Tag : cnc manufacturing

blurring in motion as a concept of modern technologies in Metalworking machine with control panel CNC machine

The Keys to Successful High Speed Machining in your Machine Shop

Advancements in CNC manufacturing and industry developments in high speed machinery are just two of the factors that are driving a global CNC machines market that is expected to reach $100 Billion by the year 2025, according to a research study. This industry growth is underpinned by CNC technology that provides manufacturers with a reduction in machining errors, lower operating costs for machine shops, and lower labor costs when state-of-the-art factory automation is implemented in US manufacturing sectors across the board.

Taking Advantage of CNC Manufacturing

The key to successful high speed machining in your machine shop is directly tied to your adoption of high speed CNC machines and tooling or partnering with a machine shop Denver that delivers high speed, custom machine shop services to US manufacturers. These companies provide mills, lathes, grinders, ad routers controlled by computer CNC programming to operate at a significantly higher feed rate – and with a minimum of tool breakage.

Expect a cleaner cut with high-speed machines that operate at lower heat per piece due to the efficient manner in which metal chips are evacuated. The result is tooling that remains cooler with less vibration and a reduction in other machining forces when compared to conventional machine shop operations.

These inherent traits of CNC manufacturing will also provide 3 other major benefits to US manufacturing production – repeatability, precision, and range of materials:

  • Improved Repeatability: CNC programming and machines can reproduce a shop outcome that is unchanged for multiple pieces running at high speeds. Even more important than accuracy, repeatability means errors can be traced and compensated for, to reduce scrap and gain higher precision for intricate geometry machining.
  • Component Precision: When 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) software is used in conjunction with CNC machines, expect components that are manufactured to exact and extremely precise specifications. Complex shapes and fine or thin parts which at one time required a Master machinist and hours of labor are now easily manufactured without error.
  • Greater Range of Materials: Aside from common manufacturing metals, CNC machining is used to produce components and products from a wide range of materials, including steel, aluminum, bronze, gold, and silver. Today, many domestic consumer products manufactured from polymers such as ABS and PTFE are machined using high speed production as well.

4 Keys to Successful High Speed Machining

Staying competitive in an increasingly fast-paced manufacturing arena means achieving better productivity from your  manufacturing automation strategies. And when it comes to high speed machine shops, the following four keys will do more to ensure success than most other factors:

Material Selection Process

Due to the high feed rates of high speed machine (HSM) processing, softer materials don’t fare as well. For the best results, tough or hardened materials provide the best results. When you consider that different materials are processed at vastly different speeds, mostly due to the preservation of the machine’s cutting tool life, the most common metals include hardened steels, stainless steel, tool steel, and titanium, and often mild steel.

CNC machines are high performing and depend upon critical attention to every detail between the cutting tool, the CNC program, and the material being cut, including:

  • spindle rpm
  • spindle power
  • high feed rates
  • tool path rates

Material properties will affect the material removal rate and how much wear and tear is being placed on the cutting tool. Companies can overcome these material selection challenges by partnering with a machine shop Denver that specializes in CNC manufacturing and custom machine shop processes. Here you will find the expertise required to overcome component material specification and cutting tool material challenges and how material will relate to depth of cut, coolant flow rate, and the type of coating for the cutting tool.

Acceptable Workpiece Geometries

While CNC machines are regularly used to process common geometries, when it comes to high speed operations, the tool geometry and tool access to all parts of the working piece are dependent on the geometry of each component. Workpiece geometry with internal or ‘hidden’ cuts will often place a limit on to the maximum depth of an undercut.

Likewise, the stiffness of the workpiece and the tool must be matched to reduce deformation and vibration during machining, otherwise the temperature increase due to cutting forces are too great for high speed applications. Consideration of workpiece geometry also includes maintaining a minimum wall thickness for a successful component that is machined using high speed CNC equipment.

The Right CNC Machinery

If your CNC machines are not rated for high speed operations, then expect broken tooling and lot’s of scrap pieces. There are a wide range of factors that are needed for high speed production to run smoothly – and these factors mut be considered when selecting a CNC machine for your machine shop. From complex mechanical parts to mold & die processes, the right CNC machinery depends on:

  • Part Complexity
  • Machining Operations
  • Operator Training
  • CNC Control System
  • Cost Per Part
  • Available Floor Space

When setting up floor space for high speed machining, operations may need to be rearranged to accommodate material flow from point-to-point for increased productivity. When selecting a machine, worker safety and chip disposal during non-stop machining operations are an integral part of operations planning.

