Thanksgiving- Giving Thanks to Machinists

November 27, 2013

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

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

Today, I would like to thank the engineers, and machinists who have designed and built these modern technologies that keep us safe, comfortable, and make our modern lifestyle possible.

Our modern lifestyle is enabled by technologies that our machinists and engineers produced.

Our modern lifestyle is enabled by technologies that our machinists and engineers produced.

As I got out of bed this morning, I reflected how every almost every aspect of my day was in some way made possible by precision machinists and engineers.

  • If you have carpet, thank the machinists who made the specialized parts that allowed the carpet to be manufactured.
  • If you had hot running water today- thank the machinist who made the fittings, the faucet,  shower head and the safety valve components on the hot water heater.
  • If your refrigerator kept your food safe at low temperatures, thank the machinist that made parts for it as well.
  • If you had cereal for breakfast today, thank the machinists who made the precision nozzles that allowed the cereal company to glue the box together to keep the contents uncontaminated, and fresh.
  • If your heating system is gas, electric, or central hot water, thank the machinist for the connectors, valves, control components, burners, nozzles, and backflow preventers that make these systems work.
  • If your car ran today, thank the machinists who made a host of components, as well as the engine itself, and even the hardware on the fueling hoses at the gas station.
  • If you flew by airplane for the holiday, thank the machinists who made a host of parts, fasteners, connectors and other parts that help the plane to fly. But most importantly, thank the machinists who made that little button on the arm of the chair that allow you to gain a bit more room by reclining the seat. Unless you are the person behind the person who rudely just forces the seat all the way back , crushing your laptop or jostling your drink.

Precision machined components enable almost all modern technologies to function safely and efficiently. I know the companies and the machinists and engineers that make the components for the technologies mentioned above. It makes me happy to understand where all this behind the scenes “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.

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

Full PPE Carving Pumpkins At The Office Party

October 31, 2013

PPE is important any time one is working with tools.

It's supposed to be a VW microbus with the PMPA logo...

It’s supposed to be a VW microbus with the PMPA logo…

Actually, the thought of wearing safety equipment helped me get into a safety mindset- I’m not just in the office.

I have sharp tools, wet hands, slippery workpieces and – you know, that sounds a lot like the hazards we face in our shops every day. Sharp tools . Wet Hands. Slippery work pieces.

PPE. It helps you protect yourself.

Happy Halloween.

Your Personal Economic Recovery- Career in Precision Machining

October 29, 2013

Despite the fact that there has been no significant “recovery” of employment under the current Administration and Congress, There is a way to create your own personal “employment recovery.”

Can't count on Washington to get you back to work.

Can’t count on Washington to get you back to work.

PMPA tracks employment sentiment monthly as part of our Business Trends reporting,

Employment outlook sentiments have been positive for the PMPA members- above 90% for the entire year of 2013.

And our shops have been scheduling overtime- average length of first shift is 42.8 hours for calendar year 2013.

And by the way, earnings of new hires in manufacturing are higher than those not in manufacturing. 38% higher according to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration

Earnings premium of new hires in manufacturing over non manufacturing new hires

The folks in Washington haven’t done much to turn the nation’s employment situation back to the upside as you can see in the top graph.

But if you are comfortable with high school math- geometry, algebra, and trig- you could have a great career in precision machining.

For info on training programs  in your area check out the PMPA Comprehensive Career Training Database.

Career overview.

Why you should consider a career in manufacturing.

One of our members posted on Linked In “We would hire 3 guys right away with the right skills.”

Get skills. Create your own personal economic recovery.

Manufacturing Jobs Available!

October 4, 2013

PMPA member and Erie, Pa employer American Turned Products looking to increase its skilled workforce by 30%!



Click here for Video

Erie TV Channel 12 :

“Manufacturing jobs are plentiful in Erie County and throughout North America.

That’s the word from Darlene Miller, President of the Precision Machined Products Association. Miller was in Fairview today touring the shop at American Turned Products.  She says there are job openings at every shop she has visited.  She says the challenge facing manufacturing shops is finding interested and qualified people to fill job openings.  She blames parents who are not encouraging young people to consider a career in manufacturing.

