Yes, you put on rust preventive. Yet, some parts seem more prone to rust than others.

Why do some parts rust more easily than others?

PMPA members rely on the members only Listserves to collectively solve problems and to advance everyone’s knowledge of the craft.

So it was no surprise to me at the end of July to see a post on PMPA’s Quality Listserve asking if some steels are more prone to rusting than others.

That same morning I emptied 45 pints of water out of the basement dehumidifier…

I counted  six member company respondents to the original question, including one respondent with a specific example. Plus PMPA staff contributed a reply.  This is the value of PMPA Member only Listserves. Every respondent is in the trade, and their experience and expertise is known- no Aliases.

So what are some of the factors that can contribute to your regular carbon or alloy steel parts rusting-  Here is a brief summary of the factors brought up:

Steel related factors

  • The steels’ electrode potential
  • Chemical composition- unless a self-healing film is generated by the alloying additions, more complicated chemistry means more likely to rust;
  • Chemically non-homogeneous surface – (segregation)
  • Physically non-homogenous surface – texture, pits and cracks and crevices

 Processing related factors

  • Is a film existing from prior operations (scale from mill rolling,  oil from machining etc.) to prevent permeation of Oxygen and water-and is it intact?
  • Is there a significant difference in section thickness?
  • Is the part or places on the part highly stressed? (Stress can help accelerate the reaction)
  • Were other substances deposited on the material which could accelerate or inhibit rusting (Metal fines, salts, carbon ‘smut’ , acids or bases)?
  • Does a result of the process leave cracks crevices, or other similar features?

 Environmental factors

  • Solution in contact (presence and type)
  • Hydrogen ion availability (pH) of the moisture
  • Oxygen level
  • Other ions species, their type and electroactivity
  • Flow or exchange rate of solution (or stagnation)
  • Degree of wetting
  • Temperature / Humidity time of year
  • Location: inside, controlled climate, or in transit
  • Is their cyclic stress?

 Finally in the case where two or more dissimilar metals are in contact ( Even welded) the electrochemical potentials of these being different will result in the most anodic (Active) (A= anode = active) will be corroded by the most noble (Noble=  Not as reactive).

 Poor Engineering Factor

  • Dissimilar metals contacting. (Galvanic corrosion)

 Of course, all of these factors can interact, and I note that the rust question is a little early this year, it usually arrived about mid- August most years when I was handling claims at the steel company.

This is the meat of the PMPA Listserve discussion. What we didn’t provide here  in this post were the specific tips, tricks, product recommendations and other insights that some poster’s shared regarding ther packaging and rust preventive application to prevent  Rust from occurring in various situations.

PMPA Listserves- Advancing member competitiveness with each question asked.

Link to Lee Erb’s Galvanic series Table at EAA

Editor’s Note: PMPA Speaking of Precision would like to thank CR4 Engineering Forum, geanorm,and PJ Sikorsky for contributing this blog entry which originally appeared here

I can’t begin to remember how many times over the past 30 years I’ve felt the bile rise in my system as I’ve heard design engineers suggest that it doesn’t matter what material(s) are used to build parts and components. I suppose it’s natural for any of us to feel unloved and underappreciated in our professional endeavors. As a materials engineer working for two different major manufacturers over my career I often felt that materials selection was not given as much attention during the design process as it deserved. There are 5 repetitive problems I have observed related to material(s) selection over my career:1. Material Selection after the part/component is ‘designed’.
2. Material Selections not reviewed over time.
3. Materials copied from old designs.
4. Material substitutions fail.
5. Bad material selections – the gift that keeps on taking.In the remainder of this blog post I’ll briefly describe each of these problems. I’ll devote subsequent posts to each of these issues individually in more detail.

1. Material Selection after the part/component is ‘designed’.

Many times a design engineer comes to the materials engineer after lines are committed to paper and the part is ‘designed’ – the question often is ‘Okay, what should we make this out of?’ The shortcoming of this approach is that once parts are designed, materials options are limited. Done right, Material Selection is integral with the design process and parts are designed around specific material characteristics.

2. Material Selections are not reviewed over time.

Even when Material Selection is done right, the materials world is a dynamic place and what makes sense today, may not make sense tomorrow. For many years copper was less expensive per pound than aluminum (for most of my career, copper was $0.65/pound while aluminum was around $1.00/pound), today copper is 4.5 times more expensive than aluminum per pound – does copper still make sense for heat exchanger tubing or headers or connecting tubing now that aluminum is so much less expensive? Maybe, maybe not, but it is obviously a different question now than it was before.

