Why Precision Machining Matters- Lothar Horn

August 31, 2018

I am always pleased when I encounter a quote that neatly communicates an Idea that I firmly believe, but is expressed more clearly than I could.

Imagine my delight when I received a placard containing one of my favorite industry quotes today!

So happy to get this visual reminder of the importance of precision machining, and the tools that we use!

Read the Card!”

“Read the card!”

“What’s it say?

NO CAR RUNS, NO AIRCRAFT FLIES AND NO HIP REPLACEMENT IS FITTED BY A DOCTOR WITHOUT PRECISION TOOLS HAVING PREVIOUSLY BEEN IN USE.”

As precision machinist’s, we’re the people that make things.

Things that make a difference in everyone’s quality of life.

And who is is it that makes the tools that help us make that difference?

Why, precision toolmakers, of course.

A big thank you to Horn USA for sharing the placard with my favorite quote.

See you all at IMTS!

 

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New REACH Status for Lead- PMPA Members Know How to Respond

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!

PMPA Members Only Guidance Document


Precision Machining Sales Take a Breather – at a Record Level- in July

August 23, 2018

First the good news:

The 2018 July index of 128 is 14.3% higher than July 2017’s 112 value.   Our year to date average is 135, up 10 points or 8.0% over 2017’s year-end average of 125. We are at 107% year to date.

Jul;y 2018 Business Trends Index- Highest July EVER!

And the not so good news?

Well actually it is just that  to get to that record high Sales for July, the Index actually dropped 10 points or about 7.3%. from 138 in May & June to 128 in July.

I’m calling it a breather from the feverish year we’ve had so far.

Hours of first shift scheduled dropped by half an hour, a welcome break for the folks in the shop.

Why we’re not concerned about the decline of Sales in July:

The forward looking sentiment for Sales for the next three months actually climbed in July. while all other indicators remained steady.

We’re just taking a bit of a breather.

A much needed break for our shops.

Enjoy!

Photocredit: Skynews


Steel Tariffs- HIGHER PRICES!

July 30, 2018

Prices for Hot Roll Steel Band in the US U.S. are $465 higher than in China (compared to $471 in the last report two weeks ago), and $358 higher than in the EU (compared to $372 in the last report).

$465 higher than China; $358 higher than EU.

Steel in the US is 76% more expensive than in China.

Steel in the US is 49% more expensive than in the EU.

How’s steel profits?

Steel Dynamics Joins Nucor – Doubling Profits.

The next time somebody says “National Security” I am seriously gonna lose my cool!

Section 232 tariffs are for national security.Yeah right.

 

Price information courtesy Steel Benchmarker.


Precision Machining Shops in High Gear in June 2018

July 25, 2018

“With 84 companies responding, the PMPA Business Trends Index for June 2018 held steady at 138, highest June on
record and tied with May 2018. The calendar year average remains 136. The 2018 June index of 138 is 2.2% higher
than June 2017’s 135 value. This is our Index’s highest value recorded for June, and is our second highest value ever
recorded (March 2018’s 143 was the highest ever).”- PMPA Business Trends Report- June 2018

2018 continues to set a blistering pace for the performance and sentiment indicators that we
track. June 2018 is now our second highest sales Index ever- tied with May 2018- while March 2018 was our all-time
high. Our forward- looking indicators remain strongly positive even as they reflect some softening from our current record
levels of performance. Our industry continues to outperform 5-year averages by a wide margin- ~10.4% for June!

See the full report here: https://www.pmpa.org/news/latest-news/2018/07/24/pmpa-business-trends-june-2018

 

Employment prospects are 98% positive In precision machining shops!

P.S- Employment Sentiment: Prospects for employment are positive and strengthening with ninety-eight percent (98%)
expecting level or increased opportunities for employment!

photo credit: Life of Dad blog

 


United States Department of Commerce Section 232 Exclusion Requests Tracking

July 11, 2018

In case you were wondering how well the US Department of Commerce is taking care of the exclusion requests by American Metalworking companies, here’s some data.

 

0ver 98.9% of all requests for exclusions remain unprocessed!

Requests for exclusions for both steel and aluminum have less than a half of a percent chance of being approved- 0.35% for steel and 0.47% for aluminum.

Where else but government is this level of performance tolerated?

We will update this from time to time.

 


Beryllium Standard Final Rule- Do You Machine Beryllium?

July 3, 2018

The 2017 final rule established new permissible exposure limits.

It also included provisions to protect employees from exposure to Beryllium, such as

  • requirements for exposure assessment,
  • methods for controlling exposure,
  • respiratory protection,
  • personal protective clothing and equipment,
  • housekeeping,
  • medical surveillance,
  • hazard communication,
  • recordkeeping 

Do you machine Beryllium in your shop?

Have you evaluated your compliance to the above 8 points of regulatory concern?

Do you know the key regulatory enforcement and compliance dates?

Beryllium Copper is not only used in electrical applications!

If your shop machines any of the following Beryllium Copper grades, it does apply to you:

Beryllium Coppers C17000, C17200, C17300, C17410, C17500, C17510

The rule applies to occupational exposure to Beryllium in all forms, compounds, and mixtures in
general industry, construction, and shipyards.

  • Employers that are covered under the rule must use engineering and work practice controls to
    keep exposures at or below the PELs.
  • Engineering controls include using process isolation, ventilated enclosures, or local
    exhaust ventilation to keep beryllium from being dispersed throughout a work area.
  •  Examples of work practices to control beryllium exposures include keeping surfaces
    clean by using a HEPA-filtered vacuum or by wetting down dust before sweeping it up.
  •  If engineering and work practice controls cannot keep exposures at or below the PEL,
    employers must provide respiratory protection to affected employees.

PMPA is providing members with sensemaking regarding this final rule, compliance dates and strategies, and helpful links to better understand their responsibilities.

PMPA Beryllium Final Rule Members Only

Photo of VR38 Nissan GTR Beryllium Copper Valve Seats courtesy of Fast Forward Race Engines on Facebook

Not a PMPA member? Contact Matthew  Hooper to learn more mhooper@pmpa.org