MMS Blog

By: Wayne Chaneski 12/30/2019

The Leader’s Role in Managing Change

We all know that change happens, and that people react to it in different ways. They can resist it out of fear of the unknown. They can take a wait-and-see approach and adapt once they are comfortable that the change is for the better. They can also try to adapt to the change quickly and reap the benefits sooner. Finally, they can promote change, always being on the lookout for better ways of doing things. It would be great if our organizations were full of change promoters, but that is not always the case. Therefore, we need leaders who are comfortable with change and can also inspire their teams to embrace it.

One way that leaders can demonstrate a commitment to change is to be a role model for change.  Frequent, simple adjustments like modifying the way reports are generated, meetings are held, or departmental objectives are developed, can demonstrate a leader’s promotion and support of change. If people see that a leader is positive about change and actively seeks it out, there is a strong possibility they will learn to be more comfortable with it.

Developing a Five-Axis Solution for Machining Superalloy Aerospace Parts

Making the move into machining high-precision aerospace parts is a tall order. For Pietro Rosa TBM, an Italian manufacturer that started more than a century ago as a maker of forgings, the solution involved getting help from its trusted machine supplier, Starrag, which advised the company on the use of its five-axis technology. 

Starting in 1887 producing tools for the agricultural industry, Pietro Rosa soon moved into manufacturing fine cutlery, which remained the core business until after World War II, when it began developing and manufacturing more complex forgings such as net-shape steam and gas turbine blades for major Italian and international OEMs. Since then, Pietro Rosa has developed over 1,500 products in 30 different materials including special steels, titanium alloys, aluminum and nickel alloys.

Aerospace Shop Adopts NC Optimization as a Means of Continuous Improvement

Steelville Manufacturing Co. produced more than 8,500 discrete part numbers last year, most in lot sizes of 32 pieces or less, with 80% going directly to aerospace OEMs or their Tier-One suppliers. As engineering VP John Bell puts it, there’s no room for error. Installing Vericut toolpath simulation software from CGTech has helped the Steelville, Missouri, shop avoid crashes, reduce setup times and cut cycle times on its machining centers and lathes. 

Steelville’s equipment list includes Okuma LB3000 EX mill-turn and Multus B300 multitasking lathes along with a variety of three-, four- and five-axis machining centers from both Okuma and Makino. A number of these are joined to one of the company’s two flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs), one of which is equipped with a 167-foot Fastems cell, said to be the longest in North America. The company also performs press brake bending, waterjet cutting, hydroforming and Nadcap-certified heat-treating, anodizing and painting. 

Josh, the shop manager, glanced at the calendar. “It’s only two weeks before the Festival of Lathes,” he thought. Josh made a mental note to remind Ted, who used to head the turning department (these days, the shop is organized into flexible cells, so the turning equipment is well dispersed throughout the shop) to get gift cards for the turning center operators.

“It seems like Grinding Day was just yesterday,” Josh sighed. The year was flying by. But it was pleasant to think about the round cookies with a hole in the center that were passed around on Grinding Day. The cookies were decorated with the customary pink or light green icing to make them look like miniature grinding wheels. This traditional observance reminded everyone in the shop about the importance of grinding and its unique capabilities. Grinding needed that yearly boost, it seemed to Josh.

When considering the skills gap, we tend to think about people who work on the shopfloor tending machines and assembling products. But the skills gap extends to all areas of manufacturing, including design and manufacturing engineering.

Just as it has become nearly impossible to find and hire experienced people to program, set up and run CNC machines, it has also become challenging to find and hire experienced design and manufacturing engineers. Most newly hired engineers come straight from university with no practical manufacturing experience. While this has always been the case, retiring engineers and the resurgence of manufacturing have created an engineering shortage.