Automotive NewsWire: June 29, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave final approval yesterday on labeling that will allow the sale of E15 gasoline/ethanol blends for newer vehicles.  The EPA’s decision is said to be the final hurdle for the sale of E15 blends.

In passing the regulations, the EPA ignored the warnings of experts, including the auto industry, which has warned that many owners of older cars – more than three years old – could easily damage their engines by using the spiked ethanol blend. 


If your car is over 4 years old...


 Read the 179 page pdf  HERE

The EPA also ignored the most environmentally conscious drivers on the planet, those in Europe where the option to use E10 blends has fallen flat.  In Germany, all petrol companies began offering E10 blends as an option at service stations at the beginning of this year.  Six months later, sales of E10 continue to meet strong resistance from German car owners, who have avoided using the blend because of fears that it could damage their cars’ engines. 

Commenting on the regulation, Gloria Berguist, a spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry trade group, stated,”We see the final rule fails to require that service station pumps contain a warning label directing consumers to check their owner’s manual to determine the appropriate fuel for specific vehicles.  This is a significant and unfortunate omission.”

But perhaps Sheila Karpf, legislative and policy analyst at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research group, said it best.  “A label can only do so much to protect consumers from the hazards of misfueling with E15 and won’t prevent a wave of voided vehicle warranties when vehicles are misfueled.  It’s unfortunate that the Obama administration, in a rush to placate the corn ethanol lobby, is going to hurt consumers and ultimately taxpayers, who will be forced to address the damage done by our misguided ethanol policy.” 

(SOP: Or, as I learned in my business ethics class: “What’s the object of the act?”)

Indeed, next time you fill up, check the number of labels that are already on a gasoline pump.  When was the last time you read what they all say?

Growth Energy, a trade group that represents ethanol producers, predicted E15 will be at your local service station by the end of the year. 

Story Courtesy of Automotive Newswire

Photo credit

Connecting with fellow members is always at the top of the list when we survey our members about why they belong to PMPA.
But our connections aren’t exactly Pitcher – Batter adversarial relationships.

Yes, we need to connect with what our customers are pitching us but...

Our members like to connect because they are on the same team- the “Lets keep good paying, high quality of life, advanced manufacturing jobs here in North America” team.
We sell to many different customers, and while we might be competitors  at one or another, the chances are pretty slim that any two shops directly compete.
We all want our industry to succeed– so when a member needs an assist – to borrow a gage that’s 6 weeks out, or trying to figure out why a reamer is cutting oversize, many people respond with offers to help or advice.
We all want to improve our knowledge and execution of our craft– thats why we connect at PMPA’s National Technical Conference and local meetings.
We all want to know what are the issues that can affect our business decisions– market, supply, customer, regulatory. PMPA members call this “Business Intelligence” and connect at our Management Update, Local meetings and on our online listserves.
As an industry, we have some of the sharpest and experienced minds in our field, all connected through various means. So we welcome connection. We share. We collaboratively problem solve. We work together on trying to resolve regulatory issues.
We connectOur business is better for it. Our employees are better for it. Our quality is better for it.
Our world is better place because we collaborate, identify and share best practices, and  come to the aid of our team mates to help keep jobs here in North America.
Planes fly. Cars stop safely. Utilities are delivered. Food packages assure no contamination. Medical Devices make a difference in thousands of lives every day.
Because we’re all on the same team. The quality team. The best for our craft team. The mentor our up and coming talent team.
We don’t call it “Team PMPA.”
But that’s how we connect.
Are you connected?

Back in the day, we had one coil to bar machine working a couple of weeks each month making carburetor shaft stock to sell to screw machine shops like yours… and so did most of our competitors.

Carburetors were the way we metered gas/air mixture back in the...Oh never mind.

