Lori Beckman

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.

Posted by: Lori Beckman 25. August 2015

A Story of Growth and Innovation during Hard Times

Stacey and Sara are owners of Bales Metal Surface Solutions.

Stacey Bales, co-owner of Bales Metal Surface Solutions in Downers Grove, Illinois, often hears complaints from other business owners about how business is slow. She thinks to herself, “Do something about it. Market yourself. Don’t give up.”

Ms. Bales and her sister, Sara Mortensen, are businesswomen who have earned the respect of the manufacturing community. After taking over their father’s business when he passed away suddenly in 2009, during the Great Recession, they have grown the company. They recently picked up a business excellence award from a Chicago newspaper because of their tremendous growth, innovation, entrepreneurship and contribution to their community.

To read the full story about the sisters’ gritty determination, periods of grief, savvy business skills and an unstoppable work ethic, visit “The Bales Girls are Making Dad Proud,” and look for this article in the September 2015 issue of PM.


Posted by: Lori Beckman 18. August 2015

See How You Stack Up


What’s Top Shops? Top Shops is the annual benchmarking survey conducted by sister publication Modern Machine Shop.

Why’s it important? The survey enables machine shops to compare their metrics and practices with the country’s top-performing shops in categories including machining technology, shopfloor practices, business strategies and human resources.

How can I find results? This Executive Summary compares responses from this year’s benchmarking group (calculated by totaling the points assigned to select survey questions) with the other shops that participated in the survey.

Where can I find more information about this survey? Visit the magazine’s Top Shops Zone for other articles and to access past survey data.

Posted by: Lori Beckman 27. July 2015

Find the Best Parts Cleaning System for Your Shop

Ultrasonics are often specified for a precision cleaning process to both expedite and enhance parts cleaning action.


Knowing the kind of parts cleaning system that best suits the parts manufactured is critical to a successful and efficient cleaning process in any shop. Cleaning equipment with water-based and solvent-based chemicals are the two options out there, and under those categories, there are a number of variables to consider. To read more about selecting a cleaning system, read "Selecting a Cleaning System for Small Parts." Also, read "Selecting Solvents for Precision Cleaning" to learn about stringent standards and solvent selection. 

For more articles about cleaning, including cleaning products, suppliers and more, visit PM's Parts Cleaning Equipment Zone

Posted by: Lori Beckman 20. July 2015

'Media Usage in Manufacturing' Survey Results


Gardner Research, the market intelligence division of Gardner Business Media Inc. (Production Machining's parent company), has announced the results of the fifth annual “Media Usage in Manufacturing” survey of industrial professionals. The full report including complete survey results, insights on industrial marketing trends and buyer behavior is available here

The survey, completed in the first quarter of this year, includes a group of 2,288 respondents composed mainly of executives, managers and engineers at companies engaged in durable goods manufacturing.

The survey results include observations and raw data investigating primary trends in business-to-business industrial marketing and media usage. Specific topics include: buying cycle behavior, search, mobile, media usage, social media and vendor selection.

Commenting on this year’s key findings, Rick Kline, Jr. group publisher & vice president noted “Along with delivering insights into how industrial professionals are using media, this year’s survey is a positive commentary on the strength of North American manufacturing. Respondents indicated they are researching products, processes and services more frequently and using more types of media to conduct their research. The strong survey participation and increased research activity illustrates manufacturers’ investment in evolving and expanding their businesses.” 

Read the full report here

Posted by: Lori Beckman 13. July 2015

Swiss-Type Machining Tips

Even a person who is familiar with conventional turning ceners can stumble when learning how to operate a Swiss-type lathe with its signature sliding headstock design.

With many shops adopting Swiss-type machining, operators need to start from scratch to learn the ins and outs of this platform and to ensure that the machining processes run smoothly. Training new operators on these lathes may consist of micrometers, reading prints and so on. This article from PM’s sister publication, Modern Machine Shop, gives tips from one shop who has been through the process of training for Swiss-type. Tips include knowing the difference between a headstock collet and a guide bushing; measuring each bar before installing; taking care when offsetting tools, knowing the workpiece material, and more. Read “New to Swiss-Type Turning” for the complete article.

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