PPE is important any time one is working with tools.

It's supposed to be a VW microbus with the PMPA logo...
It’s supposed to be a VW microbus with the PMPA logo…

Actually, the thought of wearing safety equipment helped me get into a safety mindset- I’m not just in the office.

I have sharp tools, wet hands, slippery workpieces and – you know, that sounds a lot like the hazards we face in our shops every day. Sharp tools . Wet Hands. Slippery work pieces.

PPE. It helps you protect yourself.

Happy Halloween.

When you are president of the oldest company in its manufacturing field in America, you probably have a pretty good handle on what it takes to sustain a  business.

Aaron Bagshaw (back row, Left0 and other members of the Commission at The University of Virginia Miller Center.
Aaron Bagshaw (back row, Left) and other members of the Commission at the University of Virginia Miller Center.

“It’s no longer about recognizing that we have a problem- it’s about finding ways to scale what works.”- Aaron Bagshaw
So we were not surprised to learn that Aaron, President of PMPA Member W.H.Bagshaw Co. Inc. was named to the University of Virginia’s Miller Center  Workforce Commission addressing  the nation’s “Middle Skills” workforce gap. W.H. Bagshaw was established in 1870, making it America’s oldest manufacturer of pins.
Former Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) and former Governor and Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) are co-chairing a new University of Virginia Miller Center commission that is focusing on job creation for small- and medium-sized manufacturers. The effort is part of the Milstein Symposium: Ideas for a New American Century, a new Miller Center initiative that is addressing challenges facing America’s middle class.
“For generations, small- and medium-sized manufacturers have provided stable, good-paying jobs for middle-class Americans,” said Bayh. “As we move rapidly into the 21st-century global economy, we need fresh thinking to ensure that these companies can continue to grow and put people to work.”
Barbour said, “The public has understandably lost confidence in Washington’s ability to generate common-sense, bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges. This commission will bring together policymakers, scholars, industry leaders and other stakeholders to craft those solutions – the type of people that can achieve broad consensus and develop actionable ideas, not just more rhetoric.”
Barbour and Bayh have strong histories in advancing new ideas to benefit manufacturing and small business. As governor, Barbour expanded the number of high-skilled jobs in Mississippi’s manufacturing sector and helped launch the University of Mississippi’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence. In the Senate, Bayh was active on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and introduced legislation to expand Small Business Administration loans to small manufacturers, which was enacted a year later.
The commission is expected to release recommendations in February.
Do you have ideas to share?- contact Aaron Bagshaw- just one of a host of your fellow PMPA members that are actively addressing the skills gap issue locally around the country.
Thanks for your leadership Aaron.

About a year ago, Hurricane Sandy forever changed many lives and destroyed  businesses on the East Coast.

What is your contingency plan when it is no longer business as usual?
What is your contingency plan when it is no longer business as usual?

QS9000 requires suppliers to have contingency plans
contingency plans 49b2
Sometimes, natural disasters and acts of God are also in play.
PMPA offers it members operational assurance through our Disaster Recovery Plan
90 PMPA members stepped up to offer Operational Assurance.
90 PMPA members stepped up to offer Operational Assurance.

PMPA member companies stepped up during last years Sandy Hurricane to offer their capabilities and open time to shops affected by the Superstorm and its consequences.
Over 90 member companies contacted PMPA staff as part of PMPA’s Disaster Recovery Plan
Offers from “recovery shops” (shops volunteering to provide assistance) included loan of tools, gages, material, and offers to run jobs while  “requesting shops”  dug out from the storm.
Is your shop QS 9000 registered? Do you have a documented contingency plan?
PMPA member shops do. And a list of 90+ fellow shops who have volunteered aid and assistance in the past  if needed.
We hope that the only time you need to access the PMPA Disaster Recovery Plan is to pass a QS 9000 audit.
But as a PMPA member, our shops know that if they should have a need, we have a plan backed by member shops like theirs waiting to make a difference.
For information regarding PMPA Disaster Recovery Plan, contact Jeff Remaley  gro.apmp@yelamerj here at PMPA .
NY Post Photo
QS 9000 link

Despite the fact that there has been no significant “recovery” of employment under the current Administration and Congress, There is a way to create your own personal “employment recovery.”

