Tag : machine shop

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.

engineer working on computer at the design of mechanical piece

Impact of MasterCam 2019 3D Changes in Manufacturing

CNC Software Inc. The developers of MasterCam recently announced the completion and release of the much-awaited MasterCam 2019. The leading CAM/CAD creator software is now available for purchase by OEM manufacturing companies. It has made several improvements from the job setup to the completion of work. Here are some of the recent improvements and inclusions and the impact of these 3D changes on manufacturing.

Validation

MasterCam 2019 now shows toolpaths denoted in different colors based on the type of move. It makes use of the Dynamic OptiRugh toolpath that enhances the advanced display properties. The Advanced Display has to be toggled on for the display. If not you will still see the cutting and rapid motion shown in different colors. These properties are not available in the wire toolpaths.

In addition, the software comes with improved machine simulation and toolpath. It has analyze enhancements which enables you to analyze the distance, toolpath and block drill support. The analyze distance updates distance as you move the cursor on the screen, and allows you to try different positions without restarting the function. As for the toolpath analyze function, you can control the tool and holder opacity. The MasterCam simulator along with Classic Backplot enables support for different drilling holes at the same time.

Moreover, the previous versions only allow you to create bounding boxes in the current construction plane. However, the new 2109 version allows you to have a different bounding box orientation without changing the construction plane.

These features enhance the programming assurance helping machine operators to make informed decisions before they start a job run. The ability to make changes to different aspects without restarting the process reduces the job setup period thereby speeding up processes. The enhancements also improve the accuracy of the setup thereby improving the quality of the output.

Easy setup and preparation

In addition to the toolpath support, the MasterCam 2019 has improved the efficiency of the job set up with the enhanced CAD model import support capabilities. This enables you to use CAD models created by other programs and processes on your software rather than create new models from scratch. Companies that outsource CAD modeling tasks will find the import feature helpful. In addition, the new software release has a better fixture setup and has expanded the support for model-based definition.

The new features allow for greater collaboration with other CAD software at the premise. It allows for teams to work on different projects in different software and bring the models together on the MasterCam for enhancement and job completion. The features also improve the setup lead time and shorten the time spent from set up to completion of a task.

Tool support

The latest release comes with an expanded digital tool library which offers a variety of tools to the CAD programmers to create more accurate models. The new release has one of the most advanced tool technologies allowing for more precision when working on different models.

In addition, the software comes with Accerelated Finishing TM that enhances the quality of the finished work through an increase in the number of tools that you can work with. The proprietary system includes taper and lens style tools, and oval form and barrel tools. Users are able to work with precision manufacturing on sloped surfaces while enhancing the finish of the surface and reducing cycle time. The new system outperforms the standard ball nose cutter methods in terms of quality of output and precision. Collaborate with a reputable Machine Shop Denver if you have problems configuring the tools to work with any tool in the library.

CNC programming made easy

CNC programming is one of the cost centers in many machining companies. However, the 2019 release of MasterCam lowers these costs while improving productivity through the use of automated 2D toolpaths that work through axis improvements. In addition, the software has improved chamfering which allows for the creation of symmetrical sloping as well as 45 and 90-degree angles with increased precision. When combined with multi-axis deburring capabilities, it results in smooth edges and easy removal of the sharp edges. Ensure that you work with a custom machine shop to ensure that you have the right parts for your machining equipment.

Moreover, the software has re-engineered holemaking by making the work of a CNC machinist simple and fast. It also has several technologies including the Equal Scallop toolpath to improve the surface quality during machining. In a bid to make machining even more versatile, the software supports Sandvik Coromant PrimeTurning™, bar feed, enhanced grooving along with most features of turning and mill-turn tasks. Finally, it also offers support for Lathe technology and Swiss machining technologies.

These technological enhancements have significantly lowered the cost of machining, reduced material wastage, enhanced efficient energy consumption and improved the surface appearance for finished goods. The support for popular technologies allows companies working with different machining technologies to tap into the MasterCam wealth of features for improved production.

Enhancing documentation and task management

Quality certification is at the heart of every OEM manufacturing company. With the certification comes lots of paperwork and rolls of documentation for both the technology and the processes used in the production. The new released makes documentation a lot easier with its various capabilities. These include the new toolpath visualization capabilities and availability of section view tools which enable you to provide accurate diagrams of various processes with ease.

