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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?"

Make It Work Or Make It Right?

Posted January 12, 2016 12:00 PM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: equipment machining repair

Making it work might get the machine back up and running in half an hour, but if a quarter of the parts produced are then rejected, what was the point?

The paradox that our operators face daily is they often need to choose between "Make it work," versus "Make it right."

Are you a "make it work" or "make it right" kind of guy?

Is yours a "make it work" or "make it right" kind of shop?

Keep your answer to yourself until you finish this short piece.

Make it Work.

How many times when you were working production and an obstacle arises, were you given this sage counsel from the boss: "We really need to get these parts out. Just make it work!" So using all of the brainpower of MacGyver, we cobble together some patch, blend of adjustments, shims, love taps with a hammer, regrinds, or other chicanery to get the process up and running- making it work.

Making it work…

And then the parts go to quality, where a substantial percentage of them are rejected, if not for the original issue, then for a new issue-an unanticipated but very real consequence of the "just make it work we've got product to ship" adjustments that you made. Bottom line, fewer parts than plan, fewer conforming parts than produced, fewer shippable parts at the end of the day, and very low earned hours of production, despite the time and materials used to "make it work."

Can't Ship. Don't get paid.

Make It Right

Professional machinists don't buy the "make it work" instruction. They know that a part that won't ship to the customer is a part that company won't get paid for. It's waste. A waste of the material, machine time, utilities, and their time to make a non-conforming part. Instead of trying to "make it work, professionals work on trying to understand the problem, determine its root causes, and then take effective corrective actions. Making it work might get the machine back up and running in half an hour, but if a quarter of the parts produced are then rejected, what was the point?

By taking the time to do more than just "make it work" with a cobbled together workaround, the professional eliminates the root cause and returns the process to statistical control, making it right.

Yes, maybe the machine was down an extra half hour or hour compared to the quick "make it work" fix that hopefully, but likely doesn't, really get you back up and running good parts.

At the end of the day, I'm betting that more shippable parts will be produced by the "Make it Right" philosophy, than the "Make It Work" philosophy. Urgent is not a synonym for Good. The tyranny of the urgent is the enemy of good.

Yes, we all know that we get paid when we ship good parts. We all know that we can only ship good parts when the machine is running. Nope- correction. We all know that we can only ship good parts when the machine is making good parts- under statistical control, using the approved process. Make it work is at best a risky gamble - minimizing short term gain for longer term rejection. We shouldn't be gambling in our shops.

Make it right.

Photo credit Make it work

Photo credit MacGyver

Photocredit Reject Tag

Photocredit Picard

13 comments; last comment on 02/03/2016
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Bolted Joints: More Than You Think

Posted January 05, 2016 10:00 AM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: Assembly bolts joints screws

Bolted joints are a staple of modern engineering and manufacturing practice.

Modern life is modern because of our mastery of materials and bolted joints.

I would be hard pressed to name a technology that does NOT depend on bolted joints in some aspect of its construction and operation.

Here are two videos that describe the challenges faced by bolted joints. (Videos open on YouTube.)

When you see that piece of heavy equipment, man lift, or structural application, you can be assured that the engineers have evaluated the risk.

For those of us in manufacturing, these are great tutorials to stoke our "Mastery of our craft."

In maching, bolting that secures our tools and fixtures is subject to the same challenges as shown in these films.

Enjoy.

Hat Tip to Jeff Remaley of Motch and Eichele for the find.

Do you have a favorite video explaining some aspect of engineering, machining, or manufacturing? Send us a link in the comments so we can share it.


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 01/06/2016
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Stock Removal Guidelines for Seams in Cold Drawn Bars

Posted December 01, 2015 11:00 AM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: cold forming machining seams

"Seams are longitudinal crevices that are tight or even closed at the surface, but are not welded shut. They are close to radial in orientation and can originate in steelmaking, primary rolling, or on the bar or rod mill."- AISI Technical Committee on Rod and Bar Mills, Detection, Classification, and Elimination of Rod and Bar Surface Defects

Seams are longitudinal voids opening radially from the bar section in a very straight line without the presence of deformed material adjacent.

Seams may be present in the billet due to non-metallic inclusions, cracking, tears, subsurface cracking or porosity. During continuous casting loss of mold level control can promote a host of out of control conditions which can reseal while in the mold but leave a weakened surface.

In order to assure removal of unwanted seams from the bar surface, even after non destructive testing has sorted out the most non compliant bars, the customer should take adequate stock removal.

Seam frequency is higher in resulfurized steels compared to non-resulfurized grades, so stock removal recommendations for these two different kinds of steels vary.

  • For non-resulfurized steels (10XX, 15XX, All Alloys) take off 0.001" per sixteenth of bar diameter per side. That means 0.032" off the diameter of a 1" diameter bar to assure seam free.
  • For resulfurized steels (11XX, 12XX and 12LXX free machining steels) take off 0.0015" per sixteenth of bar diameter per side. That means 0.048" off of the diameter of a 1" diameter bar to assure seam free on resulfurized steels.

Yes that is a lot of material to remove to assure a sound seam free surface.

Have you considered making it out of wood?

Photo credit

More info on Seams in steel.


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 12/02/2015
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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: http://loganclutch.com/cs2001-door-interlock


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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