Lori has been working “behind the scenes” of Production Machining since 2003, writing and editing the Products, News and Case in Point sections of the magazine, editing other staff members’ articles, and more recently, writing a column for PM’s e-newsletter, Inbox Insights. She began her journalism career in the trucking industry, writing technical articles for two trade publications. She has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Dayton.
Every shop hopes to reduce cycle times, increase productivity and improve security. Some processes’ efficiencies are tougher to increase than others, though—one being steel turning. However, new advances in material science are allowing the latest insert grades for steel turning to demonstrate very high levels of endurance at manufacturer facilities around the world, according to a white paper by Sandvik Coromant. In this white paper, real machine shop challenges are referenced, as well as how these obstacles were dealt with. A new insert grade has proven its endurance and is now available to manufacturers. Read the white paper here.
With a reading of 48.7, the Gardner Business Index showed that the production machining industry contracted at a relatively moderate rate for the second month. However, compared with 1 year ago, the index grew 0.4 percent. It contracted in October. The annual rate of change continued to grow at a strong rate, but it decelerated for the second month in a row.
New orders contracted for the second month in a row. The trend in new orders has steadily declined since January. Production expanded for the 11th consecutive month. It has steadily declined since March, but the down trend has not been as steep as it was for new orders. Backlogs have contracted 4 of the last 5 months. They contracted at their slowest rate since September 2013. Compared with October, the backlog index improved slightly. But, compared with 1 year ago, the backlog index contracted for the second month in a row. The annual rate of growth in backlogs is still very strong. Therefore, the trend in backlogs indicates significant increases in capacity utilization and capital equipment consumption this year. But, capacity utilization should see its peak rate of growth in the first or second quarter this year. Employment increased at its fastest rate since June 2014. The contraction in exports slowed somewhat in November, although the dollar continued to strengthen. Supplier deliveries have lengthened at a significantly slower rate the last couple of months.
While material prices were increasing at significantly accelerating rate earlier this year, the previous 4 months have seen a lower rate of increase. Material prices are increasing at their slowest rate since March 2014. Prices received have been virtually flat the previous 2 months. Future business expectations rebounded sharply in November. They were at their highest level since June 2014.
Shops with 50-99 employees expanded at the fastest rate by far in November. They have been growing at a significant rate since October 2013. Facilities with 100-249 employees contracted for the second month in a row, while shops with more than 250 employees expanded slightly after contracting in October. Shops with 20-49 employees contracted for the second time in 3 months. These shops have been the most significant reason for the lower index the last few months. Shops with fewer than 20 employees contracted once again.
The Northeast was the only region to grow in November. It had contracted the previous 2 months. The North Central – East contracted for the first time since December 2012. The North Central – West and Southeast contracted for the second month in a row. The West contracted at its fastest rate since August 2013.
Future capital spending plans for the next 12 months increased 14.1 percent compared with 1 year ago. This was the third month in a row that the month-over-month rate of change grew more than 10.0 percent. While the annual rate of change grew for the second month in a row, the rate of growth was a little slower this month.
If you are interested in reducing your machining times by as much as 60 percent, maximizing the life of your cutting tools and maintaining optimum cutting conditions throughout your toolpaths, participate in PartMaker’s webinar on Thursday, Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. EST. The webinar gives PartMaker the opportunity to discuss the company’s new, patent-pending Vortex machining strategy. To register, click here.
Deburring is one of the most critical post-machining operation for ensuring the functionality of the machined part, as well as the safe handling of the part. Although traditionally a manual process, various technologies exist for reliably automating deburring. Find a wealth of information on this process at PM's’s Deburring Zone. Here you’ll find links to PM articles, case histories, and products related to this topic. Visitors can also view a video on deburring and find deburring suppliers. After browsing through the Deburring Zone, feel free to visit any of PM’s other zones by clicking here.
This past Veterans Day was a memorable one for me. It started with a simple question from my inquisitive 7-year-old son, “What are we going to do to celebrate Veterans Day, Mom?” I was taken aback, because honestly, I had never asked myself that question before, let alone expected my young son to ask that. He told me that his teacher had talked about what Veterans Day means. I suggested he call his grandpa and ask him what we could do to celebrate. My dad was in the Army in the Vietnam War era and was one of the lucky few soldiers not chosen to go to war.
The day off school and work that I was planning to use to take my kids to the latest Disney movie turned out to be much more meaningful. The phone call to Grandpa made his day. We met for lunch where my mom and my husband also joined us. Dad talked about some memories he had of this military experience and the fact that he doesn’t know why he was given orders to go to Germany, when 200-plus soldiers in his group were ordered to go to Vietnam. Dad is the most patriotic man I know and is very proud to be a vet.
After lunch, our family attended a local outdoor veterans memorial for a Veterans Day ceremony, which was touching and a little emotional at times. A petite 91-year-old World War II vet named “Homer,” wearing his old uniform, opened the ceremony, surprising the audience of 200 with his booming voice singing the National Anthem. A couple active duty soldiers then talked about their experiences in the service and their appreciation for our great country. They had been deployed to other countries in their careers and learned to love the simple things most Americans take for granted, such as green lawns and trees in our yards.
Fourth-grade students from a nearby elementary school were part of the ceremony as well, as they sang two songs especially for the vets. As they sang, I wondered if they truly understood the sacrifices the soldiers and vets present have made and are making for our freedom. Probably not, I gathered, because I don’t think most of us understand these sacrifices unless we experience them ourselves. Yet, we can appreciate them, at least, by hugging a veteran, thanking a soldier we see in uniform, attending a ceremony on Veterans Day or Memorial Day or simply reflecting to ourselves when the opportunity arises.
Taps was played as the city mayor and a soldier placed a wreath on the memorial, marking the end of the ceremony. “Hug a vet before the end of the day,” the mayor concluded.
At those words, I reached up to Dad and gave him a squeeze and thanked him. Later, he thanked the family for spending time with him and said it was his best Veterans Day yet. He especially was touched by his grandson’s gesture of picking up the phone and calling him on this day.
This special group of people deserve to be honored more than one day each year. Perhaps that can change. Don’t forget about this dedicated group of skilled men and women during your hiring process. Workshops for Warriors places veterans and wounded warriors in manufacturing careers by providing training, credentials, work experience and job placement. Find out more here.