Moreover, the software has made great improvements in the view and set up sheets enabling information for each level in the production process to be accessed with ease for reference and job planning. In addition, there several system level enhancements that are put in place to allow you to manage job flow with increased efficiency. You can also access several process documentation tools for report and quality control initiatives.

Shortened training and adoption periods

When new programming employees join the company, the process of training and orienting them to use the software products in the company may take a long time and high costs. The new release has made learning, use of the software for CAD and production processes a lot easier. It has a variety of features that include enhanced graphics for tool support, analytics, and documentation, rearranged setting systems that enable fast access to a variety of features, and detailed documentation that enable users to access as much information as possible in every stage of production. MasterCam has the most extensive collection training material among CNC manufacturing software making it easy to learn and perfect skills. The faster the new users get on board, the more advantageous it is to the company due to the increased workforce and ability to maintain consistent quality of output.

Buy your machining components from an Original Equipment Manufacturer and Denver Manufacturing reseller to work with your software for good results. A custom machine shop is able to provide quality parts for your specialized manufacturing equipment.

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.

CNC Machinist

Machine Shop Presents: Top 10 Ways to Keep Machinists over 10 Years

It’s never easy for manufacturers to attract, recruit and retain machinists. The problem isn’t going away any time soon. By 2025, the manufacturing industry will have approximately 3.5 million positions., but only 1.5 million getting filled according to study by the Manufacturing Institute in Partnership with Deloitte.

Numerous industry leaders suggest that quick advancement in manufacturing technology may alienate seasoned workers. Some think that robotics, programming skills and automation is the solution. Other players believe that lack of female presence on machine shop floors could be untapped labour source. Is it?

We spoke with top players in manufacturing and recruitment in a bid to unravel ways to retain CNC machinists for many years. Here is what we gathered.

1. Pay well

Paying competitive salaries with a tight budget and low funds can be difficult. But if you calculate the cost of replacing your machinist, it can help. It can cost between 30% and 50% of an entry level machinist annual salary to replace an experienced one. Most machinists in the manufacturing industry find they can get about 30% salary increase by moving to another company.

2. Make manufacturing jobs secure

Manufacturers struggle with the negative image of closing plants, driving down labour costs and offshore jobs. That perception has to change to attract and retain top machinists. You must show that manufacturing sector offers employment security.

3. Run newer fleet

Assuming you had to choose between operating a brand-new energy efficient machine or something built in the Reagan era, which one would you prefer? Most machinists would prefer working in a more pleasant environment. It’s more attractive to work in a clean, safe and comfortable environment. And when it comes to performance, new tech can make a big difference. If you’re having trouble retaining your machinists, think about their “office” and equipment.

4. Invest in training

Career growth is quite challenging especially for start-ups and young companies. Creating an organizational structure that allows for career-development is key. It is essential to help your machinists grow. Today, technology changes at breakneck speeds and machinists have to keep up.

Find innovative ways to generate resources for professional development. Provision of growth and learning opportunities is an ideal way to retain top machinists in your company.

Training is one of the best strategies to improve retention and increase employee loyalty. It’s also an incredible way to enhance productivity and manage costs, especially energy costs, which is achievable when a skilled machinist is in the cab.

The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) recommends at least 40 hours of training annually for every employee. While that may sound daunting, keep in mind that training includes low cost activities like on the job mentoring and lunch time coaching.

Some more costly training includes classroom instructions, simulator-based training, offsite seminars and online courses. Regardless of how you do your training, it’s imperative to understand today’s labour market. “Nice-to-have” option is now replaced with “must-do-list.”

5. Make your mission and purpose clear

In modern workplace, millennial employees are the majority. They always need to understand the ‘why’ behind everything that your custom machine shop does. They need to recognize the purpose behind their job detail and believe in the mission. The new generation of CNC machinists desire to know that their work matters.

Ensure that your machine shop has an excellent mission and purpose statement. It should always be genuine

6. Promote creative thinking

Jobs that encourage creative and critical thinking encourage top talents, more so machinists. Creative minds make your precision manufacturing employees to enjoy their work and feel connected.

At least half of today’s workforce is not wholly engaged at work. Some employees ‘show up’ to get a salary. A large number of the workforce is disgruntled with what they do. It is up to the top management and authorities in machine shops to set up creative opportunities.

If you can come up with these opportunities, you’ll not only attract top talent, but also retain machinists. Who wouldn’t enjoy working in a creative setting?

