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Think of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) as healthcare for your assets. TPM has gained recent attention in the plant maintenance industry, perhaps due to its past success in industrial manufacturing, construction, building maintenance, and transportation. If you have not yet adopted a TPM plan for your company, you may be wondering what it is and how it differs from traditional quality management or plant maintenance.  The goal of TPM is to increase production while also increasing employee job satisfaction, similar to Total Quality Management, or TQM. Both emphasize employee involvement, but TQM also focuses on the output, or effect (quality). TPM ...
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Demographic studies are showing a lack of employees for all jobs, especially manufacturing, for at least another 7 to 8 years.  This presents a huge challenge for every MTI member in maximizing growth, productivity, and profits. With unemployment slated to be less than 4% in 2018, a lack of new employees will be the #1 obstacle for growth in 2018. With little-to-no new employees, it is very important your current employees have the right technical, managerial, and safety knowledge and skills needed to perform their jobs with low error rates; quick, effective decisions; and little micro-management.  This only comes through effective management, knowledge, ...
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Anyone living through today’s news cycle who does not recognize cybersecurity as an issue is simply not paying attention. But, until recently, most manufacturing companies have considered it someone else’s issue. Most reported cyber incidents have been aimed at acquiring large caches of consumer data (think breaches at Target affecting 70 million consumers, and Verizon affecting 40 million consumers.) Hackers were historically intent on identity theft, and the acquisition of consumers’ personally identifiable information (PII) is a first step toward that goal. Most manufacturers do not deal directly with consumers or collect their data, so many put cybersecurity ...
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Dear MTI Members, It is my honor to serve as President of the Metal Treating Institute.  My company, Phoenix Heat Treating, is a family-owned commercial heat treating company, and we have been an MTI member since 1968. I have served on the Board of Trustees since 2013, and in that time I have seen first-hand how MTI has had a positive impact on my company. In 2018, MTI will be focused on providing you with high-level resources in the core areas of your business: Finding qualified employees through our NEW Military Staffing Program Protecting your company with NEWLY released Non-Disclosure Agreements Increasing profits and productivity through ...
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Doc Palmer says the two go hand in hand to produce reliability – and profitability – benefits. Most people want to talk about maintenance planning to the exclusion of maintenance scheduling. Industry misunderstanding of the values of planning and scheduling explains the frustration in the implementation of either. Industry understands scheduling even less than it does planning. Consequently, many plants start planning without doing any scheduling. Yet when a plant is starting out on this proactive-maintenance path, proper scheduling is much more valuable than proper planning. The first principle of scheduling is that a plant must have job plans identifying ...
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Question: We want to implement a process to encourage greater involvement from employees in suggesting improvements for the factory floor. Do you have any best practices you could share? Answer: The main thing that should be in place is a robust supervisor standard work process. It should include a “process improvement” question as a reminder to the supervisor to encourage hourly associates’ input during the daily Gemba walks. Many days there will be no input, but it’s still a reminder to the hourly person every day that the leadership values their input. It reinforces the respect that we have for them and their knowledge of the process. To create and sustain ...
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It is practically a law of economics — the bigger the customer, the more attention they get. To protect the stream of revenue that “big fish” customers bring in, companies are willing to invest in resources like cloud manufacturing software to ensure that every interaction with these businesses is seamless, but what about smaller-value customers? They are the forgotten few. Companies may strive to provide excellent customer service and efficient processes across the board, but it is a challenge to devote the same level of time and manpower to big-dollar spenders and mom-and-pops alike. When resources are spread thin, companies must examine the cost benefit ...
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3-D printing is continuing to make inroads into the manufacturing value chain, but most current solutions don't meet necessary speed, cost, and quality standards necessary for broad adoption. How can we change that? 3-D printing has long shown promise, but it still has yet to gain deep manufacturing market penetration. Throughout the manufacturing value chain, there are many use cases where 3-D printing can be used, but the reality is that very few manufacturers are leveraging 3-D printing in any significant way. In looking at the manufacturing value chain, one sees the places where it is currently gaining adoption and areas where strong possibilities ...
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Especially in the margin-tight, high-tech electronics marketplace, electronics OEMs need all the help they can get in cutting costs. Lowering headcount is a pretty typical step toward decreasing costs, but cutting labor costs doesn’t necessarily mean layoffs. Instead, manufacturers should be looking to identify and lessen hidden labor cost rather than always reducing headcount. “We are seeing a lot of hidden cost in labor across all sorts of verticals, including manufacturing,” said Jenine Bogrand, Senior Manager of Manufacturing of  Deloitte’s workforce analytics solution LaborWise . “It’s been prevalent on the retail and hospital side where there are ...
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The Metal Treating Institute and the Industrial Heating Equipment Association are excited to be meeting together for the 2018 Spring Meeting for both organizations.  This will be the third meeting together since 2005, with both meeting together in the spring of 2006 and 2009 with great success.  Leadership expects the meeting to attract between 250 to 275 people from across North America.   The meeting will be held at the Talking Stick Casino and Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, April 23-25.  The Program Committees for both groups have finalized details on another outstanding set of sessions that will focus on:   What direction will manufacturing ...