And another running a few days a month making the hex steel for the fuel line nut that attached the fuel line to the carburetor.
With the advent of the computer chip, it seems like a lot of screw machine products disappeared, like parts for mechanical calculators, adding machines and cash registers.
With the upgrading of automotive technology, it seems that a lot of those fuel system parts also went “Bye-Bye”- throttle and butterfly shafts, linkage parts, and fuel nuts come to my mind. Goodbye carburetors, hello fuel injection. Hello anti-lock brakes. Hello airbag parts…
The claims of these changes killing the machined parts industry have been proven to be wrong. We’re making higher precision, higher complexity components to make up for those lost parts.
But when my son and I visited a local street rod show over the weekend, I saw a lot of nice looking carburetion systems under a lot of very nice hoods.
I remembered knowing what the tricks were to make the steel remain straight even after the  flats for the choke plate were milled in to it. (Hint it had nothing to do with the straightener.)
Then I asked myself, “Who is making today’s street rod, aftermarket and high performance carburetor parts?”
I sure saw a lot at the street rod show. And I know a lot of very talented machinists out there…
Is going “Back to the future” a viable way of mining your capabilities inlight of  today’s very fragmented markets and lower volumes?
I’m thinking it is a profitable idea to consider.

“This fear of inflation, I think, is way overstated,” Mr. Bernanke said. “We’ve looked at it very, very carefully. We’ve analyzed it every which way.”

" Liar-Liar Money on Fire"

Link to quote.
That’s just a load of B.S.,  Ben
Correction, “It stinketh and causeth the flowers to grow, Mr. Chairman.”
Here’s what we’re dealing with in the food aisle, Mr. Bernanke.
15% reduction in product, same great price?

Click here for a slide show of other products with Shrinking packages as food prices rise.
Burning our buying power Photo.
Heinz photo and facts .
Inflation: In our shops  we see it in raw materials. Copper up 159% since December 2008.
Copper up just 159% over Dec 2008

Look at these facts very, very carefully, Ben- baby.
Paying more while getting less than we used to- that’s what we call INFLATION.
We wonder just what it is that you think inflation is?

 On June 17th, at the request of the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Management & Budget removed from its list of Submissions Under Review ( ) the EPA proposed final “Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Articles Exemption Clarification Rule.”
The proposed rule would have eliminated the articles exemption under TRI and required manufacturers to report releases from finished goods in storage.
Finished goods in storage!
 Here’s the rest of the story:
Last July PMPA attended a meeting in Washington D.C. with OMB and EPA over a proposed EPA “Clarification” regarding the article exemption in TRI.
We were joined at that meeting by a number of other involved parties with similar concerns. The meeting was hosted by Jeff Miller of the Treated Wood Council.
We opposed the change and challenged the EPA’s estimate of Paperwork Burden, demonstrated impact on smaller businesses, and made other technical points.

Paperwork burden and manhours to prepare were just the tip of the iceberg.

You can see our Business Intelligence on this issue here .
The EPA’s proposed  change in the “clarification” could have made finished precision machined products with rust preventives subject to TRI release reporting.
At EPA’s request, this submission was removed from review.
We are pleased that our attention to this regulatory issue  with other affected industries has resulted in its withdrawal at the current time. Our position was that the EPA cannot change the TRI rule without formal rulemaking.    Members of Congress have echoed that same concern.   
EPA may ultimately decide to initiate that rulemaking process.  
We do not know exactly why EPA withdrew the proposed rule, nor do we know EPA’s next steps.  
There is nothing transparent about regulation of  small business in Washington D.C.
But for now, as a result of our “effective associating”  and engagement with the federal agencies involved, this ill-considered change to TRI has been withdrawn.
 We will continue to monitor this issue and keep you informed of any developments.
Paperwork Photo :

Not in my shop!