“We’re the guilty ones because we’re not showing them what manufacturing’s all about. Plus, our schools have stopped having any kind of manufacturing-type classes, whether it’s tool shop, automotive, or whatever. So they’re not exposed to manufacturing and they have no clue how high-tech it really is,” Miller said.

American Turned Products currently has 130 employees.  It plans to increase its work force by 30% by the end of next year.”

Today Is Manufacturing Day

October 4, 2013

Today is Manufacturing Day.

MFG Day Bagshaw

The purpose of Manufacturing Day is to highlight the opportunities for skilled people to find rewarding career opportunities.

PMPA Companies hosting MFG Day Activities

EMC Precision  Opens shop to students and community

EMC Precision Opens shop to students and community

For resources to find a career PMPA Career Resources Page

For Career Training Database

Fast Facts about U.S. Manufacturing

  • In 2012, manufacturers contributed $1.87 trillion to the economy, up from $1.73 trillion in 2011. This was 11.9 percent of GDP. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.48 is added to the economy, the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector. 1
  • Manufacturing supports an estimated 17.2 million jobs in the United States—about one in six private-sector jobs. Nearly 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing.2
  • In 2011, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $77,060 annually, including pay and benefits. The average worker in all industries earned $60,168.3
  • Manufacturers in the United States are the most productive in the world, far surpassing the worker productivity of any other major manufacturing economy, leading to higher wages and living standards.4
  • Manufacturers in the United States perform two-thirds of all private-sector R&D in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector.5
  • Taken alone, manufacturing in the United States would be the 10th largest economy in the world.6

Consider a career in Manufacturing. We’re actually hiring.

Find a Cool Career at Manufacturing Day

September 30, 2013

There is a critical shortage of talented people in the advanced manufacturing fields- Precision Machining, Welding, Robotics and Mechatronics, Industrial Control Systems, Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing.

Nothing dull, dirty or boring going on here.

Nothing dull, dirty or boring going on here.

Most PMPA member shop CEO’s tell me that they would hire a qualified machinist on the spot- even if they didn’t have an immediate opening- because the need for talent is so great.

This Friday,  October 4, 2013, across the country, cool careers in Advanced Manufacturing are going to be open for you to check out as part of MFG Day 2013.

Check out what Precision Machining as a career can be like at the following PMPA company MFG Day 2013 open houses:

AccuRounds   Avon, Massachusetts

E. J. Basler Schiller Park, Illinois

Cox Manufacturing San Antonio, Texas

Lisle Corp Clarinda Iowa


Miller Products Osceola, Iowa

North Easton Machine North Easton Massachusetts

Permac Industries Burnsville Minnesota

Polygon Solutions Fort Myers Florida

Precision Plus Elkhorn Wisconsin

Prince Industries Carol Stream Illinois

Sandvik Coromant  Ca, Il, NJ, Tx

Small Parts Manufacturing Portland, Oregon

Smith and Richardson Geneva, Illinois

SwissTurn USA Oxford Massachusetts

Thuro Metal Products  Brentwood New York

Tomak Precision Lebanon, Ohio

Trillium Machine Sandy, Oregon


Manufacturing Career$- No College Debt Required

September 25, 2013

I met Sam Passenger at Detroit Gun Works open house earlier this month. I was impressed as he walked me through the computer model of the part they were making. As he then showed me on the monitor the toll path step by step. As he described to me how he integrated the robotic arm into the machining operations.

When I asked him where he learned all this –  what college did he graduate from?- he just smiled.

Sam has no college, no college debt, and a great career- from learning as he was earning. on the job. At DGW.

Sam is the lead on integrating robots into DGW’s machining operations and has his hands in just about everything going on in the shops CNC equipment.

Listen to what Sam has to say about his job in the following video:

  • “I really enjoy my creative freedom.”
  • “I really enjoy getting to do what I do.”
  • “I come to work- It’s NOT work.”
  • “It’s not work- this is what I do for fun…”


Manufacturing Career$, No College Debt Required

Sam has a key role at his manufacturing company- and he enjoys it. It’s not work. It’s what he does for fun.

