Manufacturing Institute Releases New Employer Toolkit

December 12, 2013

The Manufacturing Institute has developed a one-stop, how-to guide on developing and recruiting a skilled workforce.  Written by and for manufacturers, the toolkit on Developing Skilled Workers speaks to chief executives, human resources professionals, and operations managers, with steps to take, partners to build, and templates to use to grow their own talent pipeline.

Toolkit for employers

Toolkit for employers

Here’s the link.

Indentation Yield Strength Test- Breakthrough Mechanical Property Test

August 30, 2011

The patent pending indentation yield strength test developed by Nanovea in my mind is the greatest development in mechanical testing since digital readouts.

Yield strength determination no longer requires tensile machines and expensive specimen preparation

The use of a cylindrical flat tip penetrator’s load per unit surface area, at increased speed, has been shown to  correlate to the load per surface area at which material starts flowing when in tension. See the report for the correlation studies on a variety of materials and details of the calculation of Yield Strength.

The Nanovea technology can determine the Yield Strength in less than a minute and in an area as small as 5 microns.

This gives smaller companies a way to more afforably chaaracterize materials without the expense of outside lab services for sample prep and testing.

Two caveats:

  • Because this test covers a very small area, it truly characterizes the base material itself, and not necessarily how it will behave in bulk form due to casting, forging, voids or other imperfections.
  • For the same reason, test results from this technology may be slightly higher than those by traditional tensile test / extensometer readings.

But the inverse of these statements is probably more valid: the tensile test results will always be less than the materials actual or ideal Yield Strength because its larger scale includes a greater volume and selection of various internal imperfections and macro defects.

We see this new Nanovea Technology as an exciting development for our field that will give engineers, product developers, and manufacturing companies better  tools they can use to characterize materials at scale of use.

We can also see this being used by some bright engineers to determine Yield Strength of coatings! and films being used in today’s latest solar and fuel cell technologies.

For more information contact Nanovea.

Wish I Was There!

April 17, 2011

Sometimes, you just have to leave it in the good hands of your trusted colleagues.

If I was there this year, my smile would be even wider.

I was on the schedule for this year’s PMPA National Technical Conference and Precision Machining Technology Show being held in Columbus now through Thursday. I had prepared a couple of presentations and was really looking forward to reconnecting with the people who make things– You!

Sometimes however, Life has other plans.

I’m happy to know that Bob Drab, a colleague of many years and THE product specialist on stainless at Schmolz + Bickenbach will be presenting my program on Material Sensemaking- Understanding Foreign Grade Designations. And that one of my fellow staff directors will be giving my presentation giving you a behind the scenes look at the TOOLS YOU CAN USE on PMPA’s website.

Precision Machining companies belong to the PMPA because they know the benefits of collaborating to solve problems. To share resources that perhaps each one needs but cannot afford on their own. To know that they have a network of knowledgeable industry professionals available to back them up when they run into a problem they haven’t seen before.

Just as companies in the PMPA back each other up by sharing resources, knowledge and solutions to solved problems, I have learned that staff and colleagues do the same for each other when the need arises.


I’d have given anything to be there with my ‘INDUSTRY’ in Columbus this week.  To see you. To listen to your ideas, answer your questions, hear your concerns, see new processes, meet old friends.


But it wasn’t in the cards.

Why, I’d rather  chauffeur Bob Drab around on a bicycle… than miss this event.

Id do about anything to be at PMTS

Sorry I’m not able to be there. While you’re there, say”Hi” for me to Bob Drab,  and my staff colleagues Monte, Rob, Mike, and Carla.

And please, somebody take some photos!

I Know It When I See It

August 26, 2010

Sometimes the wisdom is just undeniable.

I spend quite a bit of my time writing what I hope to be interesting articles for our many readers. Knowledge retention and thought leadership posts for our member companies.

Written pieces that give the readers ‘Tools They Can Use.

If I’m  writing, I’m  probably not spending a lot of time reading…

So when I got a copy of ph Horn’s latest  World of Tools 2/10 magazine, I was captivated by the following comment made by Lothar Horn, Managing Director.

Lothar Horn

“How can our tools best be used so that the customer can obtain the maximum benefit from this investment?”

At PMPA, we’re pretty familiar with the concept of  ‘Tools You Can Use’– in fact we use it as our Tagline.

But we were really interested in the answer that Mr. Horn gave to his own question:

“…we have developed new products, strengthened support and service and expanded our portfolio in the direction of complete machining.”

Let’s see, how can we as an industry face the challenges of the current market situation?

 1) Use the tools we have to develop new products,

 2) Strengthen support and service to our customers,

 3) Expand capabilities toward complete solutions…

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

You can download the Horn World of Tools Magazine at this link ; just click on the pdf download link for the 2/10 issue.

If this was a quiz, would you have gotten 3 out of 3?


Temper Colors For Steel

July 14, 2010

Temper colors of 0.95% carbon steel at temperatures indicated.

In steels, tempering is reheating hardened steel to some temperature below the lower critical temperature for the purpose of decreasing hardness and increasing toughness.

(The lower critical temperature is the temperature of the austenite-to-pearlite eutectoid transformation in steels- below this temperature austenite does not exist.)

Tempering is also sometimes applied to normalized steels. For the same reasons- decrease hardness and improve toughness.

The chart above shows the colors that are elicited by tempering a 0.95% carbon content steel at the temperatures shown. (Think drill rod.)

I saved this chart back in my youth from a Bethlehem Steel Handbook.

This is what we here at PMPA call “Knowledge Retention” and “Tools You Can Use.”


21 Ways Offshoring Medical Parts Manufacture Is Bad Business

April 15, 2010

Setting up and operating offshore manufacturing doesn’t save money on a total cost basis, but trying to do so may compromise quality, delivery and product development, which could otherwise provide real cost reduction and the pursuit of new high-profit opportunities, like mass customizing of products. 

Is the deciding factor really just low cost of labor?

Rather than weakening operations with the burdens of offshoring, local operations could pursue more effective cost reduction by designing low-cost products, eliminating waste through Lean Production, lowering the cost of quality and setting up flexible factories that could build standard products and mass-custom versions on-demand without the costs and risks of  carrying inventory.

This article in Orthoworld will give you 21 thinking points to understand why offshoring will actually work against your company’s  and customers’ best interests and bottom line.

21 Tools for better sensemaking.

Our job here at is to help you find “Tools You Can Use” to keep your medical shop competitive and sustainable.

We think getting you the ideas in this thoughtful article is best use of our blog today.


It’s All About Execution

April 8, 2010

Either you can execute, or you can't...

Don’t You Agree?

It’s not about ability to promise.

Heck, that’s pretty easy.

It’s not about ability to plan.

I’ve seen (and made) some pretty nice plans in my day.

But plans that aren’t executed are- well,  not much more than recorded dreams.

I think that it’s all about execution. That is, meeting and exceeding our customer’s expectations every day.

Every day! Every Customer! Every transaction! Every touch!

What is the secret of execution?

There are a couple. But the most important is your company’s commitment to continuous improvement.

Continuous improvement is what helps you keep your service and processes leading and sustainable.

The minute you stop improving, you reduce your chance of successful execution.


We execute. But the reason we produce this conference is so that our member companies can drive continuous improvement of their key people.  The people who make a difference- in their shop, in their culture, and to their customers.

I am looking forward to meeting the industry’s executioners in Pittsburgh at PMPA’s NTC.

Because it’s all about execution. Isn’t it?



Execution is the key. PMPA’s National Technical Conference drives execution by giving attendees tools they can use for continuous improvement.