The powered industrial trucks (PIT) standard (29 CFR 1910.178) is the most commonly cited standard throughout the material handling industries. Most fatalities occur when a worker is crushed by a forklift that has overturned or fallen from a loading dock. The Southeastern USA Regional OSHA is conducting a special emphasis program on Powered Industrial Trucks. 
Even if your shop is  not in the Southeast U.S. Region, here’s what you need to know:
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced a new emphasis program focused on reducing fatalities and serious injuries in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi, related to powered industrial trucks.
The goal of the special emphasis program is to encourage employers to bring their facilities into compliance with OSHA standards in the maritime, construction and general industries. The regional emphasis program began on May 29 and will continue until Sept. 30, 2012, unless it is extended.
 PMPA staff urges all PMPA members with powered industrial trucks to take this opportunity to review their training, procedures and compliance programs.  Here are 3 resources

  1. OSHA Loading and Unloading Page (links to many resources here!)
  2. OSHA Training Requirements
  3.  PMPA Blog “5 Questions for Forklift Inspection Compliance”

OSHA Special Emphasis News Release (announced  on June 20th  for a program begun on May 29th … nice job on the paperwork, DOL / OSHA)
Photo credit: Motifake

I didn’t say “Happy Fathers Day” even once today.
What I said was “Thanks Dad for:___”

Thanks Dad!

Thanks for being first in your graduating class of 1942 to enlist.
Thanks for making the Greatest Generation Great.
Thanks for marrying a great lady and being the mainstay of the family.
Thanks for all those things that you built and (let me help)- desks, bookshelves, driveway, brickfireplace, addition on the house, CB radios, 12 volt power supply.
Thanks for teaching me how to use a volt ohm-meter, pull wire, and read a schematic.
Thanks for those samples of steel  you brought home from the mill so I could work on my electroplating science fair project.
Thanks for showing me how to solder.
Thanks for teaching me how to shoot safely, and catch a fish.
Thanks for teaching me how to make Chili “Guy Style” when mom was in the hospital.
Thanks for showing me how to use filler and sequentially finer sandpaper to get my balsa wood fins like glass on my model rockets.
Thanks for showing me how to change the oil in my car.
Thanks for showing me that being a dad means going to work, putting away a little savings and coming home at night and paying attention to the kids.
Thanks for taking me out to  the fancy restaurant for dinner on those rare occassions when my report card had a few “A’s”
Thanks for showing me that patience for one’s children is truly the greatest gift, that even the most uncoordinated kid can get it apart and put it together, and that its more important to have the fun making the stuff  together than it is to just go buy it from the store.
Thanks Dad.

MAPI forecasts that manufacturing production will increase 6% in 2011 and advance by 4% in 2012.
Industry Week  cites Manufacturers Alliance / MAPI report  and chief economist in their June 16th on line article.
“Manufacturing, though, is currently well positioned for growth. There is pent-up demand for consumer durables, firms are profitable and need to spend more for both traditional and high-tech business equipment, and strong growth in emerging economies is driving U.S. exports,” Meckstroth, added.
The group’s report found that manufacturing industrial production, measured on a quarter-to-quarter basis, grew at a 7% annual rate in the first quarter of 2011, after expanding at a 3.4% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Manufacturing continues to lead the recovery. Hopefully this won’t be derailed by the continued hostile tone of regulators in Washington, upcoming Dodd Frank requirements, etc. etc..

Regulations Photo credit

From Jay Timmons, President  and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), at President’s Council on Jobs and Effectiveness, Regulatory Reform Working Group, June 15, 2011:
“In a time of economic recovery where capital is scarce, every dollar diverted from productive use creates additional pressure to reduce labor costs. When the prices of commodities and other manufacturing inputs are increasing, as they are today, even more pressure builds to squeeze labor costs. In this environment, it is clear that unnecessary or cost-ineffective regulation dampens economic growth and will continue to hold down job creation. For some firms, this will be the final straw that destroys the whole business.”
Thank you Jay, our sentiments exactly.
PMPA is at this Regulatory Reform Subcommittee Meeting to assure attention is paid to the regulations that hamper our precision machining members’ ability to operate sensibly and sustainably.
Link to NAM Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and Competitiveness