If you are in the process of choosing a CNC machine shop Denver to drive your high speed manufacturing projects, request samples of their previous work and discuss any in-house limitations they may have which can affect how flexible they can be during production.

Partner with a US manufacturing service provider that can run a range of project sizes from big scale productions to small prototype machining with a variety of materials.

Access to Trained CNC Operators

There is no denying that there exists a shortage of skilled CNC operators in America to fulfill the needs of manufacturers for trained and experienced workers to fill new positions in high speed manufacturing. The Golden Age of skilled machinists existed during the Baby Boomer generation – and today that workforce is retiring at a record pace.

The majority of Millennials that have entered the manufacturing industry have looked to supervisory or management positions in lieu of the traditional machine shop occupations that were held by their parents.

For these reasons, companies are finding access to trained CNC operators that are experienced in the nuances of high-speed manufacturing by turning to third party or outsourced, machine shops to meet demanding production schedules.

Partner with a high speed manufacturing machine shop that specializes in custom production at a facility that features clean and organized shop floors that are technology driven. Tag Team Manufacturing is dedicated to production quality and s inspired by today’s innovations in high speed machining processes.

At Tag Team, we work closely with your engineers to develop first-run prototypes, and we can collaborate with your product developers to deliver quality components at a competitive price with the ability to output up to 50,000 units annually.

CNC Manufacturing

How Changing Manufacturing Perceptions Are Shaping the Industry

The manufacturing industry in general, including CNC manufacturing and precision manufacturing, is one that is consistently recognized as one of the most important industries that contributes to economic prosperity. However, the US manufacturing industry is facing a gap. Not only are there not enough skilled workers available, but also there isn’t an interest in pursuing long-term careers in CNC manufacturing. A lot of this has to do with the public perception of the industry.

What Is the Public View of Manufacturing?

Americans value the industry, with 83% believing that manufacturing is important to economic prosperity in the country. Seven out of 10 Americans believe that the country should invest more in the industry. Eight in 10 Americans view manufacturing as an important way to maintain the standard of living in the country. Sixty-four percent believe that the manufacturing industry in the country is high tech. Even with these positive stats, Americans still aren’t choosing careers in CNC manufacturing. One-third would not encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing because they believe it doesn’t pay enough, is not a strong career path, and they are worried about the stability and security of the job. While 67% believe these jobs are rewarding and interesting, only half believe that a career in this industry provides good pay when compared to other industries.

Even though Americans aren’t encouraging their children to pursue those jobs and don’t seem to want to have these jobs themselves, they are optimistic about the future of manufacturing jobs and do believe that these perceptions can change and improve. Americans believe that future jobs can have better career prospects because they will require higher levels of expertise, have safer and cleaner environments, and be more innovative and creative. In order to get more people interested in manufacturing jobs, Americans believe there should be more targeted programs, such as apprenticeships and internships, as well as CNC manufacturing degree and certification programs. When Americans become more familiar with the industry, they are twice as likely to encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.

Education Matters in the Industry

As Americans are becoming more educated about the industry, their perception is changing. In order to fix some of these perceptions, it’s necessary to increase the pool of qualified candidates to be able to get the right talent to staff the roles that today’s manufacturing companies need. Community colleges, as well as technical schools across the country, are working with government and non-profit agencies, as well as manufacturers, to develop curriculum that will help make sure that students have the in-demand skills that are needed for these roles. These institutions, as well as manufacturers themselves, are better understanding the role that they play in transforming the public perception. Oftentimes in the past, manufacturers would spend money to invest in technology and equipment, but didn’t invest in their existing workforce and in the human capital. Due to this, the industry has fallen behind and is lagging when it comes to adapting to new operations in more technologically advanced environments. Schools have worked with private manufacturers in order to develop programs that will help focus on specific skills employers want, which not only makes it easier for the manufacturers themselves, but also benefits the students who want to make sure they can get a job when they are done with school. An example of this is a worker training program with American Makes. This organization is a leading partner in research for 3D printing and additive manufacturing. The organization is a public-private partnership that works to accelerate and innovate additive manufacturing with the goal to help increase the manufacturing competitiveness in the United States. The curriculum that is offered is skills-based training, and the apprenticeships offer a range of jobs that are in demand with a focus on the 3D workforce.

