A few weeks ago, I introduced Bandit, a border collie who runs a continuous mood improvement program at a CNC Swiss shop in North Carolina.
This is Bentley. Bentley is the official greeter at MRS Machining in Wisconsin.
In response to that post, Matt Guse, president and owner of MRS Machining, sent me a picture of Bentley, who is the official greeter and top dog at this shop in Augusta, Wisconsin. Matt says that “Bentley loves to greet folks from time to time when they come and visit. Having a shop in a rural area, we don’t get many visitors, so he is always excited to see folks when they show up. My wife even brought him some shop shoes so he doesn’t get chips in his paws when walking through the shop, but like most dogs he doesn’t really care for them.”
Al Popovich, the owner of Accurate Design & Fabrication in Custer Park, Illinois, sent this picture of the shop dogs at his company (apparently after they had had a long day of strenuous morale building).
Al appreciated our spotlight on shops dogs and said it was “a nice change from trying to keep up with all the automation and technology. A good dog often puts things in perspective.” He also added that these shop dogs are “all members of Fabricators Union Local K9.”
Preben Hansen with Nelly and Cooper.
Preben Hansen, president of Heimatec Inc.. in Prospect Heights, Illinois, sent this picture of him with Nelly (on the left) and Cooper. I am told that these fine dogs are a big part of the company family and roam freely throughout the office, always lifting everyone's spirits.
My sincere thanks to Matt, Al and Preben for sharing these photos.
Students at Northern Maine Community College's Precision Machining Program receive valuable real-world CNC experience and other manufacturing training.
Given the opportunity, manufacturers can greatly benefit from working with nearby community colleges. Companies both large and small can work closely with schools to determine the manufacturing industry’s foremost training needs and the schools can help recruit new talent. In addition, some schools, like Northern Maine Community College, produce lot sizes of 100 pieces or fewer for customers from all over the country; customers pay tooling, materials and shipping costs in return for labor at no charge. What benefits have you found working with community colleges?
With their protruding line attachments, turbine combustion housings like the ones depicted in this video are ideal candidates for manufacturing process that combine additive and subtractive technology. Machining the housing, then adding the bosses via laser deposition, then proceeding with any additional machining is far more efficient than machining the entire geometry from a single block of material.
For that reason, parts like this are often showcased during demonstrations of hybrid machine tools that combine additive and subtractive processes in one platform. However, the greater the volume of parts, the more likely it is that a hybrid cell like the one above, will provide greater throughput, even if it requires investing in more machines. That’s the view of machine tool builder Okuma America Corp. and laser deposition specialist RPM Innovations, which are collaborating on this concept.
The video speaks for itself when it comes to throughput advantages. However, productivity isn’t the only advantage of a hybrid cellular approach. As detailed in this brief article, manufacturers can also benefit from additional flexibility, material cost savings, and easier incorporation of other processes into the workflow.
An adage in manufacturing says, “What you measure, you improve.” The acts of both measuring something and analyzing the measurement focus attention onto the particular output being measured, revealing shortfalls that had previously gone unnoticed. Those acts also convey to everyone involved with that output that the thing being measured is important.
The photo above shows how Tech Manufacturing carried that principle into employee skills. The leaders of the Missouri contract machine shop wanted more cross-training among employees—that is, more capability among employees to run various types of equipment in the shop. To encourage this, the company began tracking employees’ time with various equipment, awarding bronze, silver or gold status based on the hours logged. This sheet displays the different employees’ different levels of status. (Names have been blurred.) The sheet is posted in the shop for any staff member to see.
There was no carrot and no stick. Employees received no rewards tied to improving training status levels. There was just this sheet, which carefully accounted for cross-training success. But that was enough—the extent of cross-training began to increase as soon as the company began tracking and posting scores in this way.
Registration has opened for the Additive Manufacturing Conference (AMC 2016), which will take place September 13-14 alongside the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) at Chicago’s McCormick place. Presented by Modern Machine Shop and Additive Manufacturing magazines, the conference focuses on the use of additive manufacturing technologies for making functional parts.
The event will feature one and a half days of presentations from 20 speakers, representing additive manufacturing OEMs, service bureaus, machinery suppliers, research organizations and product developers. The topics of these presentations will range from design for metal AM processes to shopfloor applications for 3D printers to the integration of AM and traditional machining.