Author Archives: Jeremy Kirkpatrick

Sandvik Coromant Spotlight: How to Get the Best Machining Result with Milling Cutters and Tools

Sandvik Coromant Spotlight: How to Get the Best Machining Result with Milling Cutters and Tools

Everything these days seems to be moving at lightning speed, with many folks thinking the quicker the better. From procurement to delivery, we want it done, and we want it done yesterday. However, when it comes to machining applications, these speed and feed rates can make or break the reliability of your milling cutters and cause damage to your expensive machines. Some of the top things to consider in tough and demanding milling operations are heat, vibration, stability, functionality and adequate metal and chip removal rates, as well as good process security.

That’s why it’s critical that you understand the fundamentals of the cutting tools and equipment you use daily. Without the right milling cutters, cutter bodies and cutting tool technology, those high speeds can not only slow or stop your shop’s productivity, but also eat away at your profits.

Fortunately, our partnership with the industry’s most innovative manufacturer in tooling technology, Sandvik Coromant, has provided us with helpful advice and tips to help you get the most out of your machining operation. Need answers right now? Call us directly at 800-592-4516.

Let’s begin by explaining the 7 basic features of your milling cutters:

The Shank is the cylindrical shaped part of the tool that is used to hold and locate it in the tool holder. It can be round and held by friction or held in place with a set screw.

The Flute of a milling bit are the deep helical grooves running up the cutter.

The Tooth is the sharp blade along the edge of the flute that cuts the material. The flute, with the help of the rotation of the cutter itself, helps to expel the material up and away from the cutting surface.

The Helix Angle describes the flutes of a milling cutter. Usually flutes are helical to allow gradual entry into the workpiece. If flutes were straight, they would enter the workpiece at the same time, causing vibration and potential damage. Tighter helix angles with higher rake angles often provide a better finish.

The Milling Cutter Materials are often high-speed steel (HSS) or carbide. As a rule of thumb, softer materials can be machined with HSS and harder materials require carbide. But note that while HSS is less expensive than carbide, it does wear out faster, requiring more frequent changeouts.

Coatings are helpful in improving the hardness of a cutting edge and to reduce friction on materials that have low thermal conductivity, or are unable to control heat-build up on both the milling cutter and the work piece.

The Tool Life of your milling cutter is critical. If you have high production and heavy workloads, it’s critical to invest in the right tooling that can keep up with the volume of work. Choosing inexpensive or inadequate tooling costs time and money on wasted material, scrap, wasted tool spend and added wear and tear on your machines.

It’s not enough to just choose the right milling cutter for the job. You also need to understand how the milling cutter, the workpiece, and the machine all work together to get the best machining results.

Understanding the ABCs of Milling Cutters and Milling Operations

The following is from Sandvik Coromant:

A. The Milling Cutter
Milling isn’t a one-size-fits-all operation. Milling cutters cover a wide range of traditional operations that remove metal from workpieces, but milling cutters can be also be used in alternative ways to produce holes, threads, cavities or pocketing. The features to be milled require careful consideration as milling cutters come in many shapes, sizes, coatings and cutting surfaces. Does the milling depth require extended tooling or does the feature to be milled contain interruptions or inclusions? These are common questions you should ask yourself.

B. The Workpiece
Consider the workpiece and its machinability. The size part to be milled is limited by the machine’s capabilities and depth of cut required. Additionally, the material’s characteristics will determine the overall functionality. Characteristics like hardness, thickness, rigidity, chemical resistance, heat treatability and thermal stability all play a critical role, so special attention must be paid to choosing dedicated tooling and milling strategies.

C. The Machine
The milling method you choose will impact the type of machine you need. Typically, there are two configurations, vertical milling machines and horizontal milling machines. There are multitasking machines (MTM) that can handle a variety of operations including milling and lathing, but there are limitations. Choosing the right machine for the job will save you money on equipment repair and replacement, as well as saving on scrap costs.

