Posts Tagged ‘ CNC ’

Do you need a reference list of #Twitter #Hastags for #Mfg?

As more and more people join Twitter and other social media outlets they are finding a rather steep learning curve for all of the nomenclature used.  This is particularly true with regard to #Hashtags.

Short messages on services such as Twitter or may be tagged by including one or more hash tags: words or phrases prefixed with a hash symbol (#), with multiple words concatenated… These hash tags also show up in a number of trending topicswebsites, including Twitter’s own front page. One phenomenon specific to the Twitter ecosystem are micro-memes, which are emergent topics for which a hash tag is created, used widely for a few days, then disappears. – Wikipedia

Again, with the massive influx of people from the manufacturing sector entering Twitter, it’s become very hard to search for or decide what the various common hashtags mean. But never fear, there’s an app for that! Well, sort of, it’s actually a website called TagDef.  Short of going there, you can check out the following is a list of commonly used hastags in the twitterverse and, in particular, the manufacturing & metalcutting industry.

Common #hashtags:

#Aero – Topics related to the aerospace & defense industry

#Aerospace – Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space. Aerospace is a very diverse field, with a multitude of commercial, industrial and military applications. This hashtag covers a great many topics. Please see the above hashtag “#aero” which appears to be more manufacturing industry specific.

#AMT – refers to Alternative Minimum Tax which has the most volume.  Although it has been used for The Association For Manufacturing Technology the larger population already on Twitter uses the first definition. Organizations should select Hastags and post their definitions sooner rather than later.

#AMTDA – American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association is a Trade Association dedicated to lead distributors of manufacturing technology. Found at and

#AutoMfg – Topics related to the automotive industry as it pertains to design & manufacture of automotive components.
Defined by the following NAICS codes:

  • 336111 Automobile Manufacturing
  • 336112 Light Truck and Utility Vehicle Mfg
  • 336120 Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturing
  • 336211 Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing
  • 336212 Truck Trailer Manufacturing
  • 336213 Motor Home Manufacturing
  • 336214 Travel Trailer and Camper Manufacturing
  • 336311 Carburetor, Piston, Piston Ring, and Valve
  • 336312 Gasoline Engine and Engine Parts Mfg
  • 336321 Vehicular Lighting Equipment Mfg
  • 336322 Other Motor Vehicle Electrical and Electronic Equipment Manufacturing
  • 336330 Motor Vehicle Steering and Suspension Components (except Spring) Manufacturing
  • 336340 Motor Vehicle Brake System Mfg336350 Motor Vehicle Transmission &Power Train
  • 336360 Motor Vehicle Seating and Interior Trim
  • 336370 Motor Vehicle Metal Stamping
  • 336391 Motor Vehicle Air-Conditioning Mfg
  • 336399 All Other Motor Vehicle Parts Mfg

#cadcam – Topics related to CAD/CAM: Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing. Often associated with Computer-Aided technologies #CAx, Product Lifecycle Management #PLM

#CMTS – Although it does not appear as a hashtag per se, as it often appears in the form #CMTs as an alternative version of #CMT for what appears to be Country Music Television. It does not refer to Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show although, as that show gets closer, the folks  @SocMfgEng should select an appropriate hashtag

#CNC – Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machine tools. CNC-like systems are now used for any process that can be described as a series of movements and operations. These include laser cutting, welding, friction stir welding, ultrasonic welding, flame and plasma cutting, bending, spinning, pinning, gluing, fabric cutting, sewing, tape and fiber placement, routing, picking and placing (PnP), and sawing.

#CTD – Cutting Tool Distributor.

#defense – There is no definition for this category as it encompasses topics from defense in football, defense (#military) policy and economics.  For topics related to defense manufacturing please see the above hashtag #aero

#DOD – Tweets regarding the U.S. Department of Defense carry this tag. This tag is used by various gamers as well

#ERP – Topics about Enterprise Resource Planning, a system that is used to manage and coordinate all the resources, information, and functions of a business

#FB – This tag is used by people who have installed the Selective Twitter Update application on Facebook. Tweets ending in #fb are automatically imported to Facebook, all others are ignored. Just a note, if #fb appears anywhere other than at the end of the tweet, it will not sync with Facebook.

#FF – #ff is the same as (short for) #followfriday: Every friday you can use #followfriday (#FF) to suggest people to follow.

#green – Tweets related to sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of living.

#IMTS – International Manufacturing Technology Show found at

#inshoring = “#reshoring” and “#inshoring” may be thought of as the ‘opposite’ of Offshoring. It is the business process outsourcing work domestically within a given country

#ISO – Refers to the International Organization for Standardization

#ISO-P – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining a variety of #steels.

