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Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Importance of Proper Cutting Clearances

By: Peter Ulintz, PMA technical director

An important requirement of any die operation is the proper alignment between all the working components. In stamping operations, accurate alignment is necessary to maintain proper clearances between punch and die steels.
Cutting, punching and trimming operations require cutting clearances that are held within close limits. Because many stamping features are not symmetrical or totally round, cutting clearance usually is measured at one side of the cutting profile and specified as a “per-side” clearance. The amount of clearance applied and the sharpness of the cutting steels have a direct effect on the quality of the sheared edges.
When the cutting clearances are small, press and die alignment becomes critical. If this alignment is not maintained properly, the punch and die details may contact each other and the cutting edges may be damaged. Clearances that are too tight will produce an edge defect known as secondary shear - sometimes referred to as a “double-break.” Small cutting clearances also require increased punching and stripping forces to extract the punch point as the pierced material grips firmly around it.
Larger cutting clearances make press and die alignment less critical and also require less cutting and stripping forces. But when the cutting clearance becomes too great, extreme rollover can occur and undesirable burrs may develop. In extreme cases, the metal may actually tear or crack in the rollover zone if the surface is stretched beyond its ultimate tensile strength.
The best way to protect a die from damage is to make sure that nothing is physically out of place during a press cycle. This involves mounting sensors in the tooling and equipping the press with a controller to interpret the signals from these devices. Sensors are proven to reduce the potential for die damage by detecting speed, accuracy, part orientation, feature positions, part presence and part ejection.
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Proper sensor selection, placement and function are critical. Sensors often are placed in progressive dies at multiple locations for critical point-of-operation detection, such as bending and punching, short feed and long feed detection, and monitoring slugs and missed hits. In transfer dies, sensors also are incorporated into the grippers to detect that parts are in place before they are transferred to the next station.
Sensors in stamping dies help stampers reduce downtime and lost production, as well as associated maintenance costs and inadvertent shipping of bad parts.

Interested in learning more about die sensors, controls and punching technology? Register for PMA’s Punch & Die Technology Seminar and Sensor & Control Systems Seminar .

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015 Awards of Excellence in Metalforming Announced

We have announced the winner for our 2015 Awards of Excellence in Metalforming.  Presented annually, the awards recognize the high standards of achievement set by the metalforming industry in the areas of design, safety, quality, training and education, process control, product development, and productivity.

Winners were honored with a special plaque, commemorative flag and a cash prize on November 8, 2015, during the FABTECH tradeshow in Chicago, IL, and will be featured in the December 2015 issue of MetalForming magazine.

We applaud the achievements of this year’s winners, who have dedicated themselves to continuous improvement of their products and services. 

Award
Winning Company
Location

Higgins-Caditz Design Award

Quality Industries

LaVergne, TN


Pitcher Insurance Agency Safety Award

Trans-Matic Mfg. Co.

Holland, MI


Zierick Manufacturing Corporation
Productivity Award

Highlands Diversified Services

London, KY

Pridgeon & Clay Excellence in Quality
Award

Kryton Engineered Metals

Cedar Falls, IA

Ulbrich Award for Competitive
Excellence in Product Development

Trans-Matic Mfg. Co.

Holland, MI

Link Systems Process Control Award

Zierick Manufacturing Corp.

Mount Kisco, NY

Clips & Clamps Industries
Educational Institution Award

Schoolcraft College

Livonia, MI


Information about each award-winning entry is available at www.pma.org/awards

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The EPA’s Ozone Rule and What It Means for Manufacturing

On October 26, the Environmental Protection Agency released the new standard for ground level ozone, the main component of smog. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone (O3) lowers the requirement from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb. In 2008, the EPA revised the 1997 standards from 80 ppb down to the current 75 ppb.

The rule, which takes effect in 2017, requires states to submit plans to the EPA showing how they will reduce ozone emissions to comply with the new standards. This will include restricting economic activity, rejecting power plant permits, and blocking highway infrastructure projects.

What exactly does this mean for manufacturers? A recent study showed that the new standard would reduce the U.S. GDP by $140 billion annually by restricting manufacturing and other economic activity in areas of the country that currently exceed the new ozone limit. That estimates to 1.4 million fewer jobs through 2040.

Emission levels in roughly seventy Ohio counties currently violate the proposed rule, as do more than sixty in Illinois, and over fifty in Michigan.  This count mean huge expenditures in compliance costs.
But, before the new rule can take effect, it faces serious judicial hurdles. 

E&E News recently reported that Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, the New Mexico Environmental Department, and the states of Arkansas, North Dakota, and Oklahoma have already filed a petition for review of the standard in the U.S. Court of Appeals.


Stay tuned to our blog for more on this and other issues from Washington.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Difficult People: Are Emotional Vampires Driving You Batty?

By: Colleen Kettenhofen

This November, I will be speaking at Precision Metalforming Association’s Executive Development Academy in Chicago. There, you will be hearing me share tools, tips and techniques for managing difficult people. If you’re thinking, “I need some help now!” here are a few tidbits to tide you over.
In my book “Secrets Your Boss Isn’t Telling You,” I reveal seven magic “wands” if you will, for dealing with difficult people. During this upcoming holiday season, many participants in my keynotes on leadership have asked me for tips on dealing with difficult people in the workplace, and in general. Here’s one suggestion for that…

Do what you can to refill the well so Emotional Vampires don’t drive you batty!
     
In a tough economy, everyone experiences adversity from time to time—whether it’s caring for a loved one, job insecurities, reduced incomes, managing a difficult employee and more. Maybe it’s that you’re “hanging in there” and dealing with a difficult boss. People seem to be working harder than ever…and complaining more. You’ve undoubtedly known people who come to work and complain about their home life, then go home and complain about their professional life! What a never-ending day!
     
