Author Archives: Jeremy Kirkpatrick

U.S. and Texas Economic News Roundup

We think it’s important to stay up to speed on the news that impacts us all. It’s easy to get tied up in the daily grind and not notice what’s happening in the world around us. That’s why we check the headlines every day and when we come across interesting stories, we’ll share them with you. Plus, we want to hear from you. Feel free to drop a comment below.

We hope you’ll be able to leverage this economic and trend information to your advantage. Here’s a bit of what’s happening here in Texas and the U.S right now.

U.S. Cutting Tool Consumption

Earlier this month, the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) and AMT — The Association for Manufacturing Technology announced cutting tool consumption in the U.S. was up 1.3 percent in April, totaling $206.3 million. The number is down 1.9 percent from March’s numbers and includes data reported by companies that participate in the Cutting Tool Market Report. The report is a good representation of cutting tool consumption, and the analysis is a leading indicator of upturns and downturns in our manufacturing industry at home. There’s reason to believe the growth rate is slowing and reduced Boeing 737 production rates and unsettled trade agreements could be to blame. According to Mark Killion, Director of U.S Industries at Oxford Economics, although numbers are remaining above last year’s, new orders decreased in April. This aligns with slowing business investments and weakness in the motor vehicle sector.

Texas Employment Trends: Oil & Gas Trend Down

Employment is ramping up and unemployment falling in Texas. That’s pretty good news. According to recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Texas employment rate has seen an increase of 2.1 percent in May, following a 3.1 percent increase in April. And gains were pretty widespread in May, but manufacturing, hospitality, and oil and gas employment did fall, and shops are beginning to cut overtime. Texas lost four rigs, bringing total rig counts to 463. This may be why we are seeing some softening in the local economy. Interestingly, the information sector has been the only one to cut jobs this year. Employment gains were also spread throughout Texas’s major metro areas with the exception of San Antonio. Austin led the charge with 7 percent growth. 

Overall, unemployment numbers are down to a new record low of 3.5 percent in May, which aligns with the U.S. unemployment rate of 3.6 percent. Let’s hope those numbers hold on long term.

Texas Population Growth

Texas has some of the fastest growing cities in the United States. According to reports in late May from the United States Census Bureau, the largest population growth regions for the state include San Antonio (20,824), Fort Worth (19,552), Austin (12,504) and Frisco (10,884). Back in 2018, San Angelo surpassed the 100,000-population mark. Texas was also one of the four states that gained more than 50,000 housing units, with a whopping 172,000 new units added between 2017 and 2018. With population growth comes industry opportunity, and we’re seeing a surge here at home, as the Permian Basin has some of the best energy resources in the nation. While the outlook remains somewhat positive overall, it’s critical to remain cautious here at home as the economical terrain is starting to become a little rocky.

Energy Outlook

Pioneer Natural Resources is a company well known for drawing oil and gas from the Permian Basin using hydraulic fracturing. Back in 2014, it was projected that Pioneer could produce a million barrels per day by 2024. Today, Scott Sheffield, CEO of the company, says those numbers are doubtful due to their loss of investors. Investors know there are large amounts of gas in the shale formations; the question is how affordably can it be extracted. The company has already spent more than budgeted in order to meet that lofty goal and is in the midst of layoffs themselves.  We don’t have a crystal ball and can’t predict the future, but this certainly gives cause for concern of the future of fracking.

Texas Manufacturing Industry News

We happened upon some interesting news in The Texas Tribune. In April 2019, Senate Bill 649 passed the Senate and aims to increase the number of Texas plastic and paper manufacturers using recyclables as industrial feedstock to produce goods. It requires the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office to increase demand for recyclable materials in the manufacturing industry. The bill won the endorsement of over 60 businesses, even the Texas Chemical Council. There have been talks about how to increase the use of recyclables in manufacturing; one idea is to place plants right at the source of the materials. This will obviously take more discussion and the plan will likely come from a third-party administrator. We’re interested to see how this pans out.