Related: Improve Your Machine Shop’s Burden Rate

We’ve been partnering with Sandvik Coromant in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Fort Worth, Texas, for years. M&M Sales & Equipment proudly offers the entire line of Sandvik Coromant Milling Tools, including: 

  • Shoulder Milling Tools
  • End Milling Tools
  • Face Milling Tools
  • Profile Milling Tools
  • Disc Milling Tools
  • Groove Milling Tools
  • Thread Milling Tools
  • Chamfer Milling Tools

M&M Sales & Equipment is your cutting tool specialist and we’re proud to be a Gold Tier Sandvik Coromant distributor. For more information on these and other milling cutters, tools and accessories available through M&M Sales & Equipment, stop into one of our four convenient Texas locations or give us a call at 800-592-4516.


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Discover Jet-Stream­™ Turning, Boring and Threading Tool Solutions from Dorian Tool

Discover Jet-Stream­™ Turning, Boring and Threading Tool Solutions from Dorian Tool

You may think you know Dorian Tool for their line of cost-effective and reliable metal cutting tools, but there’s an entire side of them you may have never seen.

Since their Quadra Index Tool Post hit the scene in 1982, Dorian Tool has been innovating and exploring new technologies designed to help you improve quality and productivity in your precision machine shop. Today, they offer a wide selection of tools for both manual and CNC machines that include:

  • Carbide inserts
  • Toolholders
  • Knurling tools
  • Marking tools
  • Machine tool accessories
  • Rotary setters
  • Tool setters

Over the last several years, Dorian Tool has doubled down in research and development to come up with innovative new ways to improve their tooling options for the metalworking world.

Meet the Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant System from Dorian Tools

Looking for a better CNC machine coolant option? For better surface finish, work quality and tolerance, the Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant System turning, boring and threading tools have coolant exits, one above the insert cutting edge and one below. Having two exit points for coolant to be injected helps to reduce friction on the cutting edge and keep temperature constant, rather than spiking up and down. This offers better edge wear, reduces insert chipping and results in higher speeds and feeds. They’re available in a variety of options which include:

  • Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant Turning and Boring
  • Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant, API, Grooving
  • Jet-Stream™ Thru Coolant Hardware and Inserts

A Lesson in the Double Jet Coolant System from Dorian Tool

Source: Dorian Tool

Check out this video from Dorian Tool to see how it works!

Why Temperature Can be Detrimental to Machining Processes

Any time you activate a cutting tool on metal, you generate heat. If that heat isn’t carefully controlled and begins to accumulate, the cutting surface can become deformed and damaged. Damaged workpieces then become expensive scrap.

Related: 5 Ways to Reduce Scrap in Your Metal Cutting Operations

CNC machine coolants are used to bring down the temperature at the point of contact. High pressure cooling like that offered by Dorian Tool’s Jet-Stream™ tooling is introduced at the exact point of contact to remove heat at high rates and pressures, eliminating the vapor barrier common with standard coolant systems. That barrier typically blocks standard low-pressure coolant, limits the amount of lubrication to the cutting edge and actually causes chips to fall back into the tool. That’s why standard coolant systems often result in damage to the workpiece or lead to an inferior finished product.

Learn why Dorian Tool may be the best choice for your machining operations. Talk to your local rep today!

From cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid to safety and MRO supplies, we are your full-line distributor. If you have questions or need help on your machining processes, we are just a phone call away. Whether you’re a machine shop in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo, Fort Worth or surrounding areas, M&M Sales & Equipment has four convenient Texas locations to serve you. Give us a call and we’ll get you the assistance you need with a specific product, application or order inquiry today.

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Machine Shop Best Practices: How to Implement Effective KanBan Boards for Production Support

Machine Shop Best Practices: How to Implement Effective KanBan Boards for Production Support

What is a KanBan Board? The term KanBan was introduced by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production Systems (TPS), in Japan as a lean manufacturing tool. In Japanese kanban literally translates to ‘signboard,’ used as a final call for orders from shopkeepers for orders in villages. Originally created as a simple way to control and manage workflow and inventory at any stage of production, KanBan uses cards or flags to signal when it is time to manufacture the next part, according to customer demand. The process helps to minimize waste, limit work-in-progress and reduce the amount of capital tied up in inventory.

Looking to speed up production and cut down on wasted time in your shop?

A KanBan board may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Kanban boards are agile tools used to help your workforce or organization visualize the flow of production, limit work-in-progress (WIP) and maximize efficiency. It can be one of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure your facility manufactures only what is needed for customer orders, rather than wasting time and supplies creating unnecessary goods. Create the right product at the right time at the right cost. When done right, a KanBan board can save you time and money. When done wrong, Kanban boards can add confusion and inefficiency to your operations.