But what if you’re working as hard as you can both at work and at home and feeling underappreciated?  As someone who has previously been in the role of caregiver as well as running a speaking, coaching, and consulting business, I understand. And I empathize with the hard work single parents do. As Mother Teresa said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread alone.”
     
So, what do you do when you feel underappreciated—especially when dealing with difficult people? Mark Twain said it best. “When you cannot get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.”
     
Look in the mirror. And what I’m about to say, I say respectfully. You are the only person responsible for how you feel. Ultimately, you can’t control what someone else will—or won’t—say to you. Indeed, some people get so focused on their needs, they’ll never be able to appreciate you. Heed this saying: “You can’t ask a naked man to give you the shirt off his back.” Some people simply don’t have love to give back because they don’t love themselves first.
     
So treat yourself with small rewards for a job well done. Refill the well and don’t let Emotional Vampires drive you batty. Difficult people are Emotional Vampires who suck the life out of you. And it can take days, weeks, or months to recover if you don’t do something positive to blunt their impact and counteract their bitter aftertaste.  (More on that at the conference).
     
What can you plan this weekend that would boost your happiness quotient? Drive to a picturesque setting, splurge on a manicure or pedicure, spend time with your significant other, see a movie with supportive friends. Simply don’t let the difficult people get you down. One of the secrets to successfully dealing with difficult people is to remember that you choose your response—both inwardly and outwardly. If you keep dissecting what Emotional Vampires said or did to you, you’re giving them power over you. Remember, the person who constantly angers, frustrates, or intimidates you actually controls you.

See you in Chicago!
     

A highly sought-after speaker, author, and executive facilitator, Colleen Kettenhofen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs before thousands in 48 states and six countries. These days, she enjoys hiking in the mountains of Boise, Idaho, where she lives with her dog, Joy.
    
Precision Metalforming Association’s ExecutiveDevelopment Academy has been developed to support manufacturing leaders as they build, lead and sustain innovative organizations. During this two-day boot camp, taking place from November 9-11 in Chicago, industry professionals will have the opportunity to refresh and hone their skills while getting briefed on the latest technology and trends impacting their businesses.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Big Data: How your business benefits

Business expert, Patrick Schwerdtfeger describes how using "big data" in your business can reduce expenses, increase revenue, and avoid disasters.


Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a leading authority on global business trends including ‘big data’, demographic forecasting and the social media revolution. He has lectured at numerous academic institutions including Purdue and Stanford Universities, and is the author of the award-winning book Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). Patrick is a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV and has spoken about business trends, technology and digital marketing at hundreds of conferences and business events around the world. Patrick will be a featured presenter at the Executive Development Academy on November 9-11, in Chicago, IL.  For more information about EDA, visit www.pma.org/eda/

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Preparing your Small Package and Freight Shipments

Whether you’re sending the smallest packages or the largest freight shipments, proper shipping preparation can help ensure the success of your shipment. Here are a few tips on how to get ready to ship both small packages and freight shipments.

Small Package
Believe it or not, the type of box you use is a very important choice. While reusing a box may seem like a good money-saving idea, a box that has been used multiple times before isn’t as structurally sound as an unused box, and your shipment could be damaged more easily.
When packing your box, be sure to provide proper cushioning for the items inside the box. Different items require different types of cushioning material, depending on the size, shape and weight of the item.

Seal your package tightly with high-quality tape, and label your package effectively. Put all of the usual items on your label (recipient’s name, address, zip code, etc.), and if you’re sending the package to a P.O. Box, include the recipient’s phone number. Remember to cross out or remove any old labels or other items that could distract from the new label.

Freight
Similarly, preparing your palletized freight shipment also requires proper planning. When selecting your pallet, UPS Freight recommends choosing pallets that are sturdy, have closely spaced boards, and have four-way forklift entry.
If you are stacking multiple pieces on one pallet, be sure that all items are aligned in columns, and that nothing hangs over the edge of the pallet. Secure your items to the pallet by using strapping or banding, and then cover with multiple layers of stretch wrap. Affix the label (with recipient’s name, address, zip code, etc.) to each pallet.
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Here’s a bonus tip: Enroll in the PMA/UPS Savings Program, a member benefit program that gives you exclusive discounts on a wide range of UPS and UPS Freight services. Enroll online, or reach out to the UPS Freight Associations Team at 866.443.9303 or upsfreightassociations@ups.com for more information!



Monday, September 14, 2015

A Celebration of Modern Manufacturing

On Friday, October 2, manufacturers across the country will open their doors to students, parents, educators, job seekers and other members of their local communities for tours and information sessions in celebration of Manufacturing Day (MFG Day).

PMA and MetalForming magazine are proud sponsors of this event and encourage members to host an event at their facilities.

Held annually, MFG Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing and is meant to encourage today’s youth to consider a career in this profoundly important industry. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of manufacturing to the American economy and to create a future pipeline of skilled workers.

“PMA is pleased to support Manufacturing Day,” said PMA President Bill Gaskin.  “Our members look forward to sharing their passion for manufacturing with their communities, showing off their high-tech facilities to the next generation of Americans who will ensure that our sector continues to drive the economy and innovation in this country.  This is a great opportunity to counteract the outdated stereotypes that often plague our industry by raising awareness about the rewarding careers that are available in manufacturing.”

“With U.S. manufacturers struggling to find qualified employees, compounded by the problem of millions of manufacturing workers expected to retire in the next decade, Manufacturing Day is a critical avenue to showcase the industry and inspire people to obtain the skills needed for careers in manufacturing,” Gaskin concluded.

For more information on how to get involved, visit MFGDay.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Retaining Talent: The Role of a Supervisor

Contrary to popular belief, pay is not the primary reason that employees leave their jobs.  The number one reason cited among job changers is the environment created by their supervisor.   To retain talent, companies must focus attention on their supervisory staff.  This means more than just picking the right person for the job; you must continually monitor how effective the supervisor is with his/her assigned team.

