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GD&T

GD&T 101: Understanding Fundamentals of GD&T in a Machine Shop

In precision manufacturing, electrical specs are ideal for specifying electrical components appearing on a drawing. Mechanical components require unique spec system that are replicable.

Also, mechanical spec system should be clear, precise and not excessively restrictive. Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) is the new phase of precise designs.

What is GD&T?

Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) is the primary international language that aims to offer clarity in most drawing interpretations and specifications. The ideal use of GD&T in CNC manufacturing helps in the elimination of vague drawings. Vague drawings give room for guesswork, controversy, and assumptions in manufacturing and inspection processes.

GD&T is a language of standards and symbols wholly designed and used by top CNC machinist, engineers, and manufacturers worldwide. They use this language to describe products and facilitate communication between entities working together to create products.

Through advanced knowledge on the best practices to create a well-structured GD&T, you can improve communication with your custom machine shop Denver. As a result, everyone in the workplace speaks the same language.

Why is GD&T Important?

GD&T may seem like a complex language. It requires correct interpretation and specification for efficient and effective communication. Improper implementation can cost your company a lot of money. Nonetheless, excellent training offers your employees sufficient comprehension of GD&T and its proper application on a particular job.

Constant measurement and effective communication across engineering processes and disciplines are vital for production of superior products. GD&T helps you achieve this goal. It’s primarily designed to address major challenges facing companies and organizations when describing product geometry.

GD&T symbol language allows for accurate communication of all geometry needs for any related components and assemblies. Designers, engineers, and manufacturers use the ‘language’ to understand detailed engineering drawings in commercial design, automotive, manufacturing, electronics, and aerospace industries.

Moreover, it assists in controlling and specifying forms, location, and orientation of the features. GD& T also characterizes machine shop components and manufactured parts.

GD&T symbols for every dimension on a manufactured part or component are defined in connection to a datum. Datum is a theoretically perfect plane, point, or line on a manufactured component perceived to be the reference point for all dimensional measurements and tolerance calculations.

All datum(s) on every manufactured or designed component is considered as the ‘zero point.’ Calculations get built from the reference point to every other dimension to guarantee consistency of particular parts. Therefore, manufacturing, design, and quality engineers get great manufacturing and measurement clarity. Furthermore, incorporation of a datum dramatically simplifies all specification and design processes.

ISO-certified GD&T languages have successfully replaced complex and long industrial descriptions with simple symbols. The symbols are clearly and unanimously understood by all precision manufacturing personnel required to read and interpret any engineering drawing.

Benefits of GD&T

GD&T offers many benefits to OEM manufacturers. The entire design philosophy implemented in GD&T is similar to that extensively featured in functional dimensioning. Every part gets defined based on how it functions in the end product.

The designer meticulously bases the required tolerance on part function instead of copying it from a previous drawing. This strategy enables the use of maximum tolerance in the production of parts.

When applied appropriately, functional dimensioning, often multiplies the total tolerance on most component dimensions twice or thrice. Dimensioning significantly lessens the overall manufacturing costs.

With the incorporation of accurate coordinate dimensioning, all tolerance zones are not associated or connected to any functional requirements. In case a designer assigns tight tolerances, problems can occur since they are not in any way resolute in the determination of a beneficial and functional tolerance.

So, why use GD& T?

Round tolerance zones

Round tolerance areas permit roughly 57% supplementary tolerance compared to square zones which result in additional functional parts. The manufacturing process gets enhanced in capabilities when more tolerance on the parts. This helps in significant reduction of manufacturing costs.

Bonus Tolerance

Under certain conditions, GD&T creates room for a bonus tolerance in addition to round tolerance. The bonus comes from the use of Maximum Material Condition (MMC) modifier. The MMC modifier increases tolerance in precision manufacturing.

Bonus tolerance is a practical example of a win-win situation for the involved OEM since manufacturing can get further tolerance when holes are bigger than their smallest functional size. On the other hand, clients get a guarantee parts will assemble without a hitch.

Tolerance zone in coordinate tolerancing is always constant with size irrespective of hole conditions. Several functional parts can be scrapped to create a more rigorous condition for CNC manufacturing. Bonus tolerance allows for additional tolerance in production which assists in lowering operational costs.

Reduces Assembly Problems

GD&T inspection process ensures that all parts assemble correctly. Assembly procedures don’t necessarily require a CNC machinist on the assembly line using a hammer and a two-by-four.

Moreover, GD&T inspection process ensures that OEMs can obtain multiple sources or use competitive souring for the same part. The reduction of assembly problems consequently increases your company’s profitability.

Clear Communications for Inspection

GD&T’s datum system enhances clear communications of a single set up feature for inspection. The assessment equipment mainly stimulates datums. The symbol that is universally used in the specification of any datum denotes the part surfaces that meticulously touch the gaging apparatus during inspection.

All datum features get chosen based on part function and assembly requirements. They are in most cases the features that comprehensively mount and precisely locate parts in its specific assembly. The datum(s) reference letters get specified within the statistical and geometric controls. They also symbolize the series in which specific part surfaces majorly contact the gaging equipment.

GD&T supports SPC use

GD&T datum system offers repeatable part dimensions essential for designing a reliable SPC chart. SPC data might comprise of assumptions with implementation of coordinate tolerancing which diminishes the accurateness of data obtained. Profile control use is an ideal example of how GD&T supports SPC.

