Posts Tagged ‘ Milling Machines ’

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 identi.ca 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 http://www.amtda.org and http://amtdanetwork.org

#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 http://www.imts.com

#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 http://www.iso.org/iso/home.html

#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 http://www.jimtof.org

#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.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Association_of_Manufacturers 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 nam.org.  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 https://www.usmtc.com/Detailed 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

www.rpmconsultants.us

bernie@rpmconsultants.us

tel: 412.996.5700


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Industrial Equipment Sales via Social Media

A shorter version of this article appeared in the American Machine Tool Distributor’s AssociationToolTalk” newsletter in October 2010 starting on Page 4

This article on social media is going to be a bit different than previous articles that have appeared in Tool Talk.  We’re going to address some of the core questions that the AMTDA membership has been asking:

  • “Is this just a fad? Should I just wait until the dust settles to get in?”
  • “What are the best Social Media places to be? Where are my customers?”
  • “I don’t have enough time to respond to emails, how am I going to manage these marketing efforts”
  • “How do I know what my ROI is? How do I measure it?”

Flashback 1993:

Q: “What’s your email address?”

A: “We don’t have one. We do everything by fax, That’s too new. We’re going to wait and see if people use it”

Is it a Fad?

Pew Study US Internet Users 2010

Social media is generating the same conversations today.  The big difference is that the “tools” to use and manage social media are expanding exponentially and will continue to expand.  The pace of change in the last 18 months in Social Media would be like moving from NC Tape Machines to full integration of MT Connect in the same time period.

“While social media use has grown dramatically across all age groups, older users have been especially enthusiastic over the past year about embracing new networking tools. Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010.

  • Between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking use among internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88%–from 25% to 47%.
  • During the same period, use among those ages 65 and older grew 100%–from 13% to 26%.
  • By comparison, social networking use among users ages 18-29 grew by 13%—from 76% to 86%.”

-“Older Adults & Social Media”, Mary Madden, PEW Internet, August 27, 2010

….It’s not a fad.

Should I just wait to “get in?”

Customer: “Ok, So our first new 6 pallet Horizontal CNC hits my floor in 5 days, That’s going to be perfect. We want to move our two families of 10,000 parts/month onto them and ship 20,000 at the end of the month in 15 days before our competitor gets the work”

You already know that that is not realistic.  But that is the same kind of thinking that is taking place in Social Media.

“Hey, we can just set up a Twitter account in a few minutes”

Well, yes you can, but, just like the first time buyer of a machine tool, there’s still an awful lot to learn. The sooner you start learning, the farther in front of your competitors you’ll be.  This is a pro-active approach.  Too many b-to-b companies, particularly exhibitors at IMTS, took a reactive approach. They jumped in and created their “social media brand names” without first having personal accounts so they understood how it works.

So the best way to learn is to set up some social media personal accounts.

Start with your LinkedIn Profile.

  1. Does your profile web link say “My Company”  or contain your actual company name?
  2. Create a Company Page – it’s that little document icon next some people’s company name.

…get in now. Be Sure to read the article Social Media 101 for Mfg, part 1: LinkedIn for more details.

What are the best Social Media places to be as a Machine Tool Distributor?

  1. YouTube – It’s the simplest way to enable your sales force to have all of their product videos in one place.  You don’t need to re-create the wheel or even upload any videos.  You can go in and “favorite” your builder’s videos after you create your own channel.
  2. Twitter “Twitter’s like snack food: it tastes good, it’s fun to eat but there’s no nutritional value” In some sense, the above statement is true.  But with two  BIG caveats: It’s all in what you make of it, and, most importantly, it s FOUNDATION level application.  Without going into a lot of detail about API’s and tech jargon, what you need to know is that Twitter connects to almost everything. It’s like the junction box in an electrical system.
  3. 43% of U.S. companies will be blogging by 2012

    Blog“I don’t know what to write about, I don’t have content” Press releases, news articles, technical information…. Cut and paste.  There is lots of content available. Obviously, clear all of this with the content owners.  Actually a Blog is one of the very best things you can create. Think about this for a moment. When you type a search into Google, you don’t type just “CNC” you type what you are looking for: “cnc swiss screw machine multi axis.” You have learned over the years that by typing more information you are more likely to find exactly what you are looking for in a topic.  This is called a “long tail search.” That’s very important to know because it’s how your customers find out about your company and your products. It becomes even more important because the new algorithms used by search engines are location based.  You’ve probably noticed that when you use a “long tail search” and you’re in Chicago you don’t get listings for many places in Europe.  That’s not because there aren’t places in Europe it’s because they are NOT near Chicago.

  4. Facebook“That’s for kids.” Step back from any preconceived notions and think about this from a business standpoint.  There is a war going on.  Two data collection monoliths, Facebook & Google, are each trying to outdo each other.  In April 2010 Facebook announced at their annual “F8” conference the “Open Graph”: That’s why you are seeing the “LIKE” button appear everywhere. Here’s why that’s important:  If you recall the first time you got a day planner you learned that you should not only put your business appointments down but also soccer games, weddings and personal events. Time management 101. Your life is 24 hours a day. Facebook at it’s core is personal. But your personal life affects your business and vice-versa. Facebook collects personal data and associates it with your interests. If your title is “CNC machinist,” it permits advertisers to target that. Although Google has a massive database, they have not “aggregated” demographics as deep down as Facebook. They are both competing for ad space. If you were at IMTS in Chicago and logged into Facebook, you may have seen some ads running.  But you would have only seen them if you were with in 5 miles of McCormick Place, between 7pm -10pm, were male, between 35-55, and had some keyword in your profile indicating you were in our industry. The “pay-per-click” cost .60 cents each and had a cap on the amount spent by the advertiser. Yes, you can do that level of targeted advertising. Creating a Facebook Page is a way to become “engaged’ and be in front of your customer when they get home from work.  The busiest time on Facebook is Wednesday and Friday evening, but we’ll talk about that more later…

Where are my Customers?

