Full Feature Blog

The Upside of Better Inventory Control through Industrial Vending Machines

Everyone wants to run lean these days. But few companies actually succeed.

It’s no secret that lean management strategies can reduce costs, increase productivity and help companies compete. Yet, many companies fail when trying to implement these strategies in their production facilities.

One of the first steps in implementing a lean management program is effectively managing inventory, but without complete visibility into usage those efforts often fall short. Management rarely understands exactly how and where inventory items are being used without some form of tracking in place.

The result? Ineffective inventory control processes that rely on spreadsheet data or the honor system typically resulting in missing inventory, shrinkage or excessive inventory that ties up cash flow and collects dust.

Thinking about improving your inventory control processes? Here are 5 reasons to stop thinking and start doing:

  1. Reduce costs associated with inventory purchasing.
    Without a clear view into the consumption of inventory items, how do you know what material is necessary for optimum production? The short answer is: You don’t. When you can track where and how inventory is being consumed, you can dial in just the right amount to hold in stock, saving time and money in purchasing.
  2. Improve production rates and decrease worker downtime.
    When you have mission-critical items on hand, work gets done. Think of the time it takes employees to search for missing items or procure them at higher cost. Not only does this result in delayed production, but it also wastes manhours and increases inventory costs. Better inventory management ensures you have the tools and supplies you need on hand when you need them.
  3. Reduce lead time and make customers sticky.
    If you are constantly running out of inventory, then you know how frustrating it is to wait for items to be replenished.From the time the items are ordered to the time they arrive on your doorstep can take days and, in some cases, weeks. Yet most companies fail to account for this delay in their project estimates. The longer this takes, the more it impacts your ability to deliver and the more customers start to look elsewhere.
  4. Free cash flow.
    Ineffective inventory control can tie up cash that you could be investing in other areas of your business. Crazy to think that what may be holding your business back from increased success are covered in dust in a storage room. By implementing a better inventory control program, you can boost your cash flow almost immediately.
  5. Improve customer satisfaction rates.
    You are in business to make money and part of doing so is making your customers happy. By knowing exactly what inventory you have on hand at any given time, you can meet customer demands, improve order fulfillment and create sustainable pricing models based on accurate cost analysis, rather than relying on guesswork.

Many manufacturers are introducing vending to their facilities to vend commonly used consumables such as disposable earplugs and gloves, as well as high-value, returnable items such as drills, saws and cutting tools. With traditional coil machines, locker units and combination coil and locker machines, there’s not much that can’t be vended. What does that mean for production facilities? It means your team always has the equipment they need to work efficiently, and improved visibility in the inventory items you need to control.

M&M Sales & Equipment is excited to partner with vending and inventory control specialist 1sourcevend to offer a simple, yet powerful inventory control solution. Learn more now.

If you would like to learn whether vending might be the inventory control solution you’ve been looking for, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment sales rep or branch here in West Texas.

The Guide to Choosing the Right Saw Blades for Optimum Productivity

Choosing the right saw blade is critical to a manufacturing facility or machine shop’s profitability and productivity. Not doing so can lead to shorter blade life or complete blade failure diminishing any potential for efficiency. So, we created a handy guide that can help break down the terminology surrounding saw blade selection, as well as provide tips on extending blade life and how to properly break in your new blade. Whether you are sawing large workpieces or difficult to cut materials, knowing your blade can mean the difference between making money or losing it.

Common Saw Blades

Source: Lenox Tools

Circular Saw Blades: For use with miter saws, table saws, radial arm saws, cut-off saws and standard circular saws, these blades come in a variety of materials that can cut metal, wood, cement, glass or laminates. We sell a variety of metal circular saw blades from names like Lenox, Fein and Evolution! Be sure to ask about our Fiber cut-off wheels from Pferd and United Abrasives/SAIT.

Carbide Tipped Band Saw Blades: Designed to cut composites, metal and wood. High-performance steel and optimized carbide grades cut faster and last longer in a wide variety of sawing applications. For band saw blades, we offer a wide selection of blades from Lenox, Starrett and Arntz.