Knowing how to supervise does not come naturally.  Often, supervisors are promoted because they have an exemplary performance record, yet the skills required on the factory floor differ from those needed to encourage and engage employees.  These skills can be learned with support and coaching from management.  Taking the time to nurture your supervisors will pay off.  According to Rick Dacri, human resource consultant, knowing how to supervise “is learned and developed and with good training, lots of coaching and mentoring, along with experience and time, one can become good at it.  It takes a lot of time to develop a new supervisor, but it takes even more time to deal with the effects of poor management.”   The damage that can be done from a destructive work environment can affect your company’s morale, employee performance, quality and safety – ultimately, it affects your bottom line.

Employee engagement is critical.  Gallup, which has tracked employee engagement for 30 years, reports that less than one-third of employees are engaged at work, more than half are not engaged in their jobs, and nearly one-fifth of employees are actively disengaged.   If engagement is the key to retaining top talent, then the supervisor holds that key.  As the first line of leadership in an organization, the supervisor plays a critical role in creating a positive and productive work environment.

Good supervisors require a variety of skills – communication, organizational, technical and coaching.  Encouraging your supervisors to grow in these areas will make them more comfortable and effective in their new role.  Develop an ongoing plan for developing your leaders.  Recognize that your staff is your most valuable asset.  Coach your supervisors, invest in developing their skills and lead by example.

Because of the skills gap, companies will continue to rely on inside resources as a pool for new supervisors.  Companies must take the time to identify strong leaders and provide the opportunity for them to grow into effective supervisors.  With good training, support and coaching, you can effectively transition that exemplary record into an effective supervisor.

The Precision Metalforming Association, in partnership with ERC, is providing a two-part Supervisor Training Series.  This series addresses the need for companies to provide supervisors with tools to enhance their effectiveness and lead employees with confidence.  Topics include communication, conflict management, teamwork, problem solving and coaching.  The first session will be held on October 20-21, and the second will follow, December 1-2, in Cleveland, OH.  For more information, please visit www.pma.org/meetings.

Contributions for this article provided by:
businessPATHS
Dacri & Associates, LLC
SHRM Foundation

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

PMA’s August Business Conditions Report

CLEVELAND, OH—August 18, 2015—According to the August 2015 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate little change in business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 127 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The August report shows a slight upswing in economic activity, with 26% of participants predicting that activity will improve in the next three months (up from 18% in July), 59% expecting no change (down from 65% last month) and 15% believing that economic activity will decline (down from 17% in July.

Metalforming companies forecast little change in incoming orders during the next three months, with 33% anticipating an increase in orders (down from 36% in July), 45% predicting no change (the same percentage reported in July) and 22% expecting a decrease in orders (up from 19% last month).

Current average daily shipping levels dipped slightly in August. Twenty-eight percent of participants report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago (compared to 23% in July), 44% report that levels are the same as three months ago (down from 48% last month) and 28% report an increase in shipping levels (compared to 29% in July).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff remained steady at 11% in August, the same number reported in July. The August 2015 figure is higher than this time last year, when only 6% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“PMA member companies are somewhat less optimistic today than they were one year ago, but overall their outlook for the next quarter is favorable,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “The automotive industry remains quite robust, but a number of other important markets, such as heavy equipment, energy-related industries and construction, continue to lag growth expectations. At a recent PMA CFO Roundtable, there was modest concern expressed about slower growth, due to the strong dollar and the expectation that the Federal Reserve might begin raising interest rates. However, it was nearly universally believed that single-digit percentage growth in orders and shipments would continue as long as there were no sudden shocks due to adverse domestic or global events.”

Full report results are available here.

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Few Moments with Hal Becker – CEO, The Becker Group Inc.

Hal Becker is a nationally known expert on sales, customer service and negotiating. He conducts seminars or consults to more than 140 organizations a year. At the age of 22, he became the #1 salesperson among a national sales force of 11,000, for the Xerox Corporation. Six years later in 1983, he survived terminal cancer only months after launching Direct Opinions, one of America's first customer service telephone survey marketing firms that facilitates more than two million calls per year with offices throughout the U.S.A. and Canada. He is the author of "Can I have 5 Minutes of Your Time?" which is now in its 21st printing and is used by many corporations as their "Sales Bible." He has also authored three other best sellers and has been featured in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Nations Business and hundreds of newspapers and radio/TV stations around the world, and is currently syndicated in more than 45 newspapers and magazines.

He will be speaking at PMA’s annual Sales & Marketing Conference on September 29 – 30, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Hal Becker, CEO, The Becker Group, Inc.
Q: How did you begin working in sales and what motivated you to stay in the field? 

A: My first job out of college was at Xerox, and the training was so unbelievably great that I really grabbed onto it and for the first time in my life I felt that I really became a student of sales. After the first year I became the number one salesperson of 11,000 people in their national sales force. Following Xerox, I started a company from the ground up, and sold it in 1990 in order to pursue consulting.  I have been a sales trainer for most of my life, and my first book came out in 1993. It has been a wild ride since then as I continue to present lectures and consult sales organizations across the world.

Q: At the age of 22, you became the #1 salesperson among a national sales force of 11,000 at Xerox. That’s very impressive! What advice do you have for young sales professionals looking to find success in this field?

A: I didn’t do anything crazy, but I got to where I’m at today just by working harder than everybody else and doing it consistently. Essentially I was doing 100 sit-ups while everyone else did 50 and did it consistently. To this day I continue to challenge myself to maintain that same consistency and persistence with my work ethic. 

