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How to Choose a Welding Table

Whether you’re an experienced professional or a beginner in welding, the quality of your welding table can significantly impact your project results. These work surfaces are built to withstand incredibly high temperatures and support high-power machinery.

 

Choosing the right table for your needs can be daunting, at times, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for or what to shop for in the first place. Today, we’ll cover some of the most common welding table styles. We’ll also explain how to find one which one which works best for you.

Light-Duty Welders

For Light-Duty Welders

Those who only occasionally take on small, simple welding projects have a much easier time finding a suitable welding table. A thin sheet of aluminum or steel placed on some particle board or a wooden table will do the trick. Plywood may be cheaper, but it isn’t ideal, due to how curved large pieces are. Consider finding a foldable table to hang on your garage wall if you’re low on work area.

 

There are two primary drawbacks of this basic setup. One is the inability to clamp anything to the table without damaging it tightly. These types of “jury-rigged” tables can’t withstand much heat. Avoid rosebud welding if at all possible. Otherwise, this is an inexpensive table that will suit almost any light-duty welding job.

 

Local Deals

Check your local markets once you’re ready to move on to more demanding projects. Websites like Craigslist are where you’ll find the bulk of custom-built tables in your area. You should have no trouble finding a great deal on a used product or something from an experienced small-scale table manufacturer. It’s not uncommon to find a well-built steel table for the price of scrap metal and little else—making it rather affordable to get started with something basic and practical.

 

Stainless Steel Welders

If you’re primarily working with stainless steel welds, you’re going to need a more specific setup. Stainless steel doesn’t react well with other metals, so you must purchase a table made from the same material if you want to prevent cross-contamination. Welding on a carbon steel table will produce iron particles that will cause your end product to rust.

 

If you’re making food industry equipment, your guidelines are even more specific. The law requires welders making food industry equipment to weld on a stainless-steel table only. Anything else can result in fines or even lawsuits.

 

DIY Steel Table

If you’re more of a DIY person, you can build your own steel table from scratch. There’s no limit to how you design your own welding table when you purchase everything yourself. The size and complexity of the table will determine the exact price. The average independent build should average around $800 and several hours of work.

 

Buy a Brand Name Table

This option is for the more experienced welders who know precisely what they need. Brand name tables may be your best option if you don’t have the resources or time to make your dream welding table. Their prices vary widely, depending on what you want, ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands. It’s a significant investment but is well worth the money for professionals.

 

We hope this guide has helped you decide on what type of welding table is right for you, but, if you’re still struggling to make a decision, reach out to us at Quantum Machinery Group. We’ll help you find a high-quality name brand table that won’t break the bank. We have a great selection of welding tables for welders of all experience levels.

welders professional

How to Weld Stainless Steel

Welding stainless steel can be incredibly complex; it isn’t really anything like welding other metals. The core techniques used aren’t drastically different, but there are many differences with the setup and preparation for a job. If you’re just getting started or you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available out there, we want to help you make sense of it all. Here are some essentials you need to know about how to weld stainless steel before you start a project for the metal.

welders professional

Preparation

This is perhaps the most crucial step when it comes to working with stainless steel. Cleaning your work surface before any welding job is mission-critical, but it’s especially crucial with stainless steel. It doesn’t get along well with other metals, so any trace amounts of carbon steel will cause your end products to rust.

 

Only use tools such as hammers and brushes on stainless steel stables. Don’t use any stainless-steel brushes you’ve used to clean carbon steel, either, as they will result in cross-contamination. Avoid hammers and clamps, and don’t grind any carbon steel in the same area.

 

Next, it’s time to design your product. First, ensure your workplace is free of any carbon steel from tools or outside influences. Double-check to see if all the pieces are flush and fit together before you begin welding. Then determine the types of welds you’ll make for each component.

 

One great way to prevent heat damage is to clamp some brass or aluminum behind the weld area. These materials are heat sinks and will save your stainless steel if things don’t go according to plan.

 

Finally, go over any instructions that came with your supplies. Make sure you fully understand the process before you get started, to avoid mid-project issues.