Improving the US Manufacturing Competitiveness

In order to improve perceptions about the industry, more than three-fourths of Americans agree that there needs to be a more strategic approach to invest and develop the manufacturing base. Seven in ten Americans believe that a strong manufacturing base should be a priority for the nation and there should be tax incentives to encourage it. There needs to be lowered health care costs, reforms in the education system, and a comprehensive energy policy. These are just some of the actions that Americans believe could help bolster the competitiveness of the US manufacturing industry.

What’s Really Happening in the Industry?

The manufacturing industry provides one of the most stable and secure career paths, and the average tenure of workers in manufacturing jobs is the highest among private sector industries. Manufacturing jobs have some of the lowest turnover rates as well. Despite what some think, CNC manufacturing jobs are paying well. According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor and Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average worker earned $81,289, which included benefits and pay, compared to the average worker in other industries only earning $63,830. Health benefits can be a concern with job seekers, and manufacturers have some of the higher percentage of workers who are eligible for health benefits provided by an employer. Skilled workers are needed, especially over the next decade. About 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed, which is due to a combination of the retirement of Baby Boomers and the strengthening economy. By making these statistics more well known and increasing public awareness, it can help dispel false perceptions to help get the news out that the industry is actually doing pretty well. Manufacturing is a big contributor to the US economy. The industry employs about 12 million people and the effect of it ripples throughout the entire nation. For every one dollar that is spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. For every job that is added in the manufacturing industry, four other jobs are added in the broader economy.

How Trends in the Industry Affect Perceptions

Different technological advances that are entering the industry, such as IoT and robotics, are also changing perceptions that are helping to shape the industry. Despite the new technology and many people thinking that technology is going to replace jobs, there is still a huge demand for jobs that are more skilled and can work alongside the changing technology. While some jobs are lost due to robotics and new technology, these jobs are being replaced with higher skilled jobs, which pay more and offer more stability. The newer jobs for higher skilled workers are exactly the kind of jobs that are needed to counteract the negative perceptions that go along with the industry.

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5 Things you need to know about Green Manufacturing

Over the years, human activity, in particular, manufacturing has had a devastating effect on the environment due to pollution. It has also drained the available natural resources through wastage and bad manufacturing practices. In the recent past, there has been a push for green manufacturing prices along with other green practices. Here are five things that you need to know about green manufacturing and how they apply in your custom machine shop or OEM manufacturing facility.

Green manufacturing comes in two ways

Green manufacturing can be defined in two major ways. First, the production of green products. These are products that do not degrade the environment. They may be fully functional equipment or parts thereof which ensure a clean and green environment. Second, it involves the use of renewable energy and manufacturing practices that do not pollute the environment.

Green products can be achieved in many ways. First, the selection of the materials used in the manufacture is critical to ensure that they are materials that do not contribute to environmental degradation. You can use recyclable or recycled materials in support to the recycling initiative. The plastic menace around the world and lead poisoning are some common manufacturing challenges that can be dealt by either of these two approaches.

The use of renewable energy sources helps avoid over-dependence on fossil fuels which are rapidly declining over the years. Renewable energy also brings down the cost of powering up the manufacturing facilities. Renewable energy sources include wind energy and solar power.

Reducing resource use

Different natural resources are dwindling as the years go by. Metal ores, oil, and water are some of the rapidly dwindling resources of importance to the manufacturing community. With the green manufacturing effort, there is an emphasis on the reduction of waste as a way to stem the draining of the resources. Wastage reduction involves streamlining manufacturing process to create efficiency so that every resource that gets into the production cycle is put into use.These resources include raw materials and energy

The second approach involves recycling the used and left-over materials for use in production. In the process of manufacturing, cut metal pieces can be remelted and made into parts. The manufacturing facility can also work with recycling institution to get quality metal for the production. You can have pure and high metal quality for your machine shop from the recycled parts.

Besides, there are lots of resources such as water that can be reused at the manufacturing facility to reduce water consumption. With water purification systems, grey water can serve many other areas of the facility. The water should be treated as it leaves the facility to get rid of heavy metals such as iron and lead before joining the public sewerage systems.

Dealing with emissions

Emissions have been the greatest threat to a clean and sustainable environment. The use of fossil fuels over the years have deeply damaged the ozone layer, led to global warming and lowered the quality of breathable air around the industrial quarters. There has been a drive to reduce the use of fossil fuels which in turn helps reduce the carbon footprint from manufacturing companies.