#ISO-M – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining ductile irons, harder steels, stainless steels, and high-temperature alloys.

#ISO-K – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining cast irons.

#ISO-N – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining a variety of Aluminum wrought and Aluminum cast alloys, copper, copper alloys, non metal materials

#ISO-S – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining a variety heat-resistant alloys like Nickel/Cobalt-base alloys & Titanium alloys

#ISO-H – An #ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining a variety Hard materials such as Hardened steels (>35-45 HRC), chilled castings, hard cast irons

#JIMTOF – Topics related to the Japan International Machine Tool Fair. More details at

#JobShop – Topics that relate to Job shops which are typically small manufacturing businesses that handle job production, that is, custom/bespoke or semi-custom/bespoke manufacturing processes such as small to medium-size customer orders or batch jobs.

#Lathe – Topics related to lathe: a machine tool which spins the workpiece to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object which has symmetry about an axis of rotation.Lathes are used in woodturning, metalworking, metal spinning, and glassworking.

#Lean – Noun: the name given to the philosophy of delivering maximum value to stakeholders with the least possible waste. Predominantly associated with the Toyota Production System and Toyota Product Development System, derived from the works of Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo amongst others.

#Logistics – Logistics topics are about the management of the flow of the goods, information and other resources in a repair cycle between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet the requirements of customers

#Materials – Topics related to Materials: anything made of matter, constituted of one or more substances. Metal, Wood, cement, etc. Sometimes the term “material” is used more narrowly to refer to substances or components with certain physical properties that are used as inputs to production or manufacturing.

#materialhandling – Topics in Material Handling are about the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal

#medicaldevice – A medical device is a product which is used for medical purposes in patients, in diagnosis, therapy or surgery.

#Milling – Topics related to milling machines, CNC milling, cutting tools, milling problems, milling products, End Mills, Face Mill, Shell Mills. etc

#Metalcutting – Topics related to the metalcutting manufacturing industry using lathes and mills in the production of components in SIC 33-39, NAICS 31-33

#Metrology – Topics related to the science of measurement.

#MFG – “MFG” is used to reference topics that relate to global manufacturing and the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale. Be aware that an alternative definition is posted from the folks at #NAM (see below)

#Moldmaking – Topics related to moldmaking: Anyone who produces molds for the injection molding (plastics), die casting (e.g. aluminium, magnesium) and ceramics industries.

#MTD – Machine Tool Dealer

#NAM – The NAM – Advocacy for U.S. Manufacturing. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers create jobs and growth, visit  Be aware that the more common usage of the hashtag “#NAM” is by Viet Nam veterans and National Adoption Month.

#Plastics – Topics related to plastic materials is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products

#reshoring – “#reshoring” and “#inshoring” may be thought of as the ‘opposite’ of Offshoring. It is the business process outsourcing work domestically within a given country

#SocialMedia – Social Media is an emerging form of news and information distribution that may soon replace traditional media like newspapers, magazines, tv and radio

#SM – Social Media

#SMD – Social Media Design

#SMI – Social Media Implementation

#SMM – Social Media Monitoring

#SMO – Social Media Optimization

#SMT – Social Media Training

#STEM – Refers to topics related to he acronym S.T.E.M. which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.In many forums (including political/governmental and academic) the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation’s ability to sustain itself.

#subtweet – It’s the shortening of “subliminal tweet” which is directly referring to a particular person without mentioning their name or directly mentioning them and it basically indicates that the tweet in which the hashtag is used is a subliminal tweet.

#sustainability – is in use by several different interest groups. Use at your own risk as it relates to manufacturing.

#USMTC – United States Manufacturing Technology Consumption found at Manufacturing Technology Market DataTimely, Comprehensive, ConfidentialAvailable to Builders and Distributors180 Manufacturing Technology Product CategoriesNational and State Time Series Orders DataGeographic Sales Territory Orders DataMachine Orders by End User Industry

#workforce – Topics related to the workforce: The labour pool in employment. It is generally used to describe those working for a single company or industry, but can also apply to a geographic region like a city, country, state, etc

#Workholding – Broad category of Topics related to workholding and fixturing in lathes & mills in the production of components in SIC 33-39; NIACS 31-33.

#WW – is either Worth Watching, Writing Wednesday, Wine Wednesday or Wedding Wednesday depending upon the context used.  A rather good example of why researching hastags is important in your business, organization or event.

#xmas (#cmas) – short for Christmas

For more definitions on hashtags be sure to visit TagDef

If you know of more hashtags that should be on the list be sure to leave a comment below and I’ll add them.

