PM Blog

By: Miles Free 2/24/2020

PMPA Advocacy and Your Bottom Line

PMPA Advocacy and Your Bottom Line

PMPA’s advocacy work in Washington, D.C., is something that most people would find to be a low priority. Politics has never, in my memory, been a polite topic, and the polarization and demonization of those that hold different views seems to be at an all-time high. But ignoring reality is not a good business strategy. In fact, legislation and regulations are being formulated and implemented — even as the media paints Washington, D.C., as a place where the current hyper-partisan deadlock insures that nothing gets done. While no one wins while arguing with those talking heads on the news, the fact is that 2019 was a good year for resolving the issues that your PMPA has been working on in our nation’s capital. Here is a quick look.

Workforce is the No. 1 issue facing our precision machining shops today. The headline unemployment rate remains at its 50-year low, and employment is strong across all groups tracked. Manufacturing job openings outnumber available applicants — this remains a challenge to our shops. In 2019, PMPA advocated for increased funding for Registered Apprenticeships, to continue the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program and the Workforce Innovations Opportunities Act (WIOPA). Funding increases for each of these programs resulted. PMPA continues to work with the Department of Labor to develop a skills-based, industry-led apprenticeship program.

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Precision Machining Activity Slows Decline

 

The Precision Machining Index moved higher during the first month of 2020, registering a modest increase to 48.3. Readings above 50 indicate expanding activity and values below 50 indicate contracting activity. The further away a reading is from 50 the greater the size of the change in activity. Gardner Intelligence’s analysis of the underlying Index components found that the Index was supported by expanding activity in exports followed by mildly contracting activity in new orders, supplier deliveries, production and employment. The Index—an average of its components—was pulled lower by the persistent and significant contraction in backlogs which has heavily weighed on the Precision Machining Index since June 2019. January’s results marked several firsts, including the first time in recorded history that the Index has been led by exports and the first time that exports was the only expanding component of the Index.

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Webinar: Medical Manufacturing in 2020

 

The medical manufacturing industry is growing, unlike other end-markets served by manufacturing. If you want to know more about what is fueling this industry, register for Gardner Intelligence’s webinar on March 12 at 11 a.m. ET titled, “Where Medical Manufacturing is Headed in 2020.” 

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Parts Cleaning Conference Seeks Speakers for Fall 2020 Conference

If you work in the manufacturing cleaning segment of the manufacturing industry and are interested in speaking at the next Parts Cleaning Conference at IMTS 2020, in Chicago, Illinois, on Sept. 16, submit a presentation abstract to the conference committee at partscleaningevent.com.

The 2020 conference is focused on the latest cleaning technologies and processes. As environmental limitations become stricter and more manufacturers demand high quality clean parts, it’s important to stay abreast of the latest technologies and industry specifications. This conference will detail how to produce the cleanest parts that are in compliance with industry standards while staying on a budget.

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Dean Kauffman makes rollers. He makes them by the thousands—big rollers, small rollers, all used by steel mills to make the round, square and rectangular barstock that other manufacturers then turn into something else. Mr. Kauffman likes to think of these mills as giant Play-Doh Fun factories, squeezing red hot steel through a progressively smaller series of funnels and rollers until they reach their final shape. The rollers, however, are anything but fun to machine, made of hardened D2 tool steel and accurate to within ± 0.0005 inch.

Here's where the equipment selection has made a significant difference. Mr. Kauffman purchased a KLR-20 CNC lathe from Kent USA a year ago that eased many of the machining challenges he had been dealing with. He says, aside from marrying his wife, the purchase was probably the best decision he's ever made.

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