No telling on what the State troopers busted this jolly old elf for, but we bailed him out with donations to the local food bank...
No telling on what the State troopers busted this jolly old elf for, but we bailed him out with donations to the local food bank…

We are fortunate to have our trade, our businesses, our ability to produce highly engineered components that make a difference in peoples lives by making technology operate safely and as expected.
I call the satisfaction from my work the “existential joy of engineering,” though that phrase is not original to me.
The holidays are a great reminder of the blessings that we have, and the fact that we are more fortunate than others.
I hope that your celebration of the holidays remind you of what is right in your world, and of your opportunity to help others as you see fit.
And like the Medina Post of the Ohio State Patrol,  I hope that you too get to “capture” a bit of the holiday spirit (or elf) to share with your family and friends.
Thanks to the Medina Post of the Ohio State Patrol for their part in the “Can the Cruiser” food drive.
And our best wishes  and gratitude to you, the men and women of the precision machining industry, our world is safer and more reliable because you do what you do.

Here are our  ten most read posts this year:
The Difference Between Accuracy And Precision Measurement In Your Machine Shop
Hardness vs. Hardenability-There Is A Difference
Quench crack Sami1stcracked
7 Causes For Quench Cracking Of Steel
5 Facts About Manganese in Steel
5 Questions for ForkLift Inspection Compliance
friction weld
7 Advantages of Friction Welding
5 Benefits of Cold Work in Steels
5 Engineering Aspects of Austenitic Grain Size
Blue Brittleness, Temper Embrittlement, 400-500 Degree C Embrittlement And More
Multiple Solutions, Custom Tooling, And Your Precision Machining Shop
We hope that you find this review of our most popular posts helpful to your work in the upcoming year.

The PMPA Business Trends Report Sales index for November plummeted 23 points from 132 to 109, a drop of almost 17%. Here are 5 reasons why we are unconcerned by what most would call a panic-worthy drop.

That drop tells us more about October's record than it does about November sales
That drop tells us more about October’s record than it does about November sales

  • The November value of 109 actually “just happens to be” the arithmetic average of the index for the last 4 Novembers.
  • The drop is more  about the record high in October than it is about a low November.
  • Sentiment for Lead Time remains level for the next three months- our shops know their capacity and see it remaining the same.
  • Sentiment for future  Profitability, Employment, and Sales all increased in November despite the drop in actual sales.
  • November and December are typically weak sales months for our industry. January sales will likely be “gangbusters” as our customers return to work after end of year tax inventory and holiday shutdowns.

By the way, the average length of first shift hours scheduled was 43.5 hours, just a half an hour short of 44 hours- which means average shop in our industry was just short of working 10% overtime as a regular schedule- despite that “huge drop” in sales.
The outlook for precision machining is looking strong according to the 87 respondents in our survey and report.
PMPA Business Trends Report for November 2014

Washington, D.C. – The Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) today strongly criticized the release by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) of a rule which restricts the rights of employees and drives a wedge between employers and employees.
On Friday, December 12, the NLRB released the “Ambush Election” rule, which limits the amount of time employees have to consider whether or not to join a union to as little as 10-14 days, down from an average of 56 days. The new rule, which takes effect April 14, 2015, also requires businesses to supply unions with the phone numbers and email addresses of employees ahead of an election, exposing workers and their families to unwanted calls at all hours. In a legal challenge supported by PMPA, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia previously struck down a nearly identical version of the rule.
“While we are disappointed with the NLRB’s actions, we are not surprised,” said Miles Free, co-Interim Executive Director of the PMPA. “This rule continues a disturbing trend by the NLRB to drive a wedge between employers and employees. The current system is already working and employees need time to weigh their options and understand what is at stake,” continued Mr. Free.
Regardless of a company’s size, actions like this sends a ripple effect throughout the manufacturing supply chain. Prior to the courts rejecting the NLRB’s earlier attempt, the U.S. Congress, whether under control of Republicans or Democrats, repeatedly refused to act on this proposal in legislative form.
Opponents of the most recent Ambush Election rule are exploring their legal options and expect to take action in the courts in the near future to challenge the NLRB’s authority to take this restrictive action.