 

Variations of Stainless Steel

There are five broad types of stainless steel. Each one has many subtle variations under that branch that differ in chemistry and how it’s worked with. The microstructure of each variety determines its strength, malleability, and other attributes. The first three types we’ll cover are the most common.

 

Austenitic is the most popular type of all stainless steels. It’s used in standard machining and fabrication settings. Hard martensitic is another alternative that’s used mainly in high-wear heavy-duty applications. Finally, ferritic stainless steel is the least expensive variation, which makes it ideal for many consumer products.

 

The two other types of stainless steel aren’t as widely utilized. Duplex is a mixture of austenite and ferrite microstructures. It’s much stronger than both of them, but it’s also much harder to work with. The last type is precipitation-hardening stainless steel, which mixes in various metals elements like niobium. Duplex and precipitation-hardening stainless steel are very strong, yet costly variations used in high-performance situations. They are typically used in the aerospace and processing industries.

 

Choose Your Filler Metals

Another essential consideration when working with stainless steel is which filler metals you’re using alongside it. You’ll need to know the base metal you’re working with before you choose the filler. It’s often as simple as using a metal with the same number as the base, but that depends on the type of weld you’re doing. In other cases, you’ll need to decide which filler metal is more compatible with the base and less likely to crack.

 

You need to do a little more prep before working with stainless steel, but the results you can achieve make the effort more than worthwhile. Need to access the best stainless steel on the market? When only the best will do, browse Quantum Machinery Group’s stock to find the exact materials you need.

Filler Metals

The Most Important Things You Should Know About Press Brakes

Press brakes are a necessity to almost any metal fabrication shop. Unfortunately, despite being one of the most important and desired pieces of machinery in a shop, they’re still misunderstood—even by professionals. To help you better understand press brakes, we put together this short, layman’s-level guide.

Press Brakes

What Are Press Brakes?

Press brakes are machines that form lengths of sheet metal. These sheets are typically used in manufacturing, industrial applications, or as components for other devices.

 

Most press brakes are rated by their capacity to press metal and their overall bending length; this is expressed in numbers (e.g., total PPI, or pounds of pressure per inch). They come in many forms and often are equipped with tooling and add-ons designed to create highly customized components.

 

Press brakes fall into two main categories: mechanical and hydraulic. In the next sections, we’ll break down the difference and explain the prominent features of each style.

 

Mechanical Press Brakes

Mechanical press brakes operate via a motor inside the device. This motor spins a large flywheel at high speeds. The machine operator controls the flywheel through a clutch, which then sets the rest of the parts into motion to bend the metal.

 

The mechanical press brake is much more straightforward, especially regarding its electronics, making maintenance and operation easy. They can also handle tonnages two to three times higher than their inherent rating, due to the nature of the mechanisms.

 

The primary disadvantage of using mechanical press brakes is that the ram inside the machine must complete a full cycle when engaged and cannot be reversed. This creates some safety concerns if the operator makes a mistake and sets some limitations on the machine. One possible hazard is the potential for the press brake to become locked if the ram travels too far.

 

Hydraulic Press Brakes

Hydraulic press brakes apply pressure via hydraulics to force the ram down, instead of relying solely on mechanics. They may have more than one cylinder and give the operator more precise control over the bend. The result is a highly accurate and customizable bend.

 

Like mechanical press brakes, hydraulic press brakes do have some specific disadvantages. Primarily, they cannot exceed the range of their rated tonnage. If your project requires flexibility, mechanical press brakes may be preferred.

 

Press Brake Controls

Early generations of press brakes only had one axis of motion to make bends. They were much more limited compared to modern machines with 12 or more programmable axes of movement.

 

Modern press brakes are highly precise and create graphical representations of the end result to aid the operator. Newer computers have dramatically reduced the setup time as well. They’re able to quickly calculate optimal settings based on materials being used, its dimensions, and the desired results. These calculations used to be done by hand, back in the day.

 

Types of Bending

There are two ways press brakes can bend metal. The first is called bottom bending because the ram will press the metal to the bottom of the die. Bottom bending results in highly accurate bends and relies less on the press brake machine itself. The downside is each tool is they're made to create one specific bend, so you’ll need to purchase a new one for every angle you want to make.

