Why is this Here?

Will I use it this minute?

Will I use it this hour?

Will I use it this shift?

Will I use it today?

Why is this here?

Because I am using it.
Because I am using it.

This best practice photo of a shop operating on this principle was taken at Paul Horn GmbH.

Horn USA is  a PMPA technical member.

If I visited your shop what would I see?

More importantly, what would a customer or job applicant see, and what would it tell them?


It is not just demographics of our workforce that drives our industry. It is also the demands of society that provides us with the opportunity to innovate.

I was on a panel at IMTS last year on workforce issues.

I shared the following information regarding our workforce demographics in 2020 according to BLS

Major changes ahead for our shops.
Major changes ahead for our shops.

You can read my post here Skilled Workforce Demographics 2020

I was interested to see a presentation from Paul Horn GmbH. entitled Society- Driver of Technical Innovation at HORN Technology Days last week. Their approach was workforce agnostic- it was based on a look at the  demands from society, rather than focus on how industry will supply that demand.

My economics professor would be so proud.

in 2008-2009 we learned that it is Demand, and Not supply, that drives the economy.
in 2008-2009 we learned that it is Demand, and not Supply, that drives the economy.

So how does Horn see societal demand driving innovation in the precision machining space?

7 Megatrends to Impact our Industry

  • Mobility
  • Population Growth
  • Globalization
  • Communication
  • Health
  • Aging Society
  • Urbanization

Changes in each of these areas requires technical innovation in Production Technology, Materials, Processes, Electronics, and Software, to make new technologies economically adoptable “Just in Time.”

Pillars of technical innovation
Pillars of technical innovation

Interestingly, Precision Machining “owns” all five of the “columns” in this model as we grow into our future state.

Which of these  are your particular “sweet spot?” What is your plan to gain competence in the others?

Who would argue that we are not facing new challenges in production technology, materials, processes, or increased use of electronics and software to make tomorrow’s more challenging parts?

We will revisit some of these megatrends in coming blogs.

Do you have a process for identifying “over the horizon” issues that will affect your shop?

Which megatrends are opportunities more so than challenges for your shop and team?

Thanks to  PMPA Technical Member Horn USA for sharing the materials from Technology Days

Monocrystalline diamonds make the coating question “moot.”
Was asked a question “Why all the fuss about tool coatings? The base material and the tool geometry  do the work.”

Coatings can make the impossible possible.

We agree that the tool material and geometry are important determinants of success in production machining. See our original post here.  But tool coatings can play a critical role in assuring successful machining by

  • Significantly increasing tool life by minimizing wear;
  • Control built up edge (BUE);
  • Contol heat build up;
  • Increase the edge hardness.

To me, and I hope to you, ‘successful machining’ means  “more parts produced per day at lower cost per part.” Coatings help achieve this by increasing tool life (reducing tool cost component per part); by keeping machines running longer between changes (more parts per shift because more uptime per shift); and reducing variability of parts produced (BUE  and thermal variation requiring machine adjustments).
Advancing the idea from Diamond Coatings  (polycrystalline) to a Monocrsytalline Tool Insert, the folks at Paul Horn and  H10 worldwide  make the coating material into  the tool material- to make the impossible possible. The photo above shows an aluminum workpiece machined to a maximum surface deviation of Ra 0.010 μm; Rz 0.014 μm. It is an optical component machined from a single piece of aluminum, that I photographed at Paul Horn Technology Days last month.
Or how about this plastic workpiece- absolutely no tool marks or ‘frosting’:

Monocrystalline Diamond Coating Makes a Difference!

Polycrystalline diamond coatings are widely available. This monocrystalline diamond tooling was first shown to us by Horn USA at our 2010 National Technical Conference.  While diamonds are a non-starter for ferrous workpieces, they can be your key for  ‘brilliant machining’ on other workpiece materials such as aluminum, copper,  brass and bronze, nickel, precious metals, and  plastics like PVC, polycarbonate, acrylic.
But I guess it isn’t quite correct to call it a coating.

Mirror, Mirror from the cutoff...

Sometimes the wisdom is just undeniable.
I spend quite a bit of my time writing what I hope to be interesting articles for our many readers. Knowledge retention and thought leadership posts for our member companies.
Written pieces that give the readers ‘Tools They Can Use.
If I’m  writing, I’m  probably not spending a lot of time reading…
So when I got a copy of ph Horn’s latest  World of Tools 2/10 magazine, I was captivated by the following comment made by Lothar Horn, Managing Director.

Lothar Horn

“How can our tools best be used so that the customer can obtain the maximum benefit from this investment?”
At PMPA, we’re pretty familiar with the concept of  ‘Tools You Can Use’– in fact we use it as our Tagline.
But we were really interested in the answer that Mr. Horn gave to his own question:
“…we have developed new products, strengthened support and service and expanded our portfolio in the direction of complete machining.”
Let’s see, how can we as an industry face the challenges of the current market situation?
 1) Use the tools we have to develop new products,
 2) Strengthen support and service to our customers,
 3) Expand capabilities toward complete solutions…
Couldn’t have said it better myself!
You can download the Horn World of Tools Magazine at this link ; just click on the pdf download link for the 2/10 issue.
If this was a quiz, would you have gotten 3 out of 3?