Bi-Metal Band Saw Blades: Bi-metal band saw blades are among the most versatile choice for most metal sawing applications involving a wide variety of materials such as aluminum and non-ferrous metals, carbon and structural steel. They’re cost effective, perform well and have long blade life with high-speed tooth tips and flexible alloy steel back.

Carbon Band Saw Blades: Economical and reliable, carbon band saw blades are great for general purpose and utility sawing. They are used to cut a variety of materials from carbon steels and aluminum to abrasive materials such as wood and fiberglass. Ideal for small maintenance and light-production shops.

Reciprocating Saw Blades: Whether it’s tile, clay, wood, cast iron, bricks or metals there’s a reciprocating saw blade for the job. Reciprocating saws are versatile in that you can swap out different blades for different materials. Ideal for maintenance, demo or repair applications.

Cold Saw Blades: High-speed steel cold saw blades are often used for cutting pipes, tubes and other solid steel materials. Many types of cold saw blades can be re-sharpened and used several times before replacing. The name comes from the transfer of heat energy during the cutting process. The blade and work material stay cold and the heat is expelled in the chip.

Grit Edge Saw Blades: Carbide Grit Edge Blades offer a seamless cut into abrasive and hardened materials, fiberglass, steel belted radial tires and other composites.

Hole Saws: Hole saw blades cut clean and accurate holes in a variety of materials from metals, woods or plastics.

Annular Cutters: Similar to a hole saw but runs in a magnetic drill. We offer a variety of premium annular cutters from FEIN.

Did you know? M&M Sales & Equipment can weld ¼-inch to 1 ½ inch wide saw blade material to any length on site; we also have the most popular lengths in stock from our supplier partners.

Understanding the Parts of Your Saw Blade

The Gullet is the space between each saw tooth that allows for efficient chip removal. The larger the material or the faster the feed rate, the deeper the gullet (such as in a 2/3 variable tooth blade that has a much bigger gullet than an 8/12 variable tooth’s gullet) and the more chips that are expelled.

Tooth Construction is another critical part of how your saw blades are made. Different tooth constructions offer different advantages. For instance, a carbide tipped tooth offers a longer lasting and smoother cutting blade.

Tooth Form refers to the shape of the tooth. The shape impacts how a blade cuts through material and can extend blade life, control noise level and provide a smoother cut and chip capacity.

  • Variable Positive shape offers variable tooth spacing and gullet capacity for less noise and vibration, while simultaneously allowing for faster cuts, longer blade life and smoother cuts.
  • Variable shape is similar to Variable Positive, but can be used for slower cutting rates.
  • Standard is a good multipurpose shape that can be used in many various applications.
  • Skip shape has a wide gullet ideal for non-metallic applications.
  • Hook shape is similar to the Skip, but can be used on metal and non-metal applications.

Tooth Set refers to the number of teeth and the angle that they are offset. Different tooth sets impact cutting efficiency and chip carrying ability. For a clear visual on how tooth set can differ, refer to this guide from Lenox Tools.

Kerf Width is the width of the cut made by the blade into the desired material. Full kerf blades remove about 1/8” of material, while thin kerfs generally remove about 3/32” of material. Because the full kerf removes more material, it’s best to use with a more powerful saw. Thin kerf blades can be used with saws that use less horsepower.

Other consumables that can help or hinder cutting conditions are choices of hydraulic oil and cutting fluids. But it always comes down to blade selection. Choosing a better crafted blade designed for an application results in better wear and heat-resistance, fewer changeouts, better accuracy and less waste.

Learn more about blade maintenance in “How Do I Choose the Right Saw Blade for My Project? 

To avoid blade failure and get the most out of your new saw blade, remember these blade break-in tips:

  1. Choose the proper band speed for material to be cut.
  2. Set the beginning band feed rate at 50% of normal/recommended feed rate.
  3. Begin the first cut and once 50-70 in2  of material has been cut, gradually increase feed rate to normal.
  4. If chatter/noise occurs, adjust cutting speed.

To learn more about the different types and brands of saw blades we offer, reach out to M&M Sales & Equipment representatives or stop in at one of our four locations in Texas.

