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Speaking of Precision

Speaking of Precision is a knowledge preservation and thought leadership blog covering the precision machining industry, its materials and services. With over 36 years of hands on experience in steelmaking, manufacturing, quality, and management, Miles Free (Milo) Director of Industry Research and Technology at PMPA helps answer "How?" "With what?" and occasionally "Really?"

OSHA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Cited Standards: FY 2015

Posted August 12, 2016 11:11 AM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: osha penalty regulation

OSHA Penalties increased 78% August 1, 2016.

Think of your efforts here as an investment in “Penalty Prevention.”

The following is a list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA for Fiscal Year 2015.

  1. 1926.501 – Fall Protection (C)
  2. 1910.1200 – Hazard Communication
  3. 1926.451 – Scaffolding (C)
  4. 1910.134 – Respiratory Protection
  5. 1910.147 – Lockout/Tagout
  6. 1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks
  7. 1926.1053 – Ladders (C)
  8. 1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods
  9. 1910.212 – Machine Guarding
  10. 1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements

Note, the standards that are numbered 1926.XXX – Numbers 1. Fall protection, 3. Scaffolding, and 7. Ladders, are Construction industry, rather than General Industry. Nevertheless, Fall Protection and Ladders are relevant in our manufacturing shops as well. Source: Top Ten Standards 2015

In our work with shops involved in OSHA inspections, we have learned that failure to have documented training and evidence is the more likely to be the root cause of the citation. You must train and you must be able to provide documentary evidence of the training.

A savvy management will take steps in their shops to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up.

Action Steps:

  1. Electrical-On your next walk around the shop, look for outlets and power boxes that are not in good condition and schedule their repair ASAP. If you can see wiring or damage- that is likely a violation.
  2. Machine GuardingThis is a particular area of OSHA emphasis. Are all provided guards in place, or are they being removed or defeated? Each instance would be a violation.
  3. Lockout/TagoutThis too is an OSHA emphasis and on their regulatory agenda for review. Now would be a good time to review that all affected employees have been trained. That evidence exists of that training. And that you have audited to assure performance. (If I went into your shop and saw a machine undergoing a major changeover, would I find it locked out?)

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Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Milo for sharing this blog entry, which you can also read here.

2 comments; last comment on 08/13/2016
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Thinking Precision, Thinking Big: Keystone Threaded Products

Posted June 21, 2016 2:00 PM by Milo

The Team at Keystone Threaded Products shows us that “Precision” doesn’t necessarily mean “Tiny” as they thread the ends of some 20 foot long, 10 inch stainless steel bars for a Metalworking press. The thread is a 10-1/4″ : 4 UNJ RH applied to each end of the 3 and a half ton bar.

20 feet long, two ends to thread, 3 and a half tons of precision.

At Keystone, they roll the thread form onto the material which makes for a stronger thread. Alignment and following the process is critical to assure a good thread.

Thread rolls create the thread form on the work piece.

Multiple passes are needed to build the thread up to the proper dimensions.

Half a million pounds of pressure are imparted on the rolls to plastically move the steel of the bar into the thread form. Read the gage.

Obviously it takes knowledge, skills, and experience to apply half million pounds to produce precision work.

Rich says that he’s rolled larger bars, but skills and experience and a great team to work with create the can do spirit that makes precision manufacturing a great career.

Here’s another look at a finished bar. Precision does not necessarily mean tiny!

Just another point of view so you can see the size of the work.

Thanks to Betsy Minnick and the Team at PMPA member Keystone Threaded Products for showing us that “Precision” is not a synonym for “Tiny.”


Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Milo for sharing this blog entry, which you can also read here.

4 comments; last comment on 06/27/2016
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Alternative Career Plans if College Doesn’t Come Through

Posted June 17, 2016 2:00 PM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: college jobs manufacturing

If college was your first plan, but now it’s not, you need an alternative plan. The difference between low wages and a good paying career is having a plan.

“People who get the best options, the best money, the best jobs- have a plan. What’s your plan, if the college plan doesn’t come through?”

