Finally, a Blog on Additive in Precision Machining

August 8, 2017

Excitement!

I’ll admit it, I’ve been a bit of a curmudgeon regarding Additive Technology in manufacturing. While everyone in the trade press seems to be gushing breathlessly about additive technology like a bunch of tweens waiting for their first One Direction concert, I’ve stayed away.

I’ve stayed away, because until now, most things that I saw were mere novelty applications. Distractions, or lets face it, quite impractical. Who needs a 3-d printed plastic wrench?

A very nice project but not really a useable tool in most situations.

 

What have been some of my objections?

  • No  practical mechanical properties. Or else requiring a very expensive thermal treatment to develop mechanical properties that are still below those of traditionally wrought products.
  • Low density. Or higher density achieved by absorbing a molten metal at high temperatures like a wick.
  • Cycle time. building a part a thousandth of an inch or so per pass takes a long time. Even watching the laser pulses  as it builds up features, layer by layer gets old after a few passes.
  • Tolerances. Newer technologies are getting more precise, but  the tolerances  claimed haven’t exactly been  “hold my beer watch this!” impressive.

So what has changed my thinking about Additive in our Subtractive precision machining world?

NanoSteel BLDR Metal for Powderjet Fusion

  • Mechanical properties objection- With case-hardening steel powder that provides high hardness and ductility (case hardness >70HRC, 10%+ core elongation)  that objection is gone.
  • Low density objection- If it is dense enough to perform as roll threading dies, that objection is also moot.
  • Cycle time. Well, the video doesn’t say how long it took to fabricate these thread roll dies, but my guess is it probably took less time than the time to find, purchase, ship and deliver the tool steel needed to fabricate new ones by traditional machining methods.
  • Tolerances. Now, they don’t share the tolerances achieved in this video, but it seems pretty clear that their claim of making tooling capable of fabricating the bolt shown is credible.

So there you have it.  A credible role for Additive in our Subtractive precision machining shops.

I’m impressed. So impressed, I wrote this post.

Now where do I find tickets for One Direction???

NanoSteel.

Excitement Photo     Courtesy Mama Bird Diaries.

Instructables Plastic Wrench 3-d Printing

 


July 2017 ISM-PMI Solid Report Despite Slight Softening From June

August 1, 2017

 “The July PMI® registered 56.3 percent, a decrease of 1.5 percentage points from the June reading of 57.8 percent.”- Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee:

Manufacturing grew somewhat less in July than in the prior month.

Indexes for Inventories and Prices increased, while indexes for New Orders, Production, Employment and Supplier Deliveries decreased somewhat.  Manufacturing industries that we serve or are a part of, including Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components;  Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Primary Metals; and Transportation Equipment all reported growth in July.

PMPA’s Business Trends Report has been positive about prospects for manufacturing all year, and this ISM PMI report supports that thinking. June 2017 PMPA Business Trends

Link to ISM PMI release 

Link to Calculated Risk Blog 


OSHA Finally Clarifies Online Injury and Illness Reporting Rule

June 30, 2017

 

“The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today proposed a delay in the electronic reporting compliance date of the rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 1, 2017. The proposed delay will allow OSHA an opportunity to further review and consider the rule.

The agency published the final rule on May 12, 2016, and has determined that a further delay of the compliance date is appropriate for the purpose of additional review into questions of law and policy.  The delay will also allow OSHA to provide employers the same four-month window for submitting data that the original rule would have provided.“- OSHA NEWS RELEASE

PMPA noticed an unannounced posting on the OSHA website which we captured and shared with our members May 31:

On June 27, OSHA issued a news release quoted above.

While it took OSHA 27 days to issue a news release AFTER we noticed their website posting, they are offering the public only until July 13, 2017 to provide comments.

Here are some bullet points from our testimony back on January 9, 2014:

  • OSHA has not provided any reasons to show how making this previously confidential information public will advance worker safety;
  • OSHA has shown no public purpose to justify the increase in the reporting frequency to quarterly;
  • The creation of quarterly reporting merely provides OSHA with another means to find employers to be not in compliance with yet another paperwork requirement;
  • The proposal removes the presumption of privacy rights from the employer and employees whose data and information would be reported;
  • We disagree with the presumption of this proposal that data shared for statistical and regulatory purposes should be broadly disseminated and made publiclly available to third parties who have no regulatory need for that data;
  • Employers are mandated by the federal government to protect the privacy of health related information of employees in our records, yet OSHA will use this rule to publicize to the world the injury or illness status of our employees;
  • But most seriously, the way that this proposal has been explained places the credibility of OSHA on the line: telling employers that“The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records, it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA”  is disingenuous at best when the proposal in fact removes the privacy of the employers’ data and changes its status from confidential to publically accessible. Telling us that ‘nothing has changed,’ when in fact the agency’s intent is to remove privacy status of employer reported information and publish those details online is not telling the whole truth.

