MMS Blog

Any person in business knows this: Fear is your constant companion. It’s a weight you carry and one every business owner, leader and entrepreneur feels at some point or another. There are years in which you wake up with it, carry it around and sleep with it — if you’re lucky enough to sleep at all. In business, you’re confronted with fear every day. It’s there shouting at you from the TV, waiting for you during a routine LinkedIn scroll and casually slotted in as a podcast advertisement. For every good economic story we read, there seem to be a hundred bad ones ready to wipe it from our minds, not to mention all the unsubstantiated news floating around.

The danger is that all of these news stories — real and not real — plant a toxic seed in businesspeople that takes root and results in poor, panicked decisions. More often than not, these decisions break a business. Now, I’m not advocating for people to stick their heads in the sand. No. What people need to do (myself included) is confront these fears, look at hard data and make fact-based decisions instead of having fear-motivated reactions.

By: George Schuetz 11/28/2019

Is It a Gaging Display or a Computer?

Today, more than ever, the amount of information available to the process engineer on the shop floor is staggering. What started 50 years ago with in-process charting and data collection has become a lot of information to keep track of. Almost all gaging types now have a digital version with the ability to send measuring results to something that can collect and manage them. In fact, this has become the de facto method for collecting gaging data: The operator takes a measurement and sees the results on the gage, but “the system” takes the results and puts them into the proper bins.

The proliferation of personal computers and the fact that everyone is now comfortable using them has made the PC available on almost every machine tool, along with in manufacturing, assembly and quality areas. PCs are rarely necessities for standard dimensional measurements, although almost any application can be enhanced through the use of PC-based gaging software. While the use of “gaging computers” cannot serve as a substitute for sound gaging practice, the potential benefits they offer are greater, and the barriers to entry lower than ever before.

Tool Setting Fixture Boosts Process Security for High-Volume Shop

Alupress Berlin GmbH is a specialist in the complex machining of die-cast aluminum parts, manufacturing such workpieces to micron-level accuracy in large-scale series production. Very precise tools are required to achieve this kind of production. When these tools need to be set, Alupress has come to rely on Mapal’s Uniset-P setting fixture.

Every week, 75,000 completely machined aluminum housings and flanges leave Alupress. More than 80% of these parts are manufactured using cutting tools from Mapal, says Patrick Wittig, who is responsible for tool management in the shop. 

Like many manufacturers, Houston-based Utex Industries had a vexing problem: how to save time on the production line while maintaining the quality and consistency of its product. The company manufactures polymeric seals, custom urethane and rubber molding, and well service products for the fluid sealing industry. Any inconsistency in the product, such as a burr left on a chamfered hole, can lead to critical part failure. 

One product that Utex makes has a collar on the seal cap to prevent leaking. The part is made of aluminum bronze and has eight to 10 holes through the outer- and inner-diameter walls on each part. The shop’s adoption of a couple of Heule’s Snap 5 Vex-S tools for its Okuma lathes have met the dual goals of efficiency and consistency. 

3 Major Trends in Manufacturing (And They All Begin with “A”)

People ask me what's going on in manufacturing — what I'm seeing in my travels to manufacturing facilities and what I'm learning in my conversations with the people who lead them. In broad terms, my answer doesn’t change. It’s been the same for several years now and I expect it will be the same for several years to come. In manufacturing, I see three big, major, long-term trends: three big changes that continue to reshape manufacturing. And as it happens, all three of them begin with the same letter. They are:

One major trend is the ongoing adoption, development and embrace of manufacturing machines and systems that can do more with fewer humans involved. When you read the word “automation,” you probably think, “robot.” That’s part of it. But automation also refers to machines that are increasingly sophisticated and effective at performing a series of operations and/or adding a significant amount of value in a single handling of a part. And when we talk about “data-driven manufacturing” and “Industry 4.0,” ultimately we are talking about automation here as well, in the form of system-level automation aimed at sensing and identifying process changes and making appropriate responses that once would have required human intervention. A growing number of manufacturers today, including small ones, are mastering automation sufficiently to realize reliable lights-out processes that perform production at night while no employees are present. The companies able to do this have essentially found an outsource supplier within their own building, as they shift some work formerly done in the staffed daytime hours into the unattended hours at night.