June ISM PMI Positive, Bodes Well for Precision Machining Industry

July 1, 2014

Update, The June SAAR for Auto sales is over 17 million: http://www.autonews.com/article/20140701/VIDEO/307019968/autonews-now-sales-hit-17-million-pace?cciid=email-autonews-annow&r=5668G6084245G8Y



“The June PMI® registered 55.3 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from May’s reading of 55.4 percent, indicating expansion in manufacturing for the 13th consecutive month. The New Orders Index registered 58.9 percent, an increase of 2 percentage points from the 56.9 percent reading in May, indicating growth in new orders for the 13th consecutive month. The Production Index registered 60 percent, 1 percentage point below the May reading of 61 percent. Employment grew for the 12th consecutive month, registering 52.8 percent, the same level of growth as reported in May. Inventories of raw materials remained at 53 percent, the same reading as reported in both May and April. The price of raw materials grew at a slower rate in June, registering 58 percent, down 2 percentage points from May.”

-Bradley J. Holcomb, ISM link

Graph courtesy Calculated Risk Blog

Graph courtesy Calculated Risk Blog

While the PMI dropped 0.1 from May, and production dropped 1.0% from May, New Orders increased by 2%. New orders that our industry wil lbe producing components for.

Why this is a positive sign for the economy:

“The June PMI® indicates growth for the 61st consecutive month in the overall economy, and indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 13th consecutive month. The past relationship between the PMI® and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI® for January through June (54.0 percent) corresponds to a 3.6 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis. In addition, if the PMI® for June (55.3 percent) is annualized, it corresponds to a 4.0 percent increase in real GDP annually.”

15 markets reported growth in June:  Furniture & Related Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Machinery; Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Transportation Equipment; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Petroleum & Coal Products; Primary Metals; and Paper Products. We have highlighted those served by precision machining industry in Boldface Type.

On a related note, we see that North American Auto sales rate has remained over 16 million for two months now.  Calculated Risk Blog

Automotive is one of the Precision Machining Industry’s most heavily served markets.

The June ISM PMI report bodes well indeed.

Time to Review the Precautions for Heat Stress

July 1, 2014

I was reminded of the possibility of heat stress  in our shops when I started the car the other day.

107 degrees copy

Early in my career in the blast furnace casthouse and on the ore docks staying safe from the effects of high heat was a daily event.

On top of the coke plant batteries it was a minute by minute struggle.

While we do not face these same levels of heat in our precision machining shops per se,  the summer can bring high, unaccustomed temperatures. Temps of over  100 degrees are easily attained in places with high solar gain and stagnant air.

Unloading trucks outside or doing external work on roofs or even landscaping can put even the most fit worker into some form of heat stress if precautions have not been taken.

Here is the OSHA pocket card for Heat Stress Awareness

Click here for link to the PDF



Industrial Press Engineers Precision Data Pocket Guide

June 30, 2014

I am a fan of Lean, but the amount of fundamental data that Industrial Press has packed into this shirt pocket guide amazed me and will amaze you too!

Buy this book!

Buy this book!

Not only the math, geometry and trig functions that you would expect, but also the  letter addresses used in Numerical control, G code addresses,  and M codes for miscellaneous functions.

  • Drawing standards for ASME and ISO.
  • Conversion factors. Inch to metric. Metric to English. Fractional to decimal. Hardness  Scales conversion
  • Surface texture produced by common production methods,
  • ISO fits and nomenclature  for holes and shafts.
  • Screw and screw thread data.
  • Sample Calculations for Milling, Drilling and Turning.

Bonus content as far as I’m concerned:

Two illustrated pages on sine bar and dovetail slide measurement and calculation.

At $19.95 a copy, this reference could solve 80% of your shop floor and engineering estimating reference needs- Wand avoid getting carpal tunnel from trying to ” one hand” your usual “reference.’

Well done Steve Heather and Industrial Press.

72 pages, illustrated, ISBN 978-0-8311-3496-9, $19.95

Link to purchase

Supreme Court Unanimously Rules NLRB Recess Appointments Unconstitutional

June 26, 2014

Effective Associating- PMPA and other groups challenged the “recess” appointment of three nominees to the NLRB without a confirmation vote.

The Supreme today unanimously ruled  the appointment sto be unconstitutional. 

