C-1200 Series Steels- Not Recommended for Applications Requiring Mechanical Properties

December 10, 2019

Question: Why don’t the Certs for C12L14 and C1215 cold drawn steel bars have mechanical properties routinely reported?

Answer: Because these steels ARE NOT recommended for applications requiring mechanical properties, alternating stress applications, cold metal movement and can also be notch sensitive.

Don't do it!

Don’t use these steels for critical applications!

Here are some details from the application notes provided to me when I started as Plant Metallurgist at Bliss & Laughlin Steel in 1985:

  • The 1200 series steels (1215 and 12L14) are not generally sold for applications requiring high standards of strength, hardness, or other related properties
  • These steels are particularly adapted to automatic screw machine production of small repetitive parts. The ideal application is one where bulk and shape, as dictated by the design, are the chief requirements.
  • They may be used for parts which require only nominal strength values providing the factor of safety as in accordance with established practice. This is especially true where the stresses involved are static tension, compression, or shear. Vibratory, torsional, or alternating stress applications approaching the static limits are not recommended; thus these steels should not be used for line shafting.
  • When cold drawn, the C-1200 steels are notch sensitive and while polished fatigue specimens will show expected endurance limit values, poor finish and processing of parts, or faulty design may cause low or erratic results for finished parts under dynamic or alternating stresses of relatively small intensity.
  • These steels are not recommended for applications involving cold metal movement, such as crimping, forming or bending. Operations such as knurling and character rolling can be done satisfactorily.
  • Because of the smaller amount of hot work in rolling, the large size cold drawn C-1200 bars increase in relative brittleness.  The large sizes may also be expected to reveal stringer sulfide inclusions on polished surfaces. Further removal will likely reveal more inclusions as they are distributed throughout the bar cross-section.
  • A cold drawn surface will not plate to the highest quality finish; a turned or ground surface may prove necessary for critical applications

Your customer wants inexpensive parts, and machining them from 12L14 and 1215 minimizes the cost of machining to the desired geometry. But if the parts are not likely to fulfill the properties expected, that is false economy at best.

Don’t do it Image

Little Charlie and the Night Cats If you Dig It, Don’t Do it.


November ISM PMI, Consistent with Seasonal Expectations

December 3, 2019

“Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in November, and the overall economy grew for the 127th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The decrease in the ISM PMI index of 0.2 percentage point from the October reading of 48.3 percent is modest and not unexpected for this time of year- it dropped 0.5 point in 2017, and three of the last five November ISM PMI’s were negative (2017, 2015, 2014.)

Considering ongoing issues with production at Boeing (737 MAX) and residual slack as a result of the just settled UAW strike against GM, and this 0.2 percent decline is modest.

Is manufacturing in a recession? If we use the definition of “a period of temporary economic decline during which industrial activity is reduced, for two successive quarters,” the answer is not yet. four consecutive months of contraction have been logged, but following 35 straight months of growth in the manufacturing sector, we are not yet ready to throw in the towel.

What are we watching?

We are beginning to pay attention to automobile loan delinquencies which have climbed to 4.7% of the total automotive loans and leases. This is just 0.56% off from the peak of auto loan delinquencies back in 2010 (5.27%). Automotive is our industry’s single largest market served, and if automotive loans continue to go south, our shops may be in for diminished production for a longer period than anyone is expecting.

Link to  November 2019 ISM PMI Report. 

Link to Calculated Risk November 2019 ISM PMI Chart


Dealing with Broken Links- A Process

September 24, 2019

Actually I am amazed at how few broken links I encounter in all of my online research.

But occasionally, we do encounter  the challenge of broken links.

A broken link- but what can we do to get the material that was supposed to be there?

I use the following process to meet the challenge of a broken link:

Deconstruct the broken link into a “likely domain” and the “deliverable Sought.” (In this case a .pdf file.)

So in this case the likely domain was “Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” and the deliverable sought was “BR0470 .pdf”

I searched for “Nuclear Regulatory Commission BR0470.pdf “

      1. And Google gave me this :

That top link looks like it!

So I followed the top result that Google provided.

    1. Which took me to the page that has a link to the file that I wanted:

This is the page that the google search found. the link we want is the third bullet (look for the pdf icon)

I then selected the pdf link  on that page which was in fact the deliverable that I was seeking.

    1. Which then delivered this:

NRC Primer on Lean Six Sigma .pdf

 

Which is the deliverable that I was seeking, and a very good reference on Lean Six Sigma!

That’s my process for dealing with the challenge of broken links keeping me from the information that I want.

What’s yours?

 


August ISM PMI -After 35 Months, a No-Grow Month for Manufacturing

September 3, 2019

 

After 35 consecutive months of growth, the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) contracted in August 2019, coming in at 49.1% (Readings above 50% indicate growth or expansion in the sector.) Last month, it was at 51.2

 

After 35 consecutive months of expansion, manufacturing has a no- growth month.

According to the ISM report: 

Comments from the panel reflect a notable decrease in business confidence. August saw the end of the PMI® expansion that spanned 35 months, with steady expansion softening over the last four months. Demand contracted, with the New Orders Index contracting, the Customers’ Inventories Index recovering slightly from prior months and the Backlog of Orders Index contracting for the fourth straight month. The New Export Orders Index contracted strongly and experienced the biggest loss among the subindexes.”

