PMPA Speaking of Suppliers Podcasts:
Interview with Derek Briggs of Tsugami America
Miles Free and Derek Briggs of Tsugami America have a wide-ranging discussion about CNC Swiss turning technology and uncover some surprising facts that explain its growing adoption for critical applications and lightly attended operations.
The Precision Machined Products Industry: 2022 Was a Very Good Year
Miles Free, Carli Kistler-Miller, and David Wynn take a dive into the data from 2022 to support the continued optimism for precision machining industry with a little economic off the rails discussion included.
Refocus. Reinvent. Refine. PMPA’s National Technical Conference 2023
Miles Free, Carli Kistler-Miller, and David Wynn share an overview on the sessions and what to expect at the upcoming PMPA National Technical Conference in Cleveland, Ohio! Please visit pmpa.org/techconf for more details!
The PMPA staff is proud to announce that Joe Gentile has joined PMPA as our new Membership Specialist! Joe will be responsible for getting prospective members to sign on the dotted line. He has the experience, knowledge and credibility of being a PMPA member – we look forward to him now closing deals for PMPA!
Joe has been around machining since the age of 17 when he started helping his dad, then worked in various shops until he opened his own shop with his dad and brothers in 1987. Many of you know Joe from his time with Hangsterfer’s Laboratories, where he rose to Product Manager and travelled the world.
“I was really impressed with PMPA camaraderie and efforts to share best practices, and as a technical member I tried to share as much as I could to help everyone,” Joe says. “I’ve met many people who want to share their knowledge within PMPA, and I look forward to introducing PMPA to more potential members.”
PMPA is also pleased to announce David Wynn as our new Technical Services Director. David was the CFO of ABF Engineering and Machining, a small third-generation screw machine shop in South Fulton, Tennessee. He is also a former member of the Finance Committee and Board of Directors. David, who holds an MBA from the University of Tennessee, will begin “apprenticing” with Miles Free over the next year.
“I started working at our family business while a senior in high school. In over 20 years at ABF, I have had experience in a wide array of activities in the precision machining industry, including running everything from Brown and Sharpe screw machines to CNC Swiss. I worked on the shop floor running secondaries; then while in college, started moving my way through quoting and management,” said David. “After graduating college with an MBA from the University of Tennessee, I decided to stay with the family business and moved into executive management, serving as CFO for the past 8 years.”
He adds, “While finishing my masters, I was looking for resources to help our company improve and began digging into the old NSMPA manuals we had in the office. Since the organization was still going strong, we decided to join. PMPA has been a strong partner in moving my business forward. Many of the techniques and practices we do today are thanks to the PMPA and member companies. PMPA is a unique organization that has so much to offer the precision machining industry. We truly are better together.
I am excited to transition to the PMPA team to continue to drive that mission forward. I have several ideas of projects and services that I’m excited to share with the membership to continue to enhance the great support provided by the association to member companies. I look forward to working for you all.”
Factors Influencing Machined Surface Finish in Our Shops
Surface finish is the result of our machining process on raw materials.
Published March 1, 2023
There are three principal causes of surface roughness:
the feed marks left by the tool on the work;
fragments of built-up edge (BUE) pressed into the surface of the work by the tool during chip formation and removal;
artifacts resulting from tool vibration and displacement on the workpiece. Efforts to reduce the height (depth) of the feed (tool marks), reduce the size of BUE, and reducing vibration by improving rigidity will improve as machined surface finish.
Here are some of the various factors that can impact surface finishes produced by our machining processes.
High hardness, high strength, and low ductility tend to be associated with good surface finish in steels. Lower carbon steels tend to be lower hardness and lower strength, more ductile, and thus tend to leave a more torn surface finish. Higher carbon steels cut more crisply than low carbon grades, which are more suited for cold heading.
The strain hardening of hot rolled steels by cold drawing has been shown to improve as machined surface finish.
In addition to mechanical properties and treatments, chemical composition can also contribute to improved machined surface finish — increasing carbon content improves surface finish compared to low carbon steels.
Free machining additives such as sulfur help to control built-up edge, resulting in improved finishes. Additions of phosphorus and nitrogen can help embrittle the chip, contributing to smother finishes. Lead, as well as selenium, tellurium and bismuth also help with chip separation, improving surface finish off the machine.