If you want to learn more about Social Media marketing in the industrial sector please contact us at:

Rapid Production Marketing

tel: 412.996.5700

Is it time to re-think the T-Slot?

“If you’re not making chips you’re not making money”

Okay, here’s a typical scenario: A salesperson walks into a typical machine shop one day to run a 3” face mill test.  He loads the inserts onto the cutter and runs the test.  Throughout the process he’s crunching numbers.  He’s calculating how much faster the SFM is on his cutter is compared to the competitor. He’s calculating the MRR of his inserts vs. the competition.  At the end of the test he proudly presents his findings to the shop manager.

1818 Eli Whitney Milling Machine

1818 Eli Whitney Milling Machine

“Well, sir it looks like by using my cutter and inserts your cost per edge on each insert will go down by X% and at the end of the year, because of your tool life increases you should save X thousands of dollars!  Do you want to buy my cutter?”

The shop manager says “Boy that’s great but this is only one of my two big jobs and I want to get you to test on my other production job.  Can you come back tomorrow and we can run that cutter on the other parts?”

The salesperson dutifully bows his head and promises to return the next day.  A typical cutting tool salesperson. A typical day.

How could the situation have been different?  When the salesperson walked into the shop he could have stepped back and taken a look around the place.  He would have noted that, as with most job shops, about half of the machines in the facility where sitting idle, waiting for something to be set up, or changed over.  The salesperson would have recognized that for the customer to be successful and grow they would need to be constantly feeding the machines material and spewing chips into the chips bins as fast as possible.  The salesperson would have recognized that the face mill cutter was only one aspect of the entire operation.  The salesperson would have observed, based upon their own experience of walking into thousands of shops, what kind of roadblocks where preventing the customer from being more productive.

So when the shop manager said ““Boy that’s great but this is only one of my two big jobs and I want to get you to test on my other production job.  Can you come back tomorrow and we can run that cutter on the other parts?” The salesperson would have responded;

“Well golly gee Wally why can’t we set it up and run it now?”

Inevitably the shop manager would respond with something like “I need to changeover for the other job and it’s won’t be in the machine until tomorrow.” “Oh,” says the salesperson, “that makes sense. I’ll see you tomorrow!”

If the salesperson where doing their job they would have said

“Wait a minute dude! How long does it take you to changeover your jobs?  I’m sitting here talking about saving seconds per part and you’re talking about hours of downtime!  Maybe we’re both stepping over dollars to pick up pennies!  Do you want to talk about set up time and changeover reduction?”

In most shops the spindle optimization rate is running around 8-15%.  Companies that have implemented Lean are pushing 80-85% spindle optimization rates: their machines are in the cut 80-85% of the available work day.

Cutting tool technology has improved, machine tool technology has improved but…

“If you always do, what you’ve always done, you always get what you always got” – David Sandler

The bottleneck

There in lies the problem.  No matter how fast the cutters. No matter how fast you can make chips. You will hit a bottleneck around 80 – 85% spindle optimization.  I’ve been in many LEAN shops and the problem each has identified is “set up and changeover” bottleneck.

So let’s take a look at some of the history.

“Systeme Gribeauval”

In the late 18th century, French General Jean Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval suggested that muskets could be manufactured faster and more economically if they were made from interchangeable parts. The concept of interchangable parts was introduced.  I think, at this point in time that everyone understands the benefit of interchangable parts.

Iron Planer, circa 1825, Photo courtesy: American Precision Museum

Iron Planer, circa 1825, Photo courtesy: American Precision Museum

Eli Whitney

In 1818 Eli Whitney built his first milling machine which precisely shaped metal parts. “His efficient methods, especially the use of interchangeable parts, revolutionized the small-arms industry, and gradually these production methods were applied to most types of manufacturing.”

1862 The Knee Mill

In 1862 Joseph Brown, later of Browne & Sharpe, began development of the fist “Universal Milling Machine”. “In order to insure firmness in the said carriage it is mounted upon a heavy knee”

1939: Bridgeport Patent:

Bridgeport Patent dwg 1942

Bridgeport Patent dwg 1942

“…that many frequently desired machining operations have heretofore been impossible, or at best have required changing the set up of the work on it’s support table, an operation which greatly slows up production and increases the likelihood of inaccuracy in the finished work.”  April 4, 1939  US Patent 2,275,291  MACHINE TOOL OPERATING AT UNIVERSAL ANGLES IN ALL LOCATIONS

Here’s the problem: Changeover of fixtures. It “greatly slows up the production”   We’ve known about it for years.  But what really has been done?