West Texas in the News

We pay close attention to state and national economic issues, but M&M Sales & Equipment has a soft spot for our hometown of Odessa. With abundant energy resources, infrastructure and a skilled workforce, Odessa is an ideal place for machinery, metal and chemical manufacturing facilities. Just recently, we read in the online publication Manufacturing.net that Facebook is planning a massive solar farm just north of Odessa. Called the Prospero Solar project, it will be Facebook’s first direct investment in renewable energy for its data centers and will have the capacity for 379 megawatts. You may be wondering why the social media giant is investing in solar. CEO Mark Zuckerberg says, “We set a goal for all our data centers and offices to use 100% renewable energy by 2020. These new solar projects will help us reach that goal.” Shell Energy North America and Facebook plan to share the power. As always, if you have questions and need expert advice on the cutting tools and supplies you need, just ask. M&M Sales & Equipment is here to help.

Introducing the New Left Hand Drill Kit from Drillco

Ever snap the head off of a bolt or screw? If you’ve ever had to remove a broken screw or back out part of a broken thread, you know that it can be rather difficult. You’ve probably tried the punch and hammer method, drilling and tapping or even tried an air hammer to do the job, but that may only work when it’s located in the perfect spot, and the moon and stars are aligned. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Every application is different, and it’s good to have options.

Some methods can leave you worse for wear, either by ruining the threads or mushrooming out the top of the fastener. That’s why many people find left hand drill bits to work better and faster than alternatives such as easy-outs that often snap off and leave a bigger problem behind. Why not use a regular drill bit? You’ve probably noticed that if you were to use a regular drill bit in a clockwise direction, you would actually tighten the screw in further and blunt the drill bit. You certainly don’t want that.

How does a left hand drill bit work?

A left hand drill bit is a useful tool when trying to remove a broken screw or a bolt that has had the head sheared off. It works by biting into the broken fastener and pulling the screw out of the hole. For faster removal, you can use a center drill puncher to make a center mark before you get started. It creates an indentation so you can drill where you actually want to drill.

The New Left Hand Drill Kit from DRILLCO removes broken bolts, screws and other fasteners without an extractor. In the market for a left hand drill kit? Check out these exclusive features:

  • Cobalt Steel Material for excellent heat and wear resistance
  • 135° Split Point reduces walking and engages fasteners more easily
  • Bronze Surface Treatment for maximum lubricity and acts as protective layer
  • 3-Flat Shank for less slippage in drill chuck
  • Lightweight, compact rollup pouch for storage
  • Kit contains 11 of the most frequently used sizes

Left hand drill bits can save you serious time and money. If you’re interested in improving your productivity and profitability, contact us today. The pros at M&M Sales & Equipment are happy to help you find solutions to all your metal cutting needs.

How Do I Choose the Right Saw Blade for My Project?

Every facility can improve productivity, profitability and safety with the proper tools. Cutting tools like saw blades are no different. Many of the saw blades on the market are manufactured with technology that allows them to cut faster and cleaner and stay sharper longer.

Yet, it’s not always cut and dry when it comes to choosing the best cutting tools for the job. Choosing the right cutting, forging or processing tools is important whether you’re a professional working in an industrial facility or you’re a weekend warrior taking on a home improvement project. Either way, we want to be sure you have the tools you need to get the job done well.

Next time you’re choosing a saw blade, ask yourself these simple questions:

What kind of saw will be used?

All saws, including band saws, circular saws, radial-arm saws, chop saws or compound miter saws require different types of saw blades. Using the wrong one can not only impede production, it can be downright dangerous and ruin your tool as well. No one wants to experience downtime when trying to complete a project. Having to stop to repair or replace your tools can cost you time and money.

What material will you be cutting?

Light-gauge steel, stainless steel, natural stone, concrete, ceramic tiles and various kinds of wood all require blades made from specific materials. Use the wrong saw blade material and you may as well be using a butter knife. Some of the most common saw blades for metalworking include Carbon Hard Back, Carbon Flex Back, Bi-Metal, Carbide Tipped and Grit Edge. We carry a huge selection of metal-cutting tools and supplies from industry leaders like LENOX, Starrett, Arntz, Fein and Evolution.