The Rise and Fall of Crude Oil Production and Its Impact on the Permian Basin

All eyes are on the U.S. oil production rates and prices per barrel. Where will they go next?

According to an article published in Forbes magazine, U.S. Crude Production Returns to Record Levels, the recent attacks on Saudi’s oil infrastructure had a lesser impact on the world’s oil markets than expected. The reason? Over the past decade, oil production in the United States has experienced steady and, at times, explosive growth. The resulting oil production stabilized world markets despite recent events and has kept all eyes locked on the future of U.S. oil. The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) did experience an increase of $2, however, bringing the average price to $57 per barrel. (Dallas Fed: October 2, 2019

You may remember an article we posted over the summer that discussed pessimism over oil well productivity. We shared an article from Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ) where Rystad Energy indicated that they could not find sufficient evidence that oil and gas well performance showed any signs of decline. They also concluded that average new production per well matched all-time highs found earlier in the year.

Production growth did appear to be slowing during the summer months, but it has started to rise a bit. Speaking to the constant ebb and flow of oil production, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the final week in September showed weekly U.S. crude oil production numbers that tied the all-time production record of 12.5 million barrels per day (BPD) experienced a month prior.

At the beginning of October, the numbers fell slightly but remained 1.3 million BPD higher than the previous year. During the second week of October, the EIA reported the 332,000 BPD decrease in U.S. crude oil production in July was geographically isolated to the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico. This was due to Hurricane Barry and is likely temporary, they say. They also anticipate production to continually increase each month resulting in 13 million BPD in December 2019.

So, where does that leave the Permian Basin and West Texas?

Well, that’s tough to say. Robert Rapier, a senior contributor for Forbes, reports that nearly half of the reported 400,000 BPD increase since the summer months hail from the Permian Basin. However, Permian rig counts continue to fall and that seems to be in line with overall U.S. counts (see chart below). On the other hand, production is climbing and well completions have picked up partly due to recent pipeline capacity.

Baker Hughes Rig Count as of Oct. 4, 2019:

Area Last Count (2019) Count Change from Prior Count Date of Prior Count (2019) Change from Last Year Date of Last Year’s Count (2018)
U.S. Oct 4 855 -5 Sept 27 -197 Oct 5 2018
Canada Oct 4 144 +17 Sept 27 -38 Oct 5 2018
International Sept 2019 1,131 -7 Aug 2019 +127 Sept 2018

Source: Baker Hughes

With all the ups and downs, there’s quite a bit of chatter about a slowdown throughout the Basin. We caught an article on Bloomberg that spoke about the loss of oil jobs in the region, fewer hotel proceeds and a 19 percent drop in drilling. A drop that’s affecting everything from the building of well-site roads to the chemicals used to kill bacteria during hydraulic fracturing.

Slowly, unemployment rates are creeping up as well. According to the Dallas Fed, the rate was 2.3 percent in August, an increase of 0.3 percent from May. The Permian Basin’s unemployment rate is still well below the Texas rate of 3.4 percent, but employment growth has slowed. The number of home sales are also slowing, but the prices of homes are climbing, bringing the median home price to $308,634.

These projections are a far cry from the hustle and bustle the region experienced just a year earlier when radio ads were filled with companies looking to fill shale-patch jobs. We’d love to hear your projections for what’s next in the Permian Basin. In what ways are you feeling the impact of the everchanging oil market? How will this impact your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

What do you expect in 2020?

Please answer these two questions. Your response is anonymous.

Best Practices for West Texas Machine Shops: Machine Parts Right, the First Time

Texas has a long history of crude oil production as far back as 1543, but West Texas and the Permian Basin have steadily yielded large quantities of oil since the early 1920s. One of the biggest discoveries for Texas happened in 1936 just west of Lubbock in Cochran County and was later named Slaughter Field. Since then, an entire industry has sprung up to support the needs of the oil industry, supplying everything from nuts and bolts to precision parts and instruments used in exploration, drilling, extracting, production and refinement.