Profile control helps in the establishment of a mathematically distinct tolerance zone. Moreover, it relates extensively the obtained measurement to datums. Precise tolerance zone description does not exist whenever coordinate tolerancing is used.

Profile control together with datum system enhances the accuracy of the obtained SPC data. Therefore, no unnecessary changes are made in the Original Equipment Manufacturer and Denver Manufacturing processes. It saves time and money for the company.

For original equipment manufacturers to realize the benefits of GD&T, correct utilization is key. When used incorrectly, it can result in costly errors. For example, if a manufacturer uses erroneous drawings to choose machines to use and production rates, it results it incorrect cost estimates. In the long run, manufacturers end up using wrong equipment and producing substandard products. Solution?

Customers want to work with companies who have successfully used this incredible technology. Call or visit Tag Team Manufacturing to speak with our experts.

raw material- aluminum

What factors impact the cost of raw material pricing in 2018

Raw material prices are often a hot yet challenging topic for any machine shop in the manufacturing field. Chinese factory closures and the rapidly rising cost of raw materials in the manufacturing industries has proven to be a challenging combination for both producers, suppliers, and consumers.

On a broad level, there are two prime drivers of raw material costs.  One is supplied and demand tightness, like most items, the law of demand and supply governs and controls the prices of raw material. When the supply and demand for a specific raw material gets tight, the costs of raw material significantly increase.

The other contributing factor to the rise of raw materials is the primary feedstock. The primary feedstock for most raw material manufacturing companies is natural gas, oil or metal. Although many CNC manufacturing companies apply the lean principles, raw material prices still pose a challenge especially for Denver manufacturing industries. Apart from primary feedstock and supply tightness, there are other small factors which massively contribute to the cost of raw material pricing.

Cost of labor

The cost of labor is another critical factor. Work is crucial as it influences the actual production rate. With the expansions of free trade agreements and the urgency of supply chain agility, labor cost is a factor to consider in determining your level of production.  Free trade agreements have allowed for massive savings especially when you meet certain local sourcing minimums. Sometimes finding enough domestic labor to qualify for productivity is the hardest part of achieving this savings, making the prices of material go high.

Additionally, chasing low labor impacts the cost of production when it comes to consumer preferences, supply of raw materials and other considerations such as taxes and import and export duties. A shift in the workforce means a shift in raw material pricing.

When Labor Unions strike, a lot of time is wasted and energy lost, less production and transportation significantly affect the pricing of raw materials. Agreements reached by these unions such as salary increment, benefits, and allowances typically affect the pricing. Labor is thus a backbone of any thriving manufacturing company.

 The dollar

A vast majority of raw materials use the dollar as their pricing mechanism for global trade since the US is regarded as the most stable economy worldwide. When the dollar rises, it means that most materials will become more expensive in other currencies.

There is always an inverse relationship between commodity prices and the value of the dollar. Since the dollar strengthened in 2014 to 2016, many commodities have become very expensive, and since then this trend has been witnessed up to now. This is because the dollar tends to be the most stable foreign exchange currency.

When it comes to international trade for raw materials, the dollar seems to be the ideal means of exchange. Another reason for the enormous influence of the dollar is that most raw materials such as oil and gas trade all over the world.

Climate change

Raw materials are needed every day in the daily activities of a factory or industry to push production. Even with the current technology today a lot of raw materials cannot be recycled or reused. This has a tremendous fundamental effect on the availability of raw materials.  However, climate change influences the ease of transportation of these materials to the required destination.  Natural disasters such as the Hurricane Harvey, floods and snow significantly affect transport.

When a place is affected by climate, it is difficult to get materials to their required destination and thus the little that is there means increasing the prices. It is often believed where there is lack of enough supply; the prices automatically go high.

Manufacturing is made difficult in this situation, and the cost of productivity goes high which eventually leads to increased pricing of raw materials. Climate greatly affects the efficiency of labor.

Raw materials prices back in 2017

Raw materials have seen severe price inflation in 2017 due to a variety of factors such as the strong number of markets. The overall price increased between 1 to 4 percent in sales. This significant increase was channeled by competition, high demand and various new markets in the manufacturing industries. As witnessed in this first half of the year, the prices are expected to go higher or remain constant.

Transportation

Every manufacturing industry requires efficient as well as cheap means of transport for both raw materials from the from the factory to the manufacturing industry and finished products from the original equipment manufacturer to the market.

The location of the machine shop should be strategic to ease transportation and for cheaper and adequate transport facilities at a more reasonable rate. If the industry is located at a place where transport would be difficult, the only alternative would be to hike the prices of the raw materials to balance the two rates.

The location of the manufacturing industry.

The location of the industry plays a significant role in the prices of raw materials. If the factory is located at a place where the supply of power, transport, and cost of labor is either unavailable or too expensive, the prices of raw materials in that particular area would most likely be high. Every industry requires fuel to run the machines. Alternative means of power such as hydroelectric, geothermal or coal may significantly affect the prices of raw material. Additionally, the closer you are to the market the easier it is to transport and yield any reasonable profit.

Supply and demand

The demand and supply are the key top drivers when discussing the cost of raw materials.  It is a fundamental economic principle–the more an item is on demanded in any market, the costlier it becomes. If you are producing a product that requires diamond, your product will most likely cost less to manufacture. However, if many people are looking for the diamond, then the material will cost you a dime.