How often will the saw blade be used?

It’s just common sense that the more you use a saw blade, the quicker it will dull. Remember to regularly inspect your blades for wear. For daily cutting practices, implement an inspection schedule into your standard operating procedures. This is especially important in manufacturing facilities and plants when there are multiple shifts. For safety be sure to keep a changeout log handy, so that the next person to use the tool will know exactly when maintenance is required.

M&M Sales & Equipment recommends these preventative maintenance and safety tips:

  1. Always wear safety glasses, goggles or face shield.
  2. Clamp your workpiece to keep both hands on the cutting tool, if applicable.
  3. Clear blades of debris and replace blades regularly.
  4. Double-check and test parameter settings (speed and feed rate).
  5. Use guarding when appropriate.
  6. Check coolant levels.

Our partner Lenox offers a blade selector on their website to get you started. Access the Lenox Blade Selector here. We can help you select exactly the right cutting tools you need to work safely and effectively. Just contact us and a member of our staff will happily answer any questions you have. M&M Sales & Equipment is here with expert advice when you need it. Just stop in or call one of our four locations in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth.

Steady as it goes for Permian Basin rig counts

Steady as it Goes for Permian Basin Rig Counts

How Rig Counts Indicate Oil and Gas Economic Health

Since 1944, Baker Hughes has been supplying data on rotary rig counts to give insight into the economic health of our energy industry. Beginning in 1975, the company started providing monthly international rig counts, which offers a more in-depth look into the drilling industry. Baker Hughes Rig Counts has been consistent for more than 70 years and is considered a good measuring tool for demand. The active rig count is also a leading indicator of the number of products used in drilling, completing, producing and processing hydrocarbons (oil and gas).

Let’s look at the most recent summary count from April 2019:

We know that the oil industry is a never-ending cycle of highs and lows, and this latest report shows U.S. oil rig counts are a bit unsteady. According to an article published by Reuters, U.S. energy firms reduced the number of oil rigs operating to the lowest level in almost nine months.

Why the slowdown in oil drilling?

It may be due to independent exploration and production companies cutting spending to focus on earnings growth instead of simply upping output. It’s projected that crude prices will drop going further into 2019, so firms are bracing themselves for the change.

For the Permian basin however, numbers are holding steady compared with the rest of the country. The Permian Basin’s active rig count is staying steady at 459, down one from the prior week and up one from the prior year.

That’s good news for Texas and both the businesses and families impacted by the ebb and flow of the energy trade. We have a vested interest in the economic health of the industry, that’s why we thought we’d pass on this bit of information to our customers and friends. Be sure to stay up to date on the issues that matter to you by checking out our blog.

If you ever need help selecting the right cutting tools, abrasives or safety supplies, contact M&M Sales & Equipment. We’d be happy to help.

Guhring SelectMill

New Product: Guhring SelectMill for Optimal Price and Efficiency

Guhring is a world-class manufacturer of drills, end mills, taps, tool holders and other innovative cutting tools and has been for over 100 years. Since they began production of tools in their Wisconsin facility in 1982, they’ve been busy bringing industry-leading Guhring technology here to the United States.

Another interesting fact is that they actually produce their own carbide rod as the substrate material for all of their carbide end mills. That attention to detail and commitment to quality is why we believe so strongly in their product lineup and wanted to share their latest product release with you. 

Introducing the new SelectMill German-made carbide end mill from Guhring

SelectMill is a new program of German-made carbide end mills ideal for the customer looking for a high-quality and low-cost option. These universal end mills are designed to excel in a wide range of materials and are crafted for shops with shorter production runs or who are machining different materials on a day-to-day basis.

Their competitive price tag comes from years of expertise manufacturing high-performance tooling. The result is a streamlined manufacturing process that delivers maximum performance at a reasonable cost.

