Why NIMS- Kathy Looman, Gene Haas Foundation Remarks

November 24, 2015

“The growth and passion I have seen in in manufacturing education and credentialing in just a short time has been amazing.”

Kathy Looman from the Gene Haas Foundation made the following remarks at the ribbon cutting at the new Gene Haas Education Center at NIMS, the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.Kathy Looman NIMS

“I have over 30 years in machine tool industry, and yet I felt most days like I belonged to a secret society. When I told people what I did for a living in manufacturing, they would ask me “what’s that?” They just had no idea about metalworking, machine tools, or manufacturing. They had no idea what I, as a woman, could possibly be doing in this business.

“I think that this unfamiliarity with manufacturing, with metalworking, with where stuff comes from, this is one of the reasons that the skills gap has occurred.  And why it is a major problem for us today. No one was telling the young people that manufacturing was a viable career opportunity- because no one knew it themselves. And so the perceptions we all know- you know Manufacturing is like that grainy black and white Charlie Chaplin movie- these perceptions are what is in the mind’s eye of students, their parents, and even the unemployed that could find a great career in manufacturing, if only they knew.

“But this isn’t a sad story. Exciting things are happening these days. The past few years, I have been able to take my manufacturing experience and put it to work promoting manufacturing education- the growth and passion I have seen  in just a short time has been amazing. We at the Gene Haas Foundation believe that NIMS- The National Institute for Metalworking Skills- is the glue that is connecting education, industry and workers. By providing a foundation for manufacturing education based on nationally recognized skills credentials, NIMS is also a catalyst that provides assurance to employers, candidates, and skilled workers that the skills that we need in today’s high- tech manufacturing jobs are there in the credentialed employee.

“Haas is doing more than saying “Good Job” and “Carry on” and letting others do this important work.  Just in the last year, Haas has installed about 900 machines in about 200 brand new skills training programs across the country. The country is filled with teachers needing trained.  Exciting things are going on as we are starting- as a country- to recognize the importance of having a skilled workforce for manufacturing and for our economy. So far this year, Gene Haas Foundation has given out 5 million dollars in scholarships to young people who are pursuing manufacturing education. When these young people are employed in manufacturing, our industry, economy, and country will be the better for their choice.

“That is why we are here today to celebrate the grand opening of The Gene Haas Education Center here at NIMS. The Gene Haas Education Center is a physical representation of the importance of what the National Institute of Metalworking Skills means to our industry and our country.  It is the means to create a more competitive and credentialed skilled workforce. For our employees, for our companies, for our industry, for our global competitiveness.

“We have high expectations for The Gene Haas Education Center. We need a globally competitive, credentialed skilled workforce. NIMS will put this to good use to make a difference for all of us in Manufacturing- employers, employees, candidates, and consumers. Because all of us have a stake in solving the skilled workforce issue.”

Stock Removal Guidelines for Seams in Cold Drawn Bars

November 19, 2015

Seams are longitudinal crevices that are tight or even closed at the surface, but are not welded shut. They are close to radial in orientation and can originate in steelmaking, primary rolling, or on the bar or rod mill.”–  AISI Technical Committee on Rod and Bar Mills, Detection, Classification, and Elimination of Rod and Bar Surface Defects

Seams are longitudinal voids opening radially from the bar section in a very straight line without the presence of deformed material adjacent.

Seams may be present in the billet due to non-metallic inclusions, cracking, tears, subsurface cracking or porosity. During continuous casting loss of mold level control can promote a host of out of control conditions which can reseal while in the mold but leave a weakened surface.

In order to assure removal of unwanted seams from the bar surface, even after non destructive testing has sorted out the most non compliant bars, the customer should take adequate stock removal.

Seam frequency is higher in resulfurized steels compared to non-resulfurized grades, so stock removal recommendations for these two different kinds of steels vary.