Q: Where is the coolest country you’ve presented?
A: The world is such an amazing place to travel but wherever I go, everything is 72 and fluorescent because all I see is the hotel and airport. However I’ll never forget landing in Trinidad, and the 30- minute taxi ride to the hotel only taking 11 minutes because the speed limit is however fast you want to go! I also found my visit to Thailand to be enjoyable because the people there are so incredibly friendly and nice to be around. 

Q: Do you believe that successful sales strategies remain the same across various industries or should manufacturing sales professionals be given specific guidance and advice based on their industry? 
A: From a sales standpoint, it’s all the same. You either know how to sell through question-based sales techniques, you have high empathy, integrity, desire and organization, or you don’t! In business to business or business to consumer sales, it is all the same. People buy from people we trust and like.

Q: Can you speak on any trends in the sales and marketing industry that will greatly impact sales management in the next five years or so? 
A: Sales management has gone away. The term I use is puff management, which occurs when all of a sudden a salesperson who has done fairly well is promoted to management without any training, but they have a whole different set of skills. Sales are about the individual, but the management is about the team. Great sales training has gone away, and today they’re great at training product, but not teaching the fundamentals of selling. Nothing has changed about sales, except that technology allows us to get a foot in the door but in the end it still comes down to selling skills.

Q: Can you speak to your involvement in PMA’s Sales & Marketing Conference and what you will be presenting on? 
A: I like to make my talks relevant and fresh, so I usually plan it out closer to the event. However, I intend on speaking about what makes a top salesman, why most salespeople fail, why elevator speeches are irrelevant, and why objections are everything. 

Thank you for speaking with us, Hal! 

For information on PMA’s Sales & Marketing Conference, visit the event homepage or contact Rosemary David (rdavid@pma.org / 216-901-8800). 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PMA’s July Business Conditions Report

CLEVELAND, OH—July 29, 2015—According to the July 2015 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate steady business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 114 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The July report shows that 65% of participants expect that economic activity will remain unchanged during the next three months (up from 60% in June), 18% predict that activity will improve (down from 23% in June) and 17% believe that economic activity will decline (the same percentage reported in June).

Metalforming companies forecast a slight improvement in incoming orders during the next three months, with 36% predicting an increase in orders (up from 33% in June), 45% anticipating no change (compared to 48% in June) and 19% expecting a decrease in orders (the same percentage reported last month).

Current average daily shipping levels declined slightly in July. Twenty-three percent of participants report shipping levels are below levels of three months ago (compared to 24% in June), 48% report that levels are the same as three months ago (up from 41% last month) and 29% report an increase in shipping levels (compared to 35% in June).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 11% in July, up from 7% in June. The July 2015 figure is similar to this time last year, when 9% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“PMA member companies reflect a lackluster outlook for business conditions, typical of most manufacturing sectors in the United States, as we begin Q-3,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Only 18% of member companies expect the general economic trend to rise during Q-3, the lowest level reported in several years. On a positive note, however, 65% expect the economic trend to be flat, rather than trending downward, a view reflected by only 17%. PMA’s Monthly Orders & Shipments Report, released in late July, reported that the average metalforming company experienced a one-percent decline in orders booked during the first half of 2015 vs. bookings during the same period in 2014. Shipments for the same period were dead-flat in 2015 vs. 2014, reflecting substantial concern about external factors impacting the value of the dollar, energy prices, and softening trends in the U.S. and global financial markets.”

Full report results are available here

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Harry Moser Speaks Reshoring with PMA

In 2010 an initiative with the goal of bringing good, well-paying manufacturing jobs back to the United States by assisting companies to more accurately assess their total cost of offshoring, was started by Harry Moser, founder of Reshoring Initiative.

Moser will speak at Sourcing Solutions ™ powered by the Precision Metalforming Association on September 30 – October 1, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sourcing Solutions is a powerful procurement program that brings together buyers and suppliers of fabrications, metal stampings, components, special tooling and dies, assemblies and more. The program is designed to introduce buyers to top-quality suppliers in a single location who have been pre-screened based on buyer specifications. 

Last week, we had the opportunity to speak to Harry and to ask him a few questions about the mission of the Reshoring Initiative and about his personal connection to this mission. 

Harry Moser, Founder, Reshoring Initiative

Q: What drove you to take initiative with this issue?

A: I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey and the biggest thing in town was the Singer sewing machine factory. It was the largest factory in the world about 100 years ago, when most people owned a sewing machine. My father and grandfather both helped run the factory, and I also worked there during the summers in high school and college. I drove by one day about 5-10 years ago and the factory was all gone, and everything had been offshored. 

Q: How do you encourage companies to consider reshoring?

A: First we document the strengths of the reshoring trend by showing companies the amount that is being reshored, and how other companies in their industry are successful doing it. Second, we promote reshoring by giving presentations around the country to spread awareness of the initiative. Finally, we encourage companies to visit our website and view the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) estimator to help them evaluate their own operation.

Q: What is your vision for reshoring in America?

A: The goal is to bring jobs back to the United States and to eventually eliminate the trade deficit within 25 years. More specifically, it would be ideal if within 5 years half a million jobs were brought back to the states. If companies continue to use the TCO calculator to make smarter decisions, as well as political and economic stability, we could reach our goals.

Q: How can associations like PMA help this cause?

A: PMA can help by continuing their support and spreading the word about reshoring. By reporting “cases” of members that have reshored, other companies considering reshoring could follow suite. Companies may feel more confident buying American supplier jobs than relying on offshore manufacturing if they have seen success from other companies.

Q: How long do you think China will remain the worldwide leader in manufacturing?

A: The Chinese economy has lost a lot of momentum and credibility recently with the rise in wage rates. As a result, there are an increasing number of companies reshoring back to the United States. To help the cause, consumers should consider purchasing “Made in U.S.A.” products over foreign products, especially significant purchases. Walmart has committed to spending billions of dollars per year on U.S.-made products, and my current project involves helping them accomplish this by 2022. 

