PM Blog

Registering 56.1 for September, the Gardner Business Index (GBI): Precision Machining largely sustained the expansionary turnaround reported for August. Compared with the same month one year ago, the index increased by 0.5 percent. Since hitting a surprise low point in July, the Index has rebounded largely on the strength of supplier deliveries, production and new orders. For the latest month, Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying data indicate that the Index was supported by supplier deliveries—which has been the fastest expanding component for seven consecutive months—followed by production and new orders. The index’s average-based calculation was weakened by employment, backlog and exports. Only exports reported a contracting reading during the month.

Exports recorded its lowest reading in over a year as it fell almost three points, putting this component in contracting territory. Earlier in the year, exports moved above and below a reading of 50, which is the defining line between expansion and contraction. Export’s low reading for the month may have been in part caused by Chinese tariffs of between 5 percent to 10 percent on U.S. goods starting on Sept. 24.  Despite the impact that tariffs may have on exports in coming months, the recent history of strong expansion in new orders and backlogs supports the belief that U.S. manufacturing may be able to withstand the volatility from changes to international trade.

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Production Machining’s October Digital Edition is now available. This issue features emphasis topics of Grinding and Material Handling with special coverage focusing on Defense/Military. The cover story provides a top-10 checklist for getting the most out of a grinding machine. In our first feature article, we discuss automation solutions for high-mix, low-volume applications. For our other feature, we visit a munitions manufacturer that moved into lights-out operation for better throughput, reduced cost and improved quality control, yet discovered an unintended and positive side benefit.

This month’s Case in Point is about a company that invested in a new Swiss-type lathe and was so pleased by the performance and efficiency that it has expanded its plans for the machine.

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NIMS announced the launch of several new initiatives this month, including an improved testing platform and pilots of two credentials. The organization hopes these moves will advance its goal of providing competency-based skill standards and credentials for the manufacturing industry.

The new online testing center is designed to improve the user experience and better facilitate testing procedures at the more than 2,500 educational institutions and businesses in NIMS’ system. The custom-built platform now includes immediate feedback on tests and an interactive demo environment. Executive Director Montez King says many of the updates were based on feedback from NIMS’ partners. “The new credentialing experience is innately interactive which will improve instruction and training quality, and result in higher pass rates across the US,” he adds. Other new features include the ability to submit performance affidavits electronically, an accessible testing interface with a screen reader and keyboard navigation, and expanded purchasing capability with seat-based subscriptions.

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Carina moved to Canada about 10 years ago from Germany, and since then, her career path has led her to Harmonic Machine Inc., where she has created a company culture and work atmosphere that is positive and motivating, as the company’s human resources manager.

Since Carina began working at Harmonic, the machine shop has seen rapid growth, doubling twice under her leadership. She has managed to hire, train and lead a group of about 50 people through some challenging years. She has developed several HR policies and is currently working on an aggressive plan to roll out a leadership training program. She has also brought together diverse individuals with various skills and backgrounds to create a cohesive team that works together well.

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When a supplier company is required to reach stringent cleanliness standards with certain parts it produces for its customers, it can be challenging to discover the most efficient cleaning technique to achieve these standards. To help quality engineers, manufacturing engineers, metallurgists, project engineers and supply chain/purchasing engineers who need to assure cleanliness standards, Glaser Inc. and Jomesa North America Inc. presented a Technical Cleanliness Expert Day at the Bertram Inn and Conference Center in Aurora, Ohio, on Sept. 25, to 39 registered participants.

Markus Rossler, V.P. of Glaser Inc. opened the conference with his presentation, “Industrial Standard ISO16232, Version 2018,” where he thoroughly explained this technical cleanliness standard, the differences between the new version versus the 2007 version as well as how the VDA 19.1 standard is different from the ISO standard. Later in the day, Mr. Rossler also presented “Concepts to Improve Production/Assembly Cleanliness Levels (in accordance with VDA 19.2),” where he explained how to design a clean assembly facility, from maintaining a clean environment to logistics and staff cooperation. His final presentation covered new cleanliness requirements due to emerging electromobility.

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