Posted by: Chris Koepfer 15. July 2016

Insight into Minimum Quantity Lubrication

Minimum quality lubrication can be used to reduce machining costs and improve tool life for many applications.

In our May issue, Senior Editor Chris Felix wrote a good article about minimum quantity lubrication, (MQL). I like it because it covers the pros and cons of this emerging approach to metalworking fluids technology.

The article is the result of an interview with Dr. Radu Pavel who is chief technology officer at TechSolve Inc. and Optis LLC. He focuses on process design and optimization as well process monitoring and control.

MQL is not a new idea, but over time it has become much more refined and much better applied. Dr. Pavel discusses these developments in depth through his interview with Chris.

It’s a worthy topic for metalworking shops in large part for the cost savings and quality issues its implementation can bring to the party. Read the entire feature titled “A Foundation for Minimum Quality Lubrication.” 

Posted by: Steve Kline, Jr. 14. July 2016

Gardner Business Index: Precision Machining, June 2016 - 43.0


With a reading of 43.0, the Gardner Business Index showed that the precision machining industry contracted for the 15th month in a row. While the index did improve slightly from the previous month, it has been relatively unchanged the previous three months.

New orders contracted for the third month in a row. The index has fallen sharply the previous three months and was near its lowest level ever. Production contracted for the 13th straight month, but the rate of contraction decelerated compared with the previous two months. The backlog index contracted for the 22nd consecutive month, putting the index near its lowest level of the last two years. Employment continued to contract in June, although the rate of contraction was slower than the previous two months. Even though the value of the dollar has moderated in recent months, exports remained mired in contraction as global trade has slowed. Supplier deliveries lengthened for the fifth time in six months. 

The material prices index has increased sharply since December, with prices actually increasing the previous four months. In June, the rate of increase in material prices was the fastest since October 2014. Prices received at precision machine shops decreased for the fourth consecutive month. The index fell to virtually its lowest level since the survey began. Future business expectations were virtually unchanged for the second month in a row. The level of expectations still was significantly higher than the second half of last year.

Facilities with more than 250 employees contracted for the fourth time in five months. But, the index improved to its highest level since March. Plants with 100-249 employees contracted for the fifth month in a row, but the rate of contraction has decelerated each month. Companies with 50-99 employees expanded for the fourth straight month. In two of those four months, their index was above 55. Companies with 20-49 employees contracted for the third month in a row after a single month of growth in March. Shops with fewer than 20 employees continued to contract, with the rate of contraction the second fastest since the survey began in December 2011. 

For the second month in a row, all six regions contracted. While the Southeast region was the best performing region the previous five months, it was the worst performing region in June. In April its index was 59.3, but it had fallen to 35.7 in June. From best to worst, the other regions were the Northeast, North Central-West, North Central-East, West, and South Central. 

Future capital spending plans for the next 12 months averaged less than $400,000 per plant for the fifth time in seven months. Compared with one year ago, spending plans in May were down 37 percent.  



Posted by: Chris Felix 13. July 2016

July 2016 PM Digital Issue Now Available

PM's July digital edition is now available.

The July digital issue of Production Machining is now available, with emphasis topics of Rotary Transfer and Machining Centers. For our cover story, we provide a primer of sorts on horizontal and vertical rotary transfer machines and their capabilities for done-in-one operations. Our second feature takes a look at a robotic system that is helping both in-house and customer operations, reducing labor costs by as much as 90 percent.

In our Tech Brief section we detail Okuma’s ECO suite technology that is applied to the company’s CNC machining processes for significant energy savings. In our Case in Point, we visit a shop that is using a dimension measurement system to measure multiple part features simultaneously, without the need for positioning fixtures.

Be sure to check out our digital July issue today.

Posted by: Lori Beckman 11. July 2016

Presenters Needed at PMTS’ PCx


The Parts Cleaning Expo (PCx) 2017 is now accepting abstracts from those interested in presenting during the conference, which will be held during the Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS) next April. The deadline for abstracts is August 22.

Conference session suggestions include:

  • Fundamentals/Benefits of Cleaning
  • Industry-Specific Cleaning Strategies
  • Cleaning Equipment Configurations/Automation
  • New Cleaning Processes and Technologies
  • Corrosion Protection - When and Why?
  • Environmental Issues and Recycling

To maximize the exposure and longevity of each speaker's work, we will also provide pre-show promotion in both PM and Products Finishing magazines. Included with your commitment to the conference is the opportunity to have a written version of your presentation published online along with the chance to be published in the printed editions of each magazine. 

To submit an abstract, fill out the form here

Posted by: Chris Koepfer 8. July 2016

Millennials: We Can’t Live Without Them

Nate Ruhenkamp is a millennial making a difference in manufacturing.

A couple of months ago at a PMPA local chapter meeting, I met a young man named Nate Ruhenkamp. Nate is director of sales and marketing for a metalworking operation, Ashley Ward, in Mason, Ohio. He’s a millennial, and we had a great discussion about why and how he got into this business.

Actually, he reminded me of a much younger me. His story is one that is being repeated in shops across the country, as efforts by our industry and trade associations such as PMPA, begin to bear fruit by educating people like Nate about the career opportunities in manufacturing.

I asked Nate to contribute a guest column for PM in our July issue, and I think he did a great job. In the article, he says, “Unlike many other industries that only provide jobs, manufacturing provides careers.” Pretty good insight for a youngster.

Click here to read the entire column.

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