Tag : usa manufacturing

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.

Lean Manufacturing Waste

7 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing

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

1. Overproduction

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

2. Transportation

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

3. Over Processing

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

4. Excess Motion

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

5. Excessive Inventory

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

6. Waiting

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

7. Defects

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

Quality Control CNC Machine Shop

The Role of Quality Control in Manufacturing

Quality control in manufacturing can be defined as the oversight of the different aspects of the manufacturing process. The main goal of implementing quality control in manufacturing is ensuring that products produced conform to the company’s, industry’s as well as consumer expectation every time. Having a system for quality control monitors everything including the parts being produced as well as the employees that are assembling the parts. It is not only the customer that benefits from quality control by receiving products of high quality, but also the manufacturer since it reduces costs and increases efficiency.

To effectively implement quality control programs, you have to approach with caution. Imperfect implementation can be costly to the company. Effective implementation starts by defining the quality standard of each product. Then define the number of products to be tested before proceeding to employee training. Finally, there should be a communication system to report defects or potential issues in cnc manufacturing.

Below is an outline of the role of quality control in manufacturing in US.

Risk minimization
There is more to minimizing risks than having safety gear on the factory floor. There are plenty of other financial risks that should be considered not only in the factory but also after the product leaves the factory. Product recalls can be quite an expensive endeavor, they also influence the customer negatively hence tarnishing the name of your brand indefinitely. An effective quality control system that includes vigorous inspections at different stages of the manufacturing process helps ascertain that all manufactured products meet the minimum requirements before reaching the consumer.

Resource conservation
Resource conservation is important for manufacturers since it reduces the total upfront material expenses. It also helps improve the company’s reputation with its customers. With less assembly foul-ups there is greater throughput and higher gains for the manufacturer. The role played by quality control in resource conservation is making this a reality.

Effective compliance
Every industry has a set of regulations that it must meet including manufacture of cnc machining. Failure to comply with the standards set can be an expensive affair. It can also lead to production bottlenecks. A company with effective quality control systems will evenly distribute the checks throughout the entire process. Ensuring there are no financial losses resulting from bottlenecks in the manufacturing process.

Consistency
Consistency of the products produced and offered to the market plays a huge role in the overall company reputation. If you are not in a position to consistently produce high quality products, it will reflect badly on your company. Consistency not only affects your company reputation but it also affects production costs. If consistency is not upheld in manufacturing, you will definitely experience fluctuations in production costs. Quality control plays a huge role in ensuring you are consistent in the quality of products produced.

Improved final product
Naturally, products from a stringent and intensive the quality control environment are of higher quality. Quality control ensures that each step meets the standards that you have set. The results will be an improved product of high quality.

As evidenced above, quality control is an essential part in the manufacturing process. Not only does it ensure the company produces high quality products but also ensures that there is proper adherence to the standards set by the regulators.

Precision Machine Shop

Things to Look for When Hiring a Precision Machine Shop

People should look for several items when they are choosing a precision machine shop to make certain that they make the right choice.

Communication Skills
The person in the shop that you are telling about your job or project should have great communication skills. They should be skilled at their job and know what the others in the shop can accomplish. If this person is experienced, they will also have questions for you to help you to describe your job in as much detail as possible. Great communication is the first skill to look for, because if you and the shop manager are not on the same page, your project may not come out as you saw it.

Innovative Technology
A good precision machine shop is only as good as the available technology they use and it is based on the technician’s knowledge to use it. Research what types of equipment are needed to manufacture a prototype of your project. Then ask what types of equipment the machine shop uses such as CNC Machining, Manual Machining and Wire EDM. Also, ask if the process uses more than one type of machining for the run. The machine shop should also be able to have certified technicians to run the software available for the process so they can implement any changes in the design that you may ask for. Shops with the latest technology are forward thinking and will learn and implement new processes to keep up with the rising technology needed.

References and Samples of Work
A great machine shop will have a project book with photos of some of their past work along with the customer’s names and phone number and won’t be afraid to share these things with you. If they don’t give you references or explain past processes, they may be hiding something about their performance from you. The project book should have their most difficult jobs that they completed in it to show how capable the machine shop is in their business.

Flexibility
Machine shops that are proficient in their work will have some sort of process to allow flexibility in the project while it is underway. They should report to you at certain steps of the process to make certain they are on track and be able to change things if it isn’t to your specifications. This helps to get the first prototype correct and sets in place the specifics for a full production run of your products. If they don’t have a schedule set up, you may want to look elsewhere for a precision machine shop that is more compliant.

Quality Control
All machine shops should have a quality control inspector, whether in-house or out of house to ensure that your project meets all of the specifications that it should. They should be willing to talk about their quality certifications such as ISO 9001 and AS9100 standards and share with you what types of equipment they use to ensure the standards are met.

Looking for these items will help you to find a quality precision machine shop that you can use for prototypes, parts and projects of any size to successfully fulfill your wishes and demands.

