(847) 367-4800


Category Archives: Manufacturing News

16 SeptemberChanging Higher Education to Make Manufacturing Employment a Priority


There has been much talk on how the American Manufacturing Industry can prepare for the jobs of the future.  The current boom of technical manufacturing is showing us where the world is heading.  To stay current in today’s marketplace, the American Manufacturing Industry will have to make some changes and it starts with our education.  Here is how we can change higher education to fill manufacturing jobs:

Refocusing Education

Some of us were taught the only way to get a good job was to enroll at a 4-year college or university.  That simply isn’t true.  The American Manufacturing Industry has many areas of focus which are not taught at 4-year universities.  The rising costs of 4-year colleges with no guarantee of a good job after graduation are leaving students in debt.   The reality is most traditional 4-year universities are not preparing students for high demand jobs.  In January, the New York Federal Reserve examined employment data for recent college graduates between 2009 and 2013 and found that 45 percent were working in “non-college” jobs.  Meaning, nearly half of all recent college graduates are underemployed.  Meanwhile, there are a lot of technology manufacturing jobs going unfilled. If more students had the training and skills to fill high-demand jobs required by the technology sector, more graduates would have meaningful employment.


Thankfully, there are a lot of technical manufacturing jobs which don’t require a 4-year degree with a higher price tag.  S.T.E.M courses are being taught at trade schools across the country.  At Lyndex-Nikken, we have sponsored selected employees to take night courses on machinery and CNC operations at our local community college.  Also, programs like the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS give students exposure to STEM based learning and how to continue their education past the show.  Students who desire a career in manufacturing should be encouraged to consider trade schools as an alternative.  Trade schools are feasible, cost effective options for those wanting to work in this industry.  By investing in cheaper more focused education options, we are preparing the next generation of technology manufacturers for the future.

3 March4-Skills You Need to Become a Machinist


Have you ever found yourself taking a product apart, looking at the components, mentally thinking of ways to improve the design and putting it back together again? If so, you may be a Machinist in the making. Mobile devices, cars, watches and airplanes are all products which are designed and produced by machinists. Believe it or not, everyone does not have a desire to know how things are designed or made. However, if you are a person who is curious about how products are created, here are 4 skills you need to become a Machinist.

Blue Print Reading

Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, also known as GD&T, is a system for defining and communicating engineering tolerances. It uses a symbolic language on engineering drawings and computer-generated three-dimensional solid models that explicitly describes nominal geometry and its allowable variation. Knowing how to read GD&T properly is a crucial skill of being a machinist. It is literally the blue print to the job. If you cannot read the dimensions and symbols on a blue print, how can you machine the part?

Reading Calipers and Micrometers

In addition to being able to read blue prints, knowing how to read the measuring devices used in machining is just as important to becoming a Machinist. Calipers and micrometers are commonly used devices to measurer parts accurately. Currently, knowing how to read vernier caliper gage vs. the modern digital gage is vital in most shops. Having a knowledge of how to read manual gages, will also aid in learning digital gages.

Base 10 Math

All machining dimensions go at least three decimal places past zero. Knowing how to convert fractions to decimal and doing simple decimal math is important to a machinist. All interactions with manual or CNC machines with a blue print will require a machinist to use Base 10 Math.

How to use a Coordinate Plane

Understanding a coordinate plane and its quadrants is the equivalent to understanding how to read a blue print for the machine. If a machinist does not understand the Coordinate Plane then they will not understand how a machine thinks or moves.   All movements of the machine and measuring equipment machines (CMM and Optical Comparators) will base all movements off of a coordinate plane quadrant and grid system.

19 February3 Keys Your Employee Training Needs Immediately


There is only one word that can make your employees giddy while simultaneously terrifying Human Resources— TRAINING.  Why you ask? It’s usually because employee training isn’t cheap.  It can cost a pretty penny to hire consultants to train your employees.  At the same time, taking your employees off the job to be trained is costly too.  That said, the positives of training definitely out way the negatives.  Having well trained staff that are knowledgeable and excited about their work is worth every dollar spent.  So far at Lyndex Nikken, here’s a few points we’ve focused on that have boosted the skill, pride and ambition of our team.