The reduction in emission is achieved in a number of ways. The first common way is the use of renewable energy sources. Sometimes it takes the redesign of the common systems to use the renewable sources of energy. The second methods involve the restructuring the production methods to cut out some process that increases the production of greenhouse gases. The rapid development of technologies such as CAD, prototype modeling technologies, and precision manufacturing has simplified most technical processes thereby lowering the amount of emissions that leave the manufacturing facility.

Work with communities to improve the livelihoods and environment

The corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a crucial component of green manufacturing. The manufacturing facilities operate among communities. These communities provide the facility with the workforce, energy, and materials for the manufacturing procedures. The manufacturing organizations are bound to give back to the communities around them in a number of ways as explained below.

They can take initiatives to conserve resources such as water by helping in the planting of trees and building of dams.They can assist members of the community to improve their lives by instituting community-based projects such as research and design facilities, taking part in the production of renewable energy or supporting the needy students to get education.

Taking responsibility for any environmental degradation that may have happened in the past, such as pollution of land and rivers and taking the first step in cleaning up the mess.CSR ensures that the facility is part of the community, and its presence in the community becomes an asset to thousands living near it. It is vital that businesses join forces with bodies working towards improving the lives of the residents and the environment around them.

Business process improvement

Also called cradle-to-cradle manufacturing, the ecological business process improvement involves design, production, and manufacturing with an eye on reducing wastage, pollution and enhancing effective resource use. The manufacturing process consists of a lot of components as explained below. The processes cannot be said to be truly green if each of the components is not green. Work with the CNC machinist to redesign the components of the manufacturing process with a view of making them green. The components include:

1. Sustainable manufacturing

This involves manufacturing that does not exceed the environment’s ability to transform the waste into resources and nutrients. This manufacturing philosophy aims to ensure that the manufacturing does not lay the environment around is desolate due to draining and waste dumping.

2. Green operations

Green operations seek to strike a balance between pollution reduction and financial performance of the organization. It looks at such initiatives such as eco-design, re-use of old and worn-out components, refurbishment and eco-packaging of products. These products reduce environmental pollution while still ensuring that the business stays afloat.

3. Green supply chain management

The whole supply chain should adopt green practices in the production, packaging and supplying of parts and finished products. Consider purchasing raw materials and your CNC machine components from an original equipment manufacturer and Denver manufacturing company that is eco-sustainable. In the same breath, the company can recover the products that have reached their end of life for recycling.

Green manufacturing has long-term benefits on your CNC manufacturing process and the community surrounding the facility. Select a green machine shop Denver for your part supplies in support for the green manufacturing initiative.

Cutting of metal. Sparks fly from laser

How Laser Technology has made Manufacturing Easier

Highly precise and immense power in welding, laser technology has changed the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing over the years has demanded innovation, increased quality, and efficiency. As such, laser technology came in and revolutionized the manufacturing process. Precision manufacturing has become possible due to this technology. Its ability to transform and manipulate materials has made it ideal for computer, automobile and clothing industries. Laser technology has changed and made manufacturing easier. It is actually hard to see a consumer product that has not incorporated laser technology in its production. The continuous innovation and effort by scientists over the years has seen laser technology developed and perfected. From the development stage to the application in the field, laser technology has led to some social and economic benefits. Laser technology has led to the growth of the social economy with its development of natural science and technology.

Here are fields of manufacturing that laser technology is being used.

Laser Cutting

The traditional cutting techniques have not mastered the art of precision. The cost of cutting and the ensuing processing cost are high. Laser cutting is precise to the millimeter level and less costly. With the right incision by the CNC machinist, the cutting is smooth and precise. This eliminates the need for further processing. Laser cutting has many advantages over the traditional methods;

– It uses CNC programming hence the accuracy.
– There is no shear burr.
– The incision will have no mechanical stress.
– It has a very high utilization rate.
– Its repeatability is good.

Laser cutting has different categories;

Laser vaporization– it cuts through very thin metals and non-metal materials.

Laser melting cutting– used for non-oxidizable materials such as titanium

Laser oxygen cutting– used for easily oxidizable materials.