 

Air bending leaves an air pocket between the ram and the bottom of the die. This allows the operator to accommodate for any spring back the material might provide. These types of dies only need to be changed if the material’s thickness is too much. Air bending’s drawback is the accuracy of the angle is affected by the material’s thickness, so the ram needs to be changed out accordingly.

 

There’s no denying that press brakes are one of the most useful tools an industrial-grade metalworker can have. Does your practice need an excellent press brake? Quantum Machinery Group has everything your business needs to succeed.

 

 

What Are the Most Common Injuries Involving Metalworking Machinery & Equipment?

Working in a metal fabrication or machine shop poses certain risks due to the types of metalworking machinery and equipment used. Whether you operate a machine on a daily basis or simply oversee work being performed on the production floor, you need to take the proper precautions to avoid getting injured or causing injuries to others. To give you an idea of what types of potential injuries that occur, the following is a list of the more common ones within this market segment.

  • Injuries to the Hands

Workers use their hands to perform a variety of functions on machinery and equipment. If workers are distracted, fail to wear the right PPE (personal protection equipment), or attempt to use the machines in a manners they were not intended, their hands could get injured.

 

Machinery-Injuries

Typical injuries can range from simple cuts and scrapes to crushed fingers and loss of fingers or the entire hand. To avoid injuring your hands, always pay attention to what you are doing. If you are tired or distracted, do not operate the machine. Only use the machine for what it was designed to do.

  • Electrical Shocks/Burns

Burns can occur when working with metals, as some processes do heat it up to transform it. Shocks can occur when working with electricity, electric-arc welders, and so on. Take extra precautions and wear the right PPE.

If entering an area where someone is welding, do not distract them until they shut off the welding machine. Pay attention to any lock-out/tag-out hang tags on machinery.

  • Bodily Injuries

Machinery and equipment can have lots of moving and rotating parts and components. There have been accidents where workers were pulled into machines because of the types of clothing they were wearing. Part of the clothing got caught on a moving part and pulled the worker into the machine.

Do not wear neckties, loose fitting jeans or pants, baggy or oversized t-shirts or hoodies, and certain types of necklaces, bracelets, and jewelry. Your clothing should fit correctly, and there should never be any part of it or any jewelry that can get tangled or caught on the moving parts of the machinery.

  • Slips, Trips, and Falls

Workers can slip on wet floors, or trip on debris or tools left on the floor and fall down. Always keep your work area clean. If necessary, stop using a machine to allow time to pick up and help prevent an accident.

 

Construction accident
  • Injuries to the Eyes

Certain processes will create small shavings that can be projected through the air and potentially into the eye. Always wear goggles to shield and protect the eyes, whether you are operating the machine or overseeing other workers.

By taking the proper precautions and wearing the right PPE, the risks for the occurrence of workplace accidents and injuries can be greatly reduced and prevented. For more safety tips or help choosing your next new machine or piece of equipment, like press brakes, please feel free to contact Quantum Machinery Group at (909) 476-8007 today!

Metal Fabrication and Machine Shop Manufacturing Trends for 2018

For 2018, there are several trends that are developing in the metal fabrication and machine shop manufacturing industry. In order to remain competitive and have a successful operation, it is worth your time to review the following trends and determine which of these could have an impact on your business, earnings, and revenues.

  • “Smart” Metalworking Machinery

The Internet of Things (IoT) is not limited to consumer goods and households. Metalworking machinery is starting to feature “smart” technology enhancements to improve production processes. This trend is going to continue as IoT technologies continue to advance and machine learning improves.

For instance, a “smart” band saw would be able to save your most frequently used cuts. When you needed to perform one of these, instead of having to set up the machine, you would simply choose it from the list, and the machine would automatically adjust to those settings.

Manufacturing-Trends-for-2018
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

VR and AR technologies continue to move ahead. These technologies allow you to develop and create finished goods in a virtual setting. You can set parameters to see how various factors could affect output, such as changes in humidity or temperature levels inside the facility.
You can also experiment with post-production features, like durability, to pre-determine the quality of your finished goods before they are even produced. In addition, these technologies can help reduce errors, improve quality, lower production costs, and increase productivity.