Cross Training

In the military, if the Staff Sgt. who is responsible for a specific and critical skill is injured, the mission is not automatically aborted.  Reason being, everyone is cross trained on multiple jobs.  Depending on the size of your company, you may need your employees to step into multiple roles. Cross-training is the way to make sure your employees are more likely to take initiative in times of need by performing jobs they may not otherwise have been trained for.  Using our cross training approach at Lyndex Nikken where we coach our sales team to service rotary tables and live tools has not only expedited the means which we qualify, service, and support customer’s service needs, but also has helped develop better sales skills.  The knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of our rotary tables and live tools has helped answer customer application questions on a much deeper and technical aspect.


Company Pride

Do your employees know your company mission statement or even the values behind your brand?  This may sound like a redundant question but you would be surprised how many of your employees don’t know the answer.  It’s a very common occurrence but it’s usually due to the company not training their new-hires properly.  You cannot forget to train your employees on what your company stands for.   When your staff has a better understanding of how their role affects the company overall, they will transform into an ambassador for the brand.  Managers must develop a consistent and clear philosophy for work ethic and company culture, and dedicate everyday for everyone, including themselves, to abide to strictly.  At Lyndex Nikken, we value the transparency our president provides us.  It makes us feel we’re part of something greater than ourselves.  Everything from the company’s financial health, sales of our rotary tables, live tools, toolholders, angle heads, which team did an extraordinary task, announcing new hires, and any changes in direction with business strategy are announced to everyone, from people in our Warehouse Team to the Accounting Team, every month.


Fear of Failure

Nobody likes to fail; especially, on the job.  However, the fear of failure can be eliminated during the employee training stage.  Creating a company culture that encourages trial and error, helps your staff be their best.  At Lyndex-Nikken, we implemented a companywide initiative dedicated to improvement.  All new-hires, interns and staff are encouraged to share their ideas on areas where we can improve the company overall.  Since implementation, it has been well received by all and extremely successful.  Creating an environment where your employees are comfortable sharing ideas makes them want to reach for the stars.  This will only help you company.

4 February3 Ways Big Data can help the Manufacturing Industry


Big data has purpose in just about every industry. Tech, healthcare, retail and even government all use big data in some form.  Any industry that can analyze data to gain more insight about their operations can improve their production cost, quality and increase efficiency.  Here are 3 ways big data can improve the manufacturing industry:


risk_measurement_400_clr_5483Analyzing Risk

Some manufacturers are using big data to reduce risk in delivery, regardless of what may happen in the chain of supply. Using big data analytics, companies have access to information to adjust for potential delays.  Statistics on seasonal purchasing patterns and other predictive analytics allow companies to calculate any possible delays for delivery to and from their supplier.  At Lyndex-Nikken, we use this kind of preventative analytics to make sure we carry sufficient inventory for rotary table, toolholders and other machine tool accessories such as live tools, angle heads, and collets.  Identifying probable risk helps manufacturers develop contingency plans to make sure production will not be interrupted by any act of nature.


Profitable Products

Knowing the capabilities and condition of your equipment is crucial in manufacturing. Often times, designing custom accessories is necessary to provide greater productivity when compared to standard products. Lyndex Nikken and its parent company Nikken use data analytics to discover which specialized products should become standard items.  This information helps develop new equipment that satisfies the changing manufacturing landscape.


Quality AssuranceQuality Assurance

Using big data for predictive analytics, manufacturers are able to significantly reduce the number of tests required for quality assurance. Some tech manufacturers have seen improvements from analyzing the data from their product testing.  Big data helped to adjust their manufacturing process to cut down repetitive test time and focus on specific quality testing.  This improved their overall production time.  As a result, some tech manufacturers have seen a savings up to $3 million in manufacturing costs.