Unpredictable market

The world is a complicated place where things can change any time. Economic or political instability cause speculations which widely affects currency evaluation or other countries failure to contribute or invest in that particular country. Such actions can affect the pricing of raw materials, labor, and taxes.

cnc machining

How does different material impact CNC tooling?

CNC machining offers significant flexibility for the manufacturing industry. However, depending on your manufacturing needs, you need to consider what materials to work with to achieve efficiency and cost-savings. While various machine shops offer guides on material selection, you should be aware of the properties of various materials and their impact on CNC tooling.

With the right approach to material selection, CNC machining translates into an efficient manufacturing process with high-speed production rate and high precision for critical applications in areas such as the aerospace, photonics, environmental monitoring, computer storage, bike, oil and gas, drone, electro-mechanical, and robotics industry.

Understanding the impact of specific materials on CNC tooling improves your productivity since you’ll be able to match the materials with the right tooling style. For instance, wood, plastics, and composite machine are workable with most CNC machining styles, which are equipped with the HSK style tool holders or, ISO/SK/BT style.

However, specialized applications cannot be executed with standard CNC machining styles. Thus, you’ll need specialty tool holders such as the heat shrink and hydro tool holders. While CNC machining has a unique capability for cutting and forming various types of metals and polymer materials, it is impossible to reap maximum benefits from it without proper selection of materials.

Here is what you need to know about the impact of various materials in CNC tooling:

Hard materials

In most cases, machining hard materials, is hard work and demand a combination of high precision and rigid tooling system. Tooling hard materials requires more processing in contrast to normal materials. You need to apply the right strategy and tools at every stage of the manufacturing process. In fact, you have to master it to realize the desired output.

Tool Choices

CNC machinists have the choice of distinct tools; the square end mills, bull nose and ball-end. In some cases, hard materials require you to combine for different stages in the manufacturing process.

For roughing operations, hard materials require the use of the ball end mill. It also the ideal tool for finishing operations. The ball end mill is characterized by a large radius, which helps dissipate heat and force. As a result, it enables you to work at high speeds and to feed the material quickly for you to cut closer to the net shape.

As for large parts with flat floors, you need a bullnose tool. In contrast to the ball end mill, it has a small radius and limited capacity for dissipating heat and force. Thus, it is not ideal for parts that require sharp corners, especially where the floor and the wall meet since it results in chipping.

For such cases, it is best to use a square end mill. Alternatively, you can employ dry machining with air or oil to reduce the chipping since it provides higher spindle speeds.

Tool Geometry

Since hard materials cause rapid wear of tools, a custom machine shop in Denver may demote them to semi-finishing tools or re-sharpen them.

However, since CNC is meant for high-precision manufacturing, the need to cut varying angles and edges using a blunt tool will lead to losses since it has lost its tool geometry.

Tool geometry is critical to precision manufacturing, and a deformed tool should be replaced since it conflicts with the programming specifications for proper operations. CNC manufacturing relies on programming templates for quality control. For instance, CNC programming with a gibs feature is best addressed with a gibs template for the easy selection of tools and tool paths for your manufacturing project.

Such templates are applicable for speeds and feeds on various features and allow you to pick a specific feature and the tool to work with, which comes with predefined speeds and feeds.

The templating process is used for the standardized features of a mold, for example, base plates, gibs, and retainer plates. It is quite helpful when handling hard materials since the process positively impacts time value and tool wear.  With the knowledge of proven patterns and tools when working hard materials is invaluable since it helps you apply templates for fast and efficient cutting process, and, at a cost-effective price.

Since hard materials are dense, they’re full of tension and require soft machining to release the tension. Thus, you must begin by roughing the materials in their annealed state. The soft machining process informs the choice of the type of CNC tooling to apply since you need to optimal material removal.

To make the machining easier, roughing is followed by heat treatment. Since hard materials break into chips when heat-treated, you need inserted cutters to make the chips move fast. Also, they require tool path patterns that can support the fast movement of chips to hasten the process. As an original equipment manufacturer, it is critical to leverage toolpath concepts such as adaptive clearing for the heat treatment process.

With knowledge of how different materials react to heat treatment allows you to select the right tool for the job so you can monitor the twisting of the mold to the required shape.

As such, you need to balance the stock to create enough room to adjust the mold during the finishing process. Also, you should have the right amount of stock to avoid excesses, which would lead to hard machining to remove it.

Since the finishing process comes after the heat-treating process, you need a hard machining plan. Heat-treated materials are harder and create a stronger surface, but brittle, thus challenging to machine.  As a result, you need an assortment of specific tool sizes to achieve the desired stopovers for surface finish.

Part Geometry

In addition, you need to apply specific techniques such as raster passes to make the cutter intersect with the vertical planes made during the roughing process. Denver manufacturing services by Tag Team reference part geometry for the proper configuration of the machining tool to achieve precise surface finishes of high quality.

CNC tooling is flexible, but it is informed by choice of materials you use. While the focus here has been on hard materials, all types of materials have an impact on CNC machining since you have to consider part geometry and the desired designs.

For instance, in the design of complex and detailed parts, a mistake in the choice of CNC tooling could lead to the design of unnecessarily expensive parts in the design phase.