Q: Can you speak to your involvement in PMA’s Sourcing Solutions event and how this involvement supports your initiative? 

A: I will be giving a presentation on what is happening on the trend of reshoring, including how many jobs are coming back, what industries are reshoring, and why they are deciding to come back. I also will be demonstrating how to use the TCO estimator and other tools for making smart sourcing decisions, as well as providing examples for reshoring in the industry.

Thank you for speaking with us, Harry! 

For more information about the Reshoring Initiative: 
Email - info@reshorenow.org 
Phone - 1 (847) 726-2975

For information about Sourcing Solutions, visit the event homepage or contact Ilene Schwartz (ischwartz@pma.org / (216) 901-8800). 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

PMA Member Spotlight -- Beth Weissenrieder-Bennis, Weiss-Aug Company, Inc.

Each month, the PMA Member Spotlight features an outstanding member sharing his/her insights into the latest industry trends and technologies.

PMA is pleased to highlight Beth Weissenrieder-Bennis, director of strategic planning and marketing for Weiss-Aug Company, Inc., East Hanover, NJ. Weiss-Aug provides custom insert molding, precision medical and automotive metal stamping , and assembly solutions. With more than 40 years of experience serving the automotive, medical, electronic and semiconductor industries, the company's experts in design, engineering, tooling and manufacturing excel at providing precision manufacturing through innovative design.

Hear Beth's thoughts about technology challenges facing metalformers, finding skilled workers, how social media works within her company's marketing strategy and more!

Beth Weissenrieder-Bennis, 
Director of Strategic Planning and Marketing, 
Weiss-Aug Company, Inc.
Q:  Which job classifications are the most challenging to find skilled workers?
A:  Die makers and die technicians, tooling designers, and new product development engineers. We are not relying on outside resources to provide a crop of talent in these areas. We’ve always had an apprenticeship program, and are now expanding it to include die technicians due to the shortage of talent. Companies have to invest in educating and training workers. 

Q:  What is the biggest technology challenge metalformers face today?
A:  Increasing speed of bringing up new programs while maintaining quality. For our medical device customers specifically, time to market is everything. During the development phase, a part design can change by the hour, and the need for fast prototype fabrication technologies is necessary to keep pace. We also are pushed to continually reduce tooling lead times and meet early production start dates. Customers want things faster, but they don’t want to pay more or sacrifice quality. 

Q: What is the best conference or seminar you or your employees attended in the past year and why?
A:  We had two new managers attend the Management Development Academy (MDA). Both of these managers were promoted from within the organization from a non-management role.  The MDA not only helped them to develop management skills, but also their industry knowledge and exposure. 

Q: What is on your wish list for your shop, next year (i.e., a new piece of equipment)?  
A: Again with the need to increase speed, we’ve begun the process of bringing our tooling capabilities to the next level with a recent investment in a Yasda hard mill. Next year we will add an Amada DVI profile grinder, and CNC form grinder. These machines will enable us to work more quickly and accurately from solid models.  These files will then be sent to the CNC machines to grind/mill extremely tight tolerance punches, and split die sections.  We also will have the ability to fabricate our own electrodes for tooling.  The new CNC room will be a self-sustaining closed-loop system that will include a CMM and have reverse-engineering capabilities. 

Q: What are the advantages/disadvantages of being a next-generation metalformer?
A:  This is a tough question. The biggest disadvantage I think are that the odds are stacked against next-generation leaders. The Family Business Institute has the following figures: “Only about 30 percent of family businesses survive into the second generation, 12 percent are still viable into the third generation, and only about 3 percent of all family businesses operate into the fourth generation or beyond.”

The biggest advantage is the ability of the level of experience one can gain from an early age. Many next-generation leaders worked as youngsters during the summers at the plant. I know that I’ve worked in every department, from accounting to quality. As a result, I have a ton of respect for each function and understand that it’s all integral to our success.  This coupled with the exposure to leadership from an early point in one’s career can help prepare a next-generation leader.

Q: How does social media work within your company’s marketing strategy?
A:  Twitter/FB is good place for quick headlines to advertise job opportunities and industry/company news. LinkedIn is more valuable in that posting relevant articles and updates tend to get more views and help to build a network of new contacts and potential new customers.

Q: What are the top three songs on your play list right now?
A:  My almost 7-year-old daughter is the DJ in my car, so all we listen to is Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Katy Perry. I’m just happy to not have to listen to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat anymore!

Thank you for your participation, Beth!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PMA’s June Business Conditions Report

CLEVELAND, OH—June 12, 2015—According to the June 2015 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect little change in business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 121 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The June report shows that 23% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (down from 24% in May), 60% expect that activity will remain unchanged (the same percentage reported last month) and 17% believe that economic activity will decline (up from 16% in May).

Metalforming companies forecast a slight dip in incoming orders during the next three months, with 33% predicting an increase in orders (down from 35% in May), 48% anticipating no change (compared to 50% in May) and 19% expecting a decrease in orders (up from 15% last month).

Current average daily shipping levels also declined slightly in June. Thirty-five percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 36% in May), 41% report that levels are the same as three months ago (down from 43% last month) and 24% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 21% in May).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dropped to 7% in June, down from 9% in May. The June 2015 figure is similar to this time last year, when 8% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“PMA’s June Business Conditions report reflects ongoing concern that we are mired in a slow-growth, strong-dollar period, subject to significant risk of an extended period of underperformance vs. expectations,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Current and near-term expectations for orders and shipments reported by members are significantly less robust than expectations of four to six months ago, and modestly lower than they were one year ago. Metalforming companies supplying the automotive industry continue to ship at strong levels, but many other markets have softened and are flat or declining modestly, with heavy equipment, agriculture/off-highway, and oilfield business continuing to slow. Political leadership in Washington, D.C., has failed to rally support to address tax reform for corporate and pass-through entities, so U.S. manufacturers are paying higher taxes than their global competitors. And costs of regulatory compliance are set to grow significantly based on pending greenhouse gas and ozone regulations.”

