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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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With many members being asked to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements by project, and the slim labor pool of qualified workers, the MTI Board of Trustees appointed two task force groups to look into the following issues:   Best practices in Non-Disclosure Agreements and designing template agreements members can use for people doing business with their plant, as well as Employee Engagement Letters that protect employers from former employees disclosing their intellectual property. Tapping into the pool of retiring military veterans who are seeking to move back into private enterprise.   Both task force teams work through numerous meetings and presentations ...
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Data aggregation allows manufacturers to see previously invisible problems across the enterprise. Modern manufacturers collect mountains of data every day, but how much of that data is ever studied, beyond the small percentage that raises red flags? The newest quality software trends point to predictive data, and the ability to roll reams of information together into meaningful bundles. These solutions are also increasingly cloud-based, viewed on a browser, and offered as a service product rather than on on-site, dedicated servers. Predicting problems before they exist, or seeing previously invisible improvements to manufacturing processes is the ...
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When updating or maintaining older equipment, it’s important to have maximum visibility into plant operations and make every investment dollar count. As a company that specializes in automation controls, we field a lot of different requests from clients who want a quick budgetary quote to retrofit an older piece of equipment. These requests usually come in after a piece of machinery has failed and the company has encountered one of three scenarios: 1) The company doesn’t have any documentation. 2) The last person to work on this machine has retired, and no one has been trained. 3) Replacement parts have finally become too difficult to find, even on eBay. ...
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MTI is excited to announce it graduated 34 executives from the 2017 YES Management Training Program in San Diego during the Fall Meeting.  As each of the 34 executives names were read off to come to the podium to receive their graduation certificates on the final night, incredible phrases they had stated about the program rang out:   This program changed my life. This program made me a better manager of people. My family said there was something different about me and it was good. The YES program taught me how to empower my team .   The list goes on and on with life changing elements for each graduate.    Since the YES ...
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The ability to analyze data to see important patterns in your operations is a game-changer. The inclusion of a dashboard from a 1980s or 1990s economy sedan in a modern hybrid sports car would catch your attention for all kinds of aesthetic and technical reasons. The incongruity of the dashboard and the rest of the car are easy to imagine, as are the potential issues with the setup. Sure, you could get the speedometer and odometer to work, but invaluable features like driver assist and navigation would be unavailable, so you would never be able to operate the car to its full potential. Making an equivalent comparison with complex manufacturing operations ...
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...from skeptical teammates and worried execs to the frustration of waiting for the results to emerge. Lean manufacturing is perhaps the most popular option for manufacturing operations seeking to improve performance, offering clear results and benefits that beat the competition, and reduce time to market. Lean brings together aspects of waste management and factory-line optimization with a “people first” attitude, to streamline processes and cut the highest manufacturing costs of out of the equation.  It sounds perfect, and it is perfect on paper, but Lean is rarely an easy process to implement. When operations adopt Lean manufacturing, several common ...
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The Metal Treating Institute is pleased to announce that long-time member, Winston Heat Treating from Dayton, Ohio, was awarded the Commercial Heat Treater of the Year Award by Industrial Heating Magazine.   The award was presented at the MTI Fall Meeting Awards Dinner on September 16 in San Diego.   The award given by Industrial Heating Magazine, in conjunction with the MTI Educational Foundation, is awarded to the company who demonstrates high levels of excellence in quality programs, pollution/hazardous waste controls, and community involvement/leadership.   Winston Heat Treating owner, John Reger, stated, “This is truly an honor to be recognized ...
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Instead of looking for short-term solutions through price negotiation, try building a better product that is cheaper to make. For years, manufacturers attempted to cut the cost of making a product by taking aim at individual parts or raw materials and the companies that supplied them. Cut the price of the things that go into making a product and a company could lower the manufacturing costs and increase profitability, but those fixes are temporary, and need to be constantly re-negotiated. More importantly, they don’t lead to a better product; in fact, quite the opposite at times. Despite decades of cost-cutting efforts across all industries, as much ...
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One area of strength for the Metal Treating Institute over the years has always been its line of leadership.  2018 is no different; with 2017 President Tim Levy from Industrial Steel Treating passing the gavel to Pete Hushek from Phoenix Heat Treating.   With Phoenix Heat Treating being a member since 1968, Pete Hushek brings a wealth of knowledge, vision, and history to the table as President.  Pete has been very active on the Board of Trustees, and was instrumental in helping enhance MTI’s Sales Forecasting program with ITR Economics.   MTI also announced the new slate of 2018 officers, as well as 3 newly elected Board Members for 3 year terms: ...
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More than half of Millennials (51%) are more likely to buy from a company led by a CEO who speaks out on an issue they agree with, according to Weber Shandwick’s second annual survey on American attitudes toward CEO activism.  This rate has increased since 2016 (46%). This form of “voting by wallet” is not to be ignored as companies fiercely compete for customers, according to the report. By comparison, CEO activism is less likely to affect the purchase decisions of Gen Xers and Boomers. This year’s study finds Americans deeply affected by the current political landscape and discovers a stark difference in generational attitudes toward the trend. Nearly ...
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Managing a factory is by no means an easy task. Chances are, you have your hands full between supervising workers and overseeing production processes. All these are necessary for keeping the factory in working order. What would happen if you had a major equipment failure, though? Do you have a protection plan in place? If not, one task you’ll have to fulfill is the identification of mission-critical parts. What are mission-critical parts? Identifying mission-critical parts is a task in and of itself. What is considered critical changes from business to business, and even from department to department? In order to properly prepare, it’s important to make ...
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Manufacturers   added   36,000 net new workers in August, its fastest monthly gain in five years and increasing for the third consecutive month. In addition, the June and July data were revised higher, increasing employment in the sector by a total of 19,000 more than originally estimated. As such, manufacturing was a bright spot in the latest jobs data—a sign that the sector has rebounded from global headwinds over the past two years. Indeed, over the past nine months, manufacturing employment has risen by 155,000, averaging 17,222 per month. That is a definite improvement following the loss of 16,000 workers on net for 2016. Moreover, total manufacturing ...
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When Goals Matter

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So, I’m on the tee box of a fairly long par four hole on a world-renowned golf course. I hit a perfect drive; long by my standards, and my ball rolls to a spot in the middle of the fairway. It leaves me with an easy shot to the green, except that the green is well above me at the top of a sizable incline. I can’t actually see the putting surface, but my golf map shows me the size and shape of the green, so I decide to go at the middle of the green. I figure that’s my best chance at a par on this challenging hole.  Well my shot felt perfect, and I was certain when I reached the top of the hill I would find my ball at least near the center of the green. As ...
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