  • Hundreds of jobs in your hometown that employers want to see filled with local talent.
  • The best possible job for you should match your skills and your interests
  • Careers with a future
  • Let you grow you pay quickly based on your performance

Here are 3 career planning options that give you “Home Field Advantage” discussed in the video.

Alternate Career Plan #1 Direct to Work

Alternate Career Plan #2 Apprenticeship

Alternate Career Plan #3 Military Service

Thanks to PMPA Member Company Vanamatic Company and Ohio Means Jobs for the video and wise career counsel.


Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Milo for sharing this blog entry, which you can also read here.

8 comments; last comment on 06/20/2016
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Orders of Magnitude – Key to Process Problemsolving

Posted June 14, 2016 3:00 PM by Milo

If you have an intermittent or periodic problem, start counting frequency of occurrence, and then figure out what the order of magnitude is compared to your process.

In our shops, order of magnitude reflects the relative scale of our processes and helps us see what is and is not applicable to the problem at hand.

To solve periodic or intermittent problems in our shops, the first step after identifying the problem is collecting data about “When” and “How often” it occurs. Then, comparing it to the orders of magnitude that occur naturally in your shop can help you narrow down the likely causes.

Relative frequency can be a big help, when you figure out that the frequency has some relationship or equivalence to some aspect of your process. For example, if the frequency is about equal to two occurrences per bar, than it becomes relevant to look at bar ends first, With two ends per bar, or the fact that you might get just two parts out of the first bar end, this tying of frequency to an order of magnitude denominator saves a lot of thrashing about to try to identify root cause.

What are some orders of magnitude that occur in your shop that you should consider for your problemsolving efforts on intermittent or periodic problems?

Material Order of Magnitude

  • Per Piece
  • Per Bar
  • Per Bundle
  • Per Lot
  • Per Order
  • Per Heat
  • Per Supplier

Your shop processes have orders of magnitude too.

Per Machining Operation

  • Per Spindle
  • Per Stock Up
  • Per Machine
  • Per Shift
  • Per Release
  • Per Batch
  • Per Lot
  • Per Production Order

How does this work? In a prior life I had an intermittent customer complaint for a twisted square bar product. The customer was counting bad pieces cut from bars in bundles.The frequency was extremely low, it was not at one per bar or one per ten bars, nor one per twenty bars. It turned out to be approximately, slightly less than “one piece per bundle.” Knowing that the frequency was that low, we were able to eliminate most of our upstream of bundle process steps. They would have generated much higher frequencies – more on the order of multiple occurrences per bar.

Based on our frequency being an approximate order of magnitude of one per bundle, we focused our investigation on the product and process at and after the bundle stage. Which was where our problem occurred-when a single bar end was being twisted by the movement of the last strapping and clip installation as it was tightened for packaging. the balance of the bar was held securely by the prior installed starps, but the tensioning unit grabbed one corner of a bar as it secured the final band around the bars, creating a twist in the end of the bar held under the tension of the clip that locked in that last strap.

Without comparing frequency of occurrence to orders of magnitude in our process, we would probably still be trying to figure out where in our process we could twist just one 14″ segment out of 3,260 feet of bars. We’d be in denial, and eventually lose the customer.

If you have an intermittent or periodic problem with your products, start counting frequency of occurrence, and then figure out what the order of magnitude is compared to your process.

Image credit


Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Milo for sharing this blog entry, which you can also read here.

1 comments; last comment on 06/15/2016
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Upset Testing--Steel in Compression

Posted April 22, 2016 10:00 AM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: compression machining steel

Mechanical properties of a given steel under compression compare closely with its tensile properties. An upset can be performed to determine how the steel will perform under compressive load.

A brittle steel under compression will ultimately fail by breaking along cleavage lines at an angle approximately 30 degrees from the axis of pressure being applied.

A more ductile steel flattens out, rather than cleaving, showing vertical cracks around the outer circumference. This ductile steel will not break, but will continue to flatten as more stress (load or force) is applied.

This compression or upset test is helpful for assuring that a steel will successfully cold work.

It can also be used to determine the extent of seams, laps or other surface imperfections on the surface of the bar. That's what I used to do when we were producing drawn wire for cold heading applications.


Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Milo for sharing this blog entry, which you can also read here.

4 comments; last comment on 04/26/2016
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