Design

For CNC machining to work properly, the programming of the tools has to map the desired design on the mold. Thus, it is critical to get the right drawings and feed the right tool to produce the right design. However, this should not be a challenge since you can leverage the expertise of Tag Team, a CNC machinist, and precision manufacturing company in Denver. Besides, they specialize in the manufacture of precision components for OEM’s in every industry.

At Tag Team, we have the skills and capacity to work with original equipment manufacturers in developing prototypes. With the capacity to generate over 50,000 components yearly, we can help you with your CNC manufacturing projects.

Manufacturing Sector

Is US Manufacturing Making a Profit?

Many people view the manufacturing industry in the US as one that is untouched by technological changes. This skepticism has led to some questioning whether the manufacturing industry is making a profit in this era.

Addressing concerns on the decline of the manufacturing industry in the US

The manufacturing industry experienced a major hitch during the recession, with more than 5.8 million workers losing their jobs between the years 2000 and 2010. While the 2007-08 recession played a major role, many attributed this to the automation and the introduction of robotics in the manufacturing industry, some thought that this was a sign of the slow growth of the US economy and that the US was losing its grip to support its population.

According to the IMF, the decline does not necessarily indicate a shift in the industry’s size. Instead, sector inequality is what is bringing about this concern. In a recent IMF report, Bertrand Gruss stated that “the decline in manufacturing need not be a source of concern as long as the policy mix is right.”

Though the industry has gone through dark times in the recent past, data from the US Census Bureau shows that it is making profits, with the first quarter of 2018 having a $154 billion, up from the $117.6 billion that had been realized in the last quarter of 2017.

Manufacturing trends behind the industry’s current profits

Labor automation
The use of CNC manufacturing has played a major role in the success of this industry. While this is no magic wand, it has made manufacturing companies more competitive. Automation of processes and the use of digital machines has led to increased productivity as tasks that were done manually at higher costs, and less accuracy are now automated. This has led to a significant drop in manufacturing jobs, but its benefits far outweighs the challenges. Through an efficient production process manufacturers realize an increased output which ultimately leads to increased profits.

Machine outsourcing and leasing
Automation has not come without its fair share of challenges. These human-capacity-saving machinery in most cases have extremely high upfront costs. However, any company can now walk into an Original Equipment Manufacturer and lease any machine. This, coupled with the many financing options has given the industry a major boost. Finance companies are offering to settle not only the machine’s cost but other soft costs such as its installation and freight.

Rising demand
The US remains to be a lucrative market for manufactured items. This has continued to lure both local and international manufacturers to open companies in the US. The streamlining of global logistics has opened up this industry to the world. Technological innovations have made the moving of products and services faster, cheaper, and easier. As such, manufacturers have increased their visibility to potential clients not only in the US but all over the globe. This has seen the demand soar especially in emerging economies. With the increased demand, manufacturers have doubled their output capacity, which explains their profit story over the last few years.

Further, the rise in global demand has led to US manufacturers seeking international allies. In most instances, the US manufacturer works on the design and the products’ functionality while the international partner manages distribution in the country they are in. This has also enabled the manufacturers to widen their global reach and maximize their revenues.

The rise in industry technologies
Manufacturers can now efficiently source for raw materials or deliver their finished products anywhere in the world. They can now have multiple facilities all over the globe, as opposed to the past where facilities were set up depending on the raw materials’ proximity. Through cloud connectivity, such facilities can sync data which is accessed by each facility in real-time.

Evolution in the precision manufacturing sector has made manufacturers maximize their production output, increase the machine’s running times, and reduce downtimes. Through design and simulation tools, manufacturers can validate the products’ design before the final production. This results in the production of perfect products and reduced design time.

Increased diversification to service provision
The integration of automated systems in the production process has necessitated that there be a constant support for optimal efficiency. Case in point is IBM, which actually sells more services than goods. Many Denver manufacturing shops also offer services that are meant to help companies maintain and upgrade their machines. This has led to diversification and eventual realization of profits.

The future of the manufacturing industry in the US

Concerns on whether the US will be able to recoup its position as a leader in the manufacturing industry continue to be a significant bone of contention. The US population is also waiting to see whether the current administration will deliver its promise, that is, ensure that the low and middle-class workers get their manufacturing jobs back. Besides, everyone wonders what impact increased manufacturing automation have on the workforce in the long run.

All indicators show that the manufacturing industry is experiencing a resurgence, and focus is shifting to policies that will accelerate this growth.  Policies such fewer government regulations and investment in infrastructure geared towards enhancing manufacturing are expected.

While manufacturing jobs are returning to the US, it will be necessary for any machine shop Denver, to employ the same skills that were applicable a few years ago. As a result, we will see more efforts from government agencies and corporates to bridge the skills gap. The curriculum also has to be adjusted and relevant programs introduced to ensure more skilled labor is available.

Also, no CNC machinist is going out of business as technological innovations lead to production efficiency and the production of high-quality products. Undeniably, we can only expect more automated processes. This will further be influenced by the evolution of the Internet of Things. We can expect advancement in M2M applications, 3-D printing, and AI equipment. It is hard to find a custom machine shop that is not making use of such technological innovations for products with multiple customization options and fewer flaws.