3. Materials copied from old designs

This is similar to #2 above, but it also can create problems for other reasons: What is the right material for a one pound widget may not be the right material for an ‘identical’ 10 pound widget – material properties do not necessarily scale with the geometry of a part. Where a part is manufactured may impact the material selection – what makes sense for a part made in the US, may not be appropriate for a part made in China.

4. Materials substitutions fail.

Whether we try to convert parts from metal to plastic, or from metal castings to powdered metal, materials substitutions fail. The primary reason is that when materials change, part design needs to change. A plastic gear, even though it may serve the same function as a metal gear, if designed properly, should look different than a plastic gear. If we simply try to drop in a plastic material into the same geometry as a part that was originally made from metal we are almost assured of failure.

5. Bad Material Selection – the gift that keeps on taking

Oftentimes during the development process, problems are discovered too late in the game to ‘redesign’ parts before going into production. Instead, we call on some materials ‘magic’ and we implement special coatings, or heat treatments or exotic materials into the existing designs just to get us into production. Our intentions are always good – we say we’ll come back later and redesign the parts so that we can revert to more standard/affordable materials – but the reality is that we rarely have the time to go back and redesign and instead we pay for the premium material throughout the life of the component design, and in those cases where we simply copy material selections from old designs into new designs, we pay the premium forever.

With raw material costs accounting for 50-80% of piece part cost it seems intuitive that choosing the ‘right’ material is critical to managing cost, yet we often treat this part of the design process as an afterthought. – PJ Sikorsky

Thanks, PJ for this excellent post.

 Guest post  by Peter Morici

Any parent knows, adolescents are inclined to deny facts when told something they want is not possible. Poor Speaker Boehner is frustrated by Capitol Children’s Players.

House Minority Leader Pelosi simply won’t accept that the Bush wars, tax cuts and prescription drug benefit for seniors didn’t cause the deficit. To point: in 2007, with all the aforementioned in play, the deficit was a manageable $161 billion, but since then government spending is up $1.1 trillion, when only $200 billion was needed to accommodate inflation, and federal spending has increased from 19.6 percent of GDP to nearly 26 percent.

The culprits are: additional regulatory costs; more and more expensive Medicare and Medicaid benefits and high prices created by “health care reforms” championed by Leader Pelosi and President Obama; and a population that lives longer while these politicians refuse to entertain further raising the retirement age.

Further, Leader Pelosi and the President cannot accept that more taxes are not the answer. Even if every tax and fee the government collected were raised by fifty percent-something that is not possible because some activities would leave the country and some services would have many fewer customers-the deficit would still exceed $600 billion.

The millionaires tax the Minority Leader and President love to flog would raise only about $80 billion or about 5 percent of the 2011 $1.6 trillion budget gap. Simply, the family budget cannot afford the new cars Leader Pelosi and President Obama bought on credit.

Over on the Republican side, the Tea Party, lead by House Majority Leader Kantor, refuses to understand that the 2010 election victory gave Republicans control of one-half of one of the two political branches of government. Control of one-quarter of the policymaking apparatus may give Republicans a veto over any change or even raising the deficit ceiling, but it does not put them in a position to impose systemic change to national policy.

Generally, political parties must win two national elections in a row to gain enough control to unilaterally impose change. That’s what the Democrats accomplished in 2006 and 2008, and that is how they got their new health care law. Without defeating President Obama in 2012, Republicans will not have the political power they rhetorically claim now, hence they must compromise on new taxes or the government partially shuts down.

Note, I said shuts down-as the Minnesota did recently for a few weeks-and not default.

Boyish Treasury Secretary Geithner is running around telling everyone the United States will be out of money and default on August 2 when it will still have lots of cash and only default if he and the President so decide.

The federal government still will collect taxes and other fees exceeding $180 billion per month; and interest payments on the national debt eat up less than $30 billion. If the Treasury prioritizes expenditures-as did the state of Minnesota during its partial shutdown-it could pay interest on bonds, roll over bonds coming due, and pay Social Security recipients and many other obligations.

Standard and Poor’s could downgrade the United States-but the fact is it is threatening to do that next year no matter what deal is reached now to raise the debt ceiling. Even though the ability to print dollars means the United States will never truly be compelled to default, it applies the same analysis to big countries printing international reserve currencies as it does small ones without reserve currencies.

