November 2, 2018
Our Take– Job gains beat consensus expectations, Unemployment is at its lowest level since I was a junior in High school, Participation rate matches its best level this year, and private non-farm wages have risen 3.1% this year according to this BLS jobs report.
Bottom line–the US economy is based on consumer spending. This report shows that consumers are growing their purchasing power a positive indicator for the economy going forward.
Facts keep us bullish on manufacturing.
- “Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 250,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing.”
- “In October, employment in manufacturing increased by 32,000. Most of the increase occurred in durable goods manufacturing, with a gain in transportation equipment (+10,000). Manufacturing has added 296,000 jobs over the year, largely in durable goods industries…On average, 213,000 jobs have been added each month in 2018 YTD.”
- “The labor force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent in October but has shown little change over the year.
- “In manufacturing, the workweek edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and overtime was unchanged at 3.5 hours.“
- “In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to $27.30. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 83 cents, or 3.1 percent.“
- “The unemployment rate remains at it’s 48 year low, 3.7%- lowest rate since 1969. Interestingly, not a single industry was reported to have lost any jobs.”
October 10, 2018
No spec, no quality. Know Spec, know quality.
Quality means compliance with all terms of the specification.
Know the specification!
September 5, 2018
The ISM PMI was reported at 61.3, the highest reading since January 2004, when it was 60.8.
Prior to that the ISM PMI has not been at this level since 1984, when it was 61.3 in February, in 1987 it made it to 61.0 in December.
It has been a long time since the ISM PMI was at today’s levels!
Here is the ISM’s Announcement:
“The August PMI® registered 61.3 percent, an increase of 3.2 percentage points from the July reading of 58.1 percent. The New Orders Index registered 65.1 percent, an increase of 4.9 percentage points from the July reading of 60.2 percent. The Production Index registered 63.3 percent, a 4.8-percentage point increase compared to the July reading of 58.5 percent. The Employment Index registered 58.5 percent, an increase of 2 percentage points from the July reading of 56.5 percent. The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 64.5 percent, a 2.4-percentage point increase from the July reading of 62.1 percent. The Inventories Index registered 55.4 percent, an increase of 2.1 percentage points from the July reading of 53.3 percent. The Prices Index registered 72.1 percent in August, a 1.1-percentage point decrease from the July reading of 73.2 percent, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 30th consecutive month.” ISM Timothy R. Fiore Press Release
- Manufacturing continues to expand. the 3.2 point jump from July to August was a substantial increase.
- The overall economy continues to expand- 112 consecutive months of economic expansion.
- The increases from July to August were especially robust for New Orders (up 4.9%); and Production (up 4.8%).
- Other indicators for employment, inventories, supplier deliveries increased on the order of 2% or more.
- The Prices Index fell 1.1 percent in August from July, but still showed increasing costs for raw materials, for the 30th consecutive month.
Thoughts to consider: while past performance is no assurance of future performance, we note that the current level of the PMI has been of prior high water marks, rather than sustainable levels. While “this time it’s different,” is a possible comment, our look at the graph above suggests that we may be nearing the top. Although the values for the 1964-1966 do provide another possible interpretation.
Bottom line: Manufacturing and the broad economy showed remarkable strength in August 2018. Prospects remain positive for sales and employment in manufacturing. The current strong level of performance convinces me that we must be thoughtfully reconsidering all aspects of our business at this time. This trend might have legs- it might also be nearing a top. PMPA’s Latest Business Trend Report was optimistic on Outlook for the next three months.
ISM August 2018
Graph courtesy Calculated Risk
August 29, 2018
On June 21, 2018, the ECHA added Lead to the Candidate List for Substances of Very High Concern under REACH.
Not banned in every application…
While this regulation arguably covers only manufacturers and importers in the EU, the fact of the matter is that our shops here in North America are producing components (articles) which are incorporated into products in the EU.
Our customers, who specify the use of leaded materials because of the economics of product provision (Leaded materials machine at much higher efficiency rates, lower costs , and seldom need post fabrication operations) are now asking their suppliers for a statement of compliance for the materials that THEY specify us to make THEIR components from. Leaded Steels, Brasses and Aluminums.
Our shops find themselves placed right in the center of a paradox- how can they certify that the material that their customer told them to use is compliant with this new REACH development?
PMPA has analyzed this and provided our members with a guidance document that
- Recites the applicable facts and regulatory obligations
- Describes where and where not the REACH and other EU regulations apply / might not aply;
- Analyzes the duties to our customers
- Describes ways to meet our obligations
- Provides references for understanding this new development
The world of Precision Machining is characterized by Volatility (this regulation just Arrived), Uncertainty (does this apply to me, I’m an North American, not European manufacturer?) Complexity ( So I need to read the ECHA announcement, The ECHA Substance Support Document, the Annex that covers Lead, and then two more annexes that tell me what I need to do) before I can figure out what I need to do, and Ambiguity (Actually the annexes do not expressly state what the exact deliverable required is).
