Why Do We?

I meet a lot people from big shops, small shops, machinists, engineers, programmers, managers and owners. Probably the biggest common denominator is a passion for the business. For the most part, people who could do any number of jobs.

I meet a lot of people in my job. These are people from big shops, people from small shops, machinists, engineers, programmers, managers and owners. There are several things most have in common—at least those who make a career in the business. Probably the biggest common denominator is a passion for the business. For the most part, you are people who could do any number of jobs. Manufacturing, specifically precision parts manufacturing, is more like a vocation.

The passion I see in those of you I've met is your understanding and enjoyment of the fundamental contribution that precision parts manufacturing makes to the health and wealth of our nation and, as the global economy becomes reality, our world. While I'm sure there are people in many walks of life who feel deeply about what they do, I find that manufacturers are in a class by themselves.

When you think about it, it makes sense. After all, you've really got to love this stuff to do it every day. More fundamentally though, I think some of that passion comes from understanding our place in the economic cosmos. Ours is an economic system designed to reward the addition of value. Manufacturing is one of the fundamental core activities that contributes to our system's success.

Taking a raw material that has lesser intrinsic value and processing it to make something that has more value is the alchemy of manufacturing. For screw machine shops, processing a bar or blank into parts that can help heal the body, communicate, transport and build is a noble and highly skilled endeavor.

Another attribute I find in people within our industry is humility. Now that may be a natural inclination of the individual, but it is more often a by-product of the profession. You see, most folks who work in manufacturing dwell in general anonymity. Nobody really knows what we do.

For example, try to explain the steps involved in making a bone screw or electronic connector to virtually anyone outside the field. You'll find it generally is an exercise in frustration. Many people are interested in the products that screw machine shops provide, but even a general explanation about how they get made will glaze the eyes of most. So for the most part, the glitz and glamour occupations go to others. Precision parts makers simply keep their heads down and make the stuff that helps make the economy go.

That leads to another common attribute of manufacturing professionals, which is pride. At the end of the day when production is on the floor—or better, out the door—screw machine professionals are blessed by the fact that their work is tangible. Long learned skills, well applied, create results that can be sensed.

Manufacturers are artists and scientists. Numerous scientific disciplines come into play including physics, mathematics, tribology and metallurgy, to name a few. The art is proper application of the science to make the desired result. Applications call the tune in this business. Taking an idea and giving it form and function is and should be a source of pride for each member of the team.

At Production Machining magazine, we too are passionate about this business, humble enough to learn each day and proud of our contribution to the industry. Keeping you up to speed on the advances in the science of precision parts making is one of the charters for Production Machining. The technology available to our industry is changing the business in all kinds of way. Moreover, through stories about the application of technology, we give you insight to the manufacturer's art—information you can use in your business.

This issue marks our first anniversary. On behalf of our editorial, sales and corporate staffs, we thank each of you for supporting the magazine and wish you a successful 2002.