PM Blog

Protecting employees, customers and products from harmful contaminants is a priority for all machine shops. For example, using surface disinfectants continually is vital to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses, most recently SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease), in a shop environment. But unless the proper disinfectants are being used and implemented correctly, the process of disinfecting will be ineffective. Knowing how to read disinfectant labels and accurately interpreting their meanings is crucial in the fight against transmitting the pathogens.

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Quality Employee Passionate About Sharing Her Knowledge

In her 12 years at Galion LLC (Galion, Ohio), Erica Bonen has found her passion. Beginning as a general laborer at the company, her many accomplishments have led her to her current role as quality engineer. She has also served as a final quality inspector and quality technician — which was her position when she was named Employee of the Year in 2017. She is now a strong candidate to replace the company’s current senior quality engineer upon his retirement.

Bonen develops controlled inspection documents based on internal processes and customer requirements, ensuring clear and accurate inspection criterions that offer the highest quality product to customers. She also generates first article acceptance test plans in accordance with customer specifications for new and existing products.

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Sometimes No-Quoting RFQs is Essential for Efficiency

Having the resolve to no-quote or turn down requests for quotes (RFQs) is a trait shared by all successful machine shops. Managing only the quotes that are in alignment with a shop’s core competencies and goals will build a strong foundation for a profitable and efficient business, while also establishing solid customer relationships.

The kind of RFQs a shop no-quotes, the speed at which it replies to an RFQ, how it prioritizes quotes and its quote-to-book ratio are all key components for effectively managing RFQs. Here, three shop owners and one software provider share strategies for handling RFQs and describe why building relationships is important when doing so, even when no-quoting.

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A year ago, I was able to visit Omaha’s Superior Metal Products to write a story about a complex, robotic cell in which a Doosan TW2600 twin-spindle turning center performed facing operations on a family of cast, ductile-iron pump components. In short, that cell featured an inbound conveyor feeding workpieces to a FANUC robot that loaded them into the machine, and then unloaded completed parts and placed them on a cart.

This was the shop’s second robotic machining cell. Its first, installed in 2018, features an Okuma LB3000 EXII turning center running unattended thanks to a LoadAssistant robotic loading and workpiece storage unit from Halter. This self-contained unit, which is installed just to the left-hand side of the machine’s door, features a FANUC robot and a two-sided, indexable table to hold material blanks and completed parts, respectively. Operators can safely access one-half of the table to remove completed parts and load new blanks while the robot manipulates material to serve the machine on the other half of the table.

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TikTok, Manufacturing and Data Analytics

If you’re not familiar with TikTok, trust that your kids are. This extremely popular app allows users to create short 15-second music videos and looping 3- to 30-second videos, and share them with the universe. The topics of these run the gamut. How to make shrimp fried rice, a man feeding marshmallows to an alligator from a boat, crazy pet tricks, crazier human tricks. You get the picture. One video right after another, delivered to your device in succession with no apparent rhyme or reason to the order.

The app is incredibly addictive. This column took me twice as long as usual to write because I kept getting sucked into the vortex of interesting (though oftentimes stupid) snippets each time I opened the app. Several sources indicate that the average TikTok user spends 52 minutes each day thumb flipping through video after video. And there are tons of users with about 80 million active ones in the U.S. alone. TikTok was the most downloaded nongaming app through mid-June of this year.

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