  • For non-resulfurized steels (10XX, 15XX, All Alloys) take off 0.001” per sixteenth of bar diameter per side. That means 0.032” off the diameter of a 1” diameter bar to assure seam free.
  • For resulfurized steels (11XX, 12XX and 12LXX free machining steels) take off 0.0015” per sixteenth of bar diameter per side. That means 0.048” off of the diameter of a 1” diameter bar to assure seam free on resulfurized steels.

Yes that is a lot of material to remove to assure a sound seam free surface.


Have you considered making it out of wood?

Photo credit

More info on Seams in steel.



Its About the Revenue- OSHA Fines to Increase About 80%

November 6, 2015

Wall Street Journal   Alexandra Berzon reported Wednesday that “Federal penalties for workplace-safety violations were increased this week for the first time since 1990, thanks to a little-noticed provision of the budget bill signed into law by President Barack Obama.”

“Workplace-safety experts said that they were caught by surprise by the new mandate, which they say will likely increase maximum fines for the most severe citations to $125,000 from $70,000 and for other serious violations to $12,500 from $7000.”

OSHA Penalties expected to increase 82%

OSHA penalties expected to increase 82% in 2016

According to PMPA’s retained labor law firm Fisher Phillips, “That’s when we learned that the Federal Budget Agreement, which was quickly worked out behind closed doors and signed the day before, includes surprise provisions authorizing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to increase penalties for the first time since 1990. To the surprise of almost all observers, the amount of the increase could be as much as 82%.”


“The initial penalty increases must become effective by August 1, 2016, but we can expect to learn well before then the extent to which OSHA will increase these amounts. The Federal Office of Management and Budget will issue guidance on implementing the bill’s provisions by January 31, 2016. Raising the maximum fines in line with the CPI for the catch-up boost requires OSHA to publish an interim final rule by July 1, 2016, allowing the adjustment to take effect by August 31.”

As manufacturers we can expect to receive the full attention of OSHA with our processes’ need for proper machine guarding, hazardous energy control, and lockout-tagout.

If creating a safety compliance culture has not been one of your top priorities, perhaps OSHA’s 82% higher fine and penalty structure will help you move Safety up on your list.

Thanks to the BBB for the photo

About Unemployment -Guest Post

November 3, 2015

 There are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work:

COSTELLO : I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.abbott and costello Truman library

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It’s 5.6%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%.

COSTELLO: You just said 5.6%.

ABBOTT: 5.6% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 5.6% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 23% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 5.6%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 5.6% or 23%?

ABBOTT: 5.6% are unemployed. 23% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Congress said you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.


ABBOTT: No, you miss the point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roll that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how it gets to 5.6%. Otherwise it would be 23%.

COSTELLO : Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an Economist.

COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like a Politician.

Guest post courtesy John LaPine, Facebook Friend, Critical Thinker, and Bon Vivant.

John LaPine

Thanks John!


October PMI Lowest Since May 2013

November 2, 2015

The October PMI is the lowest reading since May 2013, when the PMI also registered 50.1 percent. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

“The October PMI® registered 50.1 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the September reading of 50.2 percent. The New Orders Index registered 52.9 percent, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the reading of 50.1 percent in September. The Production Index registered 52.9 percent, 1.1 percentage points above the September reading of 51.8 percent.

A PMI® above 43.1 percent, over a period of time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the October PMI® indicates growth for the 77th consecutive month in the overall economy, and indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 34th consecutive month. Holcomb stated, “The past relationship between the PMI® and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI® for January through October (52 percent) corresponds to a 2.8 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis. In addition, if the PMI® for October (50.1 percent) is annualized, it corresponds to a 2.2 percent increase in real GDP annually.”

According to the report, Fabricated Metal products  reported growth in October. Markets reporting contraction — listed in order — are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Primary Metals; Petroleum & Coal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Wood Products; and Computer & Electronic Products.


The September 2015 PMPA Business Trends Report Sales Index came in at 121, stronger than expected, (even with September 2014 and still up 3.3% YTD over CY 2014 average.)