We’ll be reiterating these and some additional points in our comments, but by all means, feel free to weigh in on your own.

Try this link Injury and Illness Comments

Is public shaming of employers is the REAL agenda, or is it just about using the power of regulatory agencies to bully? What is the regulatory need for public online posting? No one will be any safer because these records are posted on the internet.

Department of Employer Shaming


Strong Optimism Arrives in January ISM-PMI

February 2, 2017

Manufacturing had a very strong January according to ISM-PMI  and as forecast by PMPA Business Trends respondents in our December Report.

 

Up up and away

Up up and away! Growth in Manufacturing sector and the broad economy continues.

Manufacturing expanded in January as the PMI® registered 56 percent, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 54.5 percent, indicating growth in manufacturing for the fifth consecutive month. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting. A PMI® above 43.3 percent, over a period of time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the January PMI® indicates growth for the 92nd consecutive month in the overall economy, and indicates growth in the manufacturing sector for the fifth consecutive month.”– Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

The PMPA’s Business Trends Summary and Forecast for December 2016 showed our shops believing that Projected Net Sales in the first quarter of 2017 would be up substantially. Look at the slope of the Blue Line on the chart below.

Sentiment for Sales up sharply for first three months of 2017.

Sentiment for Sales up sharply for first three months of 2017.

We are pleased that the ISM-PMI confirmed our member sentiment expectations for a very strong January. We also hope that you are taking advantage of these opportunities, rather than remaining trapped in “hunker- down” thinking.

Why are we so positive? Bradley Holcomb explains:

 “The past relationship between the PMI® and the overall economy indicates that the PMI® for January (56 percent) corresponds to a 4 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis.” 

Our industry provides the essential componentry that empowers the functionality of all of those big ticket items that make up so much of GDP- Light vehicles, Aircraft and aerospace, Appliances, Agriculture and Construction equipment, etc, etc.

You will be busy in first quarter of 2017. Our members said so. ISM-PMI confirms it was so in January.

Share your positive optimism and expectations with your team. It is a great way to start a new year.

Postscript: Employment Outlook. In PMPA’s December Business Trends Report, the outlook for Employment was 92% favorable to employment remaining level or increasing. Only 8 % of respondents felt a decline in employment was  foreseeable.

The ISM Employment  Index “registered 56.1 percent in January, an increase of 3.3 percentage points when compared to the seasonally adjusted December reading of 52.8 percent, indicating growth in employment in January for the fourth consecutive month. An Employment Index above 50.5 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on manufacturing employment.”

It  is clearly a great time to consider a great career in Precision Machining and manufacturing!

Thanks to Calculated Risk Blog for their Chart of the ISM PMI.

 

 

 

 


PMPA Selected as National Partner to Grow Apprenticeships in Manufacturing

November 14, 2016

PMPA is proud to be partnering with NIMS, to help companies find new ways to help students and workers gain skills for success.

Apprenticeships to build a pipeline of skilled professionals for a great manufacturing career.

Apprenticeships to build a pipeline of skilled professionals for a great manufacturing career.

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) has been selected by the U.S.Department of Labor as an industry intermediary to support the expansion of registered apprenticeships within MANUFACTURING. The Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) a founding stakeholder member of NIMS,  will work with NIMS to increase access to apprenticeships and assist employers in developing new programs that reach diverse talent pools among our membership.  As part of this initiative, $500,000 is available to support companies in establishing a registered apprenticeship program with the Department of Labor.

“For over two decades, NIMS has worked with companies, workforce development groups and community colleges to stand-up high-caliber apprenticeship programs across the country,” said Jim Wall, Executive Director, NIMS.  “This contract gives us the unique opportunity to create more impact in our industry by expanding apprenticeships to underrepresented populations and to new companies looking to establish a sustainable talent pipeline.”

What’s in it for your company? NIMS will focus on providing companies with tools and resources to develop customized registered apprenticeship programs. These programs combine on-the-job training with job-related classroom instruction and meet national standards for registration with the Department of Labor or State Apprenticeship Agencies. PMPA is working with NIMS to help facilitate the creation of registered apprenticeships for our member companies.

If you are interested in enhancing your talent pipeline through apprenticeships, this program may be for you.

Companies that are interested in building an apprenticeship program or organizations that are interested in partnering with NIMS should contact Sterling Gill sgill@pmpa.org; for more information go to www.mfgapprenticeship.com or email the NIMS ApprenticeshipUSA team at apprenticeship@nims-skills.org.

 

 


Metalworking Fluids- Learn How Latest Trends Will Impact Your Company

August 12, 2015

The 5th International Conference on Metal Removal Fluids will explore the latest trends and advances in the Metal Removal Fluids and Lubricants industry. And it will have a session focused on Impact of Regulations.

