What About the Chips?

July 30, 2019

Our customers are interested in what is left after we remove the chips. But it is up to us  as operators and engineers to understand that there are differences in our chips based on process, material and tooling factors- and what those differences mean.

The infamous “Bird’s Nest Chip”

Process Differences

Turning can result in a long continuous chip, while sawing or milling processes result in shorter chips because of the interrupted nature of the cut. Drilling can result in the chips being recut depending on how the tool is fed and the nature of it’s spiral and means of chip evacuation.

Different materials can drive differences in the chips as well. I’m a steel guy, so my comments are based on that experience, but similar differences will be found in other materials, just based on different factors than Carbon.

Material Differences

Plain Carbon, Low Carbon Steels (C1008, C1010) tend to generate a more Continuous, Soft Chip. Plain Carbon, Medium Carbon Steels (C1030, C1045) can give a Continuous, Semi-Soft Chip. Plain Carbon, High Carbon Steels yield a Continuous, Hard Chip. Adding alloys can result in a Continuous, Semi-Hard Chip at lower carbon contents (4120) while higher carbon alloy steels can result in a Continuous, Tough Chip (4150) Very High Carbon Alloy steels (52100) give a chip that is both Continuous and Springy.

Having said that, I do not mean to say that all of these steels will result in long stringy chips- it is just that compared to Resulfurized Steels, such as 1117, 1144, 1215, or 12L14, the chips are far less likely to fracture into nice short pieces- often called “6’s or 9’s” or “C’s.” These chips can be described as Broken Semi-Soft (1117) or Broken Semi-Hard (1144) or Well-Broken Semi Hard (12L14, 1215)

Process Parameters

Finally, having the speed, feed, depth of cut, and angles on the tools is critical if we are to optimize material removal, minimize chip volume, and keep our process stable and maximize our uptime. Chip control features can also play an important role. ISO 3685 characterizes chips into 8 types- Ribbon, Tubular, Spiral, Washer-type Helical, Conical Helical, Arc, Elemental , and Needle chips. These can then be further described by length (short, long, or snarled).

Source ISO 3685

The ISO 3685 standard is a bit pricey, but it will help you to better understand what is going on in your turning process.

Of course you can look at the part, but to learn about your processes may I suggest that you take a really good look at the chips?

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Reversion to the Mean in June- PMPA Business Trends.

July 24, 2019

2019 has been a very strong year for Sales.  PMPA’s June Business Trends Sales index  11 point “reversion to the mean” could be considered a substantial drop, but we believe the data suggests otherwise- the Sales Sentiment indicator recovery in June suggests that this is just a ‘moment’ and not a trend.

Yes it is an 11 point or 7.8% drop. That arrives at exactly the 5 year average for June 2014-2018. 129

Get more details on why we are unconvinced that this is bad news for our shops at June 2019 PMPA Business Trends


Why I’m Bullish on US Manufacturing

July 12, 2019

And why you should be too!

I could give you a lot of stories about how fulfilling my career has been making things that matter.

I could give you a lot of stories of the wonderful people that I have met in manufacturing- at all levels of the industry.

But today, I’m just going to provide you with some facts.

In order to have avoid confusion, I am going to use the Gross Domestic Product contribution from Manufacturing as the indicator best describing Manufacturing’s importance to our economy. Some could look at employment or productivity or other indicators, but from my perspective, I believe that how much US Manufacturing contributes to our Country’s GDP is the valid indicator.

The contribution to US GDP from Manufacturing has been growing and on quite a tear since 2009. (The vertical axis is in $ billions, ie.: ”reaching an all time high of 2154.90 USD Billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 from a record low of 1798.60 USD Billion in the first quarter of 2009.”

10 year chart of US GDP growth from Trading Economics.

Growing contribution to US GDP.

Chart source: 10 year Chart from Trading Economics United States GDP From Manufacturing

Here is another Trading Economics Chart for United States GDP from Manufacturing since January 2016.

US MFG GDP Growth 2016 to present Trading Economics

Looks like we began to get our stuff together in January of 2017!

What is it like for Precision Machining shops like ours?

I personally track a Business Trends Sales Indicator for the Precision Machining Industry Segment.

PMPA business Trends index shows growth in our manufacturing segment

We expect to finish 2019 up almost 20% over calendar year 2016.

Our forecast for 2019 is based on a very strong correlation indicator (r^2 of .96). We believe that we will finish 2019 up 4% over 2018.

And the last two years-2017 and 2018- were both up 7% over prior years.

In addition, all five of our highest months reported-ever- have been in 2018 and 2019.

Why am I bullish on US Manufacturing? As long as people around the world aspire to a USA Middle Class lifestyle, they will need manufactured goods to attain it. And US manufacturing is the third largest segment of contribution to US GDP.

Trading Economics: United States GDP From Manufacturing

PMPA Business Trends Report


ISM PMI – The Beat Goes On!

July 1, 2019

 

nostalgic reminder that some things remain the same...

