We're the People Who Make Things

I just saw a news clip that highlighted some new-found attention to "people who make things. " It seems that, in a recent speech, the President of the United States recognized the value of the "people who make things. " Well, Mr.

Detroit Auto Show

I just saw a news clip that highlighted some new-found attention to "people who make things." It seems that, in a recent speech, the President of the United States recognized the value of the "people who make things."

Well, Mr. President, let me tell you just where those things we make go. And I don’t mean from sea to shining sea. That’s a given. I’d like to let you see just how important those things we make are to everyone’s everyday life.

Did you wake up with running water today? Hosts of people in our industry machine the parts of the faucets, taps, pressure release and shower valves that deliver water safely at your command. Do you have running water? A machinist made the parts that made your water delivery something that you can take for granted.

Did you wake up warm and comfortable today? Modern heating and air conditioning systems are made up of a number of precision machined components: valves, orifices, sensors and fittings. These are all needed for delivery
of natural gas or the recirculation of refrigerant to properly adjust the temperature of your living space. The people who make these things are machinists.

Did you ride in a car today? The big auto companies want you to know they are crucial to our economy and worthy of federal bailout. But the fact is that approximately 70 percent of the value of a car comes from systems and components provided by outside suppliers—not the major automakers.

Assembly? Yes, the auto "makers" do that. But taking a piece of steel, stainless steel or brass and machining it into a fuel injector, sensor, anti-lock brake part, power steering pump shaft or air bag component is primarily done by machinists at outside suppliers.

Did you fill that car with gasoline or diesel fuel? Those metal fittings that connect the hose to the pump? They were machined by precision machinists.

Did you drive that car on a road today? Caterpillar and Case are only two of the American companies making the equipment that make today’s modern highways possible, allowing us to get where we want to go, regardless of geography. Their equipment requires precision parts for engines, transmissions and fluid power systems. Machinists make these, as well.

Have you flown in an airplane lately? For the first 10 months of 2008, 630.1 million passengers took to the air in the United States. Precision machined parts are found in many aeronautical systems, including landing gear, flight surface controls, engine systems and fuel systems. Plus, there are numerous special fasteners throughout the aircraft.

Have you eaten today? The precision machining industry provides parts to the agricultural industry for the equipment that makes U.S. agriculture second to none in worldwide food productivity. Fuel system components, engine components, power take-off (PTO) components, parts for the planting, harvesting and crop conditioning systems—these are all produced by machinists at precision machining companies. The tractor might say Deere, New Holland or Navistar, but there are a lot of smaller, family-owned companies that machined the fittings, fasteners and components that make that tractor run.

Have you bought anything at a store today? While you were at the store, you probably noticed the cashiers behind the cash register, and maybe some stock people on the floor. What you probably didn’t see were the lift trucks, pallet jacks and conveyor systems behind the back wall. That equipment is used to move the freight quickly and at low cost out of the over-the-road trucks that brought it in.

While you were at the store, you probably noticed the cashiers behind the cash register, and maybe some stock people on the floor. What you probably didn’t see were the lift trucks, pallet jacks and conveyor systems behind the back wall. That equipment is used to move the freight quickly and at low cost out of the over-the-road trucks that brought it in.

Those conveyors, lift trucks and trucks are made up of systems that run because of a precision machinist. That machinist held the tolerances and followed the quality systems needed to assure that a particular part met the requirements for fit, form and function as engineered by the designer.

Been to the hospital recently? It’s pretty difficult to get health care these days and not run into a precision machined product. Respiratory therapy? Precision machinists machine the valves, fittings and regulators for those machines, as well as for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines.

Orthopedic components, including implantable plates, screws and joints? These are machined from exotic alloys to help assure our continued quality of life. Precision machined parts are embedded in a multitude of diagnostic and treatment technologies. A machinist made them.

Machinists are people who make things. You won’t see our signature on the part. You won’t know the name of the company that we work for. But about 70 percent of a vehicle that has somebody else’s name on it wouldn’t be there without us. Nor would it perform without our parts.

We’re proud to make the parts that make the water faucets work and the cars go (and stop) safely. The parts that make modern living possible. We’re "people who make things."

Thank you, Mr. President, for finally bringing to the nation’s attention our contribution to its standard of living. Without our handiwork, most of the technologies we take for granted every day wouldn’t exist. It’s one thing to assemble stuff. It’s another to actually make it.