The SelectMill offering includes:

  • 2, 3, and 4-flute general purpose tools in “standard” and “long” lengths, with FIREX heat-resistant coating
  • A series of 3-flute aluminum end mills that extends the range of materials possible to machine with SelectMill
  • For roughing operations, SelectMill offers a roughing end mill with a fine-tooth knuckle profile, and 3-4 flutes depending on diameter
  • High performance 4-flute variable helix end mill completes the SelectMill offering

M&M Sales and Equipment is committed to being your go-to source for all your cutting tools, abrasives, safety supplies and more. If you’d like to learn more about the Guhring line of end mills or just have questions, contact M&M Sales and Equipment today.

Learn more about Guhring’s SelectMill Program.

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See Dormer Pramet Metal Cutting Tools in Action (Video)

At M&M Sales and Equipment, we’re always on the hunt for innovative products that can save our customers time and money.

Dormer Pramet is one of the oldest specialist manufacturers of engineered cutting tools. Dormer Pramet has been a game-changer when it comes to their selection of cost-effective metal cutting tools.

With their combined 150 years of industry experience, we feel confident showcasing Dormer Pramet’s expertise and products. Have a look at these innovative products that help you take control of your difficult cutting materials:

Hydra High-Performance Replaceable Head Drills

Dormer Pramet introduces the Hydra High-Performance Replaceable Head Drill. It’s made from tough micrograin carbide and a hardened steel body that makes it resistant to wear and corrosion. Plus, one body fits multiple heads for multiple materials — saving money in inventory costs and overhead. Other impressive features of this drill include superior hole surface finish, efficient coolant delivery and reduction of forces when it exits the workpiece.

Hand Drilling HSS Stainless Steel – A108 Drill

Do you find that your industry-standard drills blunt quickly and have a hard time penetrating stainless steel? If you find yourself going through more drill bits than you’d like and constantly having to stop drilling to lubricate, you’re going to want to look at this. The A108’s material-specific geometry cuts through stainless steel, making hand drilling easier and faster than ever. And its steam-tempered finish delivers improved wear resistance, saving you expensive replacement costs.

M&M Sales and Equipment is committed to being your go-to source for all your cutting tools, abrasives, safety supplies and more in West Texas, with locations in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth. If you’re interested in discovering whether Dormer Pramet is the right solution for your facility, contact M&M Sales and Equipment today.

2019 Oil Forecast in West Texas: Boom Expected to Continue

West Texas is experiencing yet another comeback within the boom-bust oil industry. The revitalization is welcome to residents and businesses alike who hope activity continues to build on economic improvement through the region.  

Just 10 years ago, West Texas was dubbed a “dead area” by many in the oil industry. But today, oil pumps churn from countless oil wells throughout the Permian Basin. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Permian Basin is expected to produce 3.9 million barrels of oil per day (bopd) in 2019. That accounts for about one-third of all crude oil produced in the United States and the numbers are expected to grow, reaching over 9 million bopd by 2021.
 
Domestic numbers are expected to keep increasing, with the potential to reach a record 14 million bopd by late 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO 2019). The bulk of that growth comes straight from the Permian Basin, an area that covers more than 75,000 square miles in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico.

The reason for this massive growth? The Permian Basin has benefited from technological improvements and more cost-effective hydraulic fracturing that allows producers to extract more crude oil from the shale formation. A recent report by CNBC has pipeline capacity increasing triple-fold by 2021, from 3 million to 9 million pipelines. The increase in capacity should help unclog the transportation bottleneck the Permian Basin has been battling, helping producers move more oil into the Gulf Coast and on to refineries and ports worldwide.

As crude oil production increases and domestic consumption of petroleum decreases, the AEO 2019 report also anticipates the U.S. will become a net energy exporter by 2020. In fact, the U.S. will likely pass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s leading oil producer. But it’s important to remember that wells dry up rather quickly and require more drilling to keep pace, so technological improvements must remain a major consideration. 

What this means for West Texas Oil & Gas

Short-term “man-camps” are springing up everywhere and flashy new billboards dot the highway, advertising Rolexes and other high-ticket items to oil workers pulling in six-figure salaries. 