While specifying chemistry remains out of our scope in most contract manufacturing, the machinist has several variables that are under their control.
Cutting speed has probably the largest potential to improve machined surface finish as anything else we can do in our shops. Increasing cutting speed greatly improves surface finish achieved. Increasing feed significantly reduces surface finish, so increasing speed while reducing feed is a likely path to improving surface finish in a new job.
Increasing rake angle also leads to significant improvement in surface finish. While many shops have moved from HSS tools of their own manufacturer to the use of premanufactured inserts, knowing what the angles do for surface finish can help you when trying to move to another insert to improve finish.
Increasing relief angle can reduce surface finish, while increasing side cutting edge angle is usually associated with improved surface finish. Increasing the end cutting edge angle can lead to large declines in surface finish.
Increasing the nose radius of the tool, can improve surface finish, as long as the grade does not easily work harden. (Most nickel grades work harden). Increasing the nose radius of the tool reduces the depth or height of the tool ridges left by the tool. Larger nose radius also reduces the size of the chip as well as the BUE.
Tool materials, tool coatings, metalworking fluids, and additives also have a role to play in improving machined surface finishes in our shops. However, the precision machinist has several options in their control: increasing speeds, reducing feeds, increasing angle of cut and increasing nose radius.
The data shows a number of factors pointing to the likelihood of a broad , economic slowdown. While recession is coming, its arrival time is not yet clear. This report discusses, for the markets that our shops serve, expectations of timelines, severity and recovery for demand for our components. Despite the likelihood of “recession,” the data points to a relatively mild downturn, not a thrill ride.
This ITR report is organized by markets served, so take care to look at the relevant entries for your business, rather than get caught up in an overall pessimism. Focus on selling in markets that do not look as pessimistic, understand and manage the risks- both positive and negative, and take advantage of any production slowdowns to increase the training and skill level of your talented performers.
This report should give you the managerial confidence to lead, focus on the important, and lean into opportunities while others panic.
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.
Julia and Sarah share their journeys to becoming a machinist and give advice to anyone seeking a career in manufacturing.
by Carli Kistler-Miller
Director of Programs & Marketing, PMPA
Published March 1, 2023
Julia Dister is tool and die apprentice at Smith & Richardson Inc. in Geneva, IL. Sarah Grieve is a class A set-up and operator at EMC Precision in Elyria, Ohio. Both women share their journey to manufacturing.
Julia Dister’s Journey
Julia started in the workforce as a jewelry apprentice. She had some classes in community college that peaked her interest such as metal-smithing, casting, and welding. She liked working with her hands and with metals and thought jewelry would be fun. She completed the three-year apprenticship and realized that it wasn’t the “fit” she thought it would be.
Julia realized she wanted to work with steel since, as she stated with a smile, “steel is really cool.” Her grandfather is a machinist and shared the interesting parts he has made and it inspired her to try machining.
Julia likes to describe her current position as a tool and die apprentice as “I make the things that make the things.” She said she enjoys the variety and working with steel. Everyone at Smith & Richardson was very welcoming and she likes working with like-minded people. Her three-year apprenticeship parallels a three-year trade school curriculum which she attends two evenings per week.
Sarah Grieve’s Journey
Sarah began her journey in high school by attending Lorain County Joint Vocational School for the precision machining technology program. She was placed at EMC Precision at the age of 16 and has been working there for eight years. After high school, she attended Lorain County Community College and earned her associates degree for manufacturing engineering.
Sarah truly enjoys her job at EMC Precision. She is provided with learning opportunities and a positive work environment. Sarah states, “At work, I get a sense of accomplishment when I complete a new part from start to finish and have made something from just a metal bar. I may work on the same machines every day, but every week I’m running different parts.”
Advice to Women (or Anyone) Seeking a Career in Manufacturing
Julia’s advice to those seeking a career in manufacturing is “Go for it! I recommend manufacturing to everyone. There are a lot of opportunities so take advantage of them.” Julia also adds, “Get out there and find like-minded people.”
Sarah’s advice to those seeking a career in manufacturing is “Don’t feel discouraged to step out of your comfort zone or be scared away by the old notion that manufacturing jobs are dirty, grimy jobs only for men. I get to work on advanced equipment and machines I didn’t have a clue about before this job and feel like I have really learned a valuable skill by entering this trade. Also, this skill travels well and makes it possible to get a job nearly anywhere.”