MMS Blog

Leadership Training Helps Spur Top Shop’s Growth

Last month, I mentioned I’d devote my January through September One-Off columns this year to reconnecting with former Top Shops Honors Program winners from each of the last nine benchmarking surveys. Since Ted Toth suggested the idea of reaching out to previous winners a while back, I contacted him for this month’s column. 

Formerly Toth Technologies, his 2012 winning shop was acquired by its customer that year — Rosenberger North America, a manufacturer of radio frequency connectors and related components and assemblies. “Since 2012, I have transitioned from president of Toth Technologies to senior technical advisor for Rosenberger N.A,” Mr. Toth explains. “I am now the idea guy, searching for ways to improve and add or subtract processes to increase productivity. And now that we’re part of this larger company, we have had the support to make bigger investments in new equipment and capabilities. For example, we have quadrupled our Swiss machining department, updated or replaced most of our older CNC mills, added HMCs with pallet changers and invested in five-axis equipment. We now have more than 50 CNC machines at our Pennsauken, New Jersey, facility.”

By: Mike Lynch 2/11/2020

G31 Isn't Just for Probing Anymore

G31 Isn't Just for Probing Anymore

If you have used spindle probes, you know the skip function, specified with G31, is used to probe a surface. The probe stylus is first positioned within a small distance of a surface to be touched. A G31 command is given that will cause the stylus to make contact. Within microseconds of when the probe triggers, it sends a skip signal to the CNC that causes three things:

Consider this command, given right after the probe stylus has been programmed to move within 0.2 inch of the left (negative) side of an X-axis surface.

Cool Tricks: How to Photograph Sinker EDM

Sometimes you need both the picture and a thousand words. Or, in the case of our cover photo for the February issue of Modern Machine Shop, that and 497 words here at the very least.

Shortly after I finished the article Inside the Sinker EDM Process, One Spark at a Time,” I reached back out to its main source, Pat Crownhart, in the hope that he might be able to provide a visual depiction of the electrical discharge machining (EDM) process that it discussed. The central point Mr. Crownhart made in the article was that, despite the rapid discharge of sparks during the EDM process — up to 30,000 per second — these sparks are produced one at a time. This is critical information if one is to control the subtle but important electromechanical dynamics at play during the sinker EDM process.

Metalworking Index Turns Expansionary After 6-Month Slump

The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking began 2020 with a reading of 50.2 — its first expansionary reading since June 2019. Index readings above 50 indicate expanding activity while values below 50 indicate contracting activity. The further away a reading is from 50, the greater the magnitude of change in business activity. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying index components observed that the Index, which is calculated as an average of its components, was supported by an expansion in production and new orders. No change in export activity and contractionary readings for supplier deliveries, employment and backlogs held the Index back, yet most components moved several points higher during the month. In fact, backlogs saw a seven-point increase while remaining below 50.

This decelerating contraction in backlog activity was welcomed news after reporting accelerating contraction since 2016. January’s expansion in both production and total new order activity coupled with no change in exports activity and a sharply slowing contraction in backlogs implied that domestic demand expanded and that metalworking manufacturers greatly slowed the pace at which they reduced their backlog levels.

In 2014, we formed Trinity Precision as part of a business aquisition. It can seem like an overwhelming challenge to purchase a business with the mission to maximize its potential beyond what the company and culture dreamed possible. After growing for five years, almost quadrupling the sales, tripling the workforce, adding 13 new machines, introducing robotics/automation, implementing data systems throughout the process, and touching every aspect of the business with continuous improvement, the fundamental pieces that helped establish that path to success are more clearly seen.

For anyone on the journey from acquisition to dreamed potential, I offer the following advice from my experience. In the first days of our journey, we started to establish a very simple perspective of who we would be as a company: people, process and principle.