For example, recently bond rating agencies ludicrously downgraded Japan because of its large debt, when the Japanese owe the money to themselves. The Japanese save too much, the government sells them bonds and spends the money for them. They don’t have the big external debt like the United States, the Bank of Japan controls a reserve currency, and Japan is a net creditor country.

The markets simply did not validate the downgrade. The Japanese are not paying higher interest rates for debt, as prophesized will now happen to the United States.

Simply, there are no good substitutes available to global capital markets in sufficient quantities for the dollar and dollar denominated sovereign debt. After the melodrama of Friday through Sunday, Asian markets were supposed to crash Monday morning but didn’t.

The boys at S&P also told us mortgage backed securities were solid investments. They do economics like my sophomores, and I don’t listen to undergraduates when predicting the future of the U.S. economy or sovereign debt either.

I have much sympathy for Speaker Boehner. He may be the only adult in the room. Surely he has the patience of Judge Hardy listening to Barack, Eric and Nancy-oops I mean Andy Hardy and friends.

Peter Morici is a professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland School, and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

 Uncle Sam Broke

More jobs lost- Bridge to Somewhere made in China!

3 years behind schedule, $5.2 Billion over budget. And China gets the jobs.

NYTimes photo

Here’s what Clyde Prestowitz had to say in Foreign Policy recently on this  Oakland Bay Bridge debacle:
“California exported more than 2,500 manufacturing jobs to China and then added insult to injury by spending taxpayer dollars to send 250 public and private workers to China to provide training. In effect, at a time of economic hardship and rising unemployment in the United States, the state of California provided funding and training to create jobs and make workers more competitive in China. “
But  didn’t we avoid the pollution by letting them do all that smelting and welding and cutting over there???
Maybe not.
Prestowitz: “It is also important to note that the steel producers and fabricators in China don’t even come close to meeting California’s own green environmental standards. It has been estimated that as much as a quarter of the particulate matter in California air now originates in China. So the bridge deal is shifting production from relatively green U.S. producers operating under California’s tough environmental standards to brown Chinese producers whose work on the bridge is adding to the pollution of California air. In effect, the state is conniving to violate its own environmental standards in order to achieve savings that were never realistic and that have not only evaporated but become cost overruns.”

Nicely done, team. Nicely done.

 The bondholders and people using the bridge will be paying the Chinese for a long time.

Net Jobs to the US? Hmmmm?

The New York Times Economix Blog ran a nice post on Grade Inflation.

"A" Student? Perhaps...

Two researchers, Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy, have put together a new, comprehensive study of college grading over the decades. You can read it in the Teachers College Record .

 Their analysis confirms that the share of A grades awarded has skyrocketed over the years. Take a look at the red line in the chart below, which refers to the share of grades given that are A’s:

Don’t need to be an “A” Student to figure this out.

Today, ~ 43 percent of all letter grades given were A’s,  that’s up 28 percentage points since 1960- up 12 percentage points since 1988.

This grade inflation makes it increasingly more difficult for employers to distinguish between  the excellent, and mediocre students.

“But his transcript said he was an “A” Student!”

We see this grade inflation as diminishing student’s will to work on course mastery.

“Why work hard for an “A” if you can just do normal effort and get an “A” too?

Here is our advice as an experienced plant manager with hiring responsibility and as an adjunct professor teaching undergrad and graduate students:

 If you want to evaluate a college grad, see what the faculty recommendations for them on their LinkedIn page have to say. The silence may be deafening.

  College Grad Photo   

The job of the supervisor is one of the most difficult and one of the most rewarding. It is a joy to take your team to a new level of performance. It is a joy to see people smile with confidence when they meet the new challenges that every day seems to bring.

You don't need to wear a white shirt and suit coat to have an important job supervising people.

 Photo Credit

The job of the supervisor is also one of the most unpleasant, when employees under your authority don’t seem to “get it.”

“I talked to them about that last month.I don’t know why they are still dong it that way.”

There is one simple test to determine if your efforts are truly helpful, or if they are just enabling.

Here it is:

“Did what I do for the employee change their behavior and the results they achieved, or not?”

If the answer is “Yes,” congratulations. You are an effective supervisor.

If the answer is “No,” then you need to reconsider what it is you do to get your employees to change behavior.

Because what you are doing right now is just enabling their undesired behaviors.

The difference between helping people and enabling bad behaviors is that if the results don’t change as a result of your advice, coaching, or counseling, you’re enabling the undesired behaviors.

That’s not helping.

Creating permanent jobs sure is expensive!

What new advanced products will they make that they can't make now?