Our local machine shops here in West Texas help the oil and gas industry run smoothly. Combine the tight schedules companies keep with even tighter turnaround expectations, and machine shops are under the gun to deliver the goods fast and accurately. That’s why machining parts correctly the first time around is so critical to staying on budget and retaining customers.

Consider the cutting tools you use.

Using an inferior or poorly spec’d cutting tool results in increased machining time and cost. It can also dramatically increase material passes and the load you put on your tooling, requiring replacement more often. Cheaper tools not only have a shorter lifespan, but they can damage workpieces causing you to start over. Talk to your cutting tool supplier and schedule an on-site consultation to determine what specific tooling requirements your operation requires for optimum performance.

Consider the machinability of certain material.

The higher the machinability, the faster and less costly the material can be machined. That depends on the physical attributes of the material. Often, the softer the metal the easier it is to machine. For plastics, stiffer material is often better for accuracy and low friction. Minimize redo’s by assessing your material usage regularly and adjusting tooling and machinery to match.

Don’t underestimate the cost of machine downtime.

Even a few short hours of machine downtime can have catastrophic effect on revenue. Invest the time to evaluate your machines’ performance, regularly schedule maintenance and replace when necessary. Many shops try to make do with outdated or underperforming machines, thinking that it’s saving them money. That line of thinking rarely pays off and can be costly. You have limited floor space and that real estate should be home to machines that are generating money. Evaluate your facility and try to optimize your floorplan to get the most bang for your buck.

Hire smart and train machinists regularly.

The more machines you have in your facility, the more machinists you need to run them. Not only is equipment failure a major contributor to revenue loss, so is operator error. That’s why it’s critical to have knowledgeable machinists on staff. Today’s growing labor shortage may make that seem impossible, but there is another way to secure good talent. Look for potential employees that show initiative and a willingness to learn. Then train them on your processes. Not only is it sometimes easier to mold a less experienced worker to your specific processes, but investing in workplace training and development is linked to increased employee longevity and satisfaction.

Whether you’re creating a one-off piece or looking to produce large-scale volume, the accuracy and effectiveness of your machined parts can make or break your operation. The longer it takes to machine a part, the more money it costs you. Not only do you need to look at machining time, material costs, start-up costs, but you also need to consider the special cutting tooling you need. Getting it right the first time saves you time, money and unnecessary machining steps.

Are you a machine shop in West Texas or beyond? Do you have a part that is difficult to make or struggling to turn a profit? M&M Sales & Equipment has technical experts on staff to help you choose the right cutting tools so that you can machine parts right the first time. They understand the technical nature of the work you do because they’ve been there. Stop in or call one of our four Texas locations, and let us help you maximize output and profitability in your shop.

Related Reading: What’s Machine Downtime Really Costing You? (And How to Avoid It)

Aerospace Alert: Run Longer and Cleaner with New TRIM® C390 Coolant

The aerospace industry comes with strict requirements when it comes to the use of lubricants, and for good reason. We’re talking about lubricants used in machining components for expensive machinery, often carrying valuable cargo. The industry demands high-performance, lightweight and dependable lubricants that can ensure the highest level of performance and safety in your operations.

The latest solution is here and it’s good. The new TRIM® C390 High Performance Aerospace Synthetic is designed for the machining of composites for global aerospace industries. With a name like Master Fluid Solutions, you know this synthetic coolant has been designed specifically to offer both cooling and lubricity, without all the oily residue common in other synthetics.

TRIM ® C390 can improve your machining operations through:

  • Resisting corrosion on ferrous and nonferrous materials
  • A low-foaming formula even in chilled environments up to 60° F
  • Meeting nuclear and aerospace chemical content and machining requirements
  • Performing in wide range of operations including general grinding, spar milling and turbine blade manufacture
  • Providing low carryoff and long sump life
  • Easy cleanup and removal for decreased operating costs

Learn more about TRIM C390 from Master Fluid Solutions.

Watch this video from Master Fluid Solutions to learn how to extend your coolant life:

The team here at M&M Sales & Equipment would be happy to speak with you and uncover all the ways we can help you improve and maximize operations in your facility. Contact us, give us a call or stop in.