  • Robotic Automation

The use of automation and robotics is nothing new in manufacturing. As technologies have advanced, so, too, have the types of tasks robots can perform. Robots can take the place of a human worker to complete hazardous and dangerous processes, while a human worker safely oversees the production process. The use of robotic automation will also help increase productivity and shorten job run times, improving the overall efficiency of the business.

  • 3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing)

Traditional machine shops and metal fabricators used to take raw metals and transform them into new products by shaping, bending, cutting, welding, and performing other such processes. 2018 will see 3D metal printing to continue to grow within the industry. These machines produce finished goods by slowly adding layer after layer of metal during the printing process.

The benefit of additive manufacturing is that the technology allows for complex and complicated pieces to be produced. At the same, overall waste is reduced because only the materials required to create the finished product are used.

Regional-Market-Opportunities
  • New Regional Market Opportunities

Metal fabricators and machine shops will start to notice newer regional market opportunities. As production costs decrease and output increases, there is no need for businesses to source finished goods from overseas. Rather, they will be looking locally and regionally for suppliers.

These trends could benefit your business this year and into the future, as long as you start implementing now. To learn more about the latest metalworking machinery and equipment for your business, please feel free to contact Quantum Machinery Group at (909) 476-8007 today!

Basic Welding Terms Welding Equipment Buyers Need to Know

Understanding basic welding terms can better enable metal fabrication and machine shop owners and equipment buyers to select the best machines for their needs. It is not uncommon for the person controlling the capital resources to not know much about welding.

Sure, they might know you ignite a torch of some type and then go about welding together different types of metals. Yet, this is just one type of welding process. You could easily use other types of welding processes at your shop. To help you better understand welding and the various processes used, the following are some of the more commonly used terms you should know.

Basic Welding Terms Welding Equipment
  • Arc Welding: This is one of the more common processes used to weld materials together. It involves using an electric arc and welding along the seams. Filler materials may or may not be required.
  • Filler Materials: The materials that will be used to secure two or more pieces together to create the weld.
  • Arc Cutting: This type of welding is where the metal is cut using an electric arc.
  • Carbon Arc Welding: A carbon arc is used to weld and fuse materials together.
  • Bare Metal Arc Welding: The materials are fused together by producing heat between the base metals and often includes using some form of filler material.
  • Pressure Welding: Pressure is applied to the metal to fuse them together.
  • Cutting Torch: The part of the welding machine that is used to cut metals and helps regulate the gases used to generate the heat required to cut the metal.
  • Tempering: This process is where the metal is heated, cooled, and reheated to help make it stronger.
  • Welding Torch: The part of the welding machine that is used to weld and fuse meals together. It also helps regulate the gases used to generate the heat required to weld metals together.
welding equipment
  • Bond: This term refers to the joint created when welding materials together and is the part of the finished piece where the base metals and filler materials connect.
  • Nonferrous Metals: These types of metals are those that are iron-free, such as copper, aluminum, titanium, and so on.
  • Base Metals: The primary metals you want to cut or weld together.
  • Ferrous Metals: These types of metals are those that contain some level of iron in their composition, such as steel.
  • Metal Alloys: These metals are those that are a mixture of metal and other elements, such as bronze or brass.
  • Gas Welding: This type of welding is where gas is used to create the flame require to generate the required heat to perform welding processes.

Please keep in mind, this is just a small sample of the wide array of terms used in welding, and there are numerous others you may want to learn.

If you are shopping for welding machines and welding equipment, please feel free to contact Quantum Machinery at (909) 476-8007 today for assistance in selecting the best machines and equipment to suit your needs!

Everything You Need to Know About Power Hammers

Do a brief search on YouTube for the words “hydraulic press.” You will quickly discover that, strangely, society seems rather obsessed with watching presses smush everything from pencils to even diamonds. Those of us in industry know that’s because it’s easy to marvel at the sheer force hydraulics provide—this metalworking machinery is simply impressive to watch and use.