In what appears to be a somewhat controversial move, the Obama administration is expected to award a $730 million loan to OAO Severstal, a Russian steel manufacturer that will use the funds to upgrade its Dearborn, Mich., factory.  The upgrade, according to sources that include Democrats Representative John Dingell and Senator Debbie Stabenow, is needed so Severstal can help U.S. automakers develop and build more fuel-efficient advanced technology vehicles.

Indeed, Severstal does supply various steel products to the Detroit Three but there was no word on what types of new advanced steel products the company will supply with the award. Nor what new technologies will be employed.  The loan is expected to create 2,500 construction jobs and 260 permanent jobs when the upgrade is completed. 

$730 million divided by 260 resulting permanent jobs = $2,807,692.

Creating jobs via government sure is costly!

Here is link to Detroit News coverage.

Beware of stories claiming larger numbers of jobs- temporary jobs aren’t the same as permanent employment.

Automotive Newswire contributed to this story.

According to Switzerland’s Anti-PowerPoint Party (APPP) , the use of presentation software costs the Swiss economy 2.1 billion Swiss francs (US$2.5 billion) annually, while across the whole of Europe, presentation software causes an economic loss of €110 billion (US$160 billion).

APPP bases its calculations on unverified assumptions about the number of employees attending presentations each week, and supposes that 85 percent of those employees see no purpose in the presentations.

 The APPP is seeking support for a national referendum to ban the use of PowerPoint and other presentation software in presentations throughout Switzerland. 

As a long time admirer of the work of Professor Edward Tufte, this brought me to mind of his “Cognitive Style of Powerpoint

You can't do better than Edward Tufte...

A shorter essay appeared in Wired

The New York Times had a great article  on the use of Powerpoint in the military here’s a slide:

That just about covers it all...incomprehensibly!

So take it from the Swiss APPP, Professor Edward Tufte, The New York Times, or from me.

Powerpoint is not a teleprompter, its not a particularly effective means of communicating, and it wastes your most precious resources- the time of your most valuable people.

Want a lean idea? 

Reduce your company’s use of Powerpoint.

Post inspired by article in CIO magazine

The June jobs report came out. Unemployment rate now 9.2%


The economy added <gasp> 18,000 jobs in June.

Compare this to the 382,000 jobs needed monthly to get unemployment down to 6% over 3 years (Source: Peter Morici).

That is quite a gap.

Where's the Jobs?

The gap of 364,000 non filled jobs  is explained by the fact that temporary tax cuts, stimulus spending and large federal deficits do not address the 3 main structural problems holding back real economic growth and jobs creation:

  1.  The huge trade deficit,
  2.  Dysfunctional energy policies,
  3.  Rising health care costs.

These are the things that  are killing job creation.

  • Oil and trade with China account for nearly the entire U.S. trade deficit. The dollars leaving the U.S. are not buying U.S.goods in return, thereby killing our recovery. Where is Washington action on Chinese undervalued currency and mercantilism?
  • Much of the money  being spent outside the U.S. could be kept in country if we actually had functional energy and resource policies aligned with our National Strategic Interests.   Who is working on that?
  • Finally, the 2010 health care law is pushing up health care costs, rather than reducing those as promised. This makes insurance unaffordable for many small and medium sized businesses.  (Like precision machining shops.) Those smaller businesses  are the  real job creators in the U.S.  And they aren’t hiring.

You want to increase jobs and employment in the United States?

1) Cut the deficit;

2) Develop Energy and exploration policies that make sense;

3) Roll back the Health care juggernaut whose rising costs and obligations  is beginning to dissuade employers from hiring ;

4) Take action on China Currency Manipulation.

Now just might be a good time to start.

Tip of the hat to Peter Morici for keeping us advised of the economic facts.

Bad News Bears

Where’s the Beef?

You can find the link here.

Of particular interest to the precision machining industry may be the Occupational Exposure to Beryllium rule, 1218-AB76 that is being finalized.

A proposed revised interpretation to the “persuader rule” lessening the scope of what constitutes “advice exempt from reporting under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA)”  is also included.

No signs of what the proposed Beryllium regulation will look like yet.

And folks, don’t ask me why the cover to the Department of Labor’s Federal Register .pdf says ‘Department of Transportation’ on it.  (See photo above)

The pdf says it is “Certified by Superintendent of Documents <vog.opg@troppusikp>,United States Government Printing Office, certificate issued by VeriSign CA for Adobe CDS.”

All I know is that if a small manufacturer had such a paperwork error, there’d be a big whoppin’ fine.

At least they got the date right.