The ability of a material to deform plastically without fracturing, is called ductility. In the materials usually machined in our shops, ductility is measured by determining the percent of elongation and the percent reduction of area on a specimen during a tensile test.
Our earlier post about Ductility showed how ductility can impact our shops. In this post, we will describe how we can measure ductility and use it to predict behavior  based on values reported on certs and test reports.
The percent elongation and percent reduction of area values shown on our test reports and material certifications from our material suppliers indicate the ductility of the material tested.
In the tensile test, a cylindrical specimen is gripped securely and subjected to  a uniaxial load and elongated until it breaks. At the end of the test, the pieces of the fractured specimen are fitted back together again and the change of length between the two gage marks put on the specimen before testing is determined. The change is then expressed as a percentage of the original gage length.

Fractured specimen fitted back together then measured
Fractured specimen fitted back together then measured

The percent reduction of area is determined by measuring the minimum diameter of the broken test specimen after the two pieces are fitted together and the difference is  expressed as a percentage of the original cross sectional area prior to the test.
The  differences in measurements after tensile test are used to calculate the % elongation and % reduction of area
The differences in measurements after tensile test are used to calculate the % elongation and % reduction of area

A minimum of 12% elongation  is recommended for  consistent, trouble free thread rolling applications.
Rolled threads are stronger, so having the ductility to thread roll is important. However, too much ductility makes it difficult to get the chip to separate by cutting.
Low ductility can be problematic for cold deformation manufacturing processes such as thread rolling, cold forming, swaging, staking and crimping.
This is the designer’s compromise: if it is good for cutting, it is probably not very good for rolling.
And Vise-Versa
And Vise-Versa

HSC online Graphic of test specimens
Yost made in USA vise photo credit

Published December 2014

By Miles Free III

Reporting of injuries and illnesses is not a right. It is an obligation of the employee to report; and a responsibility of the employer to record, investigate and take appropriate remedial actions to retrain as necessary and to remove any hazards identified.



” Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in November for the 18th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 66th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.”

Manufacturing sustains expansion in November 2014
Manufacturing sustains expansion in November 2014

” “The November PMI® registered 58.7 percent, a decrease of 0.3 percentage point from October’s reading of 59 percent, indicating continued expansion in manufacturing. This is consistent with a 5.1% annualized rate of change in inflation adjusted GDP.”
This was above expectations  and indicates a sustained expansion of manufacturing.
In other good news for our manufacturing shops – ISM’s Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Fabricated Metal Products;  Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Plastics & Rubber Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; and Primary Metals  respondents reported growth in November.
“The New Orders Index registered 66 percent, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from the reading of 65.8 percent in October.  The Employment Index grew for the 17th consecutive month, registering 54.9 percent, a decrease of 0.6 percentage point below the October reading of 55.5 percent.”
These are all positive indicators for manufacturing.
Materials impact in November
Inventories of raw materials registered 51.5 percent, a decrease of 1 percentage point from the October reading of 52.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 44.5 percent, down 9 percentage points from the October reading of 53.5 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices in November relative to October. This is a major change from the strength of the prices index in the recent past.
How this relates to our precision machining shops:
The PMPA Business Trends Index for October increased a whopping 13 points (10.9%) from 119 to 132.  This is the highest value for our index, ever.   While this was an unexpected show of strength for our industry, we did confirm our data and noted that over 40% of respondents reported double digit sales increases for October.
The ISM PMI  indicator’s strength in November leads me to believe that our shops will also report stronger than expected results in our November Business Trends Report.
How is your shop dealing with the unexpected strength in demand for your products?
ISM November Release
Calculated Risk Blog PMI Graph