“Respondents expressed slightly more concern about U.S.-China trade turbulence, but trade remains the most significant issue, indicated by the strong contraction in new export orders. Respondents continued to note supply chain adjustments as a result of moving manufacturing from China. Overall, sentiment this month declined and reached its lowest level in 2019,” says The Institute’s Timothy R. Fiore.

 

PMPA analysis

This was below expectations which still had the index above 51%. While proclamations of “recession” are unavoidable in the media these days, we would urge caution about this single data point being a trend. IT HAS BEEN 35 MONTHS SINCE WE HAVE HAD A POINT BELOW 50!

Our latest PMPA Business Trends Report for July  showed a slowing of growth in shipments by our shops (3MMA fell below the 12MMA) but the index itself recovered higher and all forward looking three month sentiment indicators turned strongly positive.

Mixed Signals

Industries reporting contraction to ISM  include several of our markets most heavily served : Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Primary Metals;  and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.

Here you go.

Our bottom line: The shock should be that we have enjoyed 35 consecutive months of growth, not that we finally had one month of no-growth out of 36!

What do you think?

Chart courtesy of Calculated Risk blog


Most Valuable College Majors- Bankrate

August 29, 2019

Here in one tidy place you can find a current list of the most Valuable College Majors.

Many of them will lead to a valuable career in our precision machining shops.

The most valuable college majors include naval architecture marine and nuclear engineering and pharmaceutical sciences. We were pleased to see Mechanical Engineering, Transportation Sciences, and miscellaneous Engineering technologies all included in the top spots.

STEM careers add value!

STEM Careers add Value!

The top 10 most valued college majors are:

  1. Naval Architecture And Marine Engineering (Median income: $90,000; Unemployment rate: 1.6 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 29 percent)
  2. Nuclear Engineering (Median income: $98,100; Unemployment rate: 1.8 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 56 percent)
  3. Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences And Administration (Median income: $100,000; Unemployment rate: 2.2 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 58 percent)
  4. Genetics (Median income: $85,000; Unemployment rate: 1.2 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 76 percent)
  5. Electrical Engineering (Median income: $99,000; Unemployment rate: 2.7 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 46 percent)
  6. Architectural Engineering (Median income: $74,000; Unemployment rate: 1.5 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 29 percent)
  7. Aerospace Engineering (Median income: $90,000; Unemployment rate: 2.3 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 49 percent)
  8. Computer Engineering (Median income: $92,000; Unemployment rate: 2.8 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 40 percent)
  9. Electrical Engineering Technology (Median income: $76,000; Unemployment rate: 1.8 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 30 percent)
  10. Materials Science (Median income: $90,000; Unemployment rate: 2 percent, Percent with an advanced degree: 66 percent)
  11. Engineering and Industrial Management (Median Income $72,600; Unemployment rate 1.3%; Percent with an advanced degree: 34%)
  12. General Engineering (Median Income $80,000; Unemployment rate 2.4%; Percent with an advanced degree: 37%)
  13. Applied Mathematics (Median Income $78,200; Unemployment rate 1.8%; Percent with an advanced degree: 49%)
  14. Construction Services  (Median Income $70,000; Unemployment rate 1.9%; Percent with an advanced degree: 11%)
  15. Transportation Sciences and Technologies (Median Income $72,000; Unemployment rate 2.2%; Percent with an advanced degree: 20%)
  16. Mechanical Engineering (Median Income $88,000; Unemployment rate 3.0%; Percent with an advanced degree: 39%)

Cut to #22:

22. Miscellaneous Engineering Technologies (Median Income $70,000; Unemployment rate 2.1%; Percent with an advanced degree: 21%))

Our precision machining shops have career opportunities for those who are STEM minded. 

As the Bankrate study reports:

STEM majors are the most valuable.

 

Bankrate Study: Most Valuable College Majors

 


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


BLS October Jobs Report: Great News in October- Unless you are looking for workers

November 2, 2018

Our TakeJob 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 linethe 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.

Key Points

  • “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.” 

September and 3rd Quarter 2018- Unseasonably Strong for Precision Machining

November 1, 2018

PMPA’s Business Trends Index for September 2018 came in at 106% of its value a year ago, despite its 7.7% decline from August’s record tying performance. September 2018’s value of 132 is a record for the month of September, a frequent occurrence this year. The September 2018 value of 132 is also 10.4% above the five year average for the index in the month of September. year to date our index indicates that sales  up 10 points or 8% over  the 2017 year-end average.

Unseasonably strong sales in September for Precision Machining Industry.

Opinions for the next three months compared to today:

  • Net Sales: The sales outlook confirms Pareto’s law with 80% of reporting shops expecting sales to improve or remain level over the next three months.
  • Lead Times: Ninety- one percent of respondents expect lead times to remain the same or increase in the next three months.
  • Employment: Prospects for employment are positive with ninety-eight percent (98%) expecting level or increased opportunities for employment.
  • Profitability: Eighty-four percent of our respondents expect business and margins to remain strong for the next three months.

Current Environment: 2018 continues on pace to a much stronger than average sales year as we determined in our April report. The sentiment indicators that we track recognize a seasonal decline ahead, but remain in positive territory for the precision machining industry.  Our industry continues to outperform 5-year averages by a wide margin!

PMPA members can download a full copy of the September 2018 Business Trends Report here

Key takeaway: Our business has changed- have we adjusted our management thinking to match?