Full Feature Blog

SPI: Limited Time Offers! – through August 31, 2019

From July 1-August 31, 2019 SPI is offering limited-time pricing on:

SPI Promo - Limited Time Offers through August 31, 2019
  • CO-AX Centering Indicators
  • IP54 Digital Tire Tread Gage
  • 3 Speed 20″ Pedestal Fan
  • IP54 Digital Rotor Gage

Mention SUMMER PROMO when ordering. Offer expires 8/31/19.

Give us a call at your preferred branch location:

Download the SPI 2019 Limited Time Offers flyer now.

Contact us for more information.

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.

Sandvik Coromant Spotlight: Improve Your Machine Shop’s Burden Rate

Are you accurately assessing your operational costs? Many production facilities try to roll equipment costs and operating costs into one overhead account and then attempt to apply it to the entire shop. At a minimum, two problems can come from that:

  • You could dramatically underprice your rates for some parts and never be able to cover the cost of production.
  • You could overprice and drive business straight out of those departments.

If you don’t accurately assess the true costs associated with each machine or each part, you’ll never get a full return on your investment, and that’s when your business suffers.

Take a look at your production costs. What does it cost per hour to run your equipment? What is your output rate per part? Your scrap rate? If you think your shop could run faster, leaner and more efficient, you’re probably right. That’s exactly where M&M Sales & Equipment shines. Not only do we have extensive product knowledge, but our staff are among the few in the industry that have real metal cutting-application experience. We know the cutting tools and supplies you need because we’ve been in your shoes.

We specialize in helping you overcome production challenges. Our customers know that they can come to us with questions and we’ll work to find solutions. Check out this example of a customer who needed help optimizing their cutting process:

Recently, a customer contacted M&M Sales & Equipment for a better and faster cutting solution. They were fabricating the same part, but from two different materials. One was stainless steel and the other low carbon steel. Their challenge was making the same hole in the center of the bar and wanted to use one drill for both materials for faster production.

One of our knowledgeable representatives went out to the facility to observe the process and offered a solution. Not only that, they tested that solution and dialed it in for optimal performance.

That solution was the Sandvik Coromant CoroDrill ® 880.

Anyone can sell a product. It takes experience to sell a solution. That Sandvik Coromant CoroDrill 880 could cut both materials, but it didn’t end there. Not only could it effectively cut the stainless steel and the low carbon steel, it did so efficiently. The drill cut faster, more consistently and didn’t fail prematurely, which meant less downtime and more time savings.

When you look at your shop’s fixed cost of producing a part, so many dollars will be spent no matter how you slice it. That’s your labor and burden rate. The only way to produce that part at a lower cost is to produce it faster with less waste. We can help you spec out the right tools and supplies you need to process a part, minimize scrap and reduce wear on your machines, ultimately improving your burden and job completion rates.

If you’re looking to improve performance in your production facility or want to learn more about the top-rated tools we sell, contact us at any of our four M&M Sales & Equipment locations in West Texas today.

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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