Reporting Requirements 2015


Minions For Safety

August 24, 2015

Even though this shop does not exceed the decibel limit over time, specified by OSHA, they do require PPE for all personnel and visitors.

Minion wearing PPE including Hearing Protection

And minions!


Doldrums In the Precision Machining Industry

August 21, 2015


Becalmed saiboat. Doldrums


The Doldrums are “a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds.” Apparently our industry’s Sales are on a cruise…With 83 companies responding, the PMPA Business Trends Index in July declined 8 points to 120, 3 points below July 2014’s value.

Comparing year to date to 2014, we are still up 3 points over same period in 2014. The average for the year remains at 126, up 6 points and 5% over that of last calendar year. This is modestly below our forecast of finishing the year up 6.6%, but allowing for month to month variability and season, we are not gnashing our teeth.

Interestingly, sentiment for Sales outlook for next three months rose in this July report.

The Doldrums appear to have arrived early this year.

We're calling this the Doldrums.

We’re calling this the Doldrums.

Sentiment for Sales for the next three months was our only positive indicator, sentiment for Lead time remained the same, while Profitability, and Employment indicators declined.

Full report available here: July 2015 PMPA Business Trends





Heat Treat Colors Of Steel Chart

August 18, 2015

Our Temper Colors for Steel Chart Post remains very popular. So here is a chart of Heat Treat Colors for Steel.

Heat treat colors for steel Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures

Heat treat colors for steel by Temperature


These days pyrometers are affordable. But it is the mark of a craftsman to be able to tell temperature by eye, if only to validate the instrumentation (or suspect it!)

These colors were obtained from a 0.40 wt. % carbon, alloy steel, as seen through a furnace peep hole during average daylight conditions.

Temper Colors for Steel Chart

Art of the Craft

Knowledge Retention

30 Potential Causes of Part Length Variation On Screw Machine Parts

August 14, 2015

 There are many different ways that part length can vary when using a cut-off tool on Multiple Spindle Automatic Screw Machines.

Cut off Tool and Holders for Acme Gridley Multispindle Screw Machine

Here are some of the major reasons grouped into a rough classification by where the cause exists.

The Cut-off Tool itself

  • Tool is dull
  • Tool is improperly ground (point angle too large)
  • Tool loose / improperly inserted into holder
  • Tool Blade too thin
  • Cut-off tool hitting while in high speed
  • Cut off tool being hit by die head or chasers

The Cut-off Tool Holder

  • Tool holder itself is loose
  • Tool holder is hitting work spindle
  • Tool holder is hitting tool post
  • Tool holder is warped or bent
  • Tool holder is worn

The Work Spindle

  • Spindle has end play
  • Spindle has worn bearings
  • Spindle carrier has end play
  • Index Lock Pin Spring is broken
  • Finger holder not adjusted properly
  • Broken pins or fingers in finger holder
  • Feed tubes bent or beat up
  • Wrong stock feed cam- Overfeeding stock will cause bounce back from stock stop resulting in short part
  • Incorrect collet tension

The Cross Slide

  • Cross slide play
  • Cross slide loose
  • Cam is loose
  • Cut off cam too large causes too much feed
  • Cam Drum is loose

Other Tools

  • Stock pushed back into collet by drill (dull drill pushing stock rather than cutting chip)
  • Stock pushed back into collet by reamer
  • Face-off tool is loose
  • Face-off tool is dull
  • Face-off tool holder is loose
  • Die head pulling stock out of collet making part long

Part length can occasionally go awry when using cut-off tools on automatic screw machines.

This post lists  over 30 reasons that I can think of- what did we miss?

Photo Credit- Acme Gridley Multiple Spindle Bar Machine Manual First Edition 1961 page C11.



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