5th International Conference on Metal Removal Fluids

Topical Tracks include

  • Health and Safety Effects/Occupational Medicine
  • Exposure Measurement and Guidelines
  • Managing Metal Removal Fluids in the Plant Best Practices
  • Impact of Regulations
  • Practitioner Focus

PMPA is a sponsor of this conference and will be participating.

The conference is presented by ilma, STLE, and UEIL

If you have someone in your shop that is responsible for managing Metal Removal Fluids, handling the regulatory impacts of Metal Removal Fluids, assuring the use of best practices for Metal Removal Fluids, this conference will provide the latest intelligence.

Here is the link: 5th International Metal Removal Fluids Conference


It’s Not One Thing

August 10, 2015

 5 Lessons I learned about our machining business.

Last month I was privileged to attend Horn Technology Days.

Here are some  5 6 lessons learned.

Lesson Number 1- It’s not one thing.

  • There is no magic bullet.
  • There is no miracle pill.
  • Machining is a system.
  • Understand the system, and address system weaknesses.

NoMagicBullet

Stop looking for magic answers. There is seldom a single change that  you can make that will single -handedly optimize your process. You must consider the entire system. I took in every technical session while I was there. I expected to be told that “whatever it is I’m showing you” is the answer to your machining problems.

I was not told that at all. In all of the sessions the focus was on understanding and optimizing and understanding the interactions of the system and its components. Very refreshing.

Lesson Number 2- In our business, success is defined by sustainability, not lowest price.

By sustainability, I do not mean Greenwashing.

Sustainability is not about Greenwashing!

Sustainability is not about Greenwashing!

To be sustainable, a company must learn to solve problems.

Problems  unsolved have the potential to bring your company down.

How to be come more sustainable:

  • Solve problems first.
  • Solve the problem for good.
  • Understand that the lowest cost over the long term is not the lowest price over the short term.
  • Spend less time on maintenance by planning it.
  • Spend more time on production.
  • Spend more time on innovation.

This is why we have root cause analysis. We should only have to solve a problem once. Assure organizational learning takes place. And move forward.

Lesson Number 3- Pay attention to energy

Energy Quadrennial review

This one was a complete surprise. Who knew that 37% of Machine tool energy consumption is related to coolant and lubricant?

  • Through tool coolant typically runs at a rate of about 1 liter per minute (About a quart  here in the US)
  • Traditional flood coolant is typically 18 liters per minute. (That’s about a 5 gallon bucket in imperial units.)
  • And the through tool coolant is applied exactly where it is needed.

I’m not quite convinced that MQL is the answer for production machining, but I saw some demonstrations that continue to make me think.

On another note, typically utilities run from 6-10% of sales dollars in our shops.  we’ve seen estimates that shop lighting can run as much as 37% of the electrical consumption in Warehouses and light manufacturing shops. Even if you cut that in half, it is probably wise to evaluate your current shop lighting. We can talk about compressed air another time. If you hear compressed air in your shop- you are listening to dollars floating away.

Lesson Number 4- Conventional milling = Conventional rubbing

Your daddy's way of milling is no longer preferred today.

Your daddy’s way of milling is no longer preferred today.

All of the programs  on milling at Horn  showed climb milling as the preferred practice. I’m not going to pretend expertise here- just that what I thought I knew is no longer what I think I ought to know in regards to cutter rotation and material feed. Climb milling is the preferred way in modern shops today.

Lesson Number 5- Be optimistic.

HORN is expanding again. Another new building was being built just down the road.

New building on Dusslinger Way

New building on Dusslinger Way

Why be optimistic? How can you be optimistic?

  • It is easy to be optimistic if you are a private company.
  • If you believe in continuous improvement, then you want tomorrow to be better than today.
  • Today is today, but our way is the future. Our way is going forward.
  • Do it today. For tomorrow.

Can’t argue with that. That is why HORN has a full class of apprentices in development.

How about you?

Bonus Lesson Number 6- “The Best People are the Basis of the Future”

Lothar Horn

Lothar Horn

Lothar Horn shared that thought with me in a private conversation. It really fit hand in glove with HORN’s optimistic approach to the future. By training the people and making available opportunities to learn and grow, the company  is preparing their team for an anticipated, but not yet understood future.

There is a continuous demand to upgrade our tools. We can only meet that demand by upgrading the skills of our workforce and the technology they apply.”

When that future arrives, they know that they have done their best to be prepared for that day and its challenges.

That future will arrive. It arrives every day. What have you done to prepare your shop for the future that will soon arrive?

NoMagicBullet

Greenwashing

Energy

Conventional Milling

Expansion