Tag : machine shop

Safety procedures in a cnc manufacturing facility. Work Safety concept.

How to Stay Safe in a Manufacturing Facility

Safety in the workplace is important no matter what line of work someone is in, but in the cnc manufacturing industry, it’s one of the most important factors. Manufacturing, with its heavy-duty equipment, long hours, and endlessly tight deadlines supporting other industries around the world, can be extremely dangerous if the necessary safety precautions aren’t taken by staff and the managers.

Here’s what manufacturers and CNC manufacturing employees should keep in mind to ensure safety in the workplace.

Ensure Everyone Gets the Same Safety Training

One of the most common causes of injury in the workplace is not adhering to safety procedures designed to keep workers safe. Workers may disregard the rules, forget them after a period of work without being reminded of them, or may never even have been taught them in the first place.

To ensure workers are following safety regulations that will keep them safe, hold regular training courses on how to safely use and handle different machines and hazardous materials in the company and have supervisors watch to ensure workers are following the facility’s protocols.

Wear Safety Gear

Stories of gruesome injuries, disfigurement, and even death from lack of safety equipment have cropped up in countless stories over the years. Sometimes a pair of safety goggles are the only thing standing between a manufacturing facility employee and permanent blindness, and the risk of injury from lack of safety equipment usage is one that can be remediated with minimal expense.

To minimize the risk of injury from improper safety gear usage, all employees should undergo basic safety training, and supervisors should perform routine checks to ensure employees are wearing their safety equipment as instructed. Any safety gear with replacement dates should have their expiration date cataloged so the cnc manufacturing facility can replace them.

Ensure There Are No Slip and Trip Hazards

Slick and otherwise hazardous floor conditions can be extremely dangerous for workers when they’re on the job. A fall can mean sprains, bruises, broken bones, and even muscular tears depending on the severity of the fall. If a worker is holding equipment when they fall, their injuries could be worsened. Because of this, it’s important for manufacturing companies to ensure there are protections in place to minimize the risk of falls in the facility.

To minimize the risk of falls, ensure that flooring in the necessary areas is equipped with non-slip mats. Non-slip sprays can also be applied to reduce the risk of falling, and workers can be outfitted with no-slip boots to further lower the risk. Any one of these would work well on its own, but a combination of the above can greatly reduce the number of falls in the cnc manufacturing facility.

Keep Emergency Exits Free and Clear

Because of the risk of fire and other incidents within a cnc manufacturing facility, it’s important for emergency exits to be free and clear, as well as explicitly labeled to ensure workers know where to go in the event of an emergency. Incidents in unregulated factories in the past have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of workers; these fatalities underscore the importance of having emergency evacuation routes and protocols in place should the worst ever happen.

To ensure clear and easy evacuations in the event of an emergency, clearly label emergency exits and consider marking the paths to them to ensure walkways remain clear at all times. Signs should be posted indicating that a hallway is part of an emergency route, and supervisors should regularly conduct checks to ensure those routes remain clear.

Eliminate Fire Hazards

There are a number of fire hazards present in any cnc manufacturing facility, and some are more subtle than an unspecialized eye could ever detect. Fires, which can destroy expensive equipment and injure or even kill workers, can come from a multitude of different places, so it’s important to prepare as needed to prevent and manage them. To prevent fires in your manufacturing facility, keep in mind these potential sources of fires:

  • Combustible dust.
  • Hot work.
  • Flammable chemicals.
  • Equipment and machinery malfunction.
  • Electrical hazards.

Because of the number of ways a fire can break out, it can be difficult to prevent or reduce the risk of fires in a facility. Follow a regular cleaning schedule to prevent dust buildup, and enforce strict training and adherence to chemical storage and usage policies, as well as safety guidelines for when hot work is necessary. Equipment, machinery, and wiring should be inspected regularly to ensure all parts are in good working condition and all wiring is still workable with no risk of overloading circuits.

Store Hazardous Materials Safely

Hazardous material use and storage can be an overwhelming set of rules to learn. Hundreds or even thousands of chemicals may be used by a manufacturing facility on a regular basis, and though workers may not need to use them all, a single mistake can result in severe chemical burns or toxic gases leaking into the facility.

To ensure safe hazardous material storage and safety, ensure workers are thoroughly trained in the use of materials they will come into contact with, and keep various forms of documentation on hand to assist with storage regulations for every chemical that will see use. Additionally, ensure goggles, chemical aprons, gloves, and eye rinse stations are located wherever necessary to prevent or mitigate accidents.

Report to Your Supervisor if you See Anything

This is perhaps one of the most important safety protocols to keep in mind when you work as a CNC machinist. Sometimes safety standards get overlooked, and the supervisors in the facility may not be aware of them. When you know a safety hazard is present in your area of work, report it to your supervisor immediately before it can become a threat that endangers you or the lives of your coworkers.

Your safety is important. By being mindful of the risks and safety hazards present in a cnc manufacturing company, you can play your part in making your machine shop a happier and safer place for everyone.

CNC Machinist

What you can Expect from a Career in CNC Machining

At some point in his or her life, everyone has to make a decision as to what they want to be when they grow up. It is not uncommon to continue to ask oneself that question into adulthood. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a CNC machinist, we are here to lay it out for you.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly half a million CNC machinists working in the U.S. That number is expected to stay level through at least 2026. If you’re someone who likes to get your hands dirty, to really get in there and find practical solutions to problems that perplex others, a career as a CNC machinist may be precisely what you’re looking for. If you’d rather be working outside or in a custom machine shop setting than sitting behind a desk, read on. There are a number of things about CNC machining that are likely to appeal to you.