Save on Sandvik Coromant Cutter Bodies with Purchase of New Steel Milling Grades, Sept. 9-20

Manufacturers and fabricators know all too well the challenges of working with hard and abrasive steel, especially when working at high speeds or for extended periods of time. The cost of wear and tear on cutting inserts can be high, whether it’s due to unstable conditions, wet conditions or heat changes. Frequent use results in cracks, breaks and wear.

Sandvik Coromant recently released their new steel milling grades designed to boost steel milling operations. They launched the GC1130, the GC4330 and the GC4340 with the goal of increasing tool life and process security over the previous generations.

The GC4330 and GC4340 are both made with advanced technologies and a new substrate coating called Inveio™ which increases wear resistance, without impacting security. And the hard, thin-coated PVD grade GC1130 with Zertivo™ technology is ideal for light roughing to finishing operations and this steel milling insert provides superior performance in all machining conditions.

M&M Sales & Equipment is extending special manufacturer savings directly to you, but only for a limited time. The deal runs from Sept. 9-20, 2019.


Receive 50% off the regular list price on cutter bodies when purchased with new steel milling grades. *


Deal applies to milling cutter bodies including:

CoroMill® 390
Versatile concept suitable for mixed production
For mixed production with a variety of component features and materials, this is your go-to cutter. With an assortment including many different types of tools and wide selection of corner radii and insert sizes for various depth requirements.

CoroMill® 490
First choice for general and repeated shoulder milling
Light-cutting, positive concept with four cutting edges. Precise cutter bodies and insert location along with low-vibration machining process provide accurate shoulders without mismatch. Covers roughing to finishing.

CoroMill® 210
Productive roughing concept for high-feed face and plunge milling
First choice when high metal removal rate is the first priority. A 10° entering angle allows for extreme feed rates when face milling. This directs the cutting forces in an axial direction, providing a stable cutting action and no vibration tendency.

CoroMill® 745/725
Multi-edge cutters for best production economy
Offers multi-edge, double-sided insers with the cutting performance of a positive single-sided concept. Available also with a 25° entering angle as a productivity booster in CoroMill® 725.


And the following:

  • CoroMill® 200 – Robust face milling and profile cutter
  • CoroMill® 245 – General purpose cutter
  • CoroMill® 345 – First choice for highly productive face milling
  • CoroMill® 415 – Small diameter, high feed face milling cutter
  • CoroMill® 419 – Five-edged milling concept


View the family of Milling Cutters including High Feed Milling, Face Milling, Shoulder Milling and Profile Milling.


Contact your M&M Sales & Equipment representative to learn how you can take advantage of special pricing direct from the manufacturer. Just don’t wait too long, because the special deals end Sept. 20, 2019. If you have any questions or need help selecting the tools and supplies right for your job, don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking here.

Or, give us a call at your preferred branch location:

*Discount with qualifying insert order with cutter bodies only. Must purchase 10 inserts per inch (25 mm) to receive cutter blitz discount pricing. No returns, all sales are final. Offer is valid from September 9-20th, 2019.


Is Pessimism Over Oil Well Productivity in West Texas Premature?

You may recall a recent post titled Steady as it Goes for Permian Basin Rig Counts where we shared April 2019 oil rig count data as supplied by Baker Hughes. We also asked the question, “Why has there been a slowdown in oil drilling?” and countered it was likely due to spending cuts from independent exploration and production companies. At the time, it appeared that crude prices would continue to go down. However, the latest rig-count report shows the number of oil rigs in the Permian Basin is holding mostly steady.

Let’s take a look at the most recent Baker Hughes report from August:

The U.S. Rig Count is down four from the last count performed in July of this year and down 104 from the count performed in August of last year. According to recent reports from Baker Hughes, Midland County, Texas, gained two rigs and the Permian Basin lost one. Texas is up one rig totaling 455.

See chart below for additional details.