Compared with Gulf Coast barrel prices, oil in the center of the Permian Basin (Midland and Odessa) is priced lower but steadily climbing. West Texas Intermediate crude rose from $56.79 a barrel in the beginning of March and rose to just over $60 by the third week, while Louisiana Light hovers just over $68 a barrel.  

It’s not hard to remember the effects of falling oil prices in 2016. Many workers in West Texas were displaced when prices dropped to $30 per barrel. The drop led to massive layoffs and declining rig counts. Fortunately, rising oil prices are a good sign for employment rates and wages. Entry-level jobs are boasting $15 an hour pay with full benefits packages, but motels have jacked up the rates to hundreds of dollars a night. Food and housing costs are also soaring.  

With any boom, the threat of a bust is always on the minds of Texans, but local officials and industry executives think it’s different this time. The advances in fracking has made oil extraction possible in areas deemed impossible in prior years. Now the problem isn’t finding oil, it’s making sure the infrastructure is there to handle the amount of oil and gas that’s being extracted.  

At M&M Sales and Equipment, we support our local communities, oil workers and the businesses that supply them. That’s why we believe it’s important to keep our fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the industries that impact us all. Stayed tuned here on our Blog or visit us on social to stay up-to-date on the industry news that matters to you.  
 
We are your cutting tools specialists. Since 1962 we have been here to help you increase your profitability and productivity. Have questions? Reach out to us by clicking here.  

Metabo Logo

Metabo: 2019 Grinder Madness – through April 30, 2019

From March 1-April 30, 2019, enjoy savings on Metabo German-made Safety 4 1/2″ Angle Grinders. Promotion includes:

Metabo Promotion - 2019 Grinder Madness
  • W 9-115 with lock-on switch (Grinder Madness price: $84)
  • W 9-115 Quick with lock-on switch and quick wheel change (Grinder Madness price: $89)
  • WP 9-115 Quick with non-locking paddle switch and quick wheel change (Grinder Madness price: $89)

Features:

  • Last longer
  • More productive, with quick tool-free wheel change system
  • Enhanced safety, with the S-Automatic Mechanical Safety Slip Clutch and non-locking paddle switch

Give us a call at your preferred branch location:

Download the Metabo 2019 Grinder Madness flyer now.

Contact us for more information.

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Sandvik Coromant Logo

Discover the Newest Sandvik Coromant Tools for 2019

Like you, we believe that a job well done requires reliability, experience and innovation.

It’s why we partner with industry leaders like Sandvik Coromant to ensure you get the quality and reliability you can only find in well-crafted tooling technology. Take a look at the latest cutting tools, solutions and updates from Sandvik Coromant, the leaders in tooling manufacturing. Questions? We are your West Texas experts on Sandvik Coromant. Give us a call today at 800-592-4516

General Turning

The newly updated CoroPlus® ToolPath for PrimeTurning™ helps you optimize your tool path and secure maximum output. The software provides programming codes, correct grade, geometry selection, cutting data recommendations and supports profiling and facing for external turning, as well as longitudinal turning. Its easy-to-use, intuitive interface takes the guesswork out of maintaining a correct tool path, which means you get maximum tool life and process security without compromising productivity.

Sandvik Coromant Coroturn Prime Insert for Turning
Sandvik Coromant Prime insert for all-directional turning

The CoroTurn® Prime insert for all-directional turning is your solution for chip control in ductile materials. It’s ideal for use in finishing to semi-finishing operations in unstable set-ups or for machining slender components that require lower feed rates. The CoroTurn® Prime insert helps you achieve excellent chip evacuation and control in internal turning applications.

Parting and Grooving

Face grooving just got a whole lot more reliable. The CoroCut® QF has an innovative blade design that provides more material in the weakest cross-section for added strength and less mass in the front of the blade for enhanced stiffness.