Our 3.3 % correlates nicely with the PMI’s 2.8% estimate for GDP growth as well.

Link to October ISM PMI

Link to PMPA September Business Trends

Graph Courtesy Calculated Risk Blog

Congressman David Joyce Visits JM Performance Products, Inc.

October 14, 2015

Congressman David Joyce toured PMPA member company JM Performance Products, Inc.  to see how  district manufacturing jobs create value for the entire country and how important STEM is to Manufacturing.

CEO John Stoneback and Congressman David Joyce in the Shop at JM Performance Products, Inc.

CEO John Stoneback and Congressman David Joyce in the shop at JM Performance Products, Inc.

The high torque patented toolholder retention knob product produced by the team at JM Performance, Inc. can help companies that do CNC Milling save on energy, tooling expense, downtime for setups and troubleshooting, and also significantly improve product finish.

JM Retention knob

Congressman Joyce discussed the importance of innovations like this to help keep American companies competitive in Manufacturing.

From left, Congressman David Joyce, Miles Free, PMPA, Roger Sustar AWT, And John Stoneback, JM Performance Products, Inc.

From left, Congressman David Joyce; Miles Free- PMPA; Roger Sustar- AWT; and John Stoneback, JM Performance Products, Inc.

With all the bad news out of Washington these days, it was my pleasure to see Congressman David Joyce reach out to the team at JM Performance Products, Inc. to get a sense of how Manufacturing creates value and jobs and helps other companies save time, money and energy.

Does your congressman understand the value of Manufacturing? Why don’t you invite them to visit your shop to see for them self  the value and jobs  that your and your team create in your shop? 


4 Keys to Business Sustainability

October 12, 2015

Many people, particularly in Purchasing and Accounting, see buying at the lowest cost as being a key to sustaining their business.

4 keys to sustainability

Here are 4 keys that will unlock true long term sustainability for your precision machining shop.

  1. Solve problems first.
  2. Solve the problem for good.
  3. Understand that lowest cost over the long term is not the lowest price over the short term.
  4. Spend less time and money on maintenance by actually planning it.

Solve problems first

Solving problems is the most efficient use of your company’s talent and knowledge. The effort spent on solving the problem stops the deviation from normal in your immediate operations and reduces the potential expenditures on inspection, remediation and over-processing. Do you have a culture of problem solving?

Solve the problem for good.

It does no good to solve a problem today only to see it return later. That is not problem solving. It is critical to identify the root cause and then take permanent corrective actions to prevent that root cause from ever appearing again. “What problems has your team made go away forever in your shop? can you name one? Two? More?”

Understand that lowest cost over the long term is not the lowest price over the short term.

Yes, you can buy cheaper tooling from a jobber. Many purchasing departments are incorrectly focused on cost per tool, cost per pound of raw material or cost per gallon of metal removal fluid. Cheap drills are no bargain if they only last for 60 to 70 holes instead of 400 to 500 per drill. To be sustainable, the company needs to have the lowest cost to produce a compliant part, not only the cheapest materials to make it. Does your shop reward the purchase of the cheapest inputs for the job, or attaining the lowest cost for production of compliant parts?

Spend less time and money on maintenance by actually planning it.

Our industry is focused on reducing cycle time and Setup time – as it should.  Without exception every shop owner or operations manager is focused on these. But if everyone is focused on these, how does that help you? For your shop to be uniquely sustainable, why not focus on eliminating unplanned downtime and lost production time due to unexpected breakdowns?  It is a truism that we get what we measure. Today most shops have rigorous systems for ERP and operations planning, but does your shop have any process at all for proactive machine maintenance?

Today, customers expect Zero Defects and 100% On Time – from every supplier. Why not make your shop sustainable by actually having a 4 point process to get there by solving problems first, solving them for good, getting to lowest cost per compliant part produced, and eliminating unplanned downtime by actually planning for it?

For more details, please see our article in October 2015 issue of Production Machining

Photo credit.


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