7. Encourage innovation and problem solving

Innovation is wildly popular and a high selling point to the current workforce. Top talents enjoy challenges and innovation. Through creation of an innovation lab or department within your company, machinists can create projects.

Encouraging innovation helps improve your company image, makes machinists appreciated and benefits your clients. Innovation also displays thought leadership in the precision manufacturing industry.

The autonomy to create fundamental and viable solutions to problems is a significant attraction to modern machinists. Similar to creative thinking, it fosters the feeling of connection and enhances collaboration within the company. When machinists feel acknowledged, they are more likely to stay for long.

8. Reward and recognize your machinists

All rewards and recognition must be extrinsic and intrinsic. External motivation such as public recognition and external rewards include praise, bonuses, among others. Inherent motivation enables your staff to feel connected without compromising their autonomy, freedom, and opportunity for personal growth. Monetary bonuses are a plus. Recognition enhances goodwill and loyalty.

Make top machinists feel respected, appreciated, and worthwhile. Custom machine shop clients need to feel that their contributions are significant. Sincere praise and feedback are vital. Top talents are smart enough to recognize platitudes and sincere appreciation.

9. Build a collaborative culture

Teambuilding is an excellent way to enhance performance in a company. Although teambuilding courses and outdoor bonding activities are necessary, ingrained it the culture of your CNC manufacturing custom machine shop. A team-oriented culture can be extensively created and nurtured in your company’s daily operations.

Culture may include the types of meetings you have, where your machinists sit, and how you interact with customers and partners. Bringing in people with a shared sense of belief and purpose in your mission and values may also attract and retain the best machinists.

10. Leadership

Research shows that most workers quit their bosses, not companies. They need to know the managers, senior executives, founders, among others. Machine shops need excellent leadership that exhibits integrity.

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to retaining machinists. Other options to consider include:

  • Start your apprentice program
  • Pay retention bonuses
  • Invite your retired machinists to come back on part time basis
  • Develop ties with family members
  • Interview departing machinists and take their feedbacks seriously

Improving machinist retention rates doesn’t have to be an uphill task. By being a positive role model and connecting with your team, you’ll have a better chance to understand what they need to remain. what do you think? Contact Tag Team Manufacturing for more information.

machine shop

5 Ways Your Machine Shop is Inefficient

In order to succeed, a machine shop needs to have an edge over its competitors. Looking for inefficiencies is a great way to start, and fixing those inefficiencies can give your machine shop the edge it needs.

Early Tool Decay or Tool Failure

It’s not common for your tools to fail or break often. Finding the right tool is important, but it’s also important to prolong the life of your tools. Some machinists think that using the tools too aggressively causes them to wear out faster, but if you aren’t pushing the tool to the full potential it can cause it to decay faster in some situations. There are different types of tool failure, which can include abrasive wear, chipping, or tool fracture. Understanding your tools can help you make sure that you are minimizing downtime, as well as saving money on any replacement costs.

By being able to identify different types of tool wear, you can be ready to fix any issues quickly and help extend the life of your tools. Abrasive wear will dull the cutting edge of the tool by mechanical abrasion from the piece. If you notice this type of wear, reduce the cutting speed or use coolant. Using high efficiency milling toolpaths can also help reduce wear. Chipping can be seen by a nick on the cutting tool, or seen on the finish of the part. Excessive loads can cause chipping. Reducing feed rates can help. Thermal cracking can be seen by cracks in the tool perpendicular to the cutting edge. This is caused by extreme temperatures and can be solved by adding a proper coating to give the tool heat resistance. When a tool fractures it causes complete loss of the tool, and this can be because of a wrong coating or the wrong speeds and feeds. Make sure to adjust speeds and feeds and optimize the right coolant use, in order to avoid any hot spots that can cause fracture.

Subpar Part Finish

With a subpar part finish you are not providing your customers with the highest quality product, and it will affect your buyer seller relationships. It also will not allow you to increase prices or attract potential customers in the future. Many factors can affect part finish, which include the material, hardness, speeds and feeds your shop is running, and tool deflection. You are employing machinists and should have the highest quality tools so make sure you are getting your money’s worth of both, and your products should have a good finish.

Inefficient Coolant Usage

Coolant can be expensive and is often an expense that many machine shops forget about. Too much coolant is often applied when it’s not needed, costing a machine shop more money. Some machines have a minimum quality lubricant function that applies coolant as an aerosol, so it’s provided just enough coolant to operate efficiently while saving the amount of coolant that can be used. Sometimes it is needed to drown a piece in coolant, but oftentimes it is not and you can get away with using less coolant to save money.