Monday, June 22, 2015

Meet our Interns!

Hayley Milloy, Julie Barnes and Ben Taylor have joined the Precision Metalforming Association and Women in Manufacturing teams as part of the PMA/WiM summer internship program.

Hayley Milloy is from Rocky River, Ohio and is a recent graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business, majoring in Marketing, and minoring in English Literature.

Julie Barnes resides in Akron, Ohio and is a recent graduate of Stark State College of Technology in North Canton, Ohio. She received an Associate’s Degree in Digital Video Media and is attending school again in the fall for Photography.

Ben Taylor calls North Canton, Ohio home and will be a senior at Miami University this fall. He is pursuing a degree in Strategic Communications, with double minors in Economics and General Business, concentrating on Media Economics. 

Hayley Milloy
Marketing & Communications Intern
(WiM) 
Julie Barnes
Videography & Photography Intern
(PMA) 
Ben Taylor
Marketing & Communications Intern
(PMA)
















Q: What is a fun fact about you?

Hayley: I have 10+ nicknames.  They range from things like “krunk money” “hoopla” to “hootie.” They’re very random and I don’t know why I have them (or so many) but I do.

Julie: I am a triplet. We are all girls with blonde hair, blue eyes, and we were born a minute apart. I am the oldest of the three.

Ben: I studied abroad in Southeast Asia this past January and visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Hong Kong. It was unreal.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What is your dream job?

Hayley: I would love to be living in a city and working at a marketing firm where I can bring my dog to work every day (I’m getting a Corgi the second I have my own place).

Julie: My dream job would be to work on AMC’s The Walking Dead. I have a great appreciation for the show for its cinematography and phenomenal makeup. In 5 years, I’m hoping to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Film for television productions or feature films and/or start my own production business.

Ben: My dream job would be to work for the Browns, Cavs, Indians or any other professional sports organization. I also would love to work at ESPN or Turner Sports.

Q: What is your favorite genre of music? What/who have you been listening to lately?

Hayley: I don’t really have a favorite genre, but I do have a favorite Pandora station, ‘Summer Hits of the 90s’.

Julie: I love listening to scores (movie sound tracks) from my favorite films. My favorite time period for music is the 20’s to 50’s. Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee are my favorite.

Ben: It depends. I like any kind of music as long as it isn’t dubstep.  During the summer I prefer country, and in the winter I prefer rap. Lately I have been listening to a lot of country, as well as Drake and J Cole.

Q: What are your all-time favorite, and/or current favorite TV shows?

Hayley: Friends and Seinfeld are my favorite. I don’t really like shows that I have to watch consecutively to know what’s going on. I’m horrible at keeping up with shows!

Julie: My favorite TV shows are The Walking Dead, Star Crossed, The 100, Terra Nova and Revolution.

Ben: I was a huge fan of Breaking Bad a couple years ago, but nowadays I like to watch The Office or Family Guy. However, Sportscenter is always my go-to.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone throughout history, who would it be with?

Hayley: Audrey Hepburn

Julie: If I could sit down with anyone, I would choose James Cameron. He is the writer, director, co-producer and co-editor of Titanic and Avatar. I think it would be interesting to sit and talk with him because he has made some of the greatest movies of all time, and I would want to learn from him and acquire advice on how to be great in filmmaking.

Ben: LeBron James. I’ve looked up to him ever since his high school days (minus the Heat days) and it would be awesome to pick his brain.

Hayley, Julie and Ben are excited to learn and grow as interns of PMA and WiM. Welcome aboard! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

PMA Chicago District Company Named to Crain’s Chicago “Fast Fifty” List

This week, Precision Metalforming Association member company B.L. Duke was ranked 40th in a Crain’s Chicago article featuring an annual summary of Chicago's fastest-growing companies, known as the “Fast Fifty.” The rankings include 50 companies that accomplished notable gains over a five-year period and highlight new companies that appear on the list. The CEOs of potential “Fast Fifty” companies were interviewed by Crain’s to find out how they were able to grow, what they did to improve and how they will continue their success moving forward.














B.L. Duke has grown almost 300 percent over the past five years. As an industrial clean-up company, they specialize in the processing of recycled metal, plastic and cardboard refuse, which is then sold to steel mills and plastic manufacturers worldwide. CEO Lou Plucinski attributes their success to a limited loss of business, which is unique in the industry today. He also credits the company’s exponential growth to a number of factors, one of which is the company's transition from a trucking company to an industrial clean-up operation. Recently, the company recycled 85 decaying Chicago Transit Authority rail cars and recovered a damaged construction barge from the bottom of the Chicago River.

B.L. Duke’s “Fast Fifty” ranking represents the global influence of PMA member companies. B.L. Duke's commitment to running a streamlined supply chain has helped them become recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in Chicago. Staying consistent with their mission will help them maintain success and continue to grow in the future.

For information about the Precision Metalforming Association Chicago District, click here.

Friday, May 29, 2015

PMA’s May Business Conditions Report


CLEVELAND, OH—May 13, 2015—According to the May 2015 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect softening business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 126 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The May report shows that 24% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (down from 33% in April), 60% expect that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 58% last month) and 16% believe that economic activity will decline (up from 9% in April).

Metalforming companies also forecast a decline in incoming orders during the next three months, with 35% predicting an increase in orders (down from 41% in April), 50% anticipating no change (compared to 47% in April) and 15% expecting a decrease in orders (up from 12% last month).