This list represents some of what you can expect to experience as a CNC machinist:

You can expect to learn on the job. Although some CNC machinists are trained at vocational schools, community colleges, technical colleges, or through an apprenticeship program, it is still common for companies to create their own training program for the CNC machinists who will be working for them. That’s because most corporations have a very specific manner of doing things, operational procedures that are not taught in other settings. If you’re someone who gets a thrill out of learning new things, the ability to learn on the job may be of benefit to you.

You can expect to be creative. Anyone who has ever worked in manufacturing, whether they were making baseball bats or secret parts for the Pentagon, knows that things can turn a little frantic when anything goes wrong. Every company is beholden to their customers and must follow strict guidelines and delivery dates. If a part is so much as a thousandth of a centimeter off, it can spell peril for the manufacturer. That’s where you come in. CNC machinists are commonly called upon to get to the root of a problem and come up with a creative way to solve it. If you’re a person who has always enjoyed puzzles, or someone who simply likes a good mystery, this job will offer you plenty of opportunities to think creatively.

You can expect to be part of a team. Teamwork is what it’s all about in this job. People count on you and you count on them to make the most of your workday. Whether operations are running smooth as silk or the sky is falling, and upper management is losing their collective minds, CNC machinists work as a team with every other employee in the company. As a CNC machinist, you can expect people to come to you on a regular basis to ask for your opinion and expertise. In turn, you can ask someone else for help when you need it. For some, it’s the camaraderie that makes the job so enjoyable.

You can expect to be know your value. What you do as a CNC machinist is so foundational to your company’s ability to operate that your absence would present a problem. At some point in their live, most people have had a job in which they felt invisible and unimportant. Nothing could be further from the truth for a CNC machinist. Without them, a business would have no way to control quality, and would be far less likely to come up with new innovations.

You can expect to channel your inner Nikola Tesla. As a CNC machinist, you will be part problem solver and part innovator. What commonly happens in the midst of a manufacturing snafu is that innovations are born that can prevent the problem from arising again. You would be the person expected to come up with innovations that work. Everyone has to start somewhere, but the more you innovate, the more confident you become. CNC machining is a job that allows you to try new things until you come across the one that works. And really, that’s how all great inventors got their start.

You can expect to change.  Not everyone is adaptable, not everyone can shift the way they operate. Because of the nature of their jobs, CNC machinists become supremely adaptable, able to veer from the task in front of them to another when it suddenly becomes a priority. If you aren’t especially adaptable going into the job, you can expect to learn the skill out of necessity.  Adaptability is a trait that carries over into every other area of your life and will stay with you into retirement. In an ever-changing world, the ability to adapt is priceless.

You can expect your skills to be sharpened. Just as a prize fighter become stronger through sparring, your work as a CNC machinist will hone your mental skills. Each day, you will learn something new. Each frustration (and there are frustrations) will bring with it a chance to problem solve. Every level of company hierarchy that you interact with will teach you more about how a corporation works. Through this one job, you will grow intellectually and socially. If, at some point, you find yourself moving to a new company, you will find that you can use what you learned through your first experience as a CNC machinist.

You can expect to be on the cutting edge of technology. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are a blend of digital and physical technologies. In this field it is computers that provide instructions to tools of the trade, such as lathes. For example, it is a CNC machine that allows for the precise shaping of raw materials like plastics or metals. Computers are used in every step of CNC machining, and as a CNC machinist you are the person who is counted upon to understand what’s going on with each step and to troubleshoot in order to keep operations running smoothly. Your computer skills and the desire to learn more are essential for success.

You can expect every day to be different. There is no typical workday for a CNC machinist, primarily because it’s impossible to predict when troubleshooting will be needed or when engineering will change plans midstream. There is very little risk of boredom in this job, a benefit for anyone with a curious mind.

Each person on this planet has a different skill set and different goals that drive them. What most have in common is a desire to spend their workdays doing something that has purpose and offers a sense of fulfillment. If you find that CNC machining sounds like something that would fulfill you, why not take a deeper dive and learn more?

Energy efficiency as car speedometer. 3d illustration

Energy Efficiency – The Key to Success in Manufacturing

In today’s world there is a great deal of focus on sustainability and energy efficiency.  It seems everything, from cars to buildings, is measured by its carbon footprint, or environmental impact.  Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have strict energy regulations in place for manufacturing industries and for machine shops.  The United States currently does not have any formal regulations regarding energy usage, but that should not stop the CNC machinist from doing everything in his or her power to limit energy consumption in their machine shop.

Limiting the amount of energy used within the machine shop has several benefits.  Of course, limited energy expenditure is more environmentally friendly, reducing the amount of electricity pulled from the power grid.  Reducing energy also has a trickle down benefit to the machine shop owner, OEMs, clients, and customers alike.  Less energy usage can reduce the amount of money spent on electricity, replacement parts and tools, and waste material.  Saving money in the manufacturing process is the key to success by allowing the shop to create an environmentally conscious product for less money.

Mindful Process Changes

One way a CNC machine shop is able to become more energy efficient is by making mindful and impactful process changes.  There has been a great deal of research conducted regarding the amount of energy consumed within the manufacturing process.  By making strategic and thoughtful decisions related to the process of creating components, it is possible to create a more energy efficient process.

Cycle Time

Selecting tools that can both increase a faster feed rate, while reducing feed time, is an excellent way to impact the cycle time between completed components.  In one study, simply selecting the right tool for the job made all the difference.  Consider the advantage to using multi-fluted tools.  This is a great way to deliver instant energy savings over the course of the manufacturing process.  The higher amount of flutes allows for a shorter cycle time, creating more parts per minute.

