Thanksgiving- A Time to Recalibrate

November 26, 2014

We have many blessings in our lives, the love of family, friends chief among them.

Thanksgiving is a time to share with family and friends.

Thanksgiving is a time to share with family and friends.

Most of us enjoy an unparalleled material well-being, and a lifestyle of modern convenience that is the envy of the world.

Thanksgiving provides us the chance to recognize and thank the engineers, machinists, and entrepreneurs who have designed and built these modern technologies that keep us safe, comfortable, and make our modern lifestyle possible.

Precision machined components enable almost all modern technologies to function safely and efficiently.  It makes me smile to understand where all this behind the scenes technological  “magic” is sourced.

Thanks to the machinists who make them, the engineers that design them, and the investors who tool up their shops to be able to produce them.

Thanksgiving is also about recognizing how our loved ones contribute to our ability to produce our highly engineered components. How they help us keep in mind what “Safety Critical” really means.  How they make sure we have what we need when we arrive on the job. And have a reason to return home, all body parts intact. Now is a great time to recognize the contributions of our loved ones to our success.

I am thankful for the blessings of my family and friends.

I am grateful to live in a time where technology makes my life more about the joy of my family’s company than about battling forces to merely survive. Technology works, thanks to machinists.

In our shops, we have calibration routines to help us assure that our output is to spec and acceptable.

We have calibration routines at work; how do we calibrate our lives at home?

We have calibration routines at work; how do we calibrate our lives at home?

Thanksgiving is a day for us to recalibrate and reflect on the blessings that collectively we share.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Vintage Thanksgiving Dinner photo credit

Calibration photo credit


What Does Ductility Mean?

November 19, 2014

The ability of a material to deform plastically without fracturing, is called ductility. In the materials usually machined in our shops, ductility is measured by determining the percent of elongation and the percent reduction of area on a specimen during a tensile test.


Ductility is often indicated by chip control issues in certain steels, as the chip readily deforms but does not separate from the work piece. This  can result in persistent burrs attached to the work .

Ductility arrives in our shops as indicated by burrs

Ductility arrives in our shops as indicated by burrs

Ductility can also mean  long stringy chips that can form a dreaded “birds nest” engulfing the tool and work piece.

Test text

Birds nest chips present a very real danger to operators. Ductility can hurt!

Long necklace chips are another sign of ductile materials in machining.

long continuous chips resulting from ductile material can be controlled to keep them away from work piece and tool

Long continuous chips resulting from ductile material can be controlled to keep them away from work piece and tool.

Short chips curled into  “sixes and nines” showing a bit of heat discoloration are typical of less ductile materials and dutile materials machined at proper parameters using chip breakers and high pressure coolant delivery.

Note the touch of heat discoloration shown on the chip as well.

Chips that look like sixes or nines showing a bit of heat discoloration are desired for safe practice.

 

In our machining practice we would prefer materials that are “crisp” rather than ductile.

In order to successfully deal with ductile materials, strategies such as chip control features on inserts, wiper style inserts, through tool coolant,  interrupted cuts, chip breakers, and high pressure coolant can be considered.

Dialing in the appropriate feeds, speeds and depth of cut are crucial too.

Birdsnest photo courtesy Garage Journal

All other photos by author.


Where The Jobs Are- USA Today

November 14, 2014

Titled “More High Schools Teach Manufacturing Skills” the article confirms that ” U.S. high schools that have launched or revived manufacturing programs in recent years to guide students toward good-paying jobs and help fill a critical shortage of skilled machinists, welders and maintenance technicians.”

Here are a couple of points that they make that are worth sharing:

  • There is a glaring imbalance in the labor market. Despite high unemployment since the recession, manufacturers still struggle to fill hundreds of thousands of job openings.
  • Manufacturing is dogged by an outdated image
  • Manufacturing is “Actually,you’re working with computers and robots that are doing what you used to do by hand. That requires a skill set (in math and science) above what was required a generation ago.”
  • Community colleges also are turning out more prospective employees but not keeping up with demand. Nationwide, community colleges awarded 1,557 associate degrees or certificates in manufacturing last year, according to the American Association of Community Colleges. That’s up from 616 in 2005 but below the nearly 1,600 doled out in 2000.

In addition,  the USA Today piece has some informative graphics and video clips.

Here are some facts to consider.

Here are some facts to consider.

But the best takeaway from this piece is a quote from a student whose engagement with the manufacturing class has improved his grade performance and motivation:

With this class, I have the motivation…It’s a way out, I don’t want to be working at McDonald’s.”

Thank you USA Today for this positive story.


OSHA Reporting Requirements for Employers Go into Effect January 2015

November 5, 2014

A new wallet card issued by OSHA will help your supervisors understand the changes to  Injury and Illness Reporting Requirements that go into effect in January 2015.

Get the card here as a  printable pdf

New wallet card available from OSHA.

New wallet card available from OSHA.

What are the new requirements?

