Peter Zelinski has been a writer and editor for Modern Machine Shop for more than a decade. One of the aspects of this work that he enjoys the most is visiting machining facilities to learn about the manufacturing technology, systems and strategies they have adopted, and the successes they’ve realized as a result. Pete earned his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and he first learned about machining by running and programming machine tools in a metalworking laboratory within GE Aircraft Engines. Follow Pete on Twitter at Z_Axis_MMS.
For shops considering a move to lean manufacturing—or a recommitment to lean manufacturing—this video is a great encouragement. Katie MacKay, VP of MacKay Manufacturing in Spokane, Washington, describes how the job shop was able to double sales and quadruple its rate of inventory turns while increasing staffing by only 30 to 40 percent, all thanks to the efficiency improvement resulting from lean.
Ed Morris, director of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, spoke at last week’s Additive Manufacturing Users Group Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. His presentation identified benefits of additive manufacturing that are important to the Department of Defense, including all of the benefits listed below. In reading through his list on the screen in front of the audience as he spoke, it struck me how far beyond theory and how far into practice we already are with AM. Modern Machine Shop has been publishing its quarterly Additive Manufacturing supplement for just over a year now, and already we have covered working examples of most of the benefits Mr. Morris sees. Below are his words, augmented with hyperlinks to some of the examples we have found:
Richard Mercier has been a machinist of more than 25 years, and his father was a machinist, too. Currently working for Soleras Advanced Coatings (a maker of equipment for physical vapor deposition), he occasionally pauses to tweet about what the work of a machinist is like. The result is one of the Twitter feeds I enjoy—a steady stream of glimpses into the craft of someone who values the attention and skill he gets to apply every day. Find him at @mistermachinist. Here is a selection of his tweets:
Well, had a good day machining today. Managed to save a part that was sawcut right to length. Had to machine both ends square. Just made it.
Machining a 5-inch dia. pipe 1/8 inch wall @6ft long, getting lots of vibration, having to machine it in 18-inch sections with steady rest.
We normally use a lot of aluminum jaws, which are nice because I often re-cut my jaws to make sure they are true and the right size.
I like to keep a log of the work that I'm doing each day. It's nice to be able to look back and see how you did it the last time.
Today I modified my magnetic base with a 600-mm-long rod to mount my indicator on for a special job on one of our bigger machines.
I always put special notes in my programs to let others know why I did things that way. I had to machine a dimension oversize for clearance.
Always read your blueprint carefully. I had a program where a groove was omitted and it was because the dimension lines crossed on the print.
I had to drill a 1-inch hole in a pc of stainless steel. I actually step drilled 3 drills to work up to size. It cut easier and with less heat.
Being a good machinist takes a lot of hard work and patience. Sometimes you can only go so fast, and knowing that means a lot.
For those who have heard the terms “3D printing” and “additive manufacturing” without knowing precisely what they refer to, AMT—The Association for Manufacturing Technology—created this graphic depicting how the additive manufacturing process works. The reference additionally lists the various processes that additive manufacturing includes. This graphic is also available as a downloadable PDF.
With AMT’s support, Modern Machine Shop and MoldMaking Technology magazines last year launched a quarterly supplement titled Additive Manufacturing. Learn more about additive manufacturing at this supplement’s website.
Scott Cummings (left) and David Phillips (middle), both of G.W. Lisk, are seen here with Hyundai WIA’s David Barber at the announcement yesterday of the machine tool supplier’s support of the Lisk training program.
For solenoid, valve and LVDT maker G.W. Lisk, one of the challenges of offering internal training for skilled manufacturing positions is finding modern equipment to use for training purposes. Open time on the most modern equipment generally has to be devoted to current production.
Machine tool supplier Hyundai WIA will help Lisk with this challenge. The company will lend the Clifton Springs, New York manufacturer the use of two new CNC machine tools, a vertical machining center and a turning center. Hyundai WIA America announced this commitment yesterday at an open house (still underway) at its headquarters in Carlstadt, New Jersey.
Lisk is not just any manufacturer offering on-the-job training. This manufacturer has developed a comprehensive 6-month training program in cooperation with nearby Finger Lakes Community College. The program has so far graduated 25 new CNC machining professionals since it was launched in 2011, all of whom have found manufacturing jobs. Some work for Lisk, while others work for other manufacturers in the area.
Company manufacturing manager Scott Cummings says Lisk realized that it had to do something dramatic to deal with the local shortage of qualified manufacturing employees. The company established its formal training program, which benefits employers throughout the region, primarily for the sake of maintaining an ongoing pipeline of qualified prospects from which Lisk can draw employees as needed. David Phillips, who used to head the company’s CNC department, left that position to become Lisk’s full-time training manager overseeing this program.
Prospective students are evaluated through a screening process that rejects most applicants. Only 15 of 56 applicants were accepted to the most recent class. Students who are accepted pay tuition of $2,400, a fee which also helps weed out non-committed applicants, but is not enough to cover the company’s expense. Lisk’s net investment to maintain this pipeline of manufacturing talent comes to about $100,000 per year, Mr. Cummings says.
Machine tool distributor Excel Machine Technologies came to the aid of Lisk’s program, communicating its value to manufacturing throughout Upstate New York to Hyundai WIA, which agreed to supply this program with new machines. The vertical machining center to be used in Lisk’s program will be an F500 machine, the company says. The turning center is yet to be determined, but likely will be an L2100SY multitasking machine.
A machining center similar to this one (albeit larger) will be one of the machines provided to the Lisk program. Seen here with Mr. Cummings and Mr. Phillips are Hyundai WIA president I.C. Lee and Jeremy Shamp of Excel Machine Technologies.