There is some trade off though, so the CNC machinist must be strategic in their selection.  More flutes, and thus more components, is not always better.  In some cases, while more flutes can certainly increase production, wear on the component can become a challenge.  Multi-fluted tools, or specialty tools, can be expensive to replace.  Further, more fluting can often result in irregular wear patterns which means the tool has an overall shorter lifespan.  Understanding the broader reaching purpose for the job, and selecting the right tool, will ultimately find a happy medium.  The key to cycle time energy efficiency is being able to balance the cycle time increases with the life expectancy of the tool.

Coolant Process

Another area machine shops are able to find energy saving changes is within the coolant process.  Often, coolant delivered to the tools via through-tool delivery help to prolong the life of the tool.  This method can increase how long a tool can be used, thus saving money and resources on replacement parts.  Further, using through-tool coolant can make the wear on the various tool components more uniform.  If the wear is uniform, it helps the CNC machinist predict the wear pattern, thus increasing the usability of the tool.

Further, there are methods to use coolant recycling systems.  These systems can easily be connected to the machine plant cell.  They work by combining a combination of recycled coolant with new coolant.  Studies have shown that by mixing recycled and new coolant there are no noticeable differences in performance.  Not only does this recycling method help to reduce coolant costs, but it has also shown to cut water usage by upwards of 10%.

Software Programming

Using various available software programs to better aid in the manufacturing process, particularly for custom machined parts,  helps to save energy.  Specialized programing is available to help create a custom tool path.  This allows the user to maintain uniform stress on the tool, keeping constant and even pressure, to create a curving, circular path.   Using this continuous, smooth motion allows the machinist to create the component with faster cutting speeds, without risk of tool damage with sudden, sharp turns, thus reducing energy costs.

Another software element indispensable in precision manufacturing is specialized programming that allows the tool to cut with uniform force.  Having a steady cutting force results in energy reduction without varying forces and additional electric input to adjust for changing pressures.

Machine Tool Selections

Aside from making logical and strategic processing decisions, the tools within the machine shop itself can be energy efficient.  There are several tools designed for energy efficiency, especially with the eco-friendly mindset of several companies and customers alike.

Limit Base Load

There are many energy-sapping functions within a tool that can go unnoticed, aside from the immediate energy load required to operate the tool during active phases.  Many auxiliary parts continue to run, even while the tool is in between phases.  The tool’s base load still consumes energy even while the tool is resting.  Luckily, there are many new tools that can be switched off during these non-productive phases which can help save on energy costs.

Tool Selection

Addressed earlier while mentioning the practice of selecting the right tool to increase cycle times, tool selection can also impact the amount of energy consumed.  Of the many components, a spindle can greatly impact the tool’s efficiency.  If the spindle drive is run too slowly, below it’s intended operating speed, it can eat up a tremendous amount of unnecessary energy.  Further, throttling the tool to reduce the speed only increases the time it takes to manufacture a component.  Increased manufacture time leads to an increased use of electricity.  It is recommended that spindle motor efficiency is considered for the component in question.  Sometimes energy efficiency can be improved by using synchronous motors as opposed to asynchronous motors.

Regenerative Supply Usage

Lastly, tools are now made in precision manufacturing that have a regenerative energy supply.  Traditionally, fast moving tools require an internal braking system to slow down the acceleration.  In a non-regenerative system the power used to brake the tool is converted to heat, from friction, which is then lost in the overall process.  Regenerative tools are now available that redirect that lost energy into useable kinetic energy, sent right back to the power grid.

This regenerative supply can help save energy in several ways.  Not only can regenerative power help maintain consistent power to the tool, foregoing the momentary power loss sometimes exhibited when the tool starts and stops, but it can also help in processes that require multiple tool changes.  In systems that require one, or multiple tool changes within 100 seconds regenerative power supplies are able to keep constant energy to the system.  In a non-regenerative tool, the power it takes to restart the machine after a tool change spikes, drawing an excess amount of power from the grid.  This can be avoided with a regenerative tooling system.

Just because the United States has not fully regulated energy consumption by machine shops nationwide, does not mean manufacturers are not interested in the valuable savings associated with energy efficiency.  Conserving energy is a key factor for an original equipment manufacturer in the Denver manufacturing market.  Between prolonging the life expectancy of tools, saving money on energy costs, and making environmentally friendly choices it is clear that energy efficiency is the path for a successful manufacturing process.

Check out another article on renewable energy in Manufacturing.

CNC machine at work

Challenges Manufacturers will face and how to overcome them in 2019

Manufacturers are constantly faced with a variety of challenges and staying competitive and profitable requires the ability to identify issues and enact effective resolutions that can adequately provide a remedy. One of the biggest challenges manufacturers will face in 2019 is creating new markets for custom manufacturing. Perhaps a company can identify a need for a particular product for an emerging market, but creating the avenue to successfully engage that need and fulfill the gap poses a definite challenge.

Identifying Emerging Market Potential

The ability to identify an emerging market and firmly secure a place for custom and precision manufacturing companies within that market is one of the keys to promoting growth and remaining competitive in an ever-changing business landscape. Each year, there are new products and services being developed in mass for the consumer marketplace. If a manufacturer can get a lead on identifying the next big market in which they can provide custom or precision manufacturing, they will have an advantage over the other competitors.

The most effective way to identify these new emerging markets is through research. Part of that research may also involve engagement with a variety of potential consumers across several demographics to establish viability. Having highly trained and insightful staff who can accurately gauge the interest in a particular emerging market and focusing in on specific details that involve providing necessary manufacturing processes will allow companies to partner with new and exciting businesses.

