Released May 30, 2022.   

Miles Free puts Enoch Precision Machining’s CEO Erick Frack in the interview chair as they discuss Enoch’s FastTrack Training program, how it works and why it is so important to our precision machining workforce issue.


Enoch Precision Machining booth set up at the local community college recruitment show

PMPA Business Trends April 2022

The April PMPA Business Trends Sales index fell 25 points or 13.8 percent- to its third-highest reading ever of 156. This reversion towards the mean provided some welcome relief- rather than disappointment- as demand for our output remains strong. Overtime was scheduled in seventy-four percent of our responding shops; seventeen percent reported scheduling ten or more hours (25 percent!) overtime.

Sentiment indicators remained positive for the next three months, and the correlation of our average sales for the first four months of the year to the full-year average predicts a very strong year ahead. (As long as we can get needed materials.) The. Demand. Is. There.

If you are not currently participating in PMPA’s Monthly Business Trends reporting, you are missing a great peer benchmark and a tool to provide you with confidence for your business decisions. Contact Veronica Durden to sign up.



PMPA Wins 2022 Gold Circle Award for Excellence in Association Communications from ASAE


PMPA has been recognized by ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) with a 2022 Gold Circle Award in the New Product/Service Launch category for its newly-developed Mastery Program, created to offer attendees an opportunity to experience and view the precision machining supply chain through three, two-day facility tours of member shops and steel and brass mills.

The Gold Circle Awards competition is the premier association marketing, membership, and communications award that recognizes excellence, innovation, and achievement in association/nonprofit marketing, membership, and communications programs. This year’s competition received more than 300 entries across 15 categories, including convention/meeting campaign, member retention campaign, print magazine, and video.

Entries for the Gold Circle Awards competition are judged consistently in each category based on criteria established by the ASAE Gold Circle Award Committee for excellence in association marketing, membership, and communications programs.

“I am thrilled to congratulate the 2022 ASAE Gold Circle Award winners. ASAE’s Gold Circle Award recognizes the unique position of associations in the marketing and communications landscape.” said Kerri L. McGovern, MPP, CAE, chair of the Gold Circle Awards Committee.

“By celebrating excellence in the field, the Gold Circle Awards highlights the creativity and innovation that association executives bring to the table and the results of which positively impact associations and its members. This year’s award winners embody what it means to be thoughtful, creative, and goal-driven.”

PMPA thanks Carli Kistler-Miller, Director of Programs and Marketing, and Miles Free, Director of Industry Affairs, for their creative brainstorming, diligent planning and successful execution of this endeavor, with hopes it will become a new PMPA tradition.  And we thank the members who joined us on the adventure!

For more information on the winners, visit Gold Circle Awards.



 PMPA/ITR Economics Forecast Report May 2022  


The latest ITR report presents economic evidence to argue that despite the new uncertainties as a result of the Ukraine War and slowing capital spending, we are in a better position than the media would have us believe.

Higher energy costs – drawing attention in headlines – are still a smaller share of consumer budget than back in 2011. There is no denying supply chain disruptions and higher commodity prices, and the impacts of these will be uneven across the economy.  However, the fundamentals continue to show no more than a flattening at the bottom of the business cycle in the first half of 2023.

Consumers are well positioned going into this cyclical decline with stronger cash resources and lower debt to income than in the past. Savvy managers will focus on leadership, increasing efficiency and productivity by investing to gain competitive advantage – and free up existing talent to perform on higher value jobs and responsibilities. Stay calm and deliver first pass quality on time to your most profitable customers.




The Institute for Trend Research (ITR) quarterly reports focus on major areas of economic growth and decline in key market segments for the Precision Machined Products Industry. They are provided to PMPA members as part of the association’s overall business intelligence program and are used as a management tool to help PMPA members plan for what lies ahead and which markets they should focus on in a complex manufacturing environment. 

MARKET INSIGHT – Travel Trailer and Camper Manufacturing

NACIS 336214 | $18,391,149,000

by Joe Jackson

Marketing & Events Assistant, PMPA

Published May 1, 2022

The consumer market for travel trailers and campers was at a record high in 2021, continuing a five-year growth streak that is forecasted to continue. The demographic of consumers in this industry is skewing younger and younger each year.


Top 5 Companies

  1. American Trailer World Corp., TX
  2. Dragon Acquisition Intermediate, MI
  3. Gulf Stream Coach Inc., IN
  4. Layton Homes Corp., IN
  5. Thule Holding Inc., CT


  • The components that precision machining shops manufacture provide essential functionality so that the travel trailer and camper manufacturing industry’s products have safe and reliable gas and water utility hookups, electrical and mechanical systems. The precision machining industry makes the parts that make these work safely.
  • If precision machining products are only 1% of this industry’s spending, that would equate to $115 million in sales opportunity in NAICS 332993 for our precision machining shops.
  • The travel trailer and camper manufacturing industry is one of the least concentrated markets served by precision machining. Of the 542 companies verifi ed in this NAICS Code, the top 5 companies make up just 9% of sales in this industry.
  • The travel trailer and camper manufacturing industry spend is $11.5 billion on materials, components, supplies, minerals and machinery.
  • Precision machined products manufacturing sales are more than $2.5 billion more than the travel trailer and camper manufacturing industry.