The manufacturing industry plays a major role in the US economy. Increase in efficiency due to automation will ultimately lead to increased production, time-saving, reduced downtimes due to the use of smart machines will all lead to higher profit amounts and a healthier economy. While these changes are welcome, they will lead to changes in the workforce and better products.

cnc machine in action

Machine Shop 101: Top 7 Secrets To Choose Right

Selecting a CNC Machine Shop can be a daunting task with many options available. Innovative strategies are imperative to guarantee selection of a competent shop providing cutting edge technology. Usually, an Original Equipment Manufacturer has experienced evaluators that determine whether a supplier has the minimum requirements.

The team features Quality, Sourcing, and Machining personnel. Each team member represents particular facets of the business. Some Precision Manufacturing set rigorous requirements when conducting supplier evaluation.

Why choose the best machine shop Denver suppliers? 

Choosing a machine shop supplier determines the success of your company in so many ways. Some of the benefits of choosing the ideal one include:

•    Lower costs
•    Reduced scrap levels
•    Great agility
•    Smoother workflow
•    Improved forecasting
•    Reduced setting times
•    Shortened manufacturing lead times

What is the secret?

1.    Samples of Previous Work

Any shop or manufacturer can claim to make the best equipment for every industry. However, custom machine shops that are proud of their products go a notch higher and allows you to inspect their prototypes. Also, they let customers and business owners see all parts and equipment manufactured in their shop.

When customers see examples of previous work, they get a visual representation of their attention to details and craftsmanship delivered to every piece. They get to verify the quality of the end product even when the supplier is working with huge runs of 2-dimensional parts under pressure of tight deadlines.

The ideal CNC machine shop should offer samples on demand and have a command in discussions about their industries of specialization. A knowledgeable and experienced machine shop gives customers great confidence in the quality of their machines. Previous samples confirm that a supplier has honed their skills working with a plethora of materials commonly used in a particular industry.

Don’t you think high end machine shops should be able to deliver precise cuts needed to fit into customer’s specifications?

2.    Enables Project Flexibility

As you choose a custom machine shop that is conversant with crafting ideal parts for your industry, also focus on how flexible they are with particular jobs. The search for a perfect choice should not make you jump from one shop to another. Sometimes, in-house limitations relating to the types of equipment their CNC machinist can work with on their availability and your project.

The best Denver Manufacturing machine shop has in-house skilled machinists, equipment, and necessary experience to get most projects completed as quickly as possible without undermining quality. Ideal manufacturers should also be flexible in offering different size runs ranging from small prototype machining to big scale productions using assortment of materials.

3.    Incessant Improvement

Leading Custom Machine Shops always pay great attention to continuous improvement. Progressive improvements of materials, parts, and equipment produced increases value offered to customers. Some strategies used to measure improvement process include Lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and other techniques. Evidence of such quality improvement measuring processes ought to be readily available to customers with proven results.

4.    Offers Excellent Communication Methods

Communicating specifications for prototypes, materials, and parts in any precision machine shop should always be continuous. Alterations can arise at any time. Whenever communication between machine shops and manufactures goes limbo, doubts kick in. Dissatisfaction extends to potential clients through reviews and recommendations.

A quality machine shop focuses on these four customer communication aspects:

•    Allows customers to use their preferred communication channel that suits their operation.
•    Takes time to explain technical capabilities of various machine parts to clients.
•    Offers a contact person who is readily available to answer questions and implement alterations quickly to minimize material waste and time loss.
•    Asks relevant questions concerning customer’s project and how to enhance their job to get value for money and improve their experience.

5.    Implements Quality Control Measures

Quality is paramount for every customer irrespective of parts or equipment ordered. Therefore, every Precision Manufacturing company should create control measures that eliminate production errors in all steps of a manufacturing process. If a shop lacks documented quality control measures, it’s advisable to seek services elsewhere.

A professional Denver Manufacturing shop will be ready to talk about quality certifications such as IS0 9001 and AS9100 standards. They have extensive documentation about the equipment used to determine specification accuracy, for example, coordinate measuring machines. They elaborate what control standards are set for every part, machine, and equipment whenever rejection rate starts to rise.

The best Custom Machine Shop informs their customers about their failure rates and measures taken to reduce this rate to manageable levels.

6.    Equipment and Technology Advances Investment

A CNC shop is just as good as their machinists, staff and equipment produced. It is advisable to research on the types of software and equipment currently used to make the required prototypes and parts. Moreover, ask the shop management about other materials and equipment available in their shop.

Research on all equipment used in the production run phase, for instance, CNC Machining, Wire EDM, and Manual Machining. That information is essential since some stages in the manufacturing process may require hands-on approach for tooling prototypes. The shop should be well equipped with various software capabilities and can modify model designs upon request.

Additionally, CNC Machinists should be well qualified to handle onsite equipment and software efficiently. Their extensive knowledge of all equipment necessary for the production process and how well they use quality measuring equipment should be certified at proficient levels. Therefore, technicians should never hamper any of your bottom lines.

7.    Interact with Previous Customers

After reviewing an Original Equipment Manufacturer capabilities, communicate with previous customers. It is advisable to check reviews given by previous customers online about the shop. Questions that you may ask previous customers include:

•    What customer service got provided?
•    Did the machine shop meet expectations and how did they enhance customer experiences?
•    How long did the customers work with the machine shop?
•    Were there any defects or problems with deadlines and how did the machine shop resolved these issues?
•    Did the machine shop offer extensive information about their capabilities?
•    How were communication and modification requests handled in cases where changes were necessary?

