PM Blog

Leader Hopes to Surpass Family Shop’s Expectations

The love of machining has been passed down to Cassandra “Cassie” Haupers from her father and grandfather. Her father, Mike Haupers, has owned and operated Swiss Precision Machining Inc. (SPM) (Wheeling, Illinois) since 1979, where Haupers is now vice president of operations.

“As the future owner, it’s my responsibility to garner the respect of my workers and peers, and to lead a prosperous company,” says the 33-year-old. “To do so, I must learn from the past and innovate for the future.”

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By: Miles Free 7/22/2020

Sometimes It’s the Steel

Sometimes It’s the Steel

I have been working in the steel and manufacturing industry for 49 years. I started out as a laborer in the blast furnace department right out of high school and I worked in the steel mills full time as I went to college full time. I might or might not have been full time distracted by other things in those college days as well.

As my career developed, I increasingly became more involved with customer service and problem-solving, where the first claim to be made by our customers was that “It must be the steel. There are hard spots in it.” (Actually, there were none to be found.)

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Reduction of Lead in Aluminium Alloys

There are several European directives and regulations (which are also implemented in many other countries), that are about to be modified to include important restrictions regarding lead content in aluminium alloys. This represents a big challenge for the global precision machining industry, which must find new alternative free-machining, lead-free alloys that will provide at least the same results in terms of productivity and efficiency.

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA), with regard to Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) requirements, put lead in the candidate list of substances of very high concern (SVHC), where there are metals with lead in concentration above 0.1% w/w. Until now, companies are only obliged to inform customers of the presence of lead in such metals, but there is a process of moving lead from the candidate list to the authorization list. There is an ongoing discussion, which should be completed in the next 12-24 months, in order to have lead in the authorization list by 2024. After that, companies will need special authorization from the ECHA in order to use lead above a certain quantity (most probably 0.1% w/w). It will be extremely difficult to obtain such authorization and it can be only be given once for a maximum extended time of two years. After 2026, it will not be permitted at all. The lead limit that the ECHA is evaluating in the discussion is anything between 0.1% and 0.3% w/w. But new scientific studies commissioned by the ECHA with regard to occupational exposure limits are suggesting that 0.1% is the maximum quantity tolerable for a healthy working environment.

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If you know a young person interested in entering the manufacturing field, this video will be helpful for them to watch. I asked Production Machining’s 2020 Emerging Leaders what advice they would give to the next generation of leaders in the industry. Although their answers were different, they carried the same message: be humble and open minded. Watch this video to hear their advice. Please share this with anyone who can benefit from it!

Look for this Thursday’s blog post that will share Cassandra Hauper’s success story as one of our 2020 Emerging Leaders. 

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By: Todd Palmer 7/17/2020

Opportunity Within a Tragedy

Opportunity Within a Tragedy

2020 has officially become the year of unexpected change for businesses. In previous years, when business leaders need to make a change, it was often due to their choices or even their mistakes. Those changes were self-created, and required both the discipline and the ability to pivot out of the downward spiral created by their actions.

The changes imposed upon today’s world, from the COVID-19 pandemic, have been thrust down upon all businesses, regardless of industry or geography. For many entrepreneurs and CEOs this is the first time in their careers they are faced with an uncertain future. For Ruthie Johnston, CEO of Croix Gears in Hudson, Wisconsin, dealing with an uncertain business future is old hat for her.

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