With 84 companies responding, the PMPA Business Trends Index in October 2016 declined 1.7% to 116 from 118, virtually identical to its movement from September to October last year (when it fell from 121 to 119- a 1.6% drop.)  Our Index Average year to date is 119, down just 2 points from last year’s calendar year average of 121.  Twenty-two percent (22%) of our respondents reported sales increases in October, thirty-one percent (31%) reported sales decreases, remainder reported no change.

Modest change in sales at same magnitude as last year same report.
Modest change in sales at same magnitude as last year same report.

Meanwhile, the Fed reported that Industrial Production was unchanged from September to October, while the manufacturing output component increased 0.2 percent.  The Fed estimates capacity utilization at 75.3%, down 4.7% from its long run (1972-2015) average.
The October 2016 PMPA Business Trends Report shows that our responding shops continue to perform somewhat better than expected, down not quite two percent (1.7%) from last month.  The 3 month moving average has turned up, but remains below the 12 month moving average as we report the first month of the seasonally slow fourth quarter.  The Average Sales for the Industry remains within a couple of points of last year’s calendar year average, and our 119 YTD is “essentially even” with the performance of our shops in CY 2014 and 2015.  October Lead Time sentiment suggests that our shops expect sales to be stronger than the Sales Indicator alone shows.  Our indicators this month justify our optimism about the markets and employment prospects for our precision machining industry.
Members can see full report Here.

PMPA is proud to be partnering with NIMS, to help companies find new ways to help students and workers gain skills for success.

Apprenticeships to build a pipeline of skilled professionals for a great manufacturing career.
Apprenticeships to build a pipeline of skilled professionals for a great manufacturing career.

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) has been selected by the U.S.Department of Labor as an industry intermediary to support the expansion of registered apprenticeships within MANUFACTURING. The Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) a founding stakeholder member of NIMS,  will work with NIMS to increase access to apprenticeships and assist employers in developing new programs that reach diverse talent pools among our membership.  As part of this initiative, $500,000 is available to support companies in establishing a registered apprenticeship program with the Department of Labor.
“For over two decades, NIMS has worked with companies, workforce development groups and community colleges to stand-up high-caliber apprenticeship programs across the country,” said Jim Wall, Executive Director, NIMS.  “This contract gives us the unique opportunity to create more impact in our industry by expanding apprenticeships to underrepresented populations and to new companies looking to establish a sustainable talent pipeline.”
What’s in it for your company? NIMS will focus on providing companies with tools and resources to develop customized registered apprenticeship programs. These programs combine on-the-job training with job-related classroom instruction and meet national standards for registration with the Department of Labor or State Apprenticeship Agencies. PMPA is working with NIMS to help facilitate the creation of registered apprenticeships for our member companies.
If you are interested in enhancing your talent pipeline through apprenticeships, this program may be for you.
Companies that are interested in building an apprenticeship program or organizations that are interested in partnering with NIMS should contact Sterling Gill gro.apmp@lligs; for more information go to www.mfgapprenticeship.com or email the NIMS ApprenticeshipUSA team at gro.slliks-smin@pihsecitnerppa.

Guest post by Lib Pietrantoni, CJWinter
Flaking threads and thread damage can be avoided when thread rolling thin walled parts.
Distortion during the thread rolling process can cause

  • Flaking,
  • Non-uniform thread geometry
  • Tearing
  • Collapse of threaded portion of part

These are particularly troublesome issues on thin walled parts.
These can be avoided if you assure that a minimum wall thickness is maintained for the process.

Minimum Wall thickness is determined by Nominal Thread diameter and thread pitch
Minimum Wall Thickness is determined by Nominal Thread Diameter and Thread Pitch

Larger nominal thread diameters require thicker minimum wall thickness; so do coarser thread pitches.
The way that you roll the thread can also be a factor.
According to Lib Pietrantoni at CJWinter, specialized pneumatic radial-pinch-type thread rolling machine attachments can apply equalized rolling pressure across the workpiece, ensuring thread concentricity, eliminating side pressure on both the parts and the machine, and allowing precise control of the penetration rate — especially important for thin-walled parts.
You can download the Thread Rolling Reference Chart at CJWinter’s website: reference chart
As a steel mill Quality Metallurgist, I saw my share of complaints that “the steel was flaking- it must be the steel.”
But the lab results never found the flaking anywhere except where the thread had been rolled – it was never on the bars as shipped.
Pay attention to minimum wall thickness when thread rolling!
And  don’t forget to pass this handy chart along to the engineer at your customer that is designing the parts that you make.
Thanks to Lib Pietrantoni at PMPA member CJWinter for providing this reference information.

“The October PMI® registered 51.9 percent, an increase of 0.4 percentage point from the September reading of 51.5 percent… The Employment Index registered 52.9 percent, an increase of 3.2 percentage points from the September reading of 49.7 percent.”- ISM Spokesman Bradley J. Holcomb.
We were pleased to see the strong increase in the Employment Index, which agrees with PMPA’s Employment sentiment indicator which was reported to be above 95% for September.

Positive showing for manufacturing and employment in October 2016.
Positive showing for manufacturing and employment in October 2016.

Link to full ISM Report: https://www.instituteforsupplymanagement.org/ismreport/mfgrob.cfm?SSO=1
Chart courtesy of Calculated Risk Blog: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/