Tag : machine shop

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 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 Engineering 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.

CNC Automation Trends

Machining Technology Trends 2018

2018 is already off to an exciting start when it comes to CNC manufacturing and CNC automation. The US economy is improving, jobs and growth are projecting higher for US manufacturing for the coming years, and new technologies are emerging in CNC automation. Here’s a look at some of the top machining technology trends for the coming year (and beyond).

1. Demand for Machine-Tooled Products Is Increasing
Consumer confidence is on the rise and the US economy is ramping up after a slowdown of many years. This means the demand for machine-tooled products will be on the rise as well. New changes to US tax laws and trade policies are increasing the demand for domestic manufacturing. This will also make it easier for new CNC manufacturing startups to get off the ground, because they can be more competitive with established overseas machining operations.

2. CNC Growth Projections Are High
CNC manufacturing is projected to grow in demand across nearly every sector this year. Take a look at the estimated 2018 growth in CNC industries from an analysis by Gardner Business International:

Medical Devices & Instruments: 5.1 percent increase
Surgical Instruments: 3.1 percent increase
Automotive Manufacturing: 2 percent increase
Aerospace Parts & Engines: 3 percent increase

3. Demand for CNC Manufacturing Jobs Projecting Upward
This is actually a “good news and bad news” trend for the moment, with the bad news coming first. The CNC manufacturing sector overall was not ready for the increased demand for precision machined products. In the short term, the skilled labor gap is going to get worse than it already is. Mechanical engineering schools don’t have a lot of new slots opening up, while the industry needs skilled and trained workers for CNC automation and machining. Bottom line: There aren’t enough workers to keep up with demand in the short term. However, that is good news in the long run. The job outlook for the CNC Manufacturing sector looks better and better through 2018 and beyond.

4. More Touchscreen Controls
Companies that make precision CNC machining equipment are rapidly implementing more touchscreen controls. The controls make it easier and faster to pre-program machinery and tools for 3D cutting tasks. Program navigation, editing, creation and verification are all made easier by implement touchscreen controls with manual keypads. CAD/CAM programming and USB communication with interfaces allow even more options, versatility and ease-of-use on the machining shop floor. The implementation of touchscreen controls has added more speed to the CNC machining process, which is great when manufacturers want to quickly push more product out the door.

5. Robotics & Regulations
As the CNC manufacturing sector continues to expand, human engineers are increasingly working in proximity to robots. State and federal government will eventually step in with new regulations related to functional safety. While it hasn’t happened yet (beyond regulations that are already in place under OSHA), the industry is holding its breath for when that day comes. When it does happen, it will likely have a ripple across the domestic CNC manufacturing industry which will increase product costs for consumers.

Lean Manufacturing Waste

7 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing

One of the effective ways of increasing the profitability of any enterprise is through waste elimination. Processes can either add more value or massive wastes to the production of goods and services. The seven wastes of lean manufacturing came from Japan where there were referred to as “Muda.” The first step towards eliminating waste is understanding what waste is and the specific places where it exists in your processes. The wastes found in various manufacturing environments tend to be similar. Here are the seven wastes in lean manufacturing.

1. Overproduction

Overproduction refers to the process of manufacturing specific items before they are needed in the market. Overproduction is expensive since it hinders the uninterrupted flow of material and degrades the quality of products produced. Overproduction in industrial manufacturing is usually referred to as “Just-In-Case” manufacturing. This type of manufacturing will lead to significant storage costs, excessive lead times, and make it almost impossible to notice defects. The solution to this waste is stopping the production tap. You should only manufacture what can be shipped or sold immediately.

2. Transportation

The waste of transportation usually refers to the movement of items between different processes. This will involve the use of a forklift truck or similar equipment to move products around the factory. Transportation is a waste occurring as a result of overproduction. Excessive movement of products around the factory will cause harm and can also lead to deterioration in the quality of the products. The equipment used to move the products around the factory lead to another production cost that adds no customer value.

3. Over Processing

Over processing is extra work that adds no significant value to the consumer or business. Over processing is a waste that takes the form of adding unnecessary features to a product that the customer doesn’t use but raises the cost of production. A good example of over processing would be maintaining paint finish more tightly than required or building a product that will last for five years when you know that the customer will replace it after two or three years.

4. Excess Motion

The waste of excess motion is related to wasted movement and is evident in all cases of walking, stretching, lifting, bending, and reaching. Some of these issues are also related to safety and health which is becoming a major concern in today’s world. Technically, jobs that require excessive movement need to be analyzed and re-engineered for significant improvement with the participation of the industrial workers.

5. Excessive Inventory

Excess inventory is a waste representing cash that is tied up in the form of material which is technically difficult to turn into liquid cash quickly. Inventory eats up much storage at the manufacturing plant since it has to be managed and stored. It can also become obsolete leading to more waste. The quality of any inventory can undergo deterioration over time especially perishable goods such as rubber seals or food.

6. Waiting

The manufacturing waste of waiting hours occur whenever products aren’t moving or being processed. Waiting is perhaps the most common lean manufacturing waste of the seven. It is lost time due to poor flow of production process. Equipment breakdowns, part shortages, and bottlenecks can also lead to waiting wastes. Waiting can also frustrate the workers leading to reduced morale. The Goldratt’s theory of constraints states that every hour lost in a typical bottleneck is like an hour lost to the entire factory output which is impossible to recover.