How about you? Is what you do “fun?” Do you enjoy your creative freedom? At the end of the day, are you satisfied by seeing the results of your work?

Sam Is typical of the stories of younger workers in precision machining and advanced manufacturing today. No college debt from 4 or more years of loans and classes. Skills learned as he earned.Skills valued by his employer and job he enjoys.

How about you?

For more information about a career in precision machining, checkout our career section here.

1912 8th Grade Exam- Fail Means No High School For You!

September 19, 2013

Dave Davidson posted a link to this test on the SME LinkedIn Group and of course I had to take the test.

1912 8th Grade Exam

This test determined whether or not you would be permitted to attend high school back in the day.

Had I not helped my wife with the teaching duties when we home schooled, I’d have done much worse  than I did.

It’s been a while…

Surprisingly little science.

Surprisingly little science.

Strong on technicalities of English and Geography; the Math was smaller portion of the test than I expected, but would stymie many job seekers today.

If you can pass the math questions on this, you are probably already a pretty good machinist or engineer.

And if you miss the one about the last battle of the civil war, it’s probably because you guessed the one that wasn’t listed as a choice.

Like I did.


Consumer Price Index- Vs. Cadbury Egg

September 18, 2013

Are your costs for essential consumables and supplies up just 1.5% over the past year?

“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.”- BLS News Release

The CPI-U is a measure of ‘Inflation,’ used by Washington D.C. Officials as a basis for  policy and legislation decisions.

Official Inflation  just 1.5%, Stealth Inflation- look at your grocery bill...

Official Inflation just 1.5%, Stealth Inflation- look at your grocery bill…

The Cadbury Egg, on the other hand, has decreased by almost a third, while the price remains the same. The Cadbury Egg is an indicator of “Stealth Inflation,” which is what consumers REALLY face in their day to day purchasing behavior.

According to Consumer Reports, it is not just Cadbury Sneaky Product Packaging

While these facts are relevant to us as consumers, the same forces are at work in our small businesses, as we continue to see price increases or declines in product provided for the price for our shop supplies and miscellaneous purchases.

1.5% official inflation? Yeah right.

1.5% official inflation? Yeah right.

Consumer Inflation Graph courtesy Shadowstats

Don’t believe me? how about the NYTIMES: Halving the Portion, but Not the Price

Cadbury Egg Photo and Blog

Earnings by College Major Compared to Precision Machining

September 11, 2013

Many people think that the choice of where they  went to school is an important factor in their post graduation earnings.

A new report from Georgetown University shows that the choice of major has a much greater influence on those earnings.

We thought that we would show how the average wage of a skilled machinist compares to those earnings- without the  4+ years of college and the debt most graduates build up while at school.

Our figures for the skilled machinist were taken from our latest Shop Hourly Employee Wage Report and represent the annual straight time hourly earnings for a setup qualified multiple spindle, rotary transfer, Swiss type, or multi axis CNC turning/machining center operators.

The machinist earnings are a low estimate, frankly, because many machinists are scheduled overtime.

The college major earnings data was posted by Planet Money on the NPR site. It was originally prepared by the authors of the Georgetown study.

Average earnings of setup qualified precision machinists exceed those of lowest earning college majors- with out the college loans to repay

Average earnings of setup qualified precision machinists exceed those of lowest earning college majors- with out the college loans to repay

We were well served by our college degree, eventually. The problem was, when we graduated, we were making more in manufacturing than our degree would earn us in an entry level position in our field.

If you have the passion for academics and a 4+ year university program, that’s great.

But if you know that you really aren’t “scholarship’ material, and you’d rather be doing exciting work than writing papers and piling up student debt, we think it will be worth your time to investigate a career in precision machining- or any other craft like electrician, mechatronics, welding, tool and die making,  robotics…

Successful completion of high school math algebra, geometry, trig is all that is needed to be able to do the math for precision machining.

We’d love to help you start your well paying career.

More information:

Career overview

Career benefits

Career training

P.S.  I interviewed a member CEO today: Their machinists averaged $50,000  last year, plus top of the line medical, vacation, holidays, personal days,uniforms, plus company paid training and more… You should really give serious thought to gaining a skill rather than a degree.