Sandvik Coromant Corocut QF
Sandvik Coromant Corocut QF

Milling

The lightweight CoroMill® 390 is more compact and lighter than your conventional cutter. When paired with Silent Tools™ milling adapters, you get lightweight functionality, slender tooling, less vibration, better stability and good process security in tough and demanding operations.

Sandvik Coromant Lightweight Coromill 390
Sandvik Coromant Lightweight Coromill 390

When it comes to Sandvik Coromant’s new steel milling grades, the GC4330 and GC4340 are your best option for efficient steel milling. They offer substantially increased tool life and improved process security. The Inveio® technology employs a new substrate and improved post-treatment technology for high-quality and low-cost milling.

Sandvik Coromant Coromill 331
Sandvik Coromant Coromill 331

The CoroMill® 331 offers reliable grooving and parting off with its high-quality surfaces, superior metal removal rate and true 90° corners. Improved cutting edge means you get more life from your tools and more predictable machining.

Boring

A new generation of fine boring tools is here. The CoroBore® 825 has a short, fine boring head in aluminum that allows for reduced weight and distance between damper and cutting edge. The Silent Tools™ technology provides a damper dimensioned for every adaptor for max performance. It’s ideal for use in applications where vibration is a factor, especially when machining with long overhangs.

Sandvik Coromant Corobore 825
Sandvik Coromant Corobore 825

Tooling Systems

For maximum pull-out security for Weldon shanks, choose the CoroChuck® 930m with a mechanical locking solution. When both collet and chuck are locked, the cylindrical clamping capability prevents pull-out for increased productivity on all heavy-duty applications.

Sandvik Coromant Corochuck 930
Sandvik Coromant Corochuck 930

Digital Machining

Optimize your production processes with a connected machine that makes gaining insight to your workshop easy. Improve your machine data collection, get real-time shop floor status and manage historic insights through reports and closed loop handling with CoroPlus® MachiningInsights.  

Sandvik Coromant Coroplus MachiningInsights
Sandvik Coromant Coroplus MachiningInsights

Check out the latest update of CoroPlus® ToolGuide for reaming operations. The update makes tools and machining strategy selection for widening of holes simple. All you need to do is choose the operation you want, select the material and receive quick and accurate tool recommendations.

Create digital tool assemblies based on standardized data with the CoroPlus® ToolLibrary. Now you can have tool assemblies integrated directly into your digital machining environment and save directly to your computer for time savings and enhanced security in planning processes.

For more information on these and other cutting tools and accessories available through M&M Sales & Equipment, contact us or give us a call at 800-592-4516

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Hand Taps vs Machine Taps - What's the difference?

Hand Taps vs Machine Taps – Differences?

A brief knowledge drop from our friends over at North America Tool

Hand Tap and Machine Tap are terms that don’t always mean what you think! These are stale industry legacy terms. Originally meant to define a purpose, they can be misleading. They should not define a tap’s modern method of use.

According to some handbooks, the term Hand Tap has traditionally been applied to fractional-size taps having a standard general-purpose length. Most manufacturers don’t limit the description to fractional sizes. Assumed to be straight-flute, these are taps whose flutes are provided as a space to accommodate chips created as the tap cuts. Some research suggests the terminology originated in the early 1800s, when most threading applications were literally done by hand. Yet, when the Machine Age hit its stride after the 1880s, the term Hand Tap was still used for taps that were unchanged in design, and now used on machines, as well as by hand.

As machine tapping is a much faster operation than turning a tap by hand, chip evacuation became more difficult to control. Machine taps would become defined as those with flutes designed with geometry to direct the flow of chips out of the hole. Spiral-point and Spiral-fluted taps fit this category. These alterations in flute geometry improved tap efficiency. Today, with the increasing use of coolant-holes in taps, and external directional coolant-flow, a straight-flute hand tap can offer a similar assist with chip evacuation, and yet it is still perceived by some as different than the machine tap.

Don’t get hung up on a name. Both hand and machine taps sold today are manufactured from the same base materials, and can be used by either method. The decision of which design to use should be influenced by the needs of the job.

P.S. Check out the cool apps North American Tool has to help with tapping and tap design!

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