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If your organization is at all on top of things, your production line is lean and mean. The processes used to produce and deliver value for which customers are willing to pay are well-defined and reliable. You measure productivity in widgets per hour and expect 99.9% up-time and nearly zero defects. Priorities are clear. Routines are well-established. Roles are well-understood. Employees know exactly what to do, how, how well, with whom, when, and in what order. When necessary, they make decisions with confidence and without delay because they understand the objectives, options, and trade-offs, they have appropriate authority, and they know where to turn for ...
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The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is either here now or coming soon to every industrial plant or facility and, if implemented correctly, can improve operations in a variety of areas. The IIoT does this by turning raw data from sensors and other sources into actionable information, and by quickly delivering this information to those who can make the best use of it. This is already being done to some extent in just about every plant. In most cases, existing systems can be greatly improved simply by adding IIoT functionality. Most industrial plants have one or more human machine interfaces (HMIs) installed and running. These HMIs have typically been PC-based, ...
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The threat landscape has changed so dramatically, so fast that it has outpaced previously sound security practices. There is a fracture in our modern way of life. The crack is imperceptible to most, even though it’s a dire threat. The public sees the recent headlines about the HBO hack and the company’s proprietary information being held ransom for $6 million, or reads reports of last year’s DNC breach, but these news stories don’t inspire anxiety the way that, say, a terrorist shooting would. Perhaps understandably, the concept of leaked “Game of Thrones” episodes or illicitly shared emails seems, to many people, cause for personal embarrassment, not ...
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As we see it there are three reasons why you test for case depth:   Customer Specifications. Quality Assurance. Process Control to minimize waste and rejects.   For these reasons, you need information to assess the case depth of the parts you’re manufacturing, and using the Micro Vickers sequential testing method takes significant time and manpower. You must section the part, create a sample, mount it, polish it, and run the Micro Vickers tests. Because of these high costs of time and manpower, there is a natural tendency to want to limit the amount of sampling and testing you do to a minimum, but, what if you did not have to make this ...
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The role of 3-D printing in today’s metal market is quite small. But additive manufacturing could offer big benefits if several challenges are overcome. Today, 3-D printing is a very small part of the metals industry, but it is growing rapidly and this market is expected to be worth as much as $10 billion by 2030 to 2035.  Already, a number of healthcare and aerospace companies have adopted the technology. Some are running pilots to see how 3-D metal printing can contribute to their operations while others are using 3-D printers to produce metal prototypes in-house. We expect the current low-scale experiments to shift to broader industrial adoption ...
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NAM Economic Outlook

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Manufacturers lost 1,000 workers in September, with the overall jobs numbers negatively impacted by damaging hurricanes in the month. In addition, the July and August data were revised lower, subtracting 32,000 from prior manufacturing job growth estimates. Despite the disappointing figures in September, the reduced hiring is likely a temporary phenomenon, with employment expectations continuing to be very strong overall. Indeed, manufacturers have accelerated the pace of hiring since December, adding 122,000 workers on net over that 10-month time frame. That is a definite improvement following the loss of 16,000 workers seen in 2016 as a whole, and it ...
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Who is Leading Who?

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One of the main responsibilities of a leader is to fire their people! …Not actually fire them, but fire them up.    Fire them up, as in motivate them, challenge them, coach them, help them grow, and help them succeed, again and again. If you’re in a leadership position and you’re not doing those things on a daily basis then you are simply not leading.    If you’re in a leadership position and you’re not actually leading then you’re hurting the people you’re supposed to be helping. You’re also not helping the organization that has placed you into that leadership position and provided you with the opportunity to lead.    Don’t make the mistake ...
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MTI’s Technical Standards Committee has been following and working on the issue of portable hardness testers through ASTM.  They are looking at a number of sweeping changes that any heat treater using portable hardness testers needs to be aware of.  These changes are being discussed in depth at the ASTM meeting in Atlanta, GA on Nov. 13-14. CLICK HERE for full details of ASTM Meeting. The following commentary is from Jim Knight of King Tester Corporation, who sits on the ASTM Committee and MTI Technical Standards Committee.  Read, provide comments on potential changes, and more importantly, if you can attend the November meeting in Atlanta, please do ...
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It’s time to launch a new industrial revolution in your own shop or plant. Call it [Your Shop Name Here] 4.0. Don’t worry too much if you can’t name, or give dates to, the three industrial revolutions that have preceded the fourth Industrial Revolution said to be underway these days. It’s not a disaster if you can’t explain everything referred to by the term “Industry 4.0”. Concentrate instead on applying the digital technology that makes the most sense for your company right now. Whatever we want to call it, the underlying concept of using computer networks to gather lots of data from connected devices and turn that data into actionable information ...
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The following is a comprehensive report from MTI Past President, Bob Hill from Solar Atmospheres of Western PA who is in his second year of serving on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers.  With the 2018 mid-term elections just 13 months away, it is important for MTI members’ employees to be informed on issues related to manufacturing, and how those they will vote for voted on the issues.  It is also important that members open up their plants for tours with your legislators.  MTI and NAM will be providing information and resources in the coming months that help to inform your employees and legislator(s) on issues related to manufacturing.  ...
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