Show How Custom Manufacturing Can Replace Traditional Methods

An effective way to secure the confidence of new clients in emerging markets is to show them how manufacturers can improve on a product and make it more appealing and of a higher quality. Replacing traditional manufacturing that can’t offer the same benefits will allow those products to be more well rounded and versatile. Adding better, high quality 1 features and making more versatile products will benefit all parties. Here are some key points to address and focus in on when presenting an argument for selecting customer or precision manufacturing for new emerging markets.

  •  Value

One of the most important topics related to manufacturing is value. Manufacturers should focus on proving their clients with value they can’t find elsewhere. The argument for value can be presented by highlighting the benefits of using specially created custom parts that add to the function, durability, and quality of a consumer good.

  • Originality

The best way for a product to stand out from the crowd is by having the originality factor. Businesses which feature products that are unique in design and provide specific features that other products in a competing market can’t offer will allow them to create a niche for themselves and provide an extra foothold. Manufacturers can also present their argument for providing originality showing examples of custom machinery that they can provide to produce unique features for a product that make a company and their offerings unique within the market.

  •  Quality

Quality is always a factor when consumers make a purchase regardless of the specific product or market. When working to create a new market for precision and custom manufacturing, highlighting the quality factor they can provide is essential to partnering with new companies within an emerging  market. Pinpoint exactly how the manufacturer can provide a high level of quality that sets their brand apart and makes it an attractive option to consumers.

Utilize Tax Credits For Research Funding

As mentioned previously, one of the keys to creating new markets for custom and precision manufacturers is through research. These companies can actually receive tax credits by using R & D tax incentives. They were enacted in 1981, and were designed to assist companies that are producing new products or even improving on an older variety of product. Harnessing these tax credits will allocate additional funding for research and development to help create and establish new markets for the manufacturing companies. The following are examples of how these tax credits can be utilized for manufacturers to create new markets.

  • Research conducted at institutions such as colleges or other research organizations.
  • Expenses related to employees who play an integral part of the companies research and development.
  • Third parties who are hired to conduct research and research related tasks on behalf of a manufacturer.
  • Tangible supplies that are used to conduct research and development. This tax credit covers property and land improvements related to these processes as well.

In order for a company to qualify for this tax credit, it must fall within the guidelines presented by the IRC section 41, which defines the protocol. Essentially, these guidelines are used to demonstrate how a manufacturer is creating new or improved products. This tax credit can also apply to new software, inventions, or techniques that can be used within the consumer market. In the case of software, there are additional qualifying criteria which must be met to qualify. These tax credits can prove to be especially beneficial for research and development of a CNC Company and American manufacturing companies. These credits can dramatically reduce the cost of staying on top of development of new machinery and equipment necessary for working within new markets.

Companies producing machinery and precision manufacturing equipment must constantly evolve to remain a competitive entity within their market. This entails the use of a combination of research, development, technology, and creative marketing skills. Creating new markets to work within may be one of the toughest challenges these companies face in 2019, but with some insight and a solid strategy to appeal to those key individuals working to establish emerging markets, they can rise to the occasion and provide quality products and machinery these new companies need to provide products consumers want to purchase. For more information, visit the Tag Team Manufacturing website and browse the blog. Tag team is a CNC company and American manufacturing partner dedicated to providing clients with the parts they need for their businesses.

Continuous Improvement Always Get Better Speedometer 3d Illustration

Improving your Machine Shop

A machine shop can be compared to the parts that are manufactured on a daily basis, with many moving parts, all of which needs to work together in synchronized processes to achieve the maximum efficiency in a machine shop. It’s a delicate balance to keep the machines running at tiptop condition and all the employees working efficiently as well.

 

Keeping Your Processes Updated

 

Machine shops of all kinds need to be aware of current trends and standards in their industry to increase your efficiency in the CNC machine shop. The Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT is a relatively new process to help revolutionized the way that we look at different prototype designs. It also monitors the specific customer feedback to newer products and with the rise in mobile connectivity; it leads to more networking possibilities. It also has a high level of connectedness between all of the equipment and machines on the shop floor.

 

Employee Education

 

All employees in a machine shop should be properly educated on the OSHA requirements that need to be followed in order to reduce employee injuries that lead to downtime. The employees should be aware of the workplace hazards for their particular part in the machining industry process and how to operate all machines safely in the manufacturing shop that they use on a daily basis.

 

Quality Control

 

The last step in most manufacturing processes include quality control checks to make certain that all parts in a product are the correct size and items such as pumps operate correctly. If your employees are trained correctly to do their jobs, there will be little errors in the final product. However, if one employee makes a mistake more than once, you can have them re-trained so this doesn’t keep happening. Making another component or part to replace a defective one costs your machine shop extra materials, time and labor and can be very costly. On the other hand, the QC inspector may actually notice that a setting on the CNC machine needs attention by finding inaccuracies in the products made.

Examining the Workflow

 

The process of examining the workflow in your local machine shops can lead you to realize that it is not running as efficiently as it could be. You may be able to improve your daily operations significantly after an inspection by analyzing your shop processes. Lean manufacturing processes are the route that the product travels through a machine shop in the manufacturing stages. For example, if parts are produced in a CNC Machine Shop and the process starts at the front of the shop, then the part moves to the back of the shop for the next phase in the process, then time is being wasted by the two workstations not being next to each other in the shop. It may not seem like a lot of time to walk several hundred feet from one area to another–but it all adds to the inefficiency of the entire workload in your shop. The best idea is to figure the route that is most commonly used for the majority of materials you produce in Local Machine Shops and place the machines accordingly.