For as much power as a hydraulic press exudes, it simply isn’t always the best tool for the job. Primarily, it’s slower, and that can slow a shop down so much that it’s no longer efficient. Instead, many shops use high-impact, high-pressure power hammers. Both devices operate on the same technological basis, but there are differences.

Know About Power Hammers

Power Hammer Basics

What the heck is a power hammer, anyway? This technology isn’t new; in fact, it harkens back throughout human history much further than even the hydraulic press. The original power hammer was often called a forge hammer, and it relied on steam to build pressure and propel the device, but today’s versions use pneumatics or electricity instead.

How a power hammer operates is simple: Like a hammer, it quickly travels downward when force is applied on the opposite side, striking whatever object you place under it. Because they use some form of pressure that builds up force first, the strike occurs much faster and with far more force than if you were using a hand hammer or even a hydraulic press.

Power hammers are also very large in size when compared to other equipment. The more force you need, the larger the machinery, and advanced models may take up as much as four cubic feet of space in your shop or more.

These larger machines also produce smoother, more equalized results because the sheer mass of the device absorbs vibration and movements through weight. That’s a boon for operators and the projects they complete—size improves comfort and outcomes all around. You can expect one of these larger machines to weigh up to 12,000 pounds.

Training and Safe Use

As with any other piece of industrial equipment, no worker should have access to a power hammer without proper training. The most common accidents relate to negligence—getting hands in the way of the hammer, wearing loose clothing that becomes caught in the machine, or being hit with flying debris (especially in the eyes). Much like a hand hammer, hitting your fingers will result in injury (and likely finger loss, too). That’s what makes having a safety protocol so important.

It’s also common for workshops to experience too much vibration or movement, even in larger devices. As any equipment company will tell you, the machine can only work correctly if you use it correctly in the first place. If you find your large-scale power hammer is uncomfortable to use with a high amount of recoil, it may be that it’s off-center or that you aren’t placing your dies and pieces in the right zone. Occasional calibration is the best way to keep everyone safe.

Where you place the material isn’t the only consideration; each project will demand a precise amount of pressure and material movement, too. Often, it’s best to run a test prototype before nailing down these numbers, adjusting the rate of fire as you go. Most brands and machines will provide average numbers for common projects within the manual.

If these warnings seem rather doom and gloom, don’t feel too stressed out—truthfully, power hammers are remarkably safe when used correctly. If you follow a proper safety protocol, they may even be more safe than handheld devices! Whether you’re using your power hammer for metalbending or something else entirely, it’s just a fantastic device to have around. If you’re considering a power hammer for your shop, give us a call at Quantum Machinery Group—we can help you explore your options!

Power Hammer Basics

Maintaining Strong Growth in the Manufacturing Industry

Improvements and innovations in technology have been a significant driving force for many industries. Many businesses today fail because of an inability to keep up with the times. The manufacturing industry heavily relies on getting the most productivity out of the least amount of resources possible, especially when it comes to metalworking machinery and metal bending. How much a production business embraces the advancements in technology and education plays a large part in determining their success.

 

Maintaining Growth Manufacturing Industry

Intelligent Use of Analytics

The manufacturing industry has held the same business model for a long time: selling a single complicated and intricate product to a customer with warranty and a service contract for repairs and maintenance. It’s worked for a long time, but it’s become less feasible over time due to changes in technology and real-time data flow.

Many manufacturing companies are moving toward an updated version of this business model to keep with the times. Selling a single piece of complicated machinery is still viable, though many customers want more from their purchase than just a user manual and repair options a phone call away.

New technology and apps enable manufacturers to integrate real-time updating software and components into their products. They use this information to work with their clients daily to tweak performance levels to their needs and know when the product requires maintenance.

Manufacturers that actively work with their clients to optimize the product will see a greater return on their investments. Building customer loyalty and retention opens up opportunities for more lucrative ventures down the road.

Educate Your Workers

Educated employees are always a valued asset for any business, and their worth has only increased with time. It’s imperative that contemporary manufacturing workers are knowledgeable about current trends in technology. Hiring more workers used to be a more feasible solution in the past, but finding employees that know what they’re doing is more crucial now than when manufacturing was in its adolescence.