Laser and welding

Laser welding is a different and more efficient type of welding. The laser radiation energy diffuses through the material to melt it and form a special molt. Laser technology has been ideal in achieving spot welding, butt welding and seal welding in thin walls. Laser welding has many advantages that have changed the manufacturing industry for the better;

– Regulation of the heat means that damage caused by heat conduction is minimal.
– No damage and contamination since no electrodes are required.
– High-speed performance
– Depth weld ration can get to 10:1, especially for perforated welding.

Laser welding is used widely in industries like civil vehicle manufacturing. The use of laser welding and CNC manufacturing in the vehicle industry has not only increased efficiency, but also production.

Laser Engraving

Under a very high energy density controlled by a CNC machinist, the laser beams irradiate the surface of the material making it melt instantly. This leaves a marking on the surface with the intended logo or text. Its efficiency and the fast pace has made laser marking the most popular in advanced engraving globally. Laser engraving has high repeatability precision, no pollution, beautiful in design, and firm. With laser marking, it is easier to achieve the synchronized flight print in a production line.

Laser Heat Treatment

This is a surface heating technology. As such, a laser is used to heat the meat on the surface to make the heat treatment. This has led to the improvement of the metal’s oxidation resistance, wear and corrosion resistance, and prolonged service time.

Laser and packaging

Laser technology is used in the weakening of packs to give an easy to open opportunity, puncturing holes in vegetable packages for ‘breathing,’ and scribing. This shows how laser technology has made packaging industry work more effectively and efficiently.

Laser and quality control

Measuring the laser light dispersion reflected back from ball bearings can figure their roundness. This technology has proved to come in handy in managing quality in manufacturing of various items.

Laser and Semiconductors

Semiconductor manufacturing needs clean cutting of materials rapidly. Nothing fits this demand like laser technology. The ability to cut shapes to high precision while minimizing roughness on the surface makes them cut out for this work.

Laser Rapid Prototyping Technology

With the increase in integration of the global market process, competition has intensified. The speed at which consumer products are produced has become the principal contradiction of the competition. With the users’ demand changing time over time, manufacturing firms have to be flexible. Producing in single or smaller batches without having an increase in the cost of production has become necessary. Rapid prototyping is like a computer 3D illustration and works by accumulating layer after layer in its designing. It provides a better concept than the one on a computer screen. At the product development stage, it serves to shorten the process of development, reduce cost, improve the quality and helps mitigate risks.

Laser technology is expanding at an incredible speed in various fields. In the manufacturing sector, laser technology has proved itself as a more efficient and less costly method of production. Known as the era of ‘light,’ industries have embraced this modern way of production. This has made the manufacturing process better, and consumer products have improved immensely. Manufacturing automation has increased labor productivity and lowered cost while prioritizing customers’ growing needs. Incorporation of the technology of automation has made consumer products more consistent and helped in processes that couldn’t be achieved manually.

At Tag Team Manufacturing, we combine this cutting-edge technology with highly qualified CNC machinists. Our manufacturing is efficient and precise. We boast as one of the leading machine shops in the state. Our dedication and investment in technology means that we are at par with the ever-changing demands of Original Equipment Manufacturers. Over the years we have improved our skills and capabilities in the progression of prototypes. Our team is a dedicated and versatile that understands the ever-changing demands in the manufacturing industry. Our operations are aimed at meeting the customer’s need for competitive pricing, on time delivery and high quality parts. Looking for machine shop in Denver? Tag Team Manufacturing is the right partner to turn to. With tailor-made services for CNC manufacturing, we have changed and revolutionized Denver manufacturing. Visit our website for more information on the services and solutions that we offer.

Denver Manufacturing

10 Ways To Take Your Machine Shop To The Next Level

All business people desire to expand and grow their entities. They would like to see these businesses increase performance production, strategies, and numerous other practices. While some these people may have the right idea, some are implementing ineffective approaches. Taking your machine shop to the next level will not just happen through your usual business practices. You have to introduce advanced methods that will elevate your success. Here are some of the top proven techniques that our Denver Manufacturing facility has implemented.

Automation

The mention of this term brings the idea of introducing robotic science to your shop. Automation entails other different and simpler ways besides robots. However, robots are the most effective and versatile tools of automation, but you have to be realistic. If you cannot afford it, opt for other alternatives while you plan about it. Automation makes work efficient and faster. For instance, automation is a fundamental requirement in precision manufacturing to achieve high accuracy. Evaluate your business and determine where to begin as you gradually increase your automation.