Speaking to previous customers enables you to learn about all the procedures that the Manufacturing Shop implements to satisfy customers. Why choose blindly when you got so much time and reviews online?

The future of machining is brighter now than ever. There are many things to produce. Pressure is mounted on machine shops to play their part in increasing machine and machinist’s abilities and management to maximize flexibility and speed. Are you looking for such machine shop? Get in touch with Tag Team in Denver.  

OEM concept cell blurred background 3d illustration

4 Things OEM’s Look for When Hiring a Custom Machine Shop

If you’re an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), then you understand that the manufacturing process is a necessary evil. There’s no doubt you have to get the products assembled and tested, but your real talent lies in the product design and conceptualizing the ideas.

For the OEMs, the manufacturing process is more of a means to an end, and you might find it better hiring a custom machine shop to perform the various CNC machining tasks that include fabrication.

Outsourcing these tasks to custom machine shops comes with advantages to the OEMs. They give you the time to focus product innovation & development, and save money on machine costs, hiring & training full-time machinists. OEMs also stand to benefit from the increased purchasing power, the broad range of expertise & value addition.

Hiring a CNC machine shop isn’t a straightforward affair. As an OEM, discussed below are the four key things to look for when outsourcing to a custom machine shop;

Custom Shop CNC Machining Capabilities

Evaluating the CNC machining capabilities of a machine shop is an ordeal by itself. In the US alone, there are hundreds or even thousands of machine shops, each claiming to offer the best in precision manufacturing and CNC machining.

The best approach is for the OEM to assign some evaluators comprising of the sourcing, quality and engineering personnel. The role of these individuals is to determine if indeed a particular machine shop meets your specific needs.

When it comes to the machine capabilities, you have to establish if the machine shop possesses the skills & expertise in the required operations. And are the processes implemented there required by your components?

Usually, different setups, volume, cycles, and flow can significantly impact on the price, the quality and the lead time of an order. When choosing your custom machine shop, be sure to evaluate their ability to optimize the entire process.

Innovative Technology & Continuous Improvement

We’ve realized remarkable progress in all industries and machine shops should also not lag behind. Any good machine shop in Denver will be equally as good as the technology used there and the machinists’ ability to use it.

Prior to hiring a machine shop, it’s important that you understand the current technology for manufacturing your product. After that, seek to know what CNC machining tools and equipment the machine shop uses and how they run them during the various processes.

What’s more, the machine shop you choose should also have certified CNC machinists or technicians with skills to run the software used in the various processes and to make changes if and when required.

OEMs should confirm that the shop they choose has the latest technology and they keep learning new processes to keep tabs with the new technology. It should be possible to tell that a machine shop is committed to continuous improvement by looking at solid results. The shops should prove that they devise and adopt strategies that add value to their OEM customers.

Work Quality & Quality Systems

Certain industries are so sensitive and will require consistency in the quality of work. These include the aerospace, defense, and medical industries. If your project requires high levels of consistency, then you must be careful when hiring a CNC machine shop. But how can you tell that the shop you approach has a keen eye for consistency?

Before you approach any shop, read their online reviews and testimonials on review sites. Ask for references and physical samples of their work. Reputable machine shops maintain a record of their projects in bright photos alongside the names of their clients and shouldn’t hesitate to share their past projects with you. Machine shops with something to hide regarding their performance will be uncomfortable revealing past projects.

And if there are any ongoing projects, pay close attention to their work for consistency so you can stand a better chance evaluating the capabilities of the machine shop. Check to see if they meet the specified tolerances, surface roughness, and the exact component materials? In any case, you want whatever product specifications to be met without fail lest your business loses customers.

Regarding quality systems, you need to confirm that your machine shop has the necessary certifications and that they meet all the required standards. Make sure that your machine shop is ISO Certified and has the certifications required in the specific industries in which they operate. You might also want to engage a survey team in checking keenly to ensure the daily discipline and documentations are followed to the letter. Tag Team Manufacturing will be ISO certified in August 2018.

Business Reliability & Flexibility

Professional custom machine shops have standard practices that they use in their production. But then, they’re open to any changes the OEM customer might suggest in the course of the project.

Any good CNC custom machine company will keep you the loop right from the initial step and will be ready to modify accordingly if something doesn’t feature in your specifications. Once the product prototype is complete and you approve of it, then they can use those specifications to replicate similar units.

On business reliability, any OEM customers who want quality precision manufacturing services should be ready to ask tough questions. It’s risky to place all your faith in a machine shop that has had endless problems with the supply chain. Establish how long they’ve been in CNC machining, their long-term goals, and history with customers’ orders.

Any good machine shop in Denver will have a reliable and effective supply chain management team. They should display experience in managing the incoming parts and the outgoing products and be able to handle secondary outsourcing operations. Once you’re confident the company is reliable, and the supply chain is on point, then you can go ahead with the partnership.

Undoubtedly the Best Denver CNC Custom Machine Shop

Founded in 1987, Tag Team Manufacturing has been and is still the leading Colorado machine shop. We’re a modern company working hard to continuously improve and develop our processes & capabilities and use the latest software systems in the world. We’ve hired a strong team of industry expert machinists with a combined experience of over 140 years. Our clients agree that Tag Team Manufacturing owns one of the cleanest and most organized CNC machining plants in Colorado. Call us at 303-841-5697 to request a quote or learn more about our Denver manufacturing and machining capabilities.