 

Collaborate with Full-Time Employees

 

It’s a great idea to talk to your employees with the most tenure that are full-time employees. These people will have the best ideas to help you to decide about any changes that need to be made in your local machine shops. Most employees will just do their job and not create waves, but if you ask them for their opinion, you may find a goldmine of information to draw on and increase proficiency by leaps and bounds. This strategy also strengthens your bond with employees and encourages input from teammates in the future that will help the machine shop.

 

Keep Realistic Deadlines

 

When bidding on a job, make the deadlines for the products realistic. Employees don’t want to work so many hours that they have no family time to themselves and even if they are paid well for the overtime, they will eventually tire out from extra long hours on a daily basis, which leads to more workplace accidents. Planning the deadlines correctly will give you a bit of leeway in the deadline to account for machine downtime and employee sickness if they should arise.

 

Upgrade Machining Tools

 

For Quality Manufacturing you can upgrade your machining tools to take advantage of the newer processes of additive manufacturing and 3D printing to reduce the costs and time of having to do custom tooling by hand. These types of tools will cost you in the beginning, but your largest budget is usually the tooling needs and in the future when the tools are paid off, it will pay for itself in the lower amounts that you pay employees for labor and the time saved.

 

Routine Maintenance

 

Routine maintenance, preventative maintenance or PM, helps keep all of your equipment in functioning order in your Manufacturing Shop. It’s best to have all machines examined at the beginning of the workday to see if they are operating correctly and have employees fill out check lists. It’s much less expensive to have specific intervals for routine maintenance than to have a major setback when a machine goes down. Downtime is not only expensive because you need parts and labor right away, but the parts may not be available for a few days, which will delay you reaching your deadlines and it could cost you future jobs from a customer.

 

Machine Downtime is Your Enemy

 

Machine downtime is the leading cause of inefficiency in any machine shop. You can make some decisions if you keep good records on all the machines and tooling devices in your shop. Make a record of machine downtime on each machine and find the cause of it. Keep records on how many machines are down and for how long. If one goes down often and it has the scheduled maintenance that it requires to be up and running, you may think about a replacement instead. You can assign team members from a different area to do the inspections as they may notice something that isn’t right on a machine that took a long time to surface, whereas the member that uses the machine daily may not notice because the inefficiency occurred over quite a bit of time. Also, make note of the corrections that were made and if they were efficient or need to be changed.

 

Following these ideas can help your machine shop to operate efficiently by timely operations and lower labor costs, extend the life of your machining tools and help to keep great team members on board with you.

5S. Kaizen management methodology. Workplace organization method that uses a list of five words.

Enhancing Workplace Safety with 5S

5S is lean Six Sigma approach designed to reduce waste and maximize productivity by keeping an orderly workplace and achieving consistent results that can be checked via visual cues. Implementation organizes the workplace within its existing framework, and this is the first step toward a lean Six Sigma effort. However, in an advanced manufacturing environment, there are many benefits to adopting these practices outside the formal Six Sigma system.

Benefits of 5S in an Advanced Manufacturing Environment

Developing consistency and organization leads to a conscientious attitude and a safer, more efficient workplace. Conversely, when defects and waste aren’t measured and controlled, costs begin to pile up. Here are some examples:

  • Output falls short due to variations between crews.
  • Utilization is reduced due to longer-than-expected product changeovers.
  • Missing parts make it necessary to rush in a new one

Companies try to guide improvements via Six Sigma, Lean, or Total Productive Maintenance programs. However, studies show that up to two-thirds of such efforts fall below the expectations of stakeholders. Learning these methods is easy, but putting into action is not due to the following:

  • Process improvements decline.
  • Continuous improvement isn’t realized or prioritized.
  • The initiative isn’t global enough.

5S is One Solution

Companies like Danaher and Toyota went through the 5S program to develop positive cultures. 5S engages people to contribute to a visually-oriented organization, where cleanliness facilitates increased safety, productivity, and quality.

5S forms the foundation for more disciplined actions. Workers who put their tools back in place are more likely to follow production standards. Its visual nature makes it easy to spot items that are out of place. It lays the way for continuous improvement and provides:

  • Cleaner, safer work areas with fewer tripping hazards
  • Less wasted time searching for tools and materials that are more accessible
  • Unneeded items are eliminated so that less floor space is required
  • Improved self-discipline fostered by the visual nature of 5S, which makes abnormal conditions stand out
  • Improved culture due to 5S-motivated teamwork and motivation

What are the 5S’s?

The components of 5S are sorting, simplifying, systemic cleaning, standardizing and sustaining.

  • Sorting activities eliminate unnecessary items from work areas in order to clean it.
  • Simplifying arranges the work area for safety and efficiency.
  • Systematic daily inspection of facility and equipment helps determine if corrective action is needed.
  • Standardizing makes abnormal conditions stand out so that the workplace organization is sustainable.
  • Sustaining aims to keep current improvements to allow further progress to be made.

Implementing 5S

5S is not a housekeeping activity. Instead, 5S has to be a team effort and everyone should be able to tell instantly what’s out of place. With organization forming the crux of 5S, it’s vital to start with getting rid of unneeded items.

Sorting

During this phase, employees can sort and clear their work areas. This can take weeks in each department as everyone works to establish criteria for what to throw out. Much like cleaning your closet, anything not used for a year can be removed or put in a holding area. Disposing of uneeded items may mean transferring them elsewhere in the company, selling or discarding them. Then, the employee can conduct an initial cleaning.

Simplifying

Simplying gives everything a home and places each item in order of efficiency. Frequently-used items, for example, have to be close to where they’re used as possible. To accomplish this task:

  • Pick a spot for each item arranged in order of frequency of use and take safety precautions into account.
  • Label items so that there’s a home for everything.
  • Create a process to replenish supplies.
  • Document the equipment, layout and plan to replace supplies.