Additive Manufacturing

Elevating your business could mean introducing a new function such as original equipment manufacturer. Additive manufacturing has the capability of transforming your machine shop. Adding a new function will undoubtedly require a substantive investment. If your shop is not ready for this new level, keep in mind and consider it for the future. It has a lot of potential in part designs, supply chain and lead times. Additive manufacturing may demand a heavy capital outlay but later give big returns. It is also a major step in your business and requires keenness. Think about it and deliberate with other stakeholders to evaluate feasibility.

Lean Production

Your custom machine shop will never realize success until you avoid wastage and have a consistency of lean production. That means you will always have to conduct evaluations that identify non-value added practices and eliminate them. Most of the wasteful efforts and steps are invisible and cannot be identified without an examination. Walking through your shop and noting these processes is the most effective way of making this change. Lean management is not just about cutting waste. It also entails fully utilizing resources and the available tools to increase production.

Training

The manufacturing industry is evolving rapidly, and something new is emerging on a daily basis. You cannot make progress in your shop if you do not adopt new business practices. This entails purchasing new work tools and integrating emerging models. Any further changes ought to be accompanied by training and educating employees. Training is not just to orient and teach them about new things. It is also to enhance workplace health and safety. Workplace hazards characterize CNC manufacturing, and hence, employees should be protected. Training forms a culture of learning in your business. Your team will always be enthusiastic to get more information and knowledge.

Routine Maintenance

A CNC machinist understands that maintenance is necessary. You do not have to conduct this exercise because some areas require an expert. For instance, a machine shop Denver will hire an engineer to do this work. Maintenance also includes updating software and upgrading tools. They are the lifeblood of your machine shop because these tools significantly determine your performance. Modern machines are programmed to diagnose themselves. In case an emergency situation happens, a device or machine will shut down automatically and minimize possible damage. Conducting routine maintenance should not cost you much.

Organization and Collaboration

Business does not flourish and prospers because on one individual’s effort. Your custom machine shop certainly has several employees and other stakeholders. Advancing your shop will require improved organization and collaboration of both people and activities. As the leader or CNC machinist in that workplace, you must provide guidance. Establish cohesion through properly organizing tools and equipment in the shop. An orderly workplace increases workflow pace. Teach people how to work together and cooperate in their activities. Each employee contribution major counts in the progress of the business.

Realistic Goals

Endeavors of improving business at your shop will take time before they give substantial returns. It is like a journey that entails one step at a time. Set goals and have a plan after you decide to expand or elevate your business. Ensure these goals are manageable and practical. Some business people want to aim too high and hope to achieve it within a short time. Unrealistic goals will discourage you or even push you to unwise decisions. Small milestones are advisable because after you accomplish each, it motivates you to the next level.

Working Hard

The cornerstone of Denver manufacturing is working hard. All these tips and strategies of making you shop better will require a lot of effort. While most successful people emphasize on working smart, the hard work is part of it. No success will come from mediocrity and doing thing ordinarily. The manufacturing business is competitive, and only those who differentiate themselves will thrive. While pursuing prosperity and new levels in your business, failure and mistakes are part of this journey. Do not be derailed because humans are bound to err at any particular point. Note the mistakes, learn from them and move forward.

Team Work

Your team of employees and work associates hold part of the key to your success. Team building activities would help in teaching employees how to cooperate. Teams need to learn effective communication, which is the foundation of their cohesion. Take these teams through drill work and assist them in optimizing their functions and efforts. Teams also require problem-solving knowledge. They do not have to wait for senior management to make decisions for them. These ‘red tapes’ are sometimes redundant. When low-level employees are allowed to make decisions, it saves time and resources.

Routine Appraisals

Implementing new practices and upgrades is not enough to maintain the expected standards of your shop. Due to the rapid changing of the manufacturing industry, regular appraisals are essential. Auditing your work processes and strategies uncovers waste, areas of weaknesses that require attention, challenges, strengths, and any other significant information. The information is an asset that guides you on areas to adjust, revise or do an overhaul. It also points out the strengths and opportunities that you would capitalize to maximize positive results.

Denver manufacturing has significant potential with many opportunities. Maximize on these openings and take your business to a higher level. These tips and approaches are practical and viable for any machine shop seeking to advance its level. Apply one at a time and enjoy operating on an improved realm. Remember that effort is mandatory in accomplishing the new level and maintaining it. Your clients will always be watching you.

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.

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.