Education concept: Helpful Tips with optical glass

Tips for Choosing a CNC Machining Partner

While the US machine manufacturing industry continues to grow rapidly, choosing the best strategic partner for your CNC machining can be quite challenging. However, this process should not be that difficult if you have the correct pieces of advice beforehand. Below are some machine shop tips that you might want to put into consideration when sizing up for the best service provider.

#1: The Technology in Use

The power of technology cannot be underestimated in the engineering and manufacturing sector. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to know the type of technology in use in your preferred machine shop. While there are many companies out there relying on standard technology, this could be a constraint when it comes to both design and machining. That is why it is paramount to work with a manufacturer who is fully automated and equipped with all the necessary precision tools and equipment. At Tag Team, we have heavily invested in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) manufacturing that allows us to deliver precise component machining to our customers. Additionally, this revolutionary approach to manufacturing helps us to achieve zero-defects because once your design is fed into the computer; our CNC machines can repeat the production process multiple times. This also helps to lower lead-time.

#2: The Expertise of the Staff

Sometimes you may go with a price that you think is good only to end up with a component that does not conform to your print or assembly. In other cases, your project may be delayed, and the excuse the manufacturer tells you is “your component design is too complex.” Therefore, you need to be vigilant when dealing with machine shops and only work with a company that has a reputation for interpreting designs and prints accurately and delivering projects on time. At Tag Team Manufacturing, we have created a work environment where our machinists make a long-term career. We know very well that expensive equipment and software are worthless if they are not coupled with qualified and experienced staff to deliver quality services and meet the exact customer specifications. In fact, the vast majority of our machinists are US manufacturing schools graduates and can handle all complexities relating to components design and implementation.

#3: Range of Materials and Services

Choosing a manufacturer who offers diverse metal machining services can save you a lot of time and paperwork. Consider a case scenario where you want a design component that has to incorporate several metals or materials. Definitely, it would be much more convenient to outsource to one manufacturer than several of them for a single project. That is why we at Tag Team Manufacturing have CNC machining for a variety of materials including plastic, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, carbon steel, and most alloys. Besides, we have an extensive network of support vendors who provide brazing, plating, heat treatment, painting, and welding among other services.

#4: Relationship Sustainability

For those considering to enter into an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) contract with a CNC machining firm, you might need to evaluate the sustainability of the relationship. First, put into perspective whether the manufacturer has the requisite CNC automation to meet your demand and needs. Second, the machine shop you want to enter into a contract with should protect your business interests and keep the requirements of the end-users in mind. That being said, Tag Team has an excellent reputation for producing components for EOM’s in almost all industries. Our production capacity is about 50, 000 components annually, which means we can meet your demand without compromising on quality. In addition, we protect the interest of our clients, as we do not publicize our relationships with EOM’s who buy components from us.

5S sketch notes on blackboard

How to Implement 5s in the Manufacturing Workplace

The efficiency and the safety of a manufacturing organization are vital for improved productivity, quality production, and profitability. The 5S is a methodology aimed at optimizing the productivity and reducing waste at the factory. It makes use of visual cues and an orderly workplace to achieve consistent results. The 5S is implemented by small teams working together to achieve a higher goal of efficiency. It can be performed in any company that does manufacturing in the USA.

Steps in 5S implementation

1. Sort

The first S deals with getting unwanted obstacles out of the way to enhance speed in the production activities. All unneeded items should be kept away and the right people allowed to do the job at hand. In essence, the production workplace should only have items needed for the current operations in their bare form.

Why is it important to sort?

With enough space, time and efforts can be managed effectively as everything is in its place. In addition, it removes any annoyances and hindrances in the workflow management and lowers incidences of injury where there are moving parts in the production process.

2. Set in Order

The setting order involves arranging items such that they are in the area that they would be used. Each item is labeled for the ease of identifying it at the workplace.

Why is it important?

Setting things in order eliminates several kinds of waste that include;

· Waste of human energy as workers look for items across the facility

· Downtime as production activities await the delivery of the said items

· Difficulty in inventory management as some of the items cannot be traced.

US manufacturing school also teach the importance of putting everything in order as it lowers the chances that a wrong raw material may be used in producing a particular item.

3. Shine

Keeping the workplaces clean enhances efficiency and work morale. Clean machines and tools also work efficiently and do not break down now and then. The workplace and tools used daily should be cleaned each end of the day so that everything is set for the next work day. This applies to hand tools and CNC machining equipment at the workplace.

Why is it important?

· Clean machines produce items with fewer defects

· Puddles of dirt and oil are more likely to cause slipping injuries

· If machines do not receive regular maintenance, they tend to break down more often

4. Standardize

The above-said procedures should be maintained each day. The management of the workplace should standardize the processes so that the conditions do not deteriorate at any point. Similarly, the quality of the products should be maintained by such technology as CNC automation. CNC manufacturing ensures mechanical engineering products are cut to precision every time and products are of the same quality all through.

5. Sustain

The improvements on the procedures should be efficient in the long term. Inspections and audits help determine the effectiveness of any improvement in the production environment. US manufacturing schools teach on quality control especially in mechanical engineering and other production industries. If any improvement does not improve the quality of the product, lower the cost of production or make the work easier, it is not worth implementing.