They are “IN” all for the above digital spaces and probably another 1,000 more.

Have you ever purchased something online?  Have you looked down at the product reviews and decided against the purchase of something because of the reviews?  Then, did you think  “Wow, I wonder why that manufacturer isn’t reading that and fixing it? They’re getting really bad press”  The problem is that the manufacturer may not even know about the comments to address them. But B-to-B  consumers ARE researching and engaging each other.

There are a number of free products out there to use to search for who’s talking about what.  I would recommend going to Social Mention and type in your company name and brands and see what appears.  You will find that you can drill down and drill down more and then drill down even more into exactly who is talking about what where.

“How do I manage all of these marketing efforts?”

“There’s an APP for that!”  Well, actually, there are a multitude of application dashboards so that you can see ALL of your social media sites.

Realize that the heavy users of Social Media are NOT online every minute.  They have done several things, which are very important to be aware of, as you ponder social media marketing:

1. They have “wired” their social media sites together.  In all reality you can only be in one place at a time.  Different users will be using different channels at the same moment.  You notice that when you channel surf on TV that you see the same commercials sometimes?  It’s just like that. In order to maximize your exposure you “connect” the sites to each other so you don’t have to post the same thing over and over again.

Remember when I explained that Twitter was a “junction box”? This is how it “connects” Twitter

permits the sharing between sites better than most any other social media site.

Here are a couple of examples of dashboard app’s:

2. They have Pre-programmed “Tweets” and announcements. If you already do a newsletter email or product announcements electronically, you have content to use.

Two very good examples of how this can be done is to take a look at Criterion Machine Works or TechniksUSA Blog sites.  Once a blog is posted it is automatically tweeted, posted on their Facebook page and appears in a number of social media outlets.

………………Automatically

The Blogs can be programmed to post at a given time and, once the switch is flipped on the timer, everything else happens seamlessly.

That however, is not where it ends.  Unlike just sending it out there and hoping people read it, now your customer can interact back with you.

Think of social media like your cell phone. You should check it a couple times a day with your dashboard application and see if you have messages, comments, or questions and then “engage” the customer in some “conversation.”

Measuring ROI

Just as there are a number of dashboard app’s there are an innumerable number of “analytics” to gage and measure success in real time.

In fact, some of the dashboard applications I mentioned earlier have the measurement tools built right into them. Measuring is actually pretty easy.

Without going into a tremendous amount of detail on measurement tools, be aware that the list of measurement tools practically exceeds the number of social media outlets that exist.  Just for Twitter there are sites like Analytic.lyTwifficiency and Twitteranalyzer. Facebook has built-in analysis tools for their Page.  Your ROI is really going to be determined by what you put into the effort.  Just like a salesperson, the more you engage, the more return.  If you sit in the office and just send out emails and don’t follow up to engage into the conversation not much is going to happen.  “Engaging” is the key to ROI and the analysis tool sets are all going to measure this kind of activity and report on it.

Where to Start

“I’ve gotta interpolate down and then ramp into this corner with a ½” tool at an 8 thou chip load and I need a 32 finish. Which is better Linear guides vs. box ways? How’s your look ahead on that?”

Learn by Doing (National Training Laboratories)

The first time you heard that it would have been like a foreign language.  Social Media also has it’s own language:

“I put the hashtag in the summary blog post & the metatag to increase my SEO”

So where do you start?  You can’t arrive in our industry green and expect to know everything. Same thing applies for social media.

Start with a personal account on:

  • Twitter –  Set up Twitter account and follow some people. You can follow @RPMconsultants where we tweet about social media or my personal Twitter account, @bernardtmartin where I tweet about Education, STEM, F1, Economics and Foreign Affairs. You can then check out who we follow, learn some basics, ask some questions.
  • Facebook – Set up a personal account, be sure to set your account settings to “friends only” across all categories and then search for “International Manufacturing Technology Show” or “AMTDA” on Facebook.  Look at whom they have made favorites on their Company page.  Hit the “LIKE” button.

The first step is really about “learning” about how to use these tools for your business.

What NOT to do & Where to begin

  • DON”T go out and set up accounts in YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for your company right this minute! That’s would be like a customer saying “I want to buy the CNC with the Green Paint, I like that color.”
  • Set up your personal accounts and then go to “Knowem” Search for some available names.  I’ve talked to many machinery distributor owners and employees over the years and heard “Yea, our website name is WAY too long, but it’s what we’re stuck with.”

Unlike registering your web address, your URL, with a service that reports to one central agency for verification, called ICANN, there is no single service registration of your “Social Media Brand name”

Places like Knowem allow you to search for brand names.

You want to use the same Brand name in ALL of your social media spaces.

There are several considerations in the selection of THAT name:

  • Shorter is better. Remember Twitter on permits 140 characters in “tweets” You don’t want to eat up half of it with your company name and be limited on your message.
  • Use the same name in all social media spaces. That bears worth repeating. Remember that long tail search discussion?

Comments and questions are always welcome.  If you would like more information on what we do at Rapid Production Marketing be sure and check out our website or you can drop us an email bernie@rpmconsultants.us



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?

Muda

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

Mura

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.