Area Last Count (2019) Count Change from Prior Count Date of Prior Count (2019) Change from Last Year Date of Last Year’s Count (2018)
U.S. August 2 942 -4 July 26 -102 August 3
Canada August 2 137 +10 July 26 -86 August 3
International June 1,138 +12 May +179 June

Despite somewhat favorable results, there is still some pessimism regarding well productivity in the Permian Basin. Many firms fear the state of oil and gas well performance in West Texas due to the depletion of core inventory, growth in the share of child wells and well-spacing challenges. However, we discovered an article featured in Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ) that may shed some light on why that pessimism may be premature. In it, OGJ reports that Rystad Energy is holding firm on their outlook for the basin. In fact, Rystad’s Head of Shale Research, Artem Abramov, was quoted as saying, “We conclude that the average new production per well in the basin matches the all-time highs seen in early 2019 despite depletion concerns.” View the entire article here.

One potential downside associated with the increase of crude oil production in the Permian Basin is the likely increase in natural gas. According to World Oil, current constraints on natural gas pipelines may reduce oil drilling in areas that have heavy concentrations of natural gas. That said, Pipeline & Gas Journal reports that pipeline operator Magellan Midstream Partners LP expects new pipelines to be in the works to help improve the crude oil bottleneck in the Permian Basin.

Share your thoughts on today’s oil and gas news. How will it impact your business?

Tariffs Give Cause for Concern in Texas Manufacturing

If you were to thumb through some accounts of how tariffs are impacting the Texas economy, many would point to continued expansion and growth. According to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for June of this year, it would appear that Texas factory activity continued to expand and the production index went from 6.3 to 8.9. The increase marks favorable manufacturing conditions, yet the survey also indicated a significant drop in general business activity and positive company outlook. In fact, the company outlook index fell from –1.7 to –5.5, marking a new three-year low. The uncertainty index rose to 21.6, the highest it’s ever been since the metric was added to the survey in early 2018.

According to Emily Kerr, senior business economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, “Tariffs are certainly a factor that’s driving up uncertainty and now we have explicit proof of that.”

What impact could we expect this uncertainty to have? Any uncertainty could lead to decreased customer demand, project delays and a sharp tightening of spending budgets, with fears of ultimately hitting manufacturing employment numbers square in the jaw.

While overall unemployment numbers are looking good, manufacturing employment fell 0.7 percent in May. Let’s take a look at what 115 Texas manufacturers had to say about the impact of U.S. and foreign tariffs.

  • 45 percent said tariffs aren’t affecting them
  • 41 percent said tariffs are already hurting their bottom line
  • 32 percent said they expect negative long-term impact
  • 30 percent said future costs are unclear
  • 21 percent said they don’t expect an impact
  • 18 percent said tariffs will give them a boost

Of those who answered “negative” to Current 2019 impacts, 54 percent reported passing those additional costs onto customers. Other answers included finding new domestic suppliers (17%) or bringing production or process back in-house (17%).

After digesting all those facts and figures, what does the future of manufacturing hold for Texas? Regardless of the actual impact tariffs are having on local manufacturers, the consensus appears to lean toward increased caution in the future regarding hiring, expansion and various expenditures.

What do you expect in the longer term and how will you prepare for the future? Let us know in the comments below. And, as always, if you need help finding the cutting tools and products you need for better productivity and profitability, contact us today. The pros here at M&M Sales & Equipment are happy to help.

What’s Machine Downtime Really Costing You? (And How to Avoid It)

Manufacturers often spend a lot of time focused on machine uptime and not nearly enough time monitoring downtime. Uptime, otherwise known as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), is comprised of three important components:Quality, Availability and Performance, according to SensrTrx. When any of these three are disrupted for any reason, machine downtime occurs. Machine downtime can be due to a number of reasons including regular maintenance and servicing, cleaning, changeovers, repair or unexpected equipment failure. Sometimes, companies have no control over downtime such as in the cases of extreme weather or power outages.

Regardless of the cause, unplanned downtime can mean a major financial impact on your company. Downtime can cost companies tens of thousands of dollars in lost production, if not more. Think about your production capacity. For simple math purposes, let’s say you produce 500 units an hour at a cost of $50 a unit. That’s $25,000 per hour. If your equipment is down for 4 hours, that’s a loss of $100,000 in potential revenue. That doesn’t even take into account decreased staff productivity, rescheduling costs and equipment replacement costs, not to mention decreased customer trust, according to Machine Metrics.

