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Category Archives: Manufacturing News

16 SeptemberChanging Higher Education to Make Manufacturing Employment a Priority

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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.

Solution

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 June2-Ways Tech Manufacturing Startups have Changed

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Technology is ever changing. So much you can barely keep up. It seems like as soon as you get the latest laptop or camera, it’s already outdated. This is great for the tech manufacturing sector. From touch screens to voice control, Innovation keeps that industry thriving. If you have a desire to jump into the tech manufacturing business and you’ve seen the 4-movies (and counting) about how Steve Jobs started Apple, you may be thinking this could be your story. However, starting a tech manufacturing business isn’t the same as it used to be. Here are 2 major ways the landscape of Tech Manufacturing Startups have changed:

START UP COSTS:

Then:
Before the tech boom, work was more labor driven. The UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was the first desktop or tabletop computer as it was huge. To make one UNIVAC I took 67 staff workers. The good part was it was enough labor to go around. This was a big advantage for start-ups. Back then, an hourly worker was a cheaper solution for tech manufacturing.

Now:
Work is more machine driven. The cost for surface mount technology machines, which build circuit boards for cell phones and laptops, has tripled. Not to mention you also need equipment to test you’re the board’s quality assurance. Between product testing and storage costs for inventory, the expenses can add up to the hundreds of thousands very quickly. Just know if you are a planning to start a tech manufacturing business, you need to start pinching your pennies yesterday.

FUNDING:

Then:
If you had an idea for a new product that would enhance people’s lives, you saved your own money to pay for it. Bootstrapping is a term for an entrepreneur who starts a company from personal finances. You and a co-founder would completely pay for everything by pooling your savings together and borrowing less. The good part is once the business begins to make money, you and your co-founder are in control of all operations with very little input from investors.

Now:
Today, securing funding is a lot different. Bootstrapping is still possible but difficult because technology costs have increased. It’s very possible you may need over a million dollars in earnest money before mass production can begin. This leaves entrepreneurs needing venture capital from an investor. To secure the funding, you may have to give a percentage of your business away to the investor. Once the business starts to make money the investor backing you calls all the shots and you become a supervisor of your own company.
That said, it’s still a great time to start a tech manufacturing business. Sure, things have changed but it’s even more reason to try. Who knows, you may create the next big technology must-have. Innovation is more rewarding than start-up growing pains. Go and start the next tech manufacturing business. The industry needs your creative ideas.

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

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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 company-wide 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

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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.