Current average daily shipping levels also dipped in May. Thirty-six percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 46% in April), 43% report that levels are the same as three months ago (the same percentage reported last month) and 21% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 11% in April).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 9% in May, up from 7% in April. The May 2015 figure marks a slight increase from this time last year, when 7% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“PMA’s Business Conditions report for May reflects a typical seasonal adjustment in orders and shipments that generally occurs as we approach the end of Q-2,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “PMA’s confidential Monthly Orders & Shipments Report of a sample of PMA members detailed that actual Q-1 orders and shipments grew by 3% and 2% respectively, vs. 2014, year-over-year. This reflects the slow growth pattern evidenced in GDP and Federal Reserve projections. The automotive sector continues to lead a general economic recovery in manufacturing in the United States.”

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's time for you to be recognized for your high standards of achievement!

PMA’s Awards of Excellence in Metalforming recognizes the high standards of achievement set by the metalforming industry in the areas of design, quality, safety, training and education, process control, product development and productivity.

Winning companies benefit from: 

  • company acknowledgement at the FABTECH tradeshow.
  • recognition in a video presentation highlighting the winning companies' accomplishments
  • prominent coverage in MetalForming magazine reaching more than 55,000 readers in the metalforming industry.
  • customized announcements to send to your key customers, suppliers and prospects.
  • key presence on PMA's website, visited by nearly 100,000 people annually.
  • induction into the prestigious winners circle

This sounds great, doesn't it? So what’s stopping you from applying? 

“I don’t have time to fill out an awards application—I’m too busy developing innovative training and safety programs, evaluating suggestions for improving productivity, and providing world-class
customer service!”

That’s an understandable reaction from small manufacturing companies like mine.  But if your company is excelling in safety, training, innovation, quality and productivity, you've already done the hard part!  Winning a national award for those efforts will build your credibility with customers and prospects. It also provides a well-deserved recognition of the commitment and effort your employees bring to the job every day. Believe me, seeing our 50-person company on a list of industry giants makes us all stand taller.

Win or lose, the application process provides an opportunity to analyze and reflect on your company’s best practices. You’ll appreciate what you've accomplished and get fresh ideas for where you want to go next. That makes PMA awards a good business practice.”

-Erick Ajax, E.J. Ajax & Sons

This is your opportunity to be recognized for the fantastic performance of your employees and company - apply today!

Entries for the 2015 competition are now being accepted. Deadline to apply: June 30.  
Contact Christie Carmigiano with any questions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PMA Member Spotlight -- Karla Aaron, Hialeah Metal Spinning, Inc.

Each month, the PMA Member Spotlight features an outstanding member sharing his/her insights into the latest industry trends and technologies.

PMA is pleased to highlight Karla Aaron, president of Hialeah Metal Spinning, Inc. (HMS), Hialeah, FL. Established in 1957, HMS is a woman-owned company specializing in metal spinning and deep drawing. The company has distinguished itself from other metalformers by combining the benefits of spinning and deep drawing to create a competitive advantage for its customers. This combination allows HMS to offer the most cost-effective solution for each application, while ensuring superior quality.

Read about Karla’s thoughts on technology challenges facing metalformers, finding skilled workers, what’s on her wish list for her facility this year and more!

Karla Aaron, President, Hialeah Metal Spinning, Inc. 
Q: Which job classifications are the most challenging to find skilled workers?
A: Finding what I call “talent” is always a challenge. This is especially true today given the double whammy of increased demand for talent combined with the reduced labor pool. I define “talent” as someone who can look at a print, know how to make the part (including tool design) and oversee the production. This individual has hands-on experience, in-depth metalforming knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Q: What is the biggest technology challenge metalformers face today?
A: Keeping ahead of the curve – knowing what’s happening now, knowing what’s coming up, knowing how to position your company to take advantage of the change.

Q: What is on your wish list for your shop in 2015 (i.e., a new piece of equipment)?
A: I’d love a 5 axis machining center; a Faro arm with laser checking; a triple action deep draw press, and more!

Q: What is the best conference or seminar you or your employees attended in the past year and why?
A: I attended PMA’s Executive Development Academy in January. This was a unique gathering of industry professionals, all committed to moving their companies forward. The combination of educational, inspirational and thought-provoking sessions along with open conversations among colleagues was unparalleled. This is a great event. (And, no, PMA did not ask me to make a plug!)

Q: What conference topic (related to the metalforming/manufacturing industry) would you be most interested in attending?
A: Anything that keeps us ahead of the curve: 3D printing, simulation software, etc.

Q: Minivan, SUV or sedan?
A: If I’m driving in town, I’ll take an SUV so that I can see out. (I’m vertically challenged.) If I’m driving through the countryside, I’d love a slick, fast, two-seater convertible with a manual shift.

Q: What are the top three songs on your play list right now?
A: I’m enjoying pop country right now: Downtown by Lady Antebellum; Mean to Me by Brett Eldridge; Whiskey on My Breath by Love and Theft.

Thank you for your participation, Karla! 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

PMA’s April Business Conditions Report

CLEVELAND, OH—April 17, 2015—According to the April 2015 Precision Metalforming Association  (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect little change in business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 120 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The April report shows that 33% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (down from 35% in March), 58% expect that activity will remain unchanged (the same percentage reported last month) and 9% believe that economic activity will decline (up from 7% in March).

Metalforming companies also forecast that incoming orders will remain steady during the next three months, with 41% predicting an increase in orders (down from 43% in March), 47% anticipating no change (the same percentage reported in March) and 12% expecting a decrease in orders (up from 10% last month).