There is high competition among competing firms in US manufacturing industry. One way a company can lead the pack is by cutting down the waste and maintaining the product standards. In addition to the procedures taught in mechanical engineering schools production managers should enhance optimal productivity by making the workplace efficient, clean and inviting.

Industry concept: Lean Manufacturing on computer keyboard background

5 Lean Manufacturing Principles Every Machinist Should Know

Lean Manufacturing principles are the way to improve manufacturing processes and can be applied to any production process. Every machinist should know these lean manufacturing principles in order to increase efficiency and help reduce costs. With the right lean manufacturing principles, US manufacturing can compete on an international level. There are five principles to incorporate: value, value stream, flow, pull and perfection.

Value

The value should be established early on in the CNC manufacturing process. In determining the value, machinists should look at the needs of the customer for the product. Other things to consider are the timeline, price point and if the customer’s expectations are going to be met.

Value Stream

After value has been determined, there needs to be an established process that takes the materials to the final product, known as value stream. Value stream is mapping out the steps it takes to complete the whole process. Every step needs be identified no matter what department it is in, whether it’s design, production administration, delivery or customer service. Once every step is determined, it’s necessary to go through the steps in order to find ones that don’t create any value and are wasteful. This process can be referred to as re-engineering, and helps better understand the whole organization. It’s important to identify inefficient inventory control, defects or bottlenecks in the process in order to make the system more lean.

In this step, determining everything of nonvalue is very important. It’s necessary to learn the difference between value and waste, and vendors may need to be consolidated. Purchasing supplies and components from one source may eliminate waste, since communicating with multiple people can use up time and money.

Flow

Once the waste has been eliminated from the process through value stream, the next step is to determine the flow of the remaining steps to continue to eliminate any interruptions, bottlenecks or delays. The steps need to flow smoothly. Sometimes it’s needed to look at all departments so they become cross-functional. This can lead to increases in productivity and efficiency, sometimes showing more than 50% improvement.

Pull

The idea of pull is to have the product ready for the consumer at any time, because the steps to make the product have become efficient and that product can be pulled when needed. This saves money for the manufacturing process because products don’t have to be stockpiled and there isn’t inventory just sitting there where people have to manage it.

Perfection

Lean is not just a one-time thing and, in order to achieve perfection and perfect value, the first four principles need to be looked at often and incorporated into the company culture. All employees should be involved in the process. Even though many of the processes are within manufacturing, other departments can still be involved. It may be necessary to repeat value steam and flow to create maximum efficiency.

When implemented correctly, lean principles will help improve efficiency and provide other values, such as increased workplace safety. Lean principles not only can be applied to manufacturing, but also different departments. By thinking outside the box, lean can be used to reduce fatigue in the manufacturing process, which can reduce injury potential. Not only does the company benefit from lean principles, but customers benefit as well.

Metal Wheel Concept

Improving CNC Machine Shop Efficiency and Productivity

As manufacturing continues to evolve, CNC machinists find themselves in stressful situations since the skills gap is diminishing with time. It has become very difficult to find experienced CNC manufacturing machinists in this industry. The level of competition is up which requires high CNC automation of machine tools to provide stiff competition to other CNC machine providers.

The high demand for quality parts means that mechanical engineering and milling processes must put more emphasis on increased productivity and manufacturing. Today, modern valuable CNC machining tools have made it possible for most shops to modernize their operations. To remain competitive, CNC machinists must find viable ways of increasing their output and maintain reliable, quality and exceptional customer care services.

Time is an important aspect in CNC manufacturing and each machine shop owner wish to make their shops more productive and efficient. Here are three main tips for improving your CNC machine shop efficiency and productivity.

Prolonging the Life of the Tool

Consider having a high-pressure coolant system or increase the concentration of the existing one. It is advisable to examine your tool holder and the inserts from time to time to enhance its lifespan. This simple process helps you to prevent any disastrous failures. You should also record the number of materials that are being removed. Mechanical engineering schools put a lot of emphasis on avoiding extreme contact time with the new materials.

During this process, it’s advisable to go for harder insert grades of your choice which will service you for long. To maintain your tool holder for a long time, some specific coatings like aluminum oxide will help you to reduce the cycle while increasing the lifespan of your tool, feed rates and cutting speeds. Alternatively, you may consider investing in a cryogenic machine.

Improve the Organization

Lack of proper organization may lead to loss of money and significant manpower. There is need to maintain a properly arranged workplace for your business especially if it’s a machine tool. You have to organize things and put them in place when you are done with your work.

You should make sure you invest in quality shadow boards, and tool draws such as those used at US manufacturing schools. You should also improve the labeling system of your arrangements to prevent confusions. Cleanliness of your equipment and shop floor should be maintained since it’s beneficial to your health and business.

Equipment Management System

It is profitable to keep your tool cost as low as possible and invest in US manufacturing tool management system while setting your time down. A good and reliable tool management system will help you to manage and track your inventory. This will enable you to reduce the cost of overstocking or understocking of the tool supply.

The manufacturing in USA enables you to find useful software that will help you control performance, tool usage and procurement in your CNC machine shop. The software also provides crucial purchase notifications to help you avoid costly downtimes. You need to understand that your production quantity isn’t the only factor that drives business growth. You need to thoroughly evaluate the kind of services you are providing to your clients and streamline your overall business processes.