Manufacturing Education Series

Vol. 1 2013

A video series from Modern Machine Shop, the SME Education Foundation and AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology describes careers in manufacturing. DVDs were sent to middle and high schools along with these discussion guides.

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does this teacher have the winning formula? feature Mrs's strategy: eMPower eMPloyees and let theM Produce Does modern, automated, multitasking CNC equipment reduce the skill level required of shopfloor personnel? In some uses, perhaps. But not at MRS Machining. This contract machining business in Augusta, Wisconsin, relies on the combination of advanced equipment plus skilled personnel. MRS watches and supports manufacturing education programs such as Cardinal Manufacturing because the company has a critical, ongoing need for capable, qualified people. On MRS's shop floor, nearly every machine operator is like a manager, because every cell functions as an independent shop. Some cells consist of a set of related machines. Others consist of just one Mazak Integrex that can perform a broad range of work. In either case, the employee overseeing the cell is responsible for managing the cell's workload and programming each new job. Resources available at each of these cells include Exact JobBoss software, illustrated electronic setup documents for recurring jobs, a shopwide employee scheduler for organizing shifts and days off, and even a company-wide instant-messaging function for quickly communicating with other cells and departments. The goal, says vice president Matt Guse, is to ensure that every employee overseeing a cell has all the information necessary to remain there and keep producing instead of having to walk away to obtain the answer to a question. Employees overseeing cells are even expected to use these resources to find a "supplier"—that is, another cell in the shop— whenever their own cell is tasked with too much had revenue coming in, it had to create many of the resources it would use to earn this money. But successes started to build. Graduates of the program became advocates for it within the companies that hired them. Employers took notice of what the school was trying to do and began to give more support. The towmotor was a donation, for example. In total, about $300,000 worth of Matt Guse holds a part produced in a cell consisting of a single Mazak Integrex machine. production. In other words, the cells all do their own outsourcing. In line with this goal of keeping qualified personnel at the machines, Mr. Guse says one of the best investments his shop has made is not production equipment or software technology, but something more simple: air conditioning. Non-air-conditioned shops need to consider this upgrade, he says. Many facilities calculate the benefits of climate control solely in terms of thermal stability for close-tolerance parts, but MRS finds that the comfort of skilled employees delivers measurable payback. "On hot days, rather than wanting to leave the workplace as soon as possible, employees now want to remain in the shop," he says. That change results in greater output. Employees also no longer lose time on getting cold water or adjusting fans. In terms of value delivered per shift, Mr. Guse says, "Our efficiency on hot days went up 15 percent after we became air conditioned." equipment has been donated since the beginning of Cardinal Manufacturing five years ago. The CNC machine tools were donated by MRS Machining of nearby Augusta, Wisconsin (see sidebar article). Matt Guse, MRS's vice president and co-owner, says the machining center—a Milltronics VMC—used to be part of his company's own internal training area, until the growth of the production Volume 1

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