MMS Blog

With business way off because of the Great Depression, shops and plants were pulling back. However, the editor’s column in the July 1932 issue of Modern Machine Shop advised readers to take advantage of the lull to plan and prepare for “the next cycle of prosperity by laying out the steps that can be taken to bring the plant to its highest point of efficiency.” The specific steps he recommended are ones we would recognize today as lean manufacturing practices and refer to as value-stream mapping, cellular manufacturing and 5S. Some things never change.

But other things do. The best way to power machine tools was changing radically, for example. In his column, the editor also called for plans to replace worn-out tools, machine parts, belts, pumps and other equipment.

They say it was the pockets common to machinists’ outfits at the time. The original dimensions of Modern Machine Shop were chosen to allow the machinist of 1928 to carry the magazine not only in the side pocket of a shop coat but also in the chest pocket common to machinists’ aprons. While the publication is no longer that small size today (we first changed its dimensions in 2008, then again this year), many readers of MMS still keep the magazine close at hand, and even close to their heart.

They really do. I am biased, of course, but the frequency with which we hear from readers who honor us by describing their appreciation for the publication and its work over the years leaves me persuaded that MMS is more than just an industry trade magazine. I believe the reason for the affection and loyalty the magazine has earned is the priority that this magazine has had from the beginning, the priority that focused on those very pockets in the machinists’ clothes: an aim to belong to this industry. Those of us who produce MMS work for a media company, Gardner Business Media, the very same family company that has owned this magazine since its founding. However, at the encouragement of owners of this company, we give our primary sense of allegiance to metalworking rather than to our own field of media or publishing. The business philosophy of MMS has always been this: Focus on manufacturing—aim simply to be of greater and greater usefulness to manufacturers—and success will come. It has worked so far.

With those words, my grandfather Don Gardner and his business partner Howard Campbell launched Modern Machine Shop magazine. Those words are prominently displayed in our corporate lobby in Cincinnati, Ohio, today, and they perfectly express our mission as a media company.

Don Gardner came from Monticello, Indiana, where his father owned a movie theater in nearby Delphi. Don attended Wabash College and worked early in his career as a salesman for newspapers, notably the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado. He moved to Cincinnati when he became Iron Age magazine’s Southwestern sales manager. Along the way, he met Howard Campbell, who was Midwestern editor for American Machinist magazine.

By: Mike Lynch 2. June 2018

Helping Machine Operators with Math

Any time you see a machine operator or setup person using a calculator, pay attention: There is probably something you can do to help them and improve productivity. With all we expect of these people, why add to their work? Performing calculations takes time and can sometimes lead to mistakes and scrapped parts. Plus, a machine might sit idle while a calculation is performed, which can add to the time it takes to complete a setup or production run. 
Suggestions for facilitating or eliminating calculations fall into the category of task simplification. I regularly hear managers start a sentence with, “A good operator should be able to...” and then complete the sentence with just about any imaginable task, regardless of its complexity or time-consuming nature. 

A math-related completion to this sentence might be, “A good operator should be able to calculate values needed for program-zero assignments.” Other tasks include calculating a thread’s pitch diameter after measuring over pins, calculating the speed and feed for a cutting tool, calculating the depth of a through hole and calculating the angle of taper on a workpiece.
The list continues. While a good operator should be able to perform these calculations, why would we want them to? This is especially true if it takes time and introduces the potential for mistakes. If there is a way to facilitate or eliminate these calculations, find it and implement it. Doing so will, at the very least, save production time. More likely, it will reduce the number of mistakes and minimize their impact on production.

Consider how many times you’ve seen someone take 0.100" or less with a tool/insert that’s capable of much more. Bottom line: The most popular 90-degree indexable insert sizes are capable of approximately a ½" depth of cut. If you’re consistently using 0.100" of 0.500", you’re underutilizing roughly 80 percent of what you paid for.

Iscar has recently introduced nano- and micro-size indexable inserts and can now produce a 0.312" diameter, with two flutes, capable of taking a 1/8" depth of cut.

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