Can't count on Washington to get you back to work.
Can’t count on Washington to get you back to work.

PMPA tracks employment sentiment monthly as part of our Business Trends reporting,
Employment outlook sentiments have been positive for the PMPA members- above 90% for the entire year of 2013.
And our shops have been scheduling overtime- average length of first shift is 42.8 hours for calendar year 2013.
And by the way, earnings of new hires in manufacturing are higher than those not in manufacturing. 38% higher according to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration
Earnings premium of new hires in manufacturing over non manufacturing new hires
The folks in Washington haven’t done much to turn the nation’s employment situation back to the upside as you can see in the top graph.
But if you are comfortable with high school math- geometry, algebra, and trig- you could have a great career in precision machining.
For info on training programs  in your area check out the PMPA Comprehensive Career Training Database.
Career overview.
Why you should consider a career in manufacturing.
One of our members posted on Linked In “We would hire 3 guys right away with the right skills.”
Get skills. Create your own personal economic recovery.

October 2013  |  Craftsman’s Cribsheet #14

The parts that we produce in our precision machining shops are usually embedded into other products
which are sold. Seldom are the products of our shops sold as a final product. Typically we look at
markets (automotive, aerospace, fluid power, off road) when we think about where our products are
used. While this marketing focus has its commercial merit, a look at the forces driving demand can
help us all better understand our role in the evolving world and what demands for our products and
processes are likely to look like in the years ahead.





I had the privilege of participating in the Business Leaders United Fly-In to Capital Hill in Washington D.C. earlier this week representing the Precision Machined Products Association.
In our Monday evening meeting we were joined by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzger, and from the White House, Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.

Two Cabinet Secretaries and the Top White House Economic Advisor showed me that Washington realizes we have a skilled workforce problem.
Two Cabinet Secretaries and the Top White House Economic Advisor showed me that Washington realizes we have a skilled workforce problem.

The fact that we got to meet with top staffers at various Senate and House offices, as well as staffers from the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee convinced me that we had the attention of the folks who could make a difference in Washington, D.C..
I spoke with top staff assistants handling policy for Speaker Boehner and Senator Portman from my home state of Ohio.
We had substantive  and frank discussions about the facts (on which we all seemed to agree) and possible solutions for this issue.
What worked –  creating employer driven partnerships- even among competitors- summer youth programs, quantifying local area opportunities and job market research to make the career case- was shared and explored.
The challenges- lack of educational attainment, lack of ‘soft skills,’ and various funding issues were also discussed.
Despite the news stories about tension and gridlock in D.C, we were able to speak to the people that can help solve this problem.
Despite the news stories about tension and gridlock in D.C, we were able to speak to the people that can help solve this problem.

It is no longer about admitting that we have a lack of skilled workers in the ‘unemployed workforce.’
There was no evidence of denial of the problem of unemployment and lack of skills.
What all of our contacts asked about  was centered around three key questions:

  • What works to help us qualify and put to work long term unemployed in middle skill jobs?
  • How do we build the ROI case for this?
  • How do we scale it nationwide?

My fellow small business delegates from BLU shared  some of their challenges, but more importantly, their success stories of their local partnerships.
What Washington wants/needs to know is how can we build these up to gain national traction?
What would you suggest?

Normalizing is a thermal process where  steel is heated about 100-150 degrees F  above the critical range followed by cooling in still air to below that range.

Not a fan of expensive thermal treatments without a good reason...
Not a fan of expensive thermal treatments without a good reason…

On some steels, this normalize process is followed by a temper or stress relief anneal below the Ac1 to remove residual stresses resulting from the air cooling and to reduce hardness.
 Normalizing Steel gives you

  • Reduced hardness and removes residual stress
  • Improves machinability
  • Develops desired mechanical properties (especially in larger sections)
  • Improved austenitizing  for subsequent quench and tempering

Adding costly thermal treatments to a production process is seldom a good idea. But

  • if you need high side mechanical properties as a result of the quench and tempering operation you have planned,
  • if the heat is lean on chemistry,
  • if the part to be quenched has a large cross section or wall thickness,
  • if you know from experience that you have difficulty getting to high side with your quench,

