MMS Blog

I recently assisted in a project conducted by Gardner Intelligence, the research group within Modern Machine Shop publisher Gardner Business Media, which involved analyzing the machining costs of various part types. I asked several shops to provide quotes on certain parts, and thus encountered the predicament that buyers of machined parts routinely see: a wide range of prices. There is no simple answer to the question, “How much does it cost to machine this part?”

MakeTime has seen the same thing. This company, which is in the business of matching shops with customers, cites research finding a factor-of-10 discrepancy in quoted prices for identical machining work. Aiming to simplify costing, the company recently introduced a “network pricing” feature that can estimate a part’s machining cost based on MakeTime’s history and analysis of the costing of similar parts.

Learning about the surface finishing industry can help your shop deal with increasing customer demands and provide operations beyond your shop’s traditional comfort zone. But how?

One opportunity to learn more about the surface finishing industry is to attend the National Association for Surface Finishing’s Sur/Fin Manufacturing and Technology Trade Show and Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, June 4-6.

While accounting applications and hard-copy documentation used to be the backbone of every shop, the benefits of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has become apparent to most shop owners. As ERP solutions become more common, the question for many shop owners is not whether to get an ERP solution, but what kind to get. According to Shoptech, maker of E2 and E2 Shop, the advent of cloud technology focuses the discussion on that issue, forcing shop owners to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both onsite and cloud-based ERP.

Buying onsite software means facing a larger upfront cost but requires less intensive internet access. Onsite systems demand access to secure servers that the shop owns and maintains. These servers store all relevant data, backing it up regularly. However, the cost of these servers can be daunting, and users will need a skilled IT department to maintain and upgrade the system when necessary. Providers may service the software, but the cost of the servers will still fall on the buyer. That said, locations without high-speed-internet connectivity can still benefit from ERP software through these onsite installations.

In manufacturing, accuracy should be a given. However, achieving accuracy in an interchangeable system while maintaining excellent rigidity may seem like a lofty goal.

This is what makes ISCAR’S Multi-Master system an ideal choice in rotary/driven-tool stations. In its current form, the Multi-Master system provides users with more than 40,000 potential combinations, including a wide variety of interchangeable heads that can be used with shanks of various types and lengths for slotting, shouldering, chamfering and more, all while maintaining accuracy and rigidity…READ MORE.

3D-printed tooling such as workholding devices, check gages and coordinate measuring machine (CMM) fixtures are becoming a more common sight in machine shops, which benefit from the ability to make custom tooling quickly and at lower cost. But are there other manufacturing sectors and industries utilizing 3D-printed tooling with success? Without a doubt, yes.

The May issue of Additive Manufacturing magazine looks at the ways 3D-printed tooling is transforming industries that might not be obvious users of the technology. For example, the cover story of this issue explores how a manufacturer of precast concrete has found success in using 3D-printed forms to pour hundreds of concrete windows to be installed on a skyscraper in New York City. Another story shows how a physical vapor deposition (PVD) coater leverages 3D-printed tooling for masking parts prior to the process. 3D printing can also manufacture punches and dies for press brakes, as shown in this case study.

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