Coolant can be delivered in different forms, and if you choose the wrong pressure it can lead to tool damage, which you need to avoid. When applied as air, it does not cool as efficiently as oil or water based coolants, but it is good for sensitive materials. When coolant is applied directly to plastic it can cause rapid expansion or contraction. Use mist when heat is not a major concern. When applied as a mist, both the part and the tool don’t go through more stresses. When the coolant is applied as a flood, it can be a low-pressure method that helps flush chips from the part in order to avoid chip recutting and protect your tool from damage. High-pressure application can be similar to flood coolant, but can sometimes be enough to break diameter tooling so it must be applied carefully. This method is often applied into grooves that are already built into the tool. Look at the application of coolants as well as the coolants that you are using. You may be able to use less high-performance lubricant instead of a lot of lower performance options. Coolant can also be re-used to save money. We have a great system at Tag Team Manufacturing that allows us to re-use the coolant saving time and money in our machine shop.

Not utilizing tool versatility

Many CMC cutting tools will perform multiple operations. Depending on the job, you may be able to get away with a tool you already have instead of having to go out and purchase additional tooling.

There are a number of multi-function tools you should consider having in your shop. Not only can drill mills be used for drilling and milling, but they can also be used for grooving, spotting and chamfering. This means they provide five different uses. Undercutting end mills can also be used for some slotting and contouring operations, and depending on the situation, such as clearance challenges, this can actually be the first choice. Double angle shank cutters can be referred to as the “Swiss army knife of machine,” so you know they are a versatile tool. They have six different functions that include thread milling, chamfering, back chamfering, machine v-grooves, deburring, and countersinking. Flat bottom tools, including drills and counterbores, are best used for holemaking, but they can be used for a number of different functions. These functions include thin plate drilling, cross hole drilling, angled drilling, half hole drilling, removing drill points, and straightening misaligned holes. Adjustable chamfer cutters can do more than just chamfering and can be used for beveling, deburring, and spotting.

High Machine Downtime

If your machines aren’t running, then you aren’t getting the most of them. The key to helping your machine shop reach maximum efficiency is minimizing machine downtime. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as keeping like parts together. All you would have to do is swap in and out material and the machine can use the same cutting tool. This allows you to spend less time swapping out tooling and spend more time letting the machine do its job. This requires planning to help make the machine shop more efficient.

What Should You Do?

Implementing a proactive maintenance strategy instead of a reactive maintenance strategy can help you avoid some of these issues and gain a competitive advantage. Maintaining equipment so you have less failure and less machine downtime will make sure you aren’t scrambling to figure things out. Make sure you have a system set in place for inventory management, so you are managing costs as well as handling and storage. This is especially important for lubricants that are expensive and can take up a good amount of storage.

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 Machining personnel. Each team member represents particular facets of the business. Some Precision Manufacturing set rigorous requirements when conducting supplier evaluation.

Why choose the best machine shop Denver suppliers? 

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

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

What is the secret?

1.    Samples of Previous Work

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

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

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

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

2.    Enables Project Flexibility

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

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

3.    Incessant Improvement

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

4.    Offers Excellent Communication Methods

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

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

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

5.    Implements Quality Control Measures

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

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

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

6.    Equipment and Technology Advances Investment

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

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

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

7.    Interact with Previous Customers

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

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

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

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

OEM concept cell blurred background 3d illustration

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

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

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

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

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

Custom Shop CNC Machining Capabilities

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

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

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

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

Innovative Technology & Continuous Improvement

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

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

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

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

Work Quality & Quality Systems

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

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

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

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

Business Reliability & Flexibility

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

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

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

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

Undoubtedly the Best Denver CNC Custom Machine Shop

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

Education concept: Helpful Tips with optical glass

Tips for Choosing a CNC Machining Partner

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

#1: The Technology in Use

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

#2: The Expertise of the Staff

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

#3: Range of Materials and Services

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

#4: Relationship Sustainability

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

5S sketch notes on blackboard

How to Implement 5s in the Manufacturing Workplace

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

Steps in 5S implementation

1. Sort

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

Why is it important to sort?

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

2. Set in Order

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

Why is it important?

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

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

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

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

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

3. Shine

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

Why is it important?

· Clean machines produce items with fewer defects

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

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

4. Standardize

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

5. Sustain

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

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