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Do Machining Facilities Make a Good Impression?

We heard back from one of our readers who agreed that people have the false impression that shops are dirty, dreary and loud places to work.

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This photo was taken at Production Machine & Enterprises, which made a disciplined commitment to keeping a cleaner and more organized shop. Read the article here.

 
In this article, I included a paragraph about the “false impression” of manufacturing. I said, “Manufacturing is seen as loud, dirty, dreary, antiquated.... These notions are, of course, inaccurate.”
 
Joe Snyder of Jackson, New Jersey, wrote to take issue:
 
“I think this description is unfortunately very true and accurate,” he says. He has been a machinist for 33 years, working in various shops and visiting other shops as a machine tool repair tech. He says the majority of shops he has seen are “filthy, poorly lit, cold in the winter and hot in the summer,” often because shop owners do not adequately appreciate the effect that temperature has on the precision of the machines.
 
“Few people drive a 10-year-old vehicle, even fewer a 15-year-old one,” he says. “But many shops have CNC machines that old because they don’t believe a newer one is worth the cost.” The lack of equipment modernization affects the image of the industry, as well as the industry’s ability to recruit younger talent.
 
I think Joe makes a great point. In that article, I believe it would have been better if I said manufacturing no longer has to be loud, dirty and antiquated. I am not sure that the majority of shops are necessarily filthy and poorly lit, and I do see a clear trend toward manufacturers recognizing that the modernization and appearance of their facilities affects both production efficiency and the success of the business. However, I do agree with the larger point Joe makes. Namely, the majority of machining facilities give too little attention to the human impact (not to mention the tolerance impact) of the environment in which machining occurs.
 

Also, for the record, I am one of those few people driving a 15-year-old vehicle. My 1995 Civic still runs great.