While an average cost of downtime is often factored into the price of manufactured goods, most companies often underestimate the cost of downtime and are surprised by their losses. Machine downtime is an unpleasant fact of life in manufacturing, but here’s what you can do to minimize loss.

Reduce Machine Downtime for Maximum Performance with These Tips:

  1. Perform a Risk Audit. Evaluate your current processes and equipment to spot potential problems before they lead to a downtime event. Ask yourself questions such as: How old is current equipment? How often is equipment serviced and maintained? Are parts reasonably available or do they take weeks to arrive? This regular audit will help you make more informed maintenance decisions and avoid costly repairs down the road, according to the blog BusinessTech.

  2. Create a Preventative Maintenance Schedule. Every piece of equipment needs to be repaired or replaced at some point. Without regular preventative maintenance, those unavoidable repairs and replacements will come at the most inopportune time. Instead of leaving it up to chance, be sure to schedule regular maintenance on integral pieces of equipment before they break.

  3. Use Quality Tools. To ensure maximum performance, use the right tools for the job. Using cheaper cutting tools or equipment may seem like a bargain at first, but those lesser-quality tools will result in more changeouts costing you time and money. The old saying of “you get what you pay for” has never been more accurate than when it comes to tools of the trade.

  4. Install Sensor Technology. When profit depends on your equipment running smoothly, you’ll want to be alerted the minute something is wrong with that machine. Sensor technology is available that can detect changes in vibration, temperature, heat and light and may offer you just enough time to address the issue before it leads to equipment failure, according to Sage Automation.

  5. Re-evaluate Data Collection Systems. Are you accurately tracking your operational data? Data is great for helping to make better business decisions, but only if that data is reliable and available. Uptime and downtime data are pretty arbitrary if your data isn’t accurate and timely. Consider implementing software that can help you collect and analyze data for real-time reporting, helping you make reduce production downtime.
     
  6. Regularly Train Operators. Even with the best maintenance program, human error is unavoidable. While it would be great to be able to blame equipment failure on a system breakdown, sometimes it’s all operator error. Avoid unnecessary downtime by investing time into a regular training program for all employees, both new and veteran workers. Successful programs should include operational training, as well as education on how to safely and effectively perform lockout tagout procedures before repair or maintenance. Training should be available to all affected and authorized employees for maximum safety and performance.

In your facility, work doesn’t stop. That’s why you need a company that can keep your operations running smoothly, both day and night. You need a partner that can help improve productivity and reduce downtime, so that you can focus on doing what you do best. M&M Sales & Equipment can audit your current processes and uncover opportunities that can not only help you do more for your customers, but run more efficiently and profitability as well.

Contact us by phone, visit our website or stop in one of our four locations to learn more.

How to Choose the Right Drill Bit for Your Application

Drill bits. One of the most useful and versatile tools that exist. You may be surprised to know that using the wrong one can not only hinder production, but could be costing more than you may think. That’s why it’s important to choose drill bits that are optimized for the application. Otherwise, you’re likely to be replacing the bits and the tools too often. Not only that, but you risk damaging the workpiece and having to start over.

Machinists and fabricators use drills daily, and proper drill bit selection can save both time and money. If you are looking to get the best machining result, here are some things to consider when choosing a drill bit for your next project.

Choosing the Right Drill Bit for the Job

Morse Cutting Tools – HSS

There are countless drill bits on the market today, making selection both difficult and time consuming. Two main categories of drill bits include standard bits used with handheld drills or drill presses and boring machine bits that are used in automated machinery like drill banks and CNC machines. Here are some brief explanations of various types of drill bits.

Twist Drill bits are the most common and can be used in a variety of everyday tasks from drilling woods, metal and plastic. They are made from High-Speed Steel or Carbon Steel.

Counterbore bits create a flat bottom blind hole with a smaller diameter center hole. These are often used to create a recess that can hide a fastener head.

Countersink bits create a tapered surface hole with a smaller center hole to allow fastener to sit flush with the material.

Flat Bottom Boring bits are similar to counterbores, but do not have a center drill.