The work being done inside is way more important than the work that we see going on outside!

The work being done inside is way more important than the work that we see going on outside!


The President has the right under the Constitution to bypass Congress when then Senate is in “recess” or “adjourned”, however, Republicans procedurally blocked the Senate from going into recess to avoid the President installing controversial appointees. Through our membership in the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), along with our co-plaintiffs, we became the first groups to legally challenge President Obama’s unlawful recess appointments of Richard Griffin, Sharon Block and Terry Flynn to the NLRB.

In a unanimous decision, the court sided with our coalition and Senate Republicans to limit the power of a president to make recess appointments.

The decision also calls into question hundreds of decisions made while the three appointments were part of the labor board in 2012 and half of 2013. 

The new five member board will have to revisit those decisions.

Here is a copy of the decision NLRB v. Noel Canning

PMPA ‘s mission is to “Provide information, resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities that advance and sustain our members.”

This unanimous decision by the high court demonstrates the effectiveness of our advocacy on behalf of our members.

Precision Manufacturing Then and Now- Precision Plus Blog

June 25, 2014

PMPA member company Precision Plus President Mike Reader posted two great videos on his blog last week.

Mike-Reader2Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, we thought we’d “flatter” Mike for his awesome taste in videos:

That was a view of precision manufacturing back then.

And here is a view of what is new in precision manufacturing these days:

It’s still about the craftsmanship.

It’s just that our technology today moves our “craft” to the right a few decimal places.



Do take a moment to visit the Precision Plus Blog


Upside-Down Degrees Connect Skills Acquisition and Education- Milstein Symposium

June 23, 2014

“Upside-down” programs allow students to transfer accredited technical training, work experience, military training, or community college coursework as credit toward a bachelor’s degree. Expansion of such programs, with emphasis on manufacturing-related fields, will reduce barriers between skills training and degree attainment, and enhance the quality of the manufacturing workforce.”- Milstein Symposium Building a Nation of Makers

Upside Down Degree

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have traditionally succeeded by combining practical production knowledge with technical expertise and business acumen. The blend of practical, technical and managerial  that typifies these firms is not the result of a 4 year college program.  While technical and managerial knowledge can be obtained in college coursework, obtaining practical production type skills are gained in another path.

According to the Milstein Symposium report, “More troubling is that students are given little incentive to connect these two tracks. Colleges and universities frequently do not offer transfer credit for technical skills acquired either on the job, in community colleges, in the military, or through training.”

To overcome this disconnect, they propose an expansion of upside-down degrees.

An  “upside-down”  program essentially inverts the traditional four-year college model. Upside-down students start with the focused technical training and then take the broader coursework to both expand their knowledge base and enhance their critical thinking (see diagram above).

An “upside down’ program would entail academic credit / recognition for varying combinations of:

  • Technical training,
  • Military training,
  • Associate’s degrees,
  • Job experience

These could  be counted as up to two years of college credit.

Students then need only complete the remaining coursework to earn a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution.

Upside- down degrees can provide an  excellent means of integrating the skills needed by employees at todays advanced manufacturing SMEs- technical, practical, and managerial/academic.

We think that this idea is worth considering. We know that it works- as many of our PMPA member companies provide support for continuing education of both technical and college subjects.

Upside- down degrees

For more details on upside-down degrees see idea #2 (page 16 of the PDF) at the Milstein Report on PMPA’s homepage.




Strong Sales Reported for Precision Machining May 2014

June 19, 2014

The PMPA Business Trends Index for May 2014 increased 5 points over both April 2014 and May 2013. Our industry continues to show solid sales in 2014.

May 2014's 128 value is just one point shy of our highest ever value of 129.

May 2014’s 128 value is just one point shy of our highest ever value of 129.

The May 2014 PMPA Business Trends Report shows strong levels of sales and increase in hours scheduled. Forward looking sentiments for Lead Times, Profitability, and Employment do not show the same level of strength.

Weakening Lead Time sentiment in particular is an issue to keep in mind.

While we show positive levels of hours worked, shipments, overtime and profitability, each of these indicators has softened to a less bullish level than in the first quarter.

Our indicators suggest perhaps moderation in demand for our products in the months ahead.

See the full report here.


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