This VUCA world is made manageable by PMPA regulatory sensemaking to help our shops first recognize, then intelligently understand and manage their risk.
- Who is helping you and your team recognize new regulatory risks?
- Who is helping you to understand those risks?
- Who is providing answers so that you can concentrate on making those critical parts that the world needs, instead of spending three or four man-Days trying to figure it out? (Presuming that you know the issue even exists!)
PMPA members know who.
PMPA Members Only Guidance Document
February 6, 2018
Autonomy in our technology is real! (Photo courtesy Joshua Andrade- Heinlein Forum on Facebook)
I was privileged to be able to witness the live cast of the Falcon Heavy Lift vehicle today. The photo above shows two booster engine modules simultaneously and autonomously landing. This was just a small part of the technology displayed today by the Falcon Heavy launch.
But here is why I say that a new era starts today:
- This is proof that Autonomy in our technology is real. It’s no longer about listening to a reporter somewhere talking about autonomous cars on test tracks. We got to see it ourselves today. It works. Now, it’s just a matter of scaling and networking the technology. We’ll be seeing this in our customers products sooner than we expected.
- Private enterprise for the win. NASA’s Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations said that “the NASA SLS (Space Launch System) heavy rocket would cost about $1 billion per launch.” The Falcon Heavy cost is about $90 million per Launch. That’s about $910,000,000 in unneeded taxes per launch.
- Today’s launch has proven that the existential joy of engineering is alive and well and making cost effective technology in private enterprise. Space is no longer limited to staid, bureaucratic, rationalizations that it is for research for the common good missions. Today, it is about the human spirit and what we can achieve.
- This was not cobbled together by the lowest bidder with a bunch of imported parts. Although the label on a circuit board proudly proclaims “*Made on Earth by humans” this is validation of the capability of US private enterprise, engineering, and the entrepreneurial equivalent of the gold record on Voyager.
- This is the defining event of the new renaissance of Engineering, Entrpreneurialism, and Manufacturing to further mankind’s material progress. Through our own capable efforts.
Made on Earth by humans (Photo courtesy Joshua Andrade)
I am glad to be a witness to this milestone in the renaissance of manufacturing, engineering, and entrepreneurial accomplishment here in America today. An electric car, is on its way to Mars. I watched two booster engines land themselves simultaneously. I watched the joy of the engineers as their work accomplished its demonstration of the power of our technology. This is the current generation’s SPUTNIK moment.
Baby boomers can just barely remember what Sputnik did to transform for our culture, but many of us chose science and engineering and technology careers. Today, we all had the chance to see a similar watershed for technology, manufacturing, and entrepreneurial spirit, and that it is cool again.
Existential Joy of Engineering- Why shouldn’t we love what we do?
The existential joy of engineering is alive and well, and it has just sent a red car hurtling towards a rendezvous with the red planet.
Red car to rendezvous with a red planet
…to be continued
Link to video Space X Falcon Heavy Launch– start at 4:14:24 to start with the launch
Photocredits: for Landing and Circuit board: Joshua Andrade (J Meauho Andrade on Facebook)
November 6, 2017
You don’t need a degree in Organic Chemistry to understand the differences in your shops’ metalcutting fluid base oils and what they mean to you.
Synthetic base oils clearly are less prone to foaming than mineral oil base stocks.
A recent discussion on PMPA’s member’s only Technical Listserve centered around the issue of foaming in our machines and its relation to the type of cutting oil selected for use in our CNC and Swiss machines.
John Wiley, Business Development Manager for PMPA Technical Member Qualichem, Inc. contributed a nice piece of sensemaking regarding the role that the selection of base oil plays in the foaming we encounter on the machine.
“In this picture you can clearly see the differences in a base oil’s tendency to foam. These are pure base oils, nothing added. Poly Alpha Olefin (PAO) and Gas To Liquid (GTL) synthetics are identical, while the two mineral oils foam considerably more than the synthetic stocks. If you are a shop that has yet to experiment with new cutting oil technology, now is the time. The benefits are firmly within your budgets. If you are doing medical work, the GTL oils are ideal. If you are running lights out operations, the GTL are ideal. If you want a cleaner shop, cleaner machines and cleaner parts, GTL is ideal.”
John went on to describe the scenarios where PAO’s and GTL’s would be expected to be the best choice for certain operations (like high pressure pumps) and applications, as well as compared the economics of PAO’s and GTL’s. Our members got actionable insight as to the effects of the base oil in their metalcutting fluids in terms of both performance and economics.
You may not know a lot about Organic Chemistry, but the photo above is worth a semester in class (as well as a thousand words!) to show us why now is the time to consider Synthetic base oils in our CNC and High Pressure coolant metalcutting operations.