Systematic Cleaning

Systematic cleaning creates a document that enables inspection of the area. Everything should be swept, mopped and dusted and kept neat and clean with rags or brooms. Daily cleaning and inspections should be easy. Inspections include:

  • Identify points to check.
  • Define acceptable condition.
  • Mark equipment that has visual indicators such as gauges.
  • Conduct cleaning and visual check parameters.

Standardizing

Standardizing ensures that all workers understand the expectations.It is the workplace team that establishes the set of standards they will follow. It’s crucial that everyone has some involvement. Here are the steps to standardize the 5S processes.

  • Establish a checklist for the work area. The checklist should show everything the team checks during self-audits.
  • A multi-level audit system helps to make sure that the organization fulfills the overarching 5S goal of sustaining the work areas so that the system can evolve to more stringent controls and process improvements.
  • Establish and document a single source of truth as to the 5S processes for the company
  • Add new standards to the master document.

Sustaining

Sustaining is considered the hardest “S.” However, it shouldn’t be if you let the 5S system work for your advanced manufacturing company. At this point, you should have engaged everyone in the work area during 5S activities and have a “tell at a glance” visual workplace. If this is so, then sustaining is much easier. That is important, but not sufficient. A more systematic way to prevent backsliding and to foster continuous improvement is needed. The steps of sustaining are:

  • Define the 5S overall grade.
  • Perform routine 5S checks via the 5S checklist.
  • Address new opportunities that are uncovered during routine checks.
  • Conduct scheduled, routine checks by supervisors or someone not directly from the work area in the machine shop that is being inspected.

Perform higher-level audits to evaluate how well the 5S system is working overall. For example, are there systemic issues with sustaining 5S? Often, the company’s safety committee is an excellent body for conducting these audits.

When you develop sustaining activities everything that follows becomes part of the 5S process and future refinements. When items are returned to their place, the entire operation is smoother. When something is out of place its cause is probably that the organization needs to be tweaked so that it’s convenient. The work team should be the ones who safeguard the sustainability of 5S and improve morale, safety, and productivity.

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10 Amazing Benefits of One-Stop Machine Shop Employment

Have you ever thought about pursuing a career in manufacturing? Whether you realize it or not, there are lots of hidden benefits for working in a CNC Shop. Like buried treasure in a forgotten hill, machinists and manufacturers have lots of career perks that most people overlook. Let’s review the Top Ten benefits of working at a machine shop that can do just about anything!

1. An Easy Educational Foundation

Many jobs in the medical, educational, and legal industries require at the minimum a bachelor’s degree, but you only need a degree from a technical college as a foundation for a great machining career. From there, you can enroll in a state sponsored apprenticeship at a machine shop. This combined time is about the same as getting a master’s degree, but it’s a lot more affordable and you’ll already be working by the time you become a journeyman and the apprenticeship ends.

2. Creative Problem Solving

Machines are anything but boring! Smart career machinists look at manufacturing problems that pop up as career opportunities. If you love to tinker with parts and find new creative ways to engineer things and solve intricate problems, a machine shop career is the perfect fit. You just might solve a production issue that other machinists won’t have to encounter again in the history of manufacturing!

3. Lasting Relationships

One of the most important things about a manufacturing career is building lasting relationships with your customers and those who work in your environment. With this in mind, you’ll enjoy new opportunities that open for you if you carefully cultivate these relationships.

4. Opportunities with Innovation

What an exciting time to be in the manufacturing industry! Each year, new technologies are implemented in manufacturing plants that produce more products faster and make workers safer. From tool and die to robotics, young career mechanics and machinists have awesome things to look forward to at a precision machine shop as products in many industries are becoming more automated for the Internet of Things, a not-so-distant future where many common household items like cars, appliances, and even clothing will be connected to the internet. And as a machinist, you know what that means – more things to fix!

At Tag Team, automation is coming alive through the CMM and Smartscope.

Meanwhile, Tag Team Manufacturing has innovation right inside the CNC Shop. The Smartscope and the Coordinate Measuring Machine offers remarkable precision and ensures quality for checking thousands of parts in a single day. This helps ensure that the high demands of delivery schedules are met for each client we work with. These innovations and more are what make the manufacturing industry all the more exciting!

5. A Steady Income

Dedicated machinists who have completed their apprenticeships and become nationally certified enjoy good and dependable wages. Depending on where they work, they may also have good health insurance and vacation time benefits too. These factors help secure a steady income and a good retirement down the road. For more information about Tag Team Manufacturing’s competitive benefits package, contact our CNC Shop for more information.

6. Consistent Work

Thanks to an increasing interest in American made products, demand for skilled manufacturing has gone up, and that’s not diminishing anytime soon. In fact, manufacturing companies are seeking to fill more job openings now than ever before. In some cases there are more spots to fill up than they can keep up with! That’s good news for the career machinist. Work certainly won’t run out for a very long time.

7. An Active Lifestyle

Can’t stand the thought of being chained to a desk job? Do you like to get your ‘hands dirty?’ Manufacturing just might be your thing. Work life on the plant floor and job sites connected to manufacturing is as different from an office like night is to day. It can be very physical and hands-on. You’re very much a part of the action, so to speak. There’s a lot of strategy and critical thinking involved. And machine grease. Lots and lots of machine grease.

8. Made in America – by You!

Whether it be a old school metal machine shop or a modern CNC shop, there’s something wonderful that happens inside the first time you make something all on your own with your hands. A spark ignites, and you feel satisfied that you made it. Right here in America. And your customer will use it to suit their purposes. No matter how long you’re in the business, that feeling never gets old. That alone is a great reason to start a manufacturing career!