 “Under the final rule, employers must report the following events:
    1. Each fatality resulting from a work-related incident, within 8
hours of the death. This requirement applies to all fatalities
occurring within 30 days of a work-related incident. See Sec. 
1904.39(a)(1) and (b)(6). This is the same as the current regulation
and the proposed rule.
    2. Each in-patient hospitalization resulting from a work-related
incident, within 24 hours of the hospitalization. This requirement
applies to all in-patient hospitalizations occurring within 24 hours of
a work-related incident. See Sec.  1904.39(a)(2) and (b)(6). Under the
proposed rule, employers would have been required to report all in-
patient hospitalizations within 8 hours, for hospitalizations occurring
within 30 days of a work-related incident. Under the current
regulation, employers are required to report, within 8 hours, in-
patient hospitalizations of three or more employees, for
hospitalizations occurring within 30 days of a work-related incident.
    3. Each amputation resulting from a work-related incident, within
24 hours of the amputation. This requirement applies to all amputations
occurring within 24 hours of a work-related incident. See Sec. 
1904.39(a)(2) and (b)(6). Under the proposed rule, employers would have
been required to report all amputations within 24 hours, for
amputations occurring within 30 days of a work-related incident. Under
the current regulation, employers are not required to report
amputations.
    4. Each loss of an eye resulting from a work-related incident,
within 24 hours of the loss of an eye. This requirement applies to all
losses of an eye occurring within 24 hours of a work-related incident.
See Sec.  1904.39(a)(2) and (b)(6). The proposed rule would not have
required employers to report losses of an eye, and the current
regulation also does not require them to do so.”- Federal Register

These requirements go into effect January 1, 2015

Get the wallet card and review the upcoming changes with your team now. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


October 2014 ISM PMI-Manufacturing Remains Robust

November 3, 2014

“The October PMI® registered 59 percent, an increase of 2.4 percentage points from September’s reading of 56.6 percent, indicating continued expansion in manufacturing. The New Orders Index registered 65.8 percent, an increase of 5.8 percentage points from the 60 percent reading in September, indicating growth in new orders for the 17th consecutive month. The Production Index registered 64.8 percent, 0.2 percentage point above the September reading of 64.6 percent. The Employment Index grew for the 16th consecutive month, registering 55.5 percent, an increase of 0.9 percentage point above the September reading of 54.6 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 52.5 percent, an increase of 1 percentage point from the September reading of 51.5 percent, indicating growth in inventories for the third consecutive month. Comments from the panel generally cite positive business conditions, with growth in demand and production volumes.”-  Bradley J. Holcomb, Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®

Highest level since  early 2011

Highest level since early 2011

Outstanding October
Sixteen of eighteen manufacturing industries reported growth in October.

We were especially pleased to see New Orders up 5.8 points to 65.8.

The October ISM PMI numbers reflected the  PMPA’s Business Trends results for September:

“The PMPA Business Trends Index for September increased 2 points (1.7%) from 117 to 119. This is the highest value for

September in the 5 years since the recession’s low of 83. September 2014’s 119 is 7 points, or 6.25% higher than the value for

September 2013. (On PMPA’s recently completed Shop Hourly Wage Survey, we determined that sales had increased 6% year over

year for those shops reporting in both 2013 and 2014.) The Sales Index average, year to date, is 121.9, up 4.9 points from the 2013

calendar year average. Six of the eight months this year have had an index value higher than that of the prior year. “

PMPA member companies continue to report strong sales and increasing lead times as the North American manufacturing economy continues to show its strength.

Now is a great time to be engaged in precision machining as advanced manufacturing continues to grow here in North America.

 

Graph courtesy Calculated Risk Blog


Precision Plus Training Initiatives Featured in STEM Magazine

October 31, 2014

Precision Plus, Inc. is featured in the latest issue of Wisconsin STEM Pathways Magazine. 

The article, entitled Companies in the Classroom–Putting the Classroom in the Workplace, chronicles the company’s two year journey from a concept to the reality of having an internship and a apprenticeship program for high school and college students, as well as a fully equipped classroom within its facilities.

Pathways-Article copy

PMPA member companies recognize the challenge of finding a skilled workforce.

That’s why companies like Precision Plus, Inc. are actually doing something about it.

And why we are active working locally and  nationally to make a difference and change the conversation about skills and careers and economic success.

Congratulations to Precision Plus, Inc., for leading the way to create the skilled workforce our industry needs.

To download a PDF of the complete article, click here.

The Precision Plus Inc. Blog

Precision Plus Website


Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology- Equipment Upgrades = Workforce Upgrades

October 30, 2014

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster PA was recently awarded a JOBS1st PA Tech Grant of $148,970 to upgrade equipment in the Machine Tool and Computer-Aided Manufacturing Technology and Automotive Collision Repair Technology Applied Science degree programs. Funds will be used to purchase a CNC vertical machining center and a CNC turning center for the manufacturing program.

PMPA wrote a letter in support of the grant application in June.

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Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Julia K Hathaway announced the award.

PMPA’s letter of support noted that the grant would “build regional capacity in small and mid size businesses that do precision machining.”

How important is that?

According to PMPA research “We know of 45 precision machining firms (NAICS 332721) in Pennsylvania with annual sales ranging from $250,000 to $33 Million. The average industry shop within PMPA has about $8 million in sales. A recent study  shows that 80% of manufacturers cannot find skilled talent to fill their production jobs. As a result, there are over half a million manufacturing jobs open right now. The demand for trained workers continues to grow in Pennsylvania and the  pipeline of skilled workers needs to be strengthened and enlarged to address advancing technology and skills in this changing industry.”

The addition of the CNC vertical machining center and CNC turning center does just that.

The equipment upgrades at Thaddeus Stevens are the means that Thaddeus Stevens will use to deliver “workforce upgrades” to its local market area in Pennsylvania.

PMPA is proud of our support of their grant request to make this award become a reality.

The skilled workforce issue is the top challenge facing our industry. PMPA is working on many fronts to help solve this challenge.

What are YOU doing to help meet the skilled workforce challenge that your shop faces?

 


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