Normalizing can help.
For the end quench position of the bar that corresponds to 90% martensite,  a non-normalized  4140,  austenitized at 1550 degrees can have anywhere from a 7 to 14 point Rockwell C hardness deficiency compared to the same steel that had been normalized.  Using an austenitizing temperature of 1650 (200 degrees F above the Ac3 temperature) the non-normalized 4140 could still exhibit as much as a 10 Rc hardness deficiency compared to normalized stock for the same time at temperature. For 4340 steel, the hardness deficit can  range from 10 to 18 points of Rockwell C hardness deficiency for the same austenitizing time.
Normalizing was a necessary step in the days of highly variable microstructures resulting from Ingot steels and analog controlled processes. Today’s modern computer controlled steel making processes provide more consistent products and structures, making normalizing a less utilized process. But normalizing remains a way to coax better properties or performance out of some steels.
We’re not a big fan of adding “fire for fire’s sake,” but if you suspect you may have difficulty in developing the full hardenability out of your steel, Normalizing may just give you the edge you need to assure you develop the as quenched hardness you need.
Photo credit: Above The Law Blog

The PMPA Business Trends Report for September 2013 shows our sales /shipments index to be down  to 115 for September, up 12 points over September 2012, but down 9 points from last month,Sept Bus Trends Graph
Outlook for sales and employment remain high, and sentiments for profitability remain positive.
81 % of respondents felt sales would remain the same or increase over the next three months.
This positivity in the face of an actual decline in shipments for most respondents is a sign that the variability seen is expected, rather than a harbinger of a more drastic slowdown industry wide.
You can download a copy of the Sept. Business Trends Report Here
By the way, over one third of respondents were scheduling 45 hours or more of overtime…

The deadline for employers to train employees on the new GHS system is December 2013.

December 1, 2013
December 1, 2013

It is our pleasure to provide you with the essential links to the materials you need for providing the training your employees will need.
Final Rule : https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/GHSfinal-rule.pdf
OSHA Guide to GHS: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/ghs.html
Training Requirements: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3642.pdf
Labels and Pictograms: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3636.pdf
Safety Data Sheets: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3514.pdf
And just a note, the GHS pictograms do NOT replace those  diamond shaped DOT labels we’re also used to seeing.
disodium flammy
By the way we posted on this originally in March of 2012.

“Rigging equipment for material handling shall be inspected prior to use on each shift and as necessary during its use to ensure that it is safe. Defective rigging equipment shall be removed from service.”- OSHA 1926.251(a)(1)
Fabric and cable slings are widely employed in our shops to lift and move bundles of bar stock in particular, as well as scrap totes, pallets, and other equipment when needed.
They often carry weights as much as 5 tons. over valuable equipment, and in the vicinity of employees.
A failed sling could cause thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage as well as potential injuries.
Do you know where your slings and straps are?
Do you know their condition?
Do you have a process to assure compliance?
Dan Ignaziak at Sepco-Erie  and his super cool  team do.
Here are some photos of the Best Practice Sling inspection control system in use at Sepco Erie.

A place for every sling, and every sling in its place...
A place for every sling, and every sling in its place…

Documentation, Baby! Documentation!
Documentation, Baby! Documentation!

It doesn’t take a lot to get  your shop into compliance for 1926.251.
Dan and his team wrangled all the slings into a defined place, numbered them, and inspect them, recording the inspections on the Inventory sheet shown on the clipboard.
This could be run on a spreadsheet on a computer as well.
The key is to be

  1.  aware of the requirement,
  2.  set up a simple system to track slings
  3.  then execute with training to inspect before use and to inspect monthly .

Dan’s Training Tip:  ” It’s also critical to train your people that slings are not to  be used without affixed, legible identification markings, required by paragraph (a)(2)(i) of the OSHA regulation.”
There you have it- Best practice compliance on slings, lifting devices, and rigging equipment from Sepco-Erie.
Their shop epitomizes the fun but professional spirit that makes precision machining super cool today.
In what  area is your shop the exemplar for Best Practices?