9. Making a Difference

It’s one thing to do a job well, but it’s completely another matter when it’s a job that makes a difference in society. A one-stop metal machine shop can make parts for many industries, from hospital cardiac devices to aerospace plane parts to decorative ironwork that makes a homeowner feel good about where they live. A machinist’s valuable skills can do a lot of good in American society, in many ways. And that’s what makes this industry a rewarding experience.

10. Work with a ‘Smart Robot!’

Who says you can’t have fun with manufacturing? Meet Sawyer, the Smart Robot at Tag Team Manufacturing. With his state of the art technology, Sawyer directly communicates with the machine at the CNC shop to perform multiple tasks at metal fabrication, procedure testing, box assembly, and more with his robotic arm. With Sawyer’s help, Tag Team Manufacturing has multiplied annual productivity and workers are safer. Plus, it’s just plain fascinating to watch Sawyer work on his own!

As mentioned before, now is a great time to begin a rewarding career in manufacturing! Did you know that Tag Team Manufacturing is hiring? Check out our positions here to see if we’re a good fit together. You can also contact us directly. We’d love to get in touch with you!

If you’re a potential client interested in Tag Team’s manufacturing services, you can find out more of what we do here. Thanks for visiting! We look forward to meeting you soon.

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Benefits of Working with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) parts make a difference and that variation is amplified in precision machining. The benefits of OEM parts are important and will make a difference in any industry, some are just more pronounced than others. To make this case obvious, we should begin by looking at the difference OEM parts make in general.

The OEM Difference

From quality, fit, and time, there are many benefits to working with an OEM, regardless of what industry you work in. The difference is evident right from the start, from the moment you order your first part…

The Right Parts Faster

When ordering from an OEM, the time it takes to find a part is generally quicker because so many other variables have been eliminated and part identification is that much easier for the clerk. This also means it takes less time for the warehouse or stockroom to locate and pull the part. On the shipping end, an OEM will generally always be able to have the part packaged, labeled and shipped faster than a broker or distributor. That is in large part due to the aforementioned factors and the elimination of needing to order a part from a supplier because the OEM is the supplier. 

The Right Fit

Nobody should knock the concept or use of “universal” parts, they can and do serve a very important purpose in many different sectors. It isn’t that universal parts don’t work, they do. The question is, do they work best? This isn’t an issue of aesthetics and function. This is a matter of performance, efficiency, durability, and money. The right parts are the parts that were made to fit, specifically designed for a machine, motor, component or part. We don’t have to look far to find out why OEM parts are the best option, the reason is quality. OEM manufacturing affords customers parts that perform better because of the advantages of having the original part design. That performance is often recognized in efficiency as the right parts promote the best possible operation of the tool or machine the part is for and the better the part works the more durable it will be. This all eventually results in savings, from lower production costs to increased profitability because of parts that help motors and systems run precisely as they were designed and built to.

OEM Quality

Original equipment manufacturers are putting their name on every part. They work directly with their customers and they have the original design, plan, and blueprint for their parts. All of that adds up to simply being able to produce the highest quality parts possible and more than a few reasons to do so. OEMs depend on keeping their customers satisfied and their parts working properly because that is their business and the business relationship depends on being able to deliver. The robotics, medical, electrical and aerospace industries are just a few of the fields that rely on quality parts that do more than work but work exactly how they were designed to work. That is the quality difference and this is where quality and precision machining go hand in hand.

OEM in Precision Machining

The best technology and software, the most advanced CNC, Lathe or machining tools and even the highest quality materials aren’t enough to deliver the finest in precision machining. It doesn’t matter how smart your system is or if you are working with plastic, stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum or brass. Getting the best results won’t happen without the most talented machinists who know how to utilize today’s technology. It is this mix of talent, that kind of technology and the best machining equipment that set OEM parts apart.

The Little Things Matter

It could be the precision used in billiards, the precision required in the medical arena or demanded of space exploration, the little things in precision machining matter. Reaching out to an OEM will mean getting that kind of precision for your parts, the parts that make you tools accurate, your motors run perfectly or that enhance your efficiency and production. A little part on an assembly line can stop everything. Small parts in a motor that aren’t perfectly calibrated will reduce efficiency and increase cost by creating wear or causing the engine to work harder than it should. Businesses and organizations everywhere and from every industry rely on parts to fix, replace, upgrade or improve their tools, their motors, their operations and in the end, their business. It’s the little things.

From ball racks to perfectly measured calipers, small factors like calibration and tolerance range measurements determine if a part works and how well it works. Working with an original equipment manufacturer helps companies to not only get parts that work but parts that work properly and well. When companies can operate, run and work at optimal levels, how big do those little things become?

The OEM Advantage for Tomorrow

Keeping your business and your operations running smoothly today also means being prepared for tomorrow and the future. With upgrades to equipment and tools and the need for companies to continually upgrade and keep up with competition, the benefits of working with an OEM go far beyond the here and now. An OEM will always have an advantage when changes or improvements are made or needed to existing parts because they have the original plans, molds, designs, and measurement. This simply results in being able to more accurately adjust or update parts to meet whatever changes are needed. This benefits those who are using OEMs by getting faster updates to parts, by having more accurate adjustments or changes made and by receiving those parts sooner.

People choose to work with an OEM because of their quality, expertise and the relationship they forge. Having a partner who understands what your business does, what it needs, and with the tools to help is an advantage of working with an original equipment manufacturer – not just today but for the future too. There is a place for aftermarket parts but the front of the pack is reserved for OEM parts. 

