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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?"

It's About the Revenue: OSHA Fines to Increase About 80%

Posted November 10, 2015 11:01 AM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: fines manufacturing osha

Wall Street Journal's Alexandra Berzon reported Wednesday that "Federal penalties for workplace-safety violations were increased this week for the first time since 1990, thanks to a little-noticed provision of the budget bill signed into law by President Barack Obama."

"Workplace-safety experts said that they were caught by surprise by the new mandate, which they say will likely increase maximum fines for the most severe citations to $125,000 from $70,000 and for other serious violations to $12,500 from $7,000."

According to PMPA's retained labor law firm Fisher Phillips, "That's when we learned that the Federal Budget Agreement, which was quickly worked out behind closed doors and signed the day before, includes surprise provisions authorizing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to increase penalties for the first time since 1990. To the surprise of almost all observers, the amount of the increase could be as much as 82%."

"The initial penalty increases must become effective by August 1, 2016, but we can expect to learn well before then the extent to which OSHA will increase these amounts. The Federal Office of Management and Budget will issue guidance on implementing the bill's provisions by January 31, 2016. Raising the maximum fines in line with the CPI for the catch-up boost requires OSHA to publish an interim final rule by July 1, 2016, allowing the adjustment to take effect by August 31."

As manufacturers we can expect to receive the full attention of OSHA with our processes' need for proper machine guarding, hazardous energy control, and lockout-tagout.

If creating a safety compliance culture has not been one of your top priorities, perhaps OSHA's 82% higher fine and penalty structure will help you move Safety up on your list.

Thanks to the BBB for the photo

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

18 comments; last comment on 11/12/2015
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4 Keys to Business Sustainability

Posted October 20, 2015 11:00 AM by Milo

Many people, particularly in Purchasing and Accounting, see buying at the lowest cost as being a key to sustaining their business.

Here are 4 keys that will unlock true long term sustainability for your precision machining shop.

  1. Solve problems first.
  2. Solve the problem for good.
  3. Understand that lowest cost over the long term is not the lowest price over the short term.
  4. Spend less time and money on maintenance by actually planning it.

Solve problems first

Solving problems is the most efficient use of your company's talent and knowledge. The effort spent on solving the problem stops the deviation from normal in your immediate operations and reduces the potential expenditures on inspection, remediation and over-processing. Do you have a culture of problem solving?

Solve the problem for good.

It does no good to solve a problem today only to see it return later. That is not problem solving. It is critical to identify the root cause and then take permanent corrective actions to prevent that root cause from ever appearing again. "What problems has your team made go away forever in your shop? can you name one? Two? More?"

Understand that lowest cost over the long term is not the lowest price over the short term.

Yes, you can buy cheaper tooling from a jobber. Many purchasing departments are incorrectly focused on cost per tool, cost per pound of raw material or cost per gallon of metal removal fluid. Cheap drills are no bargain if they only last for 60 to 70 holes instead of 400 to 500 per drill. To be sustainable, the company needs to have the lowest cost to produce a compliant part, not only the cheapest materials to make it. Does your shop reward the purchase of the cheapest inputs for the job, or attaining the lowest cost for production of compliant parts?

Spend less time and money on maintenance by actually planning it.

Our industry is focused on reducing cycle time and Setup time - as it should. Without exception every shop owner or operations manager is focused on these. But if everyone is focused on these, how does that help you? For your shop to be uniquely sustainable, why not focus on eliminating unplanned downtime and lost production time due to unexpected breakdowns? It is a truism that we get what we measure. Today most shops have rigorous systems for ERP and operations planning, but does your shop have any process at all for proactive machine maintenance?

Today, customers expect Zero Defects and 100% On Time - from every supplier. Why not make your shop sustainable by actually having a 4 point process to get there by solving problems first, solving them for good, getting to lowest cost per compliant part produced, and eliminating unplanned downtime by actually planning for it?

For more details, please see our article in October 2015 issue of Production Machining

Photo credit.

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

Amputation Hazard Follow Up: Logan Clutch Door Interlock

Posted September 22, 2015 2:00 PM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: amputation hazard machining osha

Our recent post on the latest OSHA Emphasis program on Amputations brought us a comment from Michael Krizmanich at PMPA Technical Member Logan Clutch about avoiding violations (and potential amputations) through door interlocks. "Some screw machine customers use the Logan Clutch control for machine guarding. The CS2001 Microprocessor Control has two pairs of inputs for two Door Interlock Switches."

As staff providing member assistance to companies when OSHA visits and cites guarding, we have found that typically OSHA insists on door interlocks, despite the Kershaw Exemption which we have written about here.