Specialty bits are essentially all bits that don’t fit into the above categories and can be used with glass, tile or other specialty materials.

Coolant Through Drills have coolant ports that run through the drill and feed coolant to the cutting edge, allowing for faster cutting and improved chip evacuation. Used in high performance drilling operations.

Exchangeable Tip Drills have replaceable carbide heads or tips that saves time when changing tools and saves money over larger solid carbide drills. They also boost productivity in many machining applications.

Spade Drills have spade inserts that allow for cost effective drilling of deep holes and large diameter holes. They also run well on older machines and at lower speeds than high performance carbide drills.

Inserted Drills have multiple carbide inserts that handle the metal cutting. They are faster than HSS and cobalt drills, are cost effective and many can be used to “turn” the hole to a larger diameter than the drill size, much like using a boring bar in a lathe.

Understanding Drill Bit Materials

Drillco Drills

Certain tooling and machining operations require specialized drill bits that allow for effective drilling, without burning out too quickly.  Below, you’ll find some common drill bit materials and their uses.

Cobalt (HSCO): Despite being more brittle than HSS, cobalt drill bits are ideal for drilling harder steel as well as stainless steel grades. They are often more expensive than other drill bits but tend to last longer.

Carbide (Carb): Carbide is considered the hardest and most brittle drill bit material and can cut hardened steel, stainless steel and aluminum with ease. Ask if the CoroDrill 860 from Sandvik Coromant is right for you.

Diamond: These bits are effective for drilling tile, stone or other hard material and the use of water is recommended to prevent damage to the workpiece or tool. These are costly, so they are recommended for use in very specific tasks.

High-Speed Steel (HSS): High-Speed Steel bits are harder, more resistant to heat and can drill metal at greater cutting speeds than high-carbon steel. Ask about our HSS drills from Morse or Drillco that are available in a variety of lengths, including jobber and stub/screw.  

How Flute Design Impacts Cut

Flutes are grooves that are cut into the body of the drill bits to provide cutting surfaces, permit removal of chips and allow cutting fluids to reach cutting surfaces. There are different variations of flutes, but here are some common ones you should know.

Standard: Standard flutes are the most common and have a circular cross section.

Parabolic Design: This refers to the open geometry and faster spiral of a twist drill bit. It offers improved chip evacuation, increased feed rate, shorter cycle times and reduces the need for a peck cycle. It’s also less likely to jam and break.

Straight Flute: Used when drill rigidity is more important than chip evacuation, especially in short chipping materials. Also, can be used when the workpiece is spinning instead of the drill itself.

Source: CNC Cookbook

Drill Point Coatings Explained

Coatings reduce friction when drilling. That reduction of heat helps to protect the drill bit and improves the flow of material out of the hole. See below for a brief explanation of various drill point coatings.

Black Oxide is a black surface coating that improves heat resistance, reduces friction and increases chip flow.

Bronze Oxide coatings help to increase tempering and relieves stress on the bit.

Bright drill points do not have a coating, but they are polished for increased chip flow and can be used in plastics, woods and aluminum.

Titanium Nitride (TiN) coatings help drills run faster and increases tool life because it increases the hardness of the bit. Look for drill points to be gold in color.

Titanium Carbonitride (TiCN) is ideal for stainless steel, cast iron and aluminum as it is harder and more wear-resistant than other coatings. Look for drill points to be a blue-gray in color.

Titanium Aluminum Nitride (TiALN) is ideal for use in high-alloy carbon steels, nickel-based materials and titanium, but should not be used for drilling aluminum. Look for drill point color to be violet.

“Man must shape his tools lest they shape him.”

Choosing the wrong tools can impact your productivity and profitability. With so many options out there, choosing the right cutting tools can be overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to be. We take pride in the level of knowledge and experience the M&M Sales & Equipment team has to offer our customers.

If you’re looking to improve production in your facility, but don’t know where to start, give us a call or stop in at one of our four locations. We offer a variety of quality drills from top-rated brands like Drillco, Morse, Guhring and Sandvik Coromant. Whatever your production needs are, M&M Sales & Equipment can help you get it done. Contact us today.