Where is your company at in the race and how can the OEM difference make a difference for you?

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Manufacturing Trends for 2019

Denver Manufacturing has seen a number of different technological upgrades for the past few years, and the industry has no other choice but to upgrade with the times. This year, there are some manufacturing trends that the industry should pay attention to.

Blockchain Technology

Not a lot of people had heard of blockchain outside of the cryptocurrency sphere until recently, and now blockchain is changing the manufacturing world. Blockchain technology helps distribute information to thousands of different computers in order to reduce the threat of hacking one central point of entry. Blockchain will have an effect on financial operations by adding additional security and boosting speed, and it will be a cost effective solution for transactions. Blockchain technology will also play a role in areas of transaction reporting, tracking, and management. Fully secure product tracking can also benefit from blockchain technology.

More Diversity

Last year many different industries experienced conversations about diversity, and the manufacturing industry is no expectation. An organization is likely to perform better if the workforce is more diverse. Businesses that are forward thinking should be implementing more rigorous and impactful programs to help accelerate the diversification of the workplace.

IoT Expansion

2018 was already a big year for IoT expansion and 2019 is expected to be the same. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network that connects many devices, from cars to home appliances. The idea behind this technology is to automate information and data transfers between different programs and devices without having to use human-to-human interaction, or even human-to-computer interaction. With the boost of 5G connectivity and other advances in sensor technology, the industry is expected to see a lot more IoT devices than ever before, which will drive an industrial revolution. The manufacturing industry benefits from IoT because it can help you with the ability to automatically track and log. Transferring data this way saves money and time and you don’t have to manually track all that information. While this may not be such a big deal for small businesses, as IoT becomes more widely used it means companies that are using older technology may need to adjust. If companies cannot adapt, business partners will switch to partners that move faster and have a better eye for innovation. Another benefit of IoT for the manufacturing industry is better responsiveness and efficiency. A machine could respond to problems faster and provides instant and timely solutions. This allows for bad products to not be produced in the first place.

5G Rollout

The groundwork has been laid for 5G for a bit now, and in 2019 the rollout should really pick up. 5G will help improve download speeds, reduce latency issues, and enhance the ability to control a variety of devices remotely. 5G rollout also helps improve IoT and will be a game changer that gives real time control and insight to companies, in order to make more impactful decisions.

Augmented Reality

Many people have seen augmented reality but may not have realized this is what it was. It’s the act of imposing digitally created images into real life objects within a device, such as a camera, computer, tablet, or cell phone. This may seem like it is not going to help manufacturers, but it does. Even though robots do their own work, they can’t yet fix themselves. By using software in a phone or tablet, workers can use video footage in real time and let the software fix the problem. This works if the software is on the outside of the machine. Another way augmented reality can be used in the industry is with training. Many people know that manufacturing jobs can be dangerous. If a worker isn’t sure of what they are doing, he or she can injure themselves and others. With training sessions using augmented reality, employees can get the knowledge they need to know without even stepping foot on the floor of the factory and risk hurting themselves. All they have to do is use a headset, look on a screen and enter a manufacturing simulator. Some other applications for augmented reality that aren’t as known are for inventory management. Programs can show workers where materials and parts are in the warehouse, as well as assist with product development. Augmented reality can allow you to create something before it even hits the line.

Customer Support with Many Channels

Manufacturing offers a lot of sales work and customer service, and it’s important that this part of the industry doesn’t get ignored. Omni channels means more channels and finding multiple ways to complete the same tasks. By using Omni channels, you can allow business partners and vendors to buy their own materials and parts and you don’t need to spend a lot of time with emails, calls, and other back and forth communication.

Robotics

2019 will see a greater use of robots. Robots are going to be more sophisticated and machines are going to be smarter, smaller, and more integrated with human tasks. There is a lot of concern about robots taking over jobs. According to one review, robots are expected to create some new jobs over the next few years due to artificial intelligence and automation. However, jobs could also be lost. As the industry continues to move toward robotics, the process is moving toward people working near the machines or even with the machine. Robots can be utilized in a number of different ways, such as discovering sources of raw material and inspecting equipment for safety, that make them valuable to have in the industry. Tag Team Manufacturing in Colorado invested in a Sawyer Robot to help with the long production work of small parts. Sawyer can run 24-7 with lights out capabilities and can be trained to do various tasks that are needed in the machine shop.

Analytics Software

With improvements in big data, analytics help businesses go from being reactive to proactive. Businesses can now get ahead and employ predictive analytics, in order to anticipate what is coming. By using predictive analytics, businesses can use a holistic approach to optimizing production assets across the entire lifecycle to improve operations. A machine shop shouldn’t just simply collect and store data, and manufacturers need to be able to identify the results they want to achieve and use the data to actually help them with their goals. An example can be an original equipment manufacturer wanting to improve the facility by reducing the amount of materials that are wasted during production. In order to do this, manufacturers need to collect production data and compare it with data from enterprise resource planning. Without a strategy, businesses will just collect data and keep it, and then not receive any benefit from their investment in analytics software.

3D Printing

3D printing is not anything new and has been around for a while, but it will continue to help manufacturing in the new year. 3D printing can help make manufacturing stronger, faster, better, and cheaper, and also help the industry benefit overall.

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5 Things you need to know about Green Manufacturing

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

Green manufacturing comes in two ways

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

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

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

Reducing resource use

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

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

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

Dealing with emissions

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

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

Work with communities to improve the livelihoods and environment

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

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

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

Business process improvement

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

1. Sustainable manufacturing

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

2. Green operations

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

3. Green supply chain management

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

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