28 JanuaryTop 3 Cities for Automotive Manufacturing Jobs

Ford Plant Workers

If you love finance and want to work on Wall Street you go to New York.  If you’re a techie and want to work around the latest in technology in Silicon Valley, you go to California.  If you want to work in automotive manufacturing, where do you go?  We’ve compiled a list of the Top 3 Cities for Automotive Manufacturing Jobs:



Detroit, MI (Suburbs)

The Automotive Industry has come back to the Midwest.  In the last six years, the US auto industry has experienced increased sales by offering lower interest rates and capitalizing on consumer’s needs to upgrade their older model vehicles for newer models.  Cities around the Detroit area are generating the most new manufacturing jobs in the Midwest.  Michigan has recovered about 40% of the manufacturing jobs it lost during the recession.  According to the Daily Detroit, jobs in Warren, MI are up 8.9% and jobs in Auburn Hills, MI are up 3.5%.  13,915 manufacturers now call Michigan home. These companies collectively employ 675,400 workers. A strong emphasis toward improving and maintaining part manufacturing quality is becoming more apparent as many Midwest Automotive 1st and 2nd tier companies upgrade their existing toolholders to higher precision ones.  By integrating all aspects of precision from collets, toolholders, and durable retention knobs, run out of cutting tools is dramatically reduced, which helps produce better part consistency.



Nashville, TN

Not to be left out of the automotive boom, Nashville’s manufacturing employment has jumped 23.9% since 2009.   Nissan made the move to Nashville and brought their US headquarters to the area in 2006.  They also created manufacturing plants in Central Tennessee, which has also created opportunities for small domestic auto-parts companies in the region.  The Right to Work states emphasizes more training in robotics automation used with 4th and 5th axis rotary tables to optimize flexibility and throughput of part manufacturing.  With the new implementation of advanced technology, demand for 5 axis rotary table programmers will also be very high.



Columbia, SC

Columbia, S.C., has become a major hub for European car companies.  According to The State, the BMW plant near Columbia, SC brings in 16.6 billion annually.  BMW also generates more than 30,700 direct and indirect jobs to the area.  In total, there are 401 companies in South Carolina that produce automotive parts, according to the S.C. Department of Commerce. That’s up from 305 in 2008 and each profit from new automakers being in the area.  Sales of lathes with milling functions have increased over 43% in the past 3 years in the area, further showing the shift toward consolidated part turning manufacturing.  Live Tooling for milling, precision quick change lathe chucks, and programmable steady rests are becoming more common within the area’s manufacturing.  Set up lathe machinists with past experience especially utilizing live tools will definitely be busy for the next 3 to 5 years.

4 September8 Facts You Need to Know about American Manufacturing

8Facts_Feature pic

Our booming manufacturing industry plays a valuable role in our American economy. The County Business Patterns, also known as the CBP, is an annual report from the Census Bureau that provides sub-national economic data by industry. According to the CBP, the American manufacturing industry includes almost 300,000 businesses with over 11 million employees producing goods we consume domestically or sell to other countries. This keeps the American economy growing. The average person may not understand how important manufacturing is to our national economy. Here are 8 facts you need to know about the American Manufacturing Industry:

1. 60,000 manufacturing jobs were added in the U.S. in 2014, in contrast to only 12,000 in 2003. 1

2. Manufacturing jobs aided in the country’s recovery back from the recent economic downturn, producing 29% of total economic growth in America since 2009. 1

3. If American manufacturing were its own economy, it would be the 8th largest economy in the world. 2

4. The average annual salary of an American manufacturing worker is $77,060, which includes salary and benefits. The average worker in non-manufacturing industries earned $60,168. 3

5. Manufacturers contributed $1.87 trillion to the economy, in 2012. An increase from $1.73 trillion in 2011. 4

6. Manufacturing work supports an estimated 17.2 million jobs in the United States. Nearly 12 million Americans are employed directly in manufacturing. 5

