PM Blog

When a shop is in the market for machine tools, it might depend on the experts for guidance. The machine tool manufacturers know their equipment and its capabilities; they should be able to determine the applications for which it is best suited and those where it may fail.

Otto Engineering Inc. of Carpentersville, Illinois, however, thinks outside the box and likes to challenge its suppliers with new approaches to traditional practices. Production Machining told Otto’s story 15 years ago. This follow-up shows a double-down bet on the success the company has realized from what was once such a radical plan that the supplier was even reluctant to sell the machine. While it’s use of a CNC multi for small lots may not be unheard of, buying the machine for that specific purpose and having huge success with the strategy is surprising to most outside of the organization.

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The firearms manufacturing industry is a competitive landscape marked with various sized players producing intricate small handguns to large weapons used by the military, law enforcement, hunters, hobbyists, and other specialists. Within this production environment, many complex precision parts and pieces are required for key elements such as frames, barrels, and trigger assemblies—along with a range of other special products including tooling, triggers, safety equipment, fixtures, lower/upper receivers, and others.

Approximately 95 percent of gun parts are manufactured by milling. Large manufacturers such as Smith & Wesson (one of America’s longest-standing, leading firearm brands) recognize that tool life is vital to keeping up with production cycle optimization. Therefore, more advanced, rigid machines are being leveraged with the highest grade and exotic materials to overcome associated tool life problems.

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At the core of just about every type of business is a supply chain, and as the economy continues becoming more global in nature, it’s more challenging for companies to ensure that their supply chains are operating at peak efficiency.

Maintaining a high level of efficiency is particularly important in tech, given the industry’s complexity and the large number of partners and vendors in tech supply chains.

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The secret of joy in work is contained in one word—excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.
— Pearl S. Buck

It’s nice when a hard day’s work brings with it some reward. For most of us at least, money can be a strong motivator. In many instances we may be able to find our way into work situations where hard work literally pays off—the more we do and the better we do it, the more money we earn. For many people, this situation is sufficient, and it’s hard to argue its fairness. But there’s more to life than only money.

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Workholding can affect many aspects of the machining process, but it often is not given enough attention. Many shops are content to use whichever workholding system comes with the machine. If it gets the job done, they don’t give it another thought—unless they have to. But once a shop does take a closer look at its workholding, it can lead to improvements in several different areas of the part production process.

One such workholding option is a collet chuck. To get more information, we spoke with Matt Block, a regional business manager with Royal Products. Royal provides a range of workholding options, including several lines of collet chucks.

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