STEM education is one of the keys to satisfying this need for smart workers. Ensure that your workers have the training and knowledge they need, whether you’re hiring fresh college graduates or providing supplemental education for your current workforce.

Operational Data Is Your Gold Mine

Improving efficiency is the name of the game in the current state of modern manufacturing. Creating more efficient production lines or methods is always beneficial, but maybe you’re hitting a brick wall. Maybe the cost of re-doing your infrastructure is too expensive or requires more research and development. Many manufacturers are facing these challenges, so they’re looking to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of what they have now.

Keep tabs on the operational data of your machines and devices to learn how to get the most out of them. Improving your efficiency by a few percent makes a big difference whether you’re mass producing or focusing on a single item. Your competitors are doing the same thing, so investing into advanced data collection technology is a great way to stay with, or ahead of, the curve. Quantum Machinery Group understands how to implement high-tech solutions to exceed your business standards. Our experienced staff and machinery can help you push your company ahead of the rest and bring innovation to your metalworking machinery.

increase productivity within your manufacturing

Women in Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing

When you think about metalworking machinery manufacturing, you might picture this industry as being a “males-only” industry. However, you would be sadly mistaken. While, indeed, there are more men that work in this particular industrial segment, women still make up a decent percentage of workers.

In fact, women started getting into manufacturing back during World War II (WWII) when men were being drafted for the war effort. Women started taking over many of the positions previously held by men. Globally, there was a significant increase in the number of women working in manufacturing from the period between 1940 through 1943.

Women in Metalworking Machinery

Even Queen Elizabeth II did her part. She joined the UK’s armed forces and worked as a mechanic repairing military vehicles and was also a military truck driver! Here in the United States, “Rosie the Riveter” became an iconic image that promoted women’s roles in manufacturing during WWII.

Many women worked in factories building airplanes, military vehicles, and automobiles. Other women worked in machine shops as machinists producing related parts and components. While the dominance they established during WWII declined after the war, many women continued to work in manufacturing.

Today, women still make up around one-third of the workers in manufacturing. In fact, they have held steady at this rate since the 1970s, with little change. Some women have even started their own metal fabrication and machine shops!

What the Future Holds for Women

As technologies continue to advance, women will need to adapt just like their male counterparts. This means pursuing educational opportunities in computer programming, industry-specific software applications (i.e., CAD, CAM, etc.), and ongoing training to ensure they can operate advanced machinery.

The younger generation of women that is considering entering the metalworking industry needs to focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) coursework and related degree programs through trades schools and universities.

Women will be important to fill gaps being created as technologies continue to advance. Even as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and other automation continue to grow in manufacturing, the demand for skilled workers to operate the AI, robots, and machines will also continue to increase.

Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing

If the United States hopes to compete globally with other metalworking businesses, they will need to adapt by hiring more women. In fact, U.S. trade schools, universities, and businesses in metalworking manufacturing have started to take more of an interest in recruiting women and encouraging them to pursue careers in this field.

Just in two short years, schools have seen a jump in young women’s interests in going into manufacturing. In 2015, only 12% of women were actively working toward a career in manufacturing. Now, in 2017, this has grown to 29%. It is expected the rate will continue to grow over the next decade and could potentially reach as high as 50%.

Here at Quantum Machinery Group, we applaud women already working in manufacturing, and those women actively working toward a career in metalworking. For all of your metalworking machinery and equipment, please feel free to contact us at (909) 476-8007 today!

Sources

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_World_War_II
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_women_in_World_War_II
  3. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/blogs/random-samplings/2017/10/women-manufacturing.html
  4. http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/Initiatives/Women-in-Manufacturing/~/media/3B9BF94AEF0A46A5B755D17F1F1336BC.ashx

 

 

How Tech Is Taking a Front Seat on the Factory Floor

The public perception of manufacturing hasn’t changed much from the factories of the past. Nonetheless, there have been many changes in the industry. Employment rose from 11.5 million jobs in 2010 to 12.3 million jobs in 2016.1 U.S. manufacturing is also being transformed by technology.