CNC Machinist

Tips for Hiring the Ideal CNC Machinist

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology has revolutionized modern manufacturing in the US. With CNC machining, the role of a CNC machinist (operators) has reduced significantly. The operator only feeds instructions in the computer, set up the required tools, feed the materials in the machine, and control speed leaving the computer to do the rest.

Given the complexity and technicality of the CNC machines, the operators need top-notch skills for set-up and programming. CNC machinists are fabricators, builders, mechanics, craftsmen and quality assurances making them difficult to find. Below are 6 tips for hiring the perfect CNC machinist;

Consider All Means of Advertising

Although the manufacturing industry looks promising, there’s a real scarcity of machinists in the US. Other than placing your ads in the local newspaper, radio, monster and indeed, Craigslist is also a good starting point that most take for granted.

While at it, expand your search to major cities rather than concentrating on your locality. Make it easy for applicants to reach out by leaving the company’s details guiding to the company’s website for a direct application.

Go Searching in the Nearest Technical Schools

Although most of the technical schools in the US have shifted away from CNC machining, you can still find a local mechanical engineering schools approach. Approach a couple of potential job candidates just before graduating before all of them are taken. Consider expanding your search to other states.

Train the Applicants Desired to Learn and the Drive to Succeed

In as much as you’d bring skilled workforce aboard, it may not be possible as fresh graduates from the US manufacturing schools may have no experience. But you can choose the talent with attention to detail and drive to learn and succeed then teach them on the job.

Promise to increase their wages over time after the training, so they don’t run away to greener pasture after the training.

Set an Exam for the Ideal Candidates

Resumes are just a means used by prospective applicants to show off their supposed skills and abilities. Undoubtedly, resumes will help you separate the chaff from the grain. However, comparing the applicants solely by their resumes would be a disservice to the company. Some of the best machinists do not have the best resumes.

Instead, consider giving the applicants a test to gauge their basic knowledge of the CNC machining. Some people get intimidated by a written test. Prepare a list of relevant questions and ask them verbally.

Involve Other Machinists in the Interviewing and Hiring Process

Company Machinists have a proper understanding of the machines and other tools. They can help structure a test the cuts across all areas of the job. Involve in chit-chat to keep the interviewees at ease before hitting them with the tough questions.

Allocate enough time for the prospective employees to spend time in the shop together with the interviewers so you can check out how they handle the machines.

Hiring a CNC machinist can be a daunting task. The tips above should help you land the best candidates with ease. Tag Team Manufacturing is a modern manufacturing company specializing in machining CNC for OEMs in almost all industries. We can produce over 50,000 components annually and have the skills necessary to work closely with the engineers in producing prototypes. We’re working continuously to improve and develop our processes and capabilities.

Machine Shop

History of Machine Shops

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

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

History of Machine Shops

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

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

After the 19th Century

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

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

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

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

20th Century

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

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

American-Made Products

Popular Products Manufactured in the U.S.

Have you ever bought something because it read the label, “Made in the U.S.A.“? We’ve all been there. We all like American-made products and we value what’s constructed in our own country. Although the number is increasing, not a lot of products are made in the U.S. In fact, about 50% of the products we use are made in China. However, America is trying to even the playing field. With our increased knowledge of mechanical engineering and the US manufacturing schools available, more and more products involve manufacturing in the USA.

Furthermore, a new technology has advanced over the years — CNC machining and manufacturing. CNC manufacturing is a manufacturing process where a pre-programmed computer controls tools and machines. This is done through CNC automation, where computers and machines do all the work for us. This has created a mechanical engineering breakthrough leading to more excitement surrounding the United States manufacturing industry. But since China still makes over half of the products we use, what’s manufactured in the United States? See below for a list of the most popular products made on U.S. soil:

-Primary Metal
-Machinery
-Transportation Equipment
-Weber Grills
-Tesla Roadsters
-Harley Davidson Motorcycles
-Whirlpool Appliances
-KitchenAid Mixers
-GE Hot Water Heaters
-Stihl Gas-Powered Equipment

From machinery to kitchen mixers, the United States still makes some of the more important products that we use in our everyday lives. And with CNC manufacturing leading the way in mechanical engineering, machines are working smarter and more effectively. In addition, education for the mechanical industry is getting better year after year. Mechanical engineering schools are popping up everywhere and more people are realizing the importance of these skills.

Increased Productivity and Lower Costs Lead to US Manufacturing

With more and more products being manufactured in the United States, there has to be a reason why our production efforts have increased. One of them is our productivity. American workers have been proven to be more productive in the workplace. They are paid higher than employees are in other countries and the work environments are more enjoyable. With child-labor issues happening in China and other countries, more people choose American-made products for that reason alone. Another cause for increased U.S. manufacturing is shipping costs. Every day, it is getting more expensive to export materials from one country to the next. In order to save on costs and produce high-quality, dependable products, many manufacturing companies are choosing the United States are their hub.

The U.S. Prefers American-Made Products

The average American will choose an American-made products over one that’s produced in another country. Although China leads the pack for most of the products we use, that number is starting to decrease. One reason for the change is CNC manufacturing. As our technology gets more advanced, CNC automation and machining is growing in popularity. From production benefits to saving on costs, CNC manufacturing is here to stay.