7. The American manufacturing industry is leading the initiative toward STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses that could provide a more competitive workforce on a global level. 6

8. In 2011, American manufacturers invested 3.9% of its sales into research and development, which has increased the recent technological advancements with in the manufacturing industry.7


1) http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-flips-the-script-on-jobs-reshoring-finally-outpaced-offshoring-in-2014-2015-05-01

2) http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/Research/Facts-About-Manufacturing/Economy-and-Jobs/8th-Largest-Economy/8th-Largest-Economy.aspx

3) http://useconomy.about.com/od/glossary/g/manufacturing_jobs.htm

4) http://www.nam.org/Issues/Trade/Free-Trade-Toolkit/Sample-Trade-Newsletter-on-Trade/

5) http://www.nam.org/Growth/

6) http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/stem-education/2012/08/15/industry-educators-build-in-roads-to-stem-success

7) http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/Research/Facts-About-Manufacturing/Research-and-Development/US-Private-Sector-RandD/US-Private-Sector-RandD.aspx

21 AugustMillennials in Manufacturing: Part 3

Group pic with text Part 3

If you have been following our series on Millennials in Manufacturing, you will know we have focused on ways to attract Millennials to manufacturing jobs. We have shared what Millennials look for in the positions they consider and ultimately accept. We have also discussed the main differences between the Millennial Generation vs. the Baby Boomer Generation. In case you missed it, here is part 1 and part 2 of the series. In this final installment, we are focusing on what manufacturing businesses can do to expose Millennials to the manufacturing industry.

Education 2.0

When most people think of CAD and 3D modeling, they think it’s a form of technology that is only taught at the college level. Today, advanced programs are finding their way into middle and high school classrooms. The Department of Education’s push of science, technology, engineering and math courses are getting kids interested in technology at an early age. Drafting software, such as AutoCAD, have free downloadable versions for students and educators. Training on AutoCAD allows high school students to create blueprints for buildings, bridges and computer chips; exposing students to possible careers in engineering and architecture.

Here are strategies manufacturing businesses can implement to capitalize on the new STEM initiative:

Partner with Local Schools

The shift public schools are making is perfect opportunity for businesses within the manufacturing community to partner with local schools that teach STEM programs. In Pennsylvania, 19 teams of middle school students created videos using the theme: “What’s so cool about manufacturing?” Contests, games and collaborative labs are a great way to engage with future engineers, designers and technicians.

At Lyndex-Nikken, we have partnered with Chetek-Weyerhaeuser High School in Chetek, Wisconsin, by donating CAT40 Toolholders, collet sets and accessories to their Technology and Engineering Program. Exposing middle and high school students to the “cool” side of manufacturing will create a relationship that could last well into their adulthood.

Offer scholarships and grants

Another way to partner with students is to offer scholarships and grants. Not all manufacturing jobs require a four-year degree. Manufacturing businesses can build relationships with colleges by offering grants to students who plan to continue their education into advanced STEM courses. Continue the relationship by offering summer internships to students and an entry level training program for recent grads.

At Lyndex-Nikken, we offer an Associate Training Program, where trainees are taught every aspect of our product line. Trainees rotate through different departments so they understand the duties of each department. After they complete the program, they are prepared to provide the best solution for our customer’s tooling needs.

STEM courses have opened the door for manufacturing companies to reach the future leaders of the manufacturing industry. In order to sway Millennials from Wall Street and Silicon Valley, efforts must be made by manufacturing businesses. Creating partnerships with schools and building relationships with students will be essential to closing manufacturing’s talent gaps.

Please share, like and subscribe to our social media channels for more manufacturing news.

24 JulyMillennials in Manufacturing: Part 2

Part 2 with text_FeatureIn Part 1 of our series about Millennials in manufacturing, we talked about the characteristics of a millennial and how manufacturers might appeal to them to fill manufacturing jobs. In Part 2, we are continuing this discussion.

To recap, Millennials are people born between the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s. Some have said the future of manufacturing depends on the millennial generation. Reason being, by 2025 they will make up 75 percent of the United States workforce.