Current average daily shipping levels improved in April. Forty-six percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 40% in March), 43% report that levels are the same as three months ago (the same percentage reported last month) and only 11% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 17% in March).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dipped to 7% in April, down from 10% in March. The April 2015 figure marks a slight decrease from this time last year, when 8% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“Business conditions in the metalforming industry seem to accurately reflect the current state of the U.S. economy—generally okay, with pockets of disappointment (mining, heavy equipment, segments of construction) and pockets of opportunity (aerospace, home and commercial electronics, automotive and appliances),” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Fabricated metal products, as a segment of overall manufacturing, finished Q-1 2015 with average growth of 2.7%, according to the Federal Reserve, while PMA’s orders and shipments data indicates that typical PMA members have experienced one to two percent growth year-to-date for 2015 vs. 2014.  Continued growth in regulatory burdens, lack of clear tax policy supporting manufacturing on the part of Congress and the strong U.S. dollar are all headwinds impacting PMA’s membership.  However, the April Business Conditions Report indicates continued firming in expectations for shipments over the next three months, which is a positive trend.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

PMA Member Spotlight -- Julius Feitl, Progressive Machine Die, Inc.

Each month, the PMA Member Spotlight features outstanding members sharing their insights into the latest industry trends and technologies.

PMA is pleased to introduce Julius Feitl, President of Progressive Machine Die, Inc, Macedonia, Ohio.


Julius Feitl, President, Progressive Machine Die, Inc. 

Q:  Which job classifications are the most challenging to find skilled workers?
A:  Press Operator and Setup Person – Most schools tend to focus on CNC operators, machinists and laser cutting, but there aren't any programs in schools specifically designed for press operators and setup people. At this point, the best way to find a skilled press operator or setup person is to hire them away from a competitor. This position is essential to stamping. I hope that in the future, schools start to offer training programs to develop these roles.

Q:  What is the biggest technology challenge metalformers face today?
A:  Understanding the benefits that servo presses offer by way improving efficiencies.

Q: What is on your wish list for your shop, next year (i.e., a new piece of equipment)? 
A: To buy a new servo press or potentially some feed equipment.

Q: What is the best conference or seminar you or your employees attended in the past year and why?
A: The CEO Roundtable hosted by PMA. This particular roundtable promoted great discussions that were very pertinent to me as a company owner. The conversation was focused, and I spent quality time interacting with peers that face the same challenges and issues I do.

Q: What conference topic (related to the metalforming/manufacturing industry) would you be most interested in attending?
A: Succession planning would be a great topic of interest to me.

Q: Minivan, SUV or sedan?
A:  SUV

Q: What are the top three songs on your play list right now?
A: I don’t have a play list per se, but I like to listen to Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, the Allman Brothers, and just about any classic rock.

Thank you for your participation, Julius! 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

PMA’s March Business Conditions Report

CLEVELAND, OH—March 18, 2015—According to the March 2015 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect steady business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 110 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The March report shows that 35% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (up from 33% in February), 58% expect that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 59% last month) and 7% believe that economic activity will decline (down from 8% in February).

Metalforming companies also anticipate little change in incoming orders during the next three months, with 43% predicting an increase in orders (down from 44% in February), 47% anticipating no change (compared to 48% in February) and 10% expecting a decrease in orders (up from 8% last month).

Current average daily shipping levels also remained steady in March. Forty percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 38% in February), 43% report that levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 44% last month) and only 17% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 18% in February).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 10% in March, up from 8% in February. The March 2015 figure marks a slight decrease from this time last year, when 11% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“Results in PMA’s March report indicate that PMA member companies, especially those supplying the automotive market, are yet to be significantly impacted by slower-than-expected GDP growth, soft consumer demand, the stronger dollar and other indicators which might lead to a near-term slowdown in demand for metal stampings, assemblies and fabricated metal products,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Eighty percent of PMA members report shipping levels are the same or higher than one year ago, and 90 percent expect orders will be the same or trend higher over the three months ahead. The metalforming industry continues to hope that members of Congress will step up and act on legislative issues such as making bonus depreciation and the R&D tax credit permanent, allowing companies to more confidently plan their investments in new equipment and product development.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PMA Tennessee District Tours Local College Mechatronics Program, Is Featured in News Story

PMA was featured in a Daily News Journal article about our Tennessee district’s gathering last week at Middle Tennessee State University, which has a special mechatronics major - a program that combines mechanical, computer and electrical engineering, systems integration and project management.

A current senior at the school, Daniel Kiviniemi - who is also an employee of PMA member Feintool Tennessee Inc. - helped lead the tour through the MTSU machtronics program facilities like the Experimental Vehicles Program featuring impressive technologies including the NASA Lunar Rover.

The PMA tour, which took place last Thursday, also included some 40 students from The Academy of Information Technology at Overton High School Tennessee District.  PMA Tennesee district Chairman Perry Hytken is quoted as saying of the tour, “I wouldn't be surprised if you don't see some of these students in mechatronics some day.”

This article provides a good example of ways that local PMA districts show support for community efforts to introduce young people to manufacturing and the high-tech skills needed for high-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector.  Way to go Tennesee district, you are a force in the fight against the skills gap!

The full article can be found here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

PMA Welcomes New Chairman Bill Smith

During the MFG Meeting in Orlando, FL last week, there was a changing of the guard at PMA.  Bill Smith, CEO of Termax Corporation in Lake Zurich, IL took over as 2015 chairman of the PMA board of directors.  Smith assumes the chairmanship following Jody Fledderman's tenure through 2014.

Smith accounced that the theme of his one-year term will be To Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected.

With that theme in mind he and the PMA board will be focused on: 1) Developing a PMA mentorship program, 2) Establishing a new funding initiative for the PMA Educational Foundation, and 3) Raising awareness of the PMA/NTMA One Voice advocacy program in Washington, DC.

Here's a video of our new chairman testing out the weight of the gavel.

Congratulations, Bill!  We look forward to seeing your positive influence on the future of PMA!

video

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