If you’re looking for a professional, modern manufacturing company you can depend on, Tag Team Manufacturing is the company for you. We’ve been in business since 1987 and we specialize in machining CNC precision components for OEM’s in a wide range of different industries. We work with engineers to design effective materials that work properly and that last for many years to come. If you would like to learn more about Tag Team Manufacturing, don’t hesitate to give us a call today!

cncamanufacturing

What factors impact the cost of raw material pricing?

Raw material, whether wood, minerals, crude oil or even meat, all often have varying price points rising and dropping like the stock exchange. There are many variables at play causing this to happen. Each variable affects the price point of raw materials, causing it to increase or decrease for manufacturers, distributors and consumers. Here are several contributing factors to the shifting price of such materials.

Sourcing the Material

One of the most expensive aspects of obtaining and distributing raw materials is sourcing it. If a mine runs low on the source material, if a harsh winter kills crops or if a forest fire takes down acres of lumber, readily available material is reduced, which in turn causes the price of raw material to go up. The demand remains, but as the supply is reduced, prices increase.

Transportation

The transportation of goods is another major expense to moving raw materials to different regions both within a country and around the world. This is especially true when importing or exporting the goods. As new levies and taxes are placed on goods brought in from other countries, the price for the raw material goes up. Additionally, if transporting lumber by truck or train, an increase in the cost of fuel will increase the cost to transport the goods, which causes the cost of raw material to shift.

Labor

Between transportation, sourcing the material, carrying for the material before it is ready to harvest or any other labor position along the way, if there is a shift in the work force there can be a shift in raw material pricing. If a union goes on strike, it affects raw material pricing as less of it can be transported or sourced from the earth. Other times, if the labor union reaches a deal and this includes an increase in pay, benefits or other aspects of their work, it in turn increases the price of raw material. Just about any shift in labor will have an impact on the cost of raw material.

Acts of God

Most other aspects involved in the shifting cost of raw material can, to some extent, be forecast. Acts of God typically cannot. This is a sudden and often devastating event that affects not just part of raw material sourcing and distribution, but an entire region, city or nation. The exact definition for an act of God may shift, depending on insurance purposes. But, typically, tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, violent winds, volcanic eruption, tidal wave or near any other natural phenomenon that happens with little warning can shut down production and transportation instantly and for an extended period of time.

Forecasting the shift of raw material pricing is not an exact science. Like identifying a potential chance in a stock’s value, different variables are always at play. By understanding what factors impact the cost of raw material pricing, a manufacturer or user of the material can determine the best point of time in which to buy added material or when to hold off before buying additional supplies.

manufacturingusa

Reasons for Optimism in the Manufacturing Industry under President Trump

One of the most polarizing elections in American history is now over and Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Trump promised to boost the American economy by bringing back jobs; however, the manufacturing industry has a right to remain skeptical of this promise. After all, it has been decades since American manufacturing was a strength of the economy. On the other hand, there are numerous reasons for Americans in the manufacturing industry to remain optimistic that manufacturing is on the rise. Numerous polls have already demonstrated that Americans are optimistic about the manufacturing outlook. Why is that?

President Trump has Promised to Lower Corporate Taxes

One of the biggest problems with the loss of manufacturing jobs to overseas is the high corporate tax rates imposed on American corporations, notably 35 percent. President Trump has promised to lower this tax rate to around 15 percent. This translates into more money in the pockets of the companies that they can then use to hire more employees and invest in the company. Companies may be interested in investing money in CNC automation technology. With lower corporate taxes, this can happen.

President Trump has Said he will Increase Infrastructure Spending

An increase in infrastructure spending will demand an increase in manufacturing jobs because, without the increase in manufacturing, there will be nothing to build this infrastructure out of. This means that companies will need to produce the materials used to build this infrastructure. This means more jobs in the manufacturing sector and more dollars heading into CNC manufacturing. There will be a significant amount of pressure on manufacturing companies to deliver the goods to fulfill the promises of the new president. This means a heavy investment in manufacturing jobs and manufacturing technology.

President Trump is Going to Renegotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Also called the TPP, this agreement has drawn the ire of the entire manufacturing industry because this is seen as the culprit that led to the massive job loss and movement of manufacturing opportunities overseas. President Trump has promised to renegotiate this deal, leading to bigger benefits for US corporations that keep their jobs at home. This means that more companies are going to need to hire skilled manufacturing workers to fill these positions. Those interested in positions in the manufacturing industry should keep their eyes open for changes to this agreement.

President Trump will Alter the North American Free Trade Agreement

This deal has been called NAFTA and has led to a significant trade deficit with our trading partners. This deficit has placed a significant amount of pressure on American companies, specifically the manufacturing industry, because they feel they are fighting an uphill battle in the global market. A renegotiation of this deal in favor of American manufacturing could help to keep more companies in business, keeping more jobs available in the American economy. All of these reasons have combined to generate a positive outlook for the manufacturing industry under the new President.

Contact Tag Team Manufacturing today for all your cnc manufacturing needs. 303.841.5697.