The table of the machine has not undergone any significant changes in 70 years. In fact, the table of the machine has not really undergone any changes since the early 1820’s!   Think about that!

“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.”  – Shigeo Shingo


Implementing LEAN  in a milling department bottlenecks at 80-85% spindle optimization due to set up and changover. This is the last bottleneck.

Different Needs for Different jobs

Here’s what we know:

  • Some customers need vises
  • Some customer’s need three jaw chucks
  • Some need magnets
  • Some need Vacuum
  • Some need custom fixtures

Is this the BEST way to mount your fixtures?

ALL OF THEM, for the most part, mount with a T-Slot nut.

So, is this the fastest, most accurate way of mounting workholding?

“Where there is no Standard there can be no Kaizen”- Taiichi Ohno

Let’s state the obvious:

  • No single workholding manufacturer can meet all of the needs of every shop
  • No single builder has offered an alternative solution

The problem is that a t-slot has been the most versatile way to mount workholding because there has been no development of a “standard” for workholding…

It’s only the last turn of a bolt that tightens it – the rest is just movement. ~ Shigeo Shingo

Why do we stick with it?  Well, first off it’s pretty versatile. You can mount just about anything to it.

What’s it cost to make a table with a T-Slot?

But let’s step back.  How much does it cost to produce a t-slot on a milling machine  table for the manufacturer of a 40″ x 20″ table:

Present State

  • Rough Machine: 120 mins
  • Finish Machine: 20mins/slot X 5 slots = 100 min
  • Total Time: 220 minutes
  • Shop Rate est: $100/hr
  • Units /month: 50
  • Machine Time/Month (50 X 220) =11,000 minutes (183.3 hours)
  • Cost per month ($100 X 183.3)= $18,333/month
  • Total Annual Cost: $219,996

Now, WHAT IF we could:

  • Reduce he cost of production of milling machine tool talbles?
  • Increase the z-axis travel without changing ANY other dimensions on the machine (other than mod the table casting)?
  • Reduce the overall table weight of the table to reduce intertial load? (NURBS, look-ahead) – less mass in motion
  • Provide a better, more versatile platform for mounting fixtures?

That would be fantastic right?  But we’ve got to realize that there has to be an economic incentive for the builders of machine tools to see the advantage of producing tables for a different kind of specification.

Interchangable parts

What all industry discovered in 1825 was that making parts interchangable was a very good thing.  It led to the development of Mass Production. However, as we moved to this ‘standard’ we failed to create a ‘standard’ for fixturing.  This made sense.  Frankly, there where just far too many applications and fixture designs to come up with a universal mounting system.

But let’s pretend that we had a universal mounting system for base/foundation level fixtures.  How would that change the cost of production of a machine tool table?

Future State:

  • Rough & Finish machine: 30minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Shop Rate est: $100/hr
  • Units /month: 50
  • Machine Time/Month (50 X 30) =1500 minutes (25 hours)
  • Cost per month ($100 X 25)= $2,500/month
  • Difference ($18,333 – $2500=): $15,833 /month Saved
  • Annual savings: $189,996 + Opportunity cost gains from productions time reduction or $379,000

Ok, so we know that the builder’s would be all in if they could save money in production, increase the envelope capacity of the machine, and reduce load on the ways, lead screw, linear guides, etc.  That makes economic sense and it’s something that customers would probably like. (and it makes the cost accountants happy too which is always a bonus)

Jergen's Ball Lock

The Problem: Interchangable fixture components

The real crux of the problem is the that there are so so many manufacturer’s of fixture components.  There is no mounting standard.  As a first step we need a foundation.  There exist two foundation level systems that have interchangability between them (that I know about):

  • Jergen’s Ball Lock
  • Modern’s mPower

That is the foundation.  Again, there may be other systems but these are the only FOUNDATION level systems that I have seen.

From that point forward nothing is interchangable.  But, WHAT IF… the workholding manufacturers’ actually sat down and agreed upon a standard mounting location for their baseline fixtures?

What if they recognized that it would be impossible to change all of their products to a standard location pattern overnight but could slowly make fixturing compatible?  Say, over a 20 year period.

What if, they came up with a compatibility agreement and slowly implemented product changes to comply with this standard?

And what if consumers knew which products where compatible by looking for a universal logo next to the product name that let them know that a particular product was to the “compatibility” standard?

You could agree on a name, say the Clamping Compatibility Consortium, call it “3C’ for short and put a “UL” style stamp on the products that where “interchangable”

It would probably require someone like Caterpillar to get behind it and push the ‘standard’ forward the way the they pushed the CAT tapered toolholders forward….

Until then, I suppose, we shall have to live with 85% spindle optimization.