Manufacturing output has increased, and The New York Times reported that manufacturers are producing 47% more than 10 years ago. Automation, robotics, and advanced metalworking machinery and other manufacturing technologies are, in part, responsible for the trends.

These modern innovations were merely conceptual, just a few years ago, but are impacting the industry today.

3D Printing: Manufacturers can produce metal and plastic products quickly and boost factory productivity. Design-to-production is more efficient and lead times are reduced. Factories can build machine parts and prototypes less expensively and with less waste than before (3D printing involves building up rather than cutting material away).

Robotics: The adoption of robotics is crucial to maximizing automation and productivity. By 2013, there were 1.2 million robots operating in factories and warehouses around the world, and 1.5 million in 2014.2 Robots are becoming more suitable for complex tasks; in 2016, Everwin Precision Technology4 replaced 650 people with 60 robotic arms at a factory in China, reducing the demand on people to perform often difficult and dangerous tasks.

tech factory floor

Computers: The Internet of Things has shaped a new revolution in which machines and sensors allow communication. Factory equipment can even respond automatically to conditions, such as low fluid levels, and can generate work orders. The process reduces maintenance costs and downtime.

Cloud computing is connecting multiple manufacturing plants and enabling companies to share data across facilities anywhere on the globe. Aside from speeding production, this improves product quality and consistency.

Up and coming tech includes nanotechnology, which is already enhancing material properties at the molecular level and making computers faster. Augmented reality is in its early stages, but the concept of receiving instructions, guidance, and notifications via sophisticated eyewear won’t go away. It also has the potential to improve safety, training, and data retrieval.

Technology Is Adding Manufacturing Jobs

The demand for skilled labor is high. It’s also providing opportunities to participate in specialized programs, including those focused on laser technology. Well-paying jobs can be found without incurring the costs of a college degree.

At the same time, many older workers are getting ready to retire. The students of today are immersed in technology from a young age. As they enter the workforce, they’re already privy to applying computers and tech to their daily lives. One can, therefore, see how easily tech is taking a front seat on the factory floor; for millennials, there is a high potential for finding rewarding and satisfying work.

Manufacturing Jobs

Quantum Machinery Is Helping Fuel the Factory Tech Climate

We offer the latest in metalworking machinery, laser technology, and sawing, bending, shearing, embossing, and welding systems found on factory floors all over the world. For more information about our products and their benefits, contact us online or call 909-476-8007.

Sources

  1. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2016/06/02/how-technology-is-changing-manufacturing/
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/upshot/the-economy-is-rigged-and-other-presidential-campaign-myths.html
  3. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2016/06/02/how-technology-is-changing-manufacturing/
  4. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-morrow/6-technologies-transformi_b_10405528.html

What Is CNC Machining as Related to the Manufacturing Industry?

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is a manufacturing process where a solid piece of material is transformed into the finished product. This process is often referred to as subtractive manufacturing because the raw material is cut away at until the desired results are achieved.

Prior to the invention of modern computers, CNC machines had to be programmed using punch cards or punch tapes, where punches corresponded to specific machine functions. The processes were semi-automated and required CNC machine operators to switch out different types of tools in between each tape or card.

 

CNC Machining

Today, CNC machinery can be fully automated to the point where machines can be left to produce output with minimal human interactions. In some machine shops, you will even find the one machine operator managing multiple CNC machines simultaneously.

To create the finished products requires modeling them first using CAD (Computer Aided Design) or CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software. The software apps allow the product to be constructed in a virtual 3D environment to ensure it meets the required specifications.

Then, once the final revision is saved, the data file can be uploaded to the computer in the CNC machine. The CNC machine uses the encoded data in the file to produce the finished product. Different types of CNC machines are used, depending on the product being manufactured.

For instance, a CNC lathe machine transforms raw materials by spinning the material against a drill-like bit to remove the material. On the other hand, a CNC drill machine uses drill bits to drill directly into the raw material and remove material.

While both of these machines can perform specific processes, CNC milling machines offer greater flexibility. They utilize special rotary attachments to cut away the material. Some models can combine lathe and drilling processes as well, which can eliminate the need for multiple CNC machines.