Source: U.S. Census,,


Download Magazine Article





Joe Jackson

Marketing & Events Assistant, PMPA

Email: gro.apmp@noskcajj — Website:


Chips — Our Real Product

We don’t make parts. Parts are the result of the chips we make. And the chips can tell you all you need to know. 

by Miles Free

Director of Industry Research and Technology, PMPA

Published May 1, 2022

Our shops sell precision machined parts — components that because of their geometry, features, dimensional control and properties enable today’s technologies to create our safe and modern quality of life. What many people overlook is that the parts we sell are the result of our material removal processes. The product of material removal is the removed material — the chips. The residue — that is, the material not removed — is the part. Precision machining is a process of precise creation and removal of material as chips in order to leave a remainder of the proper geometry, dimension and properties to deliver the critical functionality as designed by the customer’s engineers.

What do our customers want from us? Our customers come to us to fulfill their needs. What are their needs? Before you jump up with the reflexive answer, reflect for a minute. The customer is actually looking for  functionality. Some means of performing some essential element of a process or deliverable in the product that they make and sell to their customers. The products that our company sells to customers are necessary for their product to function. Our parts are critical to the function of their product.

What Is Quality? 

To the customer, it is the means necessary to provide the functionality in their application — conformance to design requirements, ease of installation and expected performance. To the world, quality is the absence of waste. This aligns with the customer’s desire as burrs, oversize or other nonconformances to specification are waste that can interfere with the functionality, ease of installation and expected performance.

What Is It That We Make?

Chips. We make chips. We DO NOT make parts! We make chips which, upon removal, result in a finished geometry which provides our customers with the functionality that they desire and creates the conforming geometry and features needed by their design which delivers the performance they expect from the functionality they desire. As machinists, we make chips.

What Is a Chip?

Remember, machining is a subtractive process. Chips are pieces of material removed from a workpiece by a cutting tool. It is our ability to make chips that creates the geometries that deliver the functionality and performance that the customer seeks. Additive makes a part. Our subtractive machining stock removal processes eliminate the unnecessary — the excess or waste material that is unneeded to form, fit and function. In other words, the chip.

The chips we create in our stock removal processes are the “waste” which is not needed in the raw material to deliver that functionality and performance. By taking stock removal, we eliminate waste, upgrading quality and enabling the raw material to reach its highest and best use.

We Make Chips! 

Chips are our authentic work product. The part is what is left after we take all the stock removal. Our company sells parts that are the result of our chipmaking processes that provide customers with the functionality that they need. But. We. Make. CHIPS!

What is our process? Material Removal. How is it measured? It can be measured in either cubic inches of material removed per minute or cubic meters of material removed per minute. These are measures of the volume of chips we produce, even though we sell them by weight at the end of our work. Ironically, the majority of our shop’s processes value “add” is “stock removal” — material subtraction!

1020 DOM after tool change (left) and before tool change (right).  Chips courtesy of Herker Industries Inc.

1020 DOM after tool change (left) and before tool change (right). Chips courtesy of Herker Industries Inc.

Types of Chips 

There are many ways to characterize chips. Simplest for our purposes may be related to the process conditions — is the removal of the chip unconstrained, semi-constrained or constrained?

  • Unconstrained. Typically produced from tools taking stock removal on the OD like turning or form tools.
  • Semi-constrained. Think of a tool cutting a groove which constrains the travel of the chip and the ability to get in fluid and remove the chip
  • Constrained. A drill in a hole or deep hole produces chips which are constrained by the workpiece material surrounding the tool, preventing easy exit of the chip as well as obstructing application of cutting fluid.

Terms that Describe Chips

Chips can be described by adjectives such as long, short, coiled or snarled. Other terms can describe the chip by whether or not it is broken or well broken — as in resulfurized steels where the manganese sulfides create places for the chip to break. Materials without free machining additives may have chips that are semi-continuous or continuous.

Chip Character

Chip character is actually a term that describes less about the chip itself, but more about the way it behaves as it is being created and after it is separated. 

  • Soft. Easily malleable, flows easily
  • Semi-Soft. Malleable, flows.
  • Semi-Hard. Definitely not soft, has ‘resistance’
  • Hard. No malleability. Resists deformation or crushing
  • Tough. Requires much force to deform or crush, but not springy
  • Springy. Returns to initial shape after force is applied

There is no question that the economic model of our business is that we exchange parts that conform to a customer’s requirements for cash. That is the business process. But the value creation — the value add — of our performers is to improve the quality of a raw material by taking stock removal and removing chips, creating a residue that meets the customer’s requirements for conformance to design requirements, ease of installation and expected performance in their final deliverable.

We are precision machinists. Sales sells parts, we make chips that convert raw materials to their highest and best use by taking stock removal to achieve our customer’s desired functionality. That is the real secret of precision machining. We add value by subtraction — making chips!

Look at your chips. If you aren’t looking at your chips and listening to what they have to tell you, you are not paying attention to your process, which is making chips!


Download Magazine Article




Miles Free III is the PMPADirector of Industry Affairs with over 40 years of experience in the areas of manufacturing, quality, and steelmaking. He helps answer “How?, “With what?” and “Really?” Miles’ blog is at; email –  gro.apmp@eerfm; website –