So the Logan Cutch Door interlock is a potential solution to the OSHA identified guarding issue.

Door interlocks make the OSHA folks happy.

CS2001 Door Start Interrupt Switch Inputs: How They Work

The CS2001 Microprocessor Control has two pairs of inputs for two Door Interlock Switches. Each pair of is designed for one normally opened switch contact and one normally closed switch contact. The control senses both inputs together and has an override/defeat checking feature to monitor door input functionality.

CS2001 Safety Features & Safety Relay
The CS2001 Control has a stop circuit which integrates a Pilz Category 4, EN 954-1, model PNOZ X2.1 Safety Relay. The safety relay, provides dual-channel E-STOP with monitored manual reset. One channel of the Pilz Safety relay is connected to an output of the CS2001 microprocessor control. One channel of the Pilz Safety relay is connected in series to multiple, maintained contact, red mushroom head push buttons. A second separate contact of the red mushroom head buttons is wired in series into a CS2001 Microprocessor Control input. The reset input of the Pilz Safety relay is connected to an output of the CS2001 Microprocessor Control. All control power outputs to all external machine devices are wired thru the Pilz Safety Relay Safety Contacts.

Additional functionality included:

  • Stock Load Position Selector Switch
  • Thread Check Failure System
  • Short Part & Broken Tool Detectors
  • Stock Depletion Detector Inputs
  • Machine Lock-up Detection

Here's a link with more information:

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 09/22/2015
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Twenty-Five Years of Software Success--Henning Software

Posted September 18, 2015 11:00 AM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: machining manufacturing software

It's not every post that I write that I can start with a reference to DOS desktop computing, but in 1990 that was the engine for Henning Software's Job Estimating Software.

This is how we got our music in 1990 when Henning started writing job shop software.

After successfully creating job estimating software, Henning Software realized it would need to keep expanding their software offerings into a fully developed ERP system in order to grow in the market.

"At the time, most of ERP software available was minicomputer based and priced upwards of $50,000, which was too expensive for smaller shops," Mrs. Henning says, co-owner of Henning Software. "We thought we could make something better, but we needed more than job estimating software. We needed our software to manage all operational and accounting areas of a manufacturing business."

In their 25 years in the job shop manufacturing business, the Henning's and their company have been active participants and supporters of PMPA, especially through our technical conferences where, as likely as not, they are presenting on IT and leading edge technological developments.

Today, Henning Software's customer base spans all across the U.S. and Canada. And at PMPA conferences, many of the Henning's customers will be in attendance. Job shops, contract manufacturers, screw machine shops, tool and die shops, and metal fabricating companies are among the kinds of manufacturing companies that rely on Henning Software for their ERP, Estimating, and Accounting software needs.

For more information about Henning Software and their ERP solutions click here

Article in September issue of Production Machining on Henning Software Long Time Success

How do you remember the 1990's?

For some PMPA members, 1990 was when they first started managing their shop using Henning Software.

You do remember the 1990's right?

Discman photo courtesy wikimedia

Fashion photo credit

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

OSHA National Emphasis Program on Amputations Updated

Posted September 15, 2015 1:00 PM by Milo

"The intent of this NEP is to target workplaces with machinery and equipment that cause (or are capable of causing) amputations, while maximizing the Agency's inspection resources."

OSHA updates NEP for amputations.

OSHA recently issued an updated National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Amputations. The NEP has been in existence since 2006 and is targeted to industries with high numbers and rates of amputations.

In this latest update NAICS code 332710 Machine Shops and most other 332 NAICS code Categories are listed as Targets.

See Appendix C in the PDF

What else did we note when we looked at this?

-They will be asking for your DUNS Number

-They will be checking compliance on the new requirements for reporting work-related fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye.

Updated Directive

Change to Reporting requirements that went into effect January 1, 2015: Updated Employer Reporting Requirements 2015.

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

Heat Treat Colors of Steel Chart

Posted September 11, 2015 11:00 AM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: chart heat treating machining steel

Our Temper Colors for Steel Chart Post remains very popular. So here is a chart of Heat Treat Colors for Steel.

Heat treat colors for steel by Temperature

These days pyrometers are affordable. But it is the mark of a craftsman to be able to tell temperature by eye, if only to validate the instrumentation (or suspect it!)

These colors were obtained from a 0.40 wt. % carbon, alloy steel, as seen through a furnace peep hole during average daylight conditions.

Temper Colors for Steel Chart

Art of the Craft

Knowledge Retention

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 09/14/2015
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