Sorry for the earworm, fellow Baby-Boomers…

Despite the sense of inevitable doom from all of the pundits, the June ISM PMI data came in at 51.7 (A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding.) The June report shows the New Orders unchanged, with Production and Employment growing.

Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee reported that “Comments from the panel reflect continued expanding business strength, but at soft levels; June was the third straight month with slowing PMI® expansion. ” (Link below)

After evaluating all factors, the June ISM PMI report concludes that the Overall Economy is growing, albeit slower, for the 122nd consecutive month.

The Manufacturing Sector was also shown to be growing, also slower, for the 34th consecutive month.

We agree that the pace of growth of manufacturing is slowing.

We also believe that there are other reasons to explain this slowing growth besides an imminent recession:

  1. Trade uncertainty– Nothing makes trade more volatile than Tariffs Policy being executed via Twitter.
  2. Trade tensions– Trade with China is a problem much greater than the tariffs issues which we see on the surface. A reset in Global trading order is playing out here, we think.
  3. Geopolitics– Iran, Russia, Brexit- nervous money remains on the sidelines keeping money tight.
  4. Speaking of money– The Fed and its future policy regarding accommodation is also on people’s minds.
  5. Employment– Full employment is typically seen as a positive, but if employers cannot get employees to replace those that they will promote to operate the new equipment, well, it becomes a vicious cycle of a don’t buy the new equipment; b) don’t promote the existing worker; c) don’t hire replacements because we can’t find them. So Full employment actually caps potential for growth.
  6. Finally, Weather.  Can’t have a complete list with out mentioning the weather! Much of manufacturing- especially fabricated metal manufacturing- goes into agricultural equipment. The unseasonable rains this year have certainly had an affect on purchase of Farm equipment. We saw headlines late last month indicating half of Ohio Farmland had yet to be planted.

Weather!

So “The Beat Goes On.” 34 months of consecutive growth in manufacturing have been logged, 122 months for the overall economy.

We see no imminent triggers for an immediate recession. and as we reported in our latest PMPA Business Trends Report, May 2019 was our fifth highest Monthly Sales Index ever.

We can agree we are at or near a top, but we do not agree that “gloom and doom” are imminent.

 

June ISM PMI

Farm and Dairy

May PMPA Business Trends 

Calculated Risk Blog 

The Beat Goes on...

The beat goes on…

 

 

Sonny and Cher


Optimism for 2019- Our Business Trends Sets Another Sales Record!

April 23, 2019

Following the pattern of last year, in which we finished up X%  year over year, our March 2019 Business trends reports logs a new record  of 147, up 14 points or 10.5% over February 2019’s 133. it is up 8.8% over the five year sales index average for March.

This is a new high for our index.

In March of 2018, we posted “…the PMPA Business Trends Index for March 2018 increased 14 points or 10.8% over February to 143, the highest value for the Business Trends Index EVER!” At 143, the index is up 11.2 points or 8 percent above that for the five year average for March Sales index.”

Deja vu Sales performance for the precision Machining Industry!

 

Why this matters:

Our performance and sentiment indicators this month justify our continued optimism about the markets and employment prospects for our precision machining industry in 2019. This auspicious start to 2019 builds a foundation for continued growth and prosperity for our shops in the year ahead.

Oh almost forgot: “Prospects for employment are positive with ninety-four percent (94%) expecting level or
increased opportunities for employment.”


Why are CNC Machinists so Difficult to Find?

March 14, 2019

I was asked this question on Quora. Thought that you might like my answer.

Spoiler alert- I blamed Moms…

There’s the culprit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6512027465236516864

Photo credit: http://forums.canadiancontent.net/showthread.php?t=117816

How can we help change their image of our High Tech Career opportunities?


February ISM PMI- Stronger Than The Pundits Let On

March 1, 2019

The February PMI® registered 54.2 percent, an decrease of 2.4 percentage points from the January reading of 56.6 percent…Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February, and the overall economy grew for the 118th consecutive month.“- Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee

Solidly positive unless you are microfocused on the trend.

 

While the expectation was for 55 or more, and so many folks were disappointed at this slower rate of growwth in manufacturing, this point of view actually misses where exactly we are in the Manufacturing cycle.

What the disappointed people see: Eeyores view:

ISM PMI Feb 2019 Down down down…

 

Here is a less myopic view:

Same data different scale.

 

Source: https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/business-confidence

Yes the trend is declining.

Look at where we have been!

Now back to the ISM report:

““Comments from the panel reflect continued expanding business strength, supported by notable demand and output, although both were softer than the prior month. Demand expansion continued, with the New Orders Index reaching the mid-50s, the Customers’ Inventories Index scoring lower and remaining too low, and the Backlog of Orders returning to a low-50s expansion level. ” – No bad news to be found here!

We continue to see the positives in the ISM PMI indicator. Our shops are running full and sentiment on our internal reports remains strongly positive.

We’re definitely not having an Eeyore moment in Precision Machining!

We’re not having an Eeyore moment despite the graphs.

 

Disney photocredit: https://winniethepooh.disney.com/eeyore