Aside from these types of CNC machines, there are also specialty machines, such as CNC laser cutting machines or high-powered water jets, to function as the cutting mechanisms to remove the desired amount of material to produce the finished good.

CNC Laser Cutting Machine

A CNC Machine Is Only as Good as Its Programming

Since most CNC machines lack artificial intelligence (AI), they must rely solely upon their programming. If the data in the program is off just the slightest, it can result in faulty finished goods. This is why CNC operators must know how to use CAD and CAM software apps, as well as enter in programming instructions manually to the CNC machine when a data file is not available.

Skilled CNC operators also know they should always run a test prior to starting a batch process to ensure the machine is within acceptable operating parameters and there are no errors or issues that need to be resolved. Catching mistakes sooner, rather than later, always costs less.

For more information about CNC machines for your machine or metal fabrication shop, please feel free to contact Quantum Machinery Group at (909) 476-8007 today!

U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Rate in 3 Years!

Data from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) indicate improving economic conditions are benefiting U.S. manufacturers. By July 2017, the ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 57.8%.1 This was up from 54.9% in June and the highest since mid-2014. The numbers are significant because they provide a measure of how likely manufacturers are to buy products such as metalworking machinery, equipment, and software.

 

U.S. Manufacturing Purchase Managers Index

Significance of the Current Findings

There are 18 industries tracked by ISM. Of those, 15 reported growth in June. The readings are significant because those over 50% show that business and the manufacturing sector are expanding. Numbers below that benchmark indicate contraction.

Nonetheless, the pace has not slowed down. The PMI stood at 58.7% in October 2017,2 higher than June but slightly lower than September’s 60.8 reading. The ISM reported continued growth in new orders, production, employment, and order backlogs. In the October manufacturing report, the institute’s feedback from a panel indicates expanding business conditions, including growth in production, new orders, and export orders.

A slowing of supplier deliveries indicates an improvement, as does a contraction of inventories. In October, 16 manufacturing industries reported growth, including:

  • Paper Products
  • Nonmetallic Mineral Products
  • Machinery
  • Transportation Equipment
  • Wood Products
  • Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products
  • Miscellaneous Manufacturing
  • Petroleum & Coal Products
  • Plastics & Rubber Products
  • Textile Mills
  • Chemical Products
  • Computer & Electronic Products
  • Fabricated Metal Products
  • Furniture & Related Products
  • Electrical Equipment
  • Appliances & Components
  • Primary Metals

Importance of the ISM Index

The index is essentially a survey of purchasing and supply executives. They are surveyed because the rate at which they order raw materials and supplies from manufacturing companies tends to reflect broader economic conditions. For example, the purchase of metal-bending equipment may rise as the economy improves and fall if there may be an impending recession.

Reports are issued monthly, providing a look at the most current business activity.

Markit Reports a Similar Trend

In June, Markit, a financial data firm, reported an increase to 57.3 of its U.S. Manufacturing Purchase Managers Index. Like the ISM index, a reading above 50 indicates economic expansion. The index, output subindex, and read on new orders were all at their highest levels since April 2010, meaning that business for U.S. goods producers was growing a faster rate than it has in a while.3

Factory output, order books, employment, and payroll numbers were rising fast as well, in some cases the most since the recession, according to Markit’s Chief Economist Chris Williamson.

U.S. Manufacturing Expands

What It Means for Business

For machinery providers and software companies/SaaS service providers, the latest economic improvement means an increase in business opportunities. Companies are investing in software and metalworking, cutting, bending, welding, and other machines.

If the demand for products is increasing your need for high-quality, versatile equipment, contact Quantum Machinery Group online, email sales@quantummachinery.com, or call our service department at 909-476-8007.

Sources

  1. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-manufacturers-growing-at-fastest-pace-in-three-years-ism-finds-2017-07-03
  2. https://www.instituteforsupplymanagement.org/ismreport/mfgrob.cfm?SSO=1
  3. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-markit-manufacturing/u-s-manufacturing-expands-in-june-at-fastest-rate-in-over-four-years-markit-idUSKBN0F64DO20140701