7. Defects

Defects have a direct and substantial impact on the quality of products manufactured. Defects will lead to rescheduling, re-inspecting, and loss of capacity. The overall cost of defects is always a substantial percentage of the entire manufacturing cost. This waste can be reduced through continuous process improvement and employee involvement in the production process.

high-speed machining

High-Speed Machining: What Is It and How Does it Help?

According to the US mechanical engineering schools, high-speed machining can be defined in two different ways. However, the most commonly used definition is based on the relative surface speed between the workplace and the CNC manufacturing tool. This definition is primarily a thermo limit since most of the CNC mechanisms depend on temperature. According to surface speed definition, high-speed CNC machining is favored by metal cutting researchers and toolmakers from US manufacturing department.

Researchers and tool makers define high-speed machining by indicating the range of a transitional region which is yellow, conventional machining region which is green and high-speed region which is red and depend on surface speed. The surface speed is in meters per minute, and its equivalent to v=πdn where n is spindle speed and d is the diameter of the milling work piece.

The second definition which is widely used by mechanical engineering schools is the DN number that is centered on the rotation capability of the loaded spindle bearings. D is the diameter in mm of the larger bearing bore, and N is the spindle speed in rpm.

High-Speed Machining Principles

High-speed machining operates on several principles. Keep in mind that not every type of machining will benefit from HSM, but most applications could from HMS with implementation of CNC automation and assumptions. Below are high-speed machine principles.

CNC machine
Tool holders
Cutting tools
CAD system
CAM system

How Does High-Speed Machining Help?

Every machining shop desires high productivity and improved machining process. Machinists make complicated metal parts, shapes and need to run complicated programs to help them provide good services to their clients. Machinists use high-speed machining to make their work faster and easier. Here are some benefits of using high-speed machining.

Reduced Energy or Heat Loss

High-speed machining helps in increasing the rate and speed of material cutting which reduces excessive heat loss and transfer. When you reduce heat transfer, turnaround time and transmission are kept low which lowers energy consumption. Traditionally, time was provided for metals to cool down and form a hardened metal but in this case, the coolant is used in metal cooling which reduces heat loss and increases the speed of production since less time is spent on cooling.

Increased Productivity Rate

High-speed machining has driven manufacturers and machining shops to higher rates of productivity. Faster productivity rates mean the machines can produce more parts in a short period. However, the functionality of high-speed machining is often affected by the ability of the cutting materials themselves. Manufacturing in USA prefer the use of faster cutters since their productivity is high.

Even if all cutters are faster, the results produced by cutters of different materials are unique. For instance, diamond, ceramics, HSS, tungsten carbide and cermets cutters all provide different outputs. High-speed cutting tools can take a lot of time and may even lead to stress. The main problem that is associated with high-speed cutting tools is that they don’t manage heat effectively and require a coolant.

Machine Shop

History of Machine Shops

A machine shop is a specialized room, building, or big company where CNC machining and other types of machining are done. The activities that take place in such a shop involve experts/machinists using various machining tools and cutting tools to come up with different parts. People tend to think that a machine shop must be a massive building with complex equipment but this isn’t true.

A typical machine shop can either be a portion of a large factory or simply a small store such as a job shop. The various parts manufactured are usually sold to multiple lines in the US manufacturing industry, car industry, and even the aviation industry. The production of these critical parts typically involves cutting, shaping of the parts, drilling, and finishing.

History of Machine Shops

The history of machine shops can be traced back to the 19th century when the first mechanical engineering schools started to come up in the U.S. The first machine shop appeared around this time. It is also during this time that the industrial revolution was at its peak and there was a high demand for various parts. Before this era, critical parts and tools were mainly produced in local workshops in villages and cities. However, the production was limited to small-scale, and the parts were primarily sold to local CNC manufacturing artisans.

Production of parts in large factories took place on site where every part was produced individually. As time passed by, the plants started to come up with their workshops to deal with the production of the required parts. During those days, the textile was still the dominant raw material.

After the 19th Century

Further developments in mechanical engineering CNC machining took place in Germany, Scotland, and England after the 19th century which led to the development of cheaper and simple techniques for the massive production of steel. This development triggered the rise of second industrial revolution which played a significant role in the electrification of factories, mass production of parts, and also an uprise of more US manufacturing schools.

Machine shops gained popularity around this time as they were commonly referred to locations where complicated mechanical parts are cut to the required size and carefully put together to form complete mechanical units.

However, the rise of the machine shops came along with its fair share of both manufacturing and organizational problems. This triggered the emergence of various theories and publications trying to solve the problems.

One of the earliest publications in the field of mechanical engineering which gained a lot of popularity was a series of books titled; “Modern machines_ Shop economics” that was authored by Horace Lucian.

20th Century

The beginning of 20th century saw an increase in the number of publications relating to machine shops with various authors including Frederick Winslow Taylor and Howard Monroe More funds were directed towards research and invention which led to the invention of the electric motors in late 20th century.

The electric motors took over power supply of the common machine tools from the conventional mechanical belt. This era also ushered in CNC automation and numeric control in the field of manufacturing in the USA. The two aspects production design and primary production became integrated.