In order to keep the US Manufacturing Industry thriving, it will be vital to attract a new generation of workers. Since this will impact the manufacturing community as a whole, at Lyndex-Nikken, we are sharing this part 2 on how to attract Millennials and grow your business:

No Code Dress Code
Gone are the days of the formal dress code being the standard attire in the workplace. Some industries, such as legal and finance, have maintained their suit and tie appearance. However, business casual and relaxed casual dress codes are becoming more popular. Some may consider most manufacturing jobs to have somewhat of a casual dress code. At Lyndex-Nikken, we have a business casual dress code and a “Casual Friday’” at the end of the week. This is a great incentive for Millennials to consider the manufacturing industry. In the “No Collar” Study conducted by MTV, 79% of Millennials think they should be allowed to wear jeans to work compared to only 60% of the working Baby Boomer Generation. Reason being, Millennials feel they are more productive when they are allowed to dress in a way that makes them comfortable.

Bye-Bye 9 to 5
More and more businesses are allowing their employees to work remotely. According to the MTV study, this is something Millennials feel very strongly about. Research shows 81% of Millennials believe they should be allowed to make their own hours at work. According to Millennials, as long as the work is done on time, the amount of time spent in the office shouldn’t matter. The big question is, is this possible for the manufacturing industry? The majority of jobs in manufacturing require workers to be present during business hours. At Lyndex-Nikken, we have traditional hours of operation. Our regional sales team work remotely but rarely, do our office employees work from home. This may deter some Millennials from applying to manufacturing jobs. However, it’s also a natural process of elimination for the desired millennial you want to hire.

These insights will be valuable for all businesses but especially the manufacturing industry. Please share, like and subscribe to our social media channels so you don’t miss our final installment of this series.

26 June3 Tips to Attract Millennials to Manufacturing: Part 1

Group pic with text Part 1_small

3 Tips to Attract Millennials to Manufacturing – Part 1

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 2.7 million manufacturer workers are expected to retire in the next 8 years.  The massive exit of the Baby Boomer generation, coupled with the lack of interest by Millennials, is predicted to leave 2-million unfilled manufacturing jobs. In order to keep the US Manufacturing Industry thriving, it will be crucial to attract a new generation of workers.  Since this will impact the manufacturing community as a whole, at Lyndex-Nikken, we wanted to pass this information forward.  In this 3-part series, we are sharing the top ways to attract Millennials and grow your business:

Show me the Challenge?
Unlike Cuba Gooding Jr’s character from the movie Jerry Maguire, Millennials are not motivated by money alone.   Receiving a competitive salary for your work is important, but Millennials are also attracted to new challenges.  According to the “No Collar Study”, conducted by MTV in 2012, Millennials want to learn new skills and experiences that add value to their overall skill set.  At Lyndex-Nikken, we created a training program which rotates our sales associates to various departments to learn how that department runs efficiently.  The objective is to make sure our sales associates are knowledgeable and prepared to provide the best solution to our customer’s tooling needs.  It will be important to spend time creating training workshops and tutorials to keep the culture of learning continuous.

Inspiration Elevation
When running for election, politicians know voters have to be inspired in order for them to get elected.  The study also determined Millennials need to be motivated as well.  Millennials want to work for brands they believe in.  They are inspired by work that is “meaningful” and “makes a difference”.  It will be crucial for brands to adopt a constant philanthropic mission to speak directly to this “cause” minded demographic.

The Now Generation
Let’s face it, technology has made everyone’s desire for rapid information increase.  We like our web browsers, cars and apps to run at high-speeds and Millennials are the product of this new “now” approach.  As a result, Millennials like immediate results and require feedback on their work.   It will be essential to restructure the typical 6-month or annual review schedule to accommodate your new work force.

These insights will be valuable for all businesses but especially the manufacturing industry.  Please share, like and subscribe to our social media channels so you don’t miss part 2 of this series.