Related: KanBan in Manufacturing Can Eliminate Bottlenecks and Maximize Capacity

To help understand the simplicity of an effective KanBan board for lean manufacturing, we thought we’d share a few tips on how to plan and implement your board.

5 Steps to Create and Set Up an Effective KanBan Board in Your Facility

  1. Decide What Kind of KanBan Board Your Facility Needs
    While it can be exciting to brainstorm ideas on how to best create your board, remember to keep it simple. Think about the type of KanBan you may want to use in your facility and how complex it really needs to be. Take a look at your existing workflow, speak to those working the front lines and discuss how to best focus resources to deliver the best impact.

    Your KanBan production board should, at a minimum, include horizontal columns for:

    a) To Do
    b) Doing
    c) Done

    More complex boards can utilize headings like these:

    a)Available Backlog
    b) Top 3 Priorities
    c) In Progress
    d) Require Validation
    e) Doing Validation
    f) Complete

  2. Make Small Incremental Changes Over Time
    It can be tempting to want to overhaul your entire production process overnight, but the best way to fine tune your processes is with small incremental changes. Start with what you know and monitor for results. Make one small change in the process and watch to see how it impacts production for worse or for better. Record that data and use metrics to determine any future adjustments. Your KanBan should remain flexible and allow you to gauge current processes, highlight inefficiencies and make changes to improve production flow and decrease waste.

  3. Encourage Company Wide Involvement
    Implementing anything new can have its challenges and, often times, can lead to rebellion or refusal to comply. Be clear about the initiative from day one and explain how KanBan can improve productivity, while decreasing individual stress. Make all policies involving KanBan explicit. Take the time to increase your team’s understanding of how and why KanBan is instrumental to the company’s success as well as their own. And, be sure to listen to the concerns raised by key team members, after all, they are your eyes and ears on the plant or machine shop floor.

  4. Limit Work-in-Progress
    Work-in-progress (WIP) are tasks or parts of a production process that a team is currently working on, but have not reached the stage to be considered “Done.” Too many WIPs can cause workers to have to multi-task, taking their attention away from singular tasks which could have been completed more quickly. Any time you have to pull a worker off of one task to start on another it is distracting and leads to bottlenecks in production flow. By reducing, not eliminating, WIP you learn to spot inefficiencies and eliminate future roadblocks to production.

  5. Define What “Done” Means
    Anyone in production knows that the finished piece is only as good as the sum of all its parts, meaning each stage is a handoff to the next person in line. Passing on incomplete, inadequate work or misinformation can not only delay the job, but may result in a poor final product. Be very clear about what “Done” means throughout each stage of the process so that there isn’t any confusion that could hamper quality, productivity or morale.

Pro Tip: Just remember the basic rule of thumb when it comes to your KanBan board: Keep it simple.

We’re always on the lookout for ways you can improve operations and increase your profitability. From cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid to safety and MRO supplies, we are your full line distributor. If you have questions on how M&M Sales & Equipment can help you, please call one of our four Texas locations.

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COVID-19 Preparedness Tips: Does your facility pass the test?

COVID-19 Preparedness Tips: Does your facility pass the test?

Texas is no stranger to market volatility, especially when it comes to oil prices. But today we face an additional threat, one that not only impacts the stock market, but also our health. As both the state and nation grapple with school closures, shuttered businesses and gathering restrictions, it has become apparent that how we work through the COVID-19 pandemic will indicate how quickly we can return to business as usual.

For those businesses deemed essential to infrastructure, there’s an added layer of concern and that is how to best protect their customers and staff. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, together with the U.S. Department of Labor has offered some guidance to help.

Identifying the Symptoms of COVID-19

Infections from coronavirus can be mild to severe. And symptoms aren’t always apparent, making early detection challenging. Look for symptoms that include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Understanding How COVID-19 Spreads

There’s still a lot to learn about the new coronavirus, but the research we have today shows that the virus is spread mainly person to person. Because it’s thought that respiratory droplets are considered a major transmission method, it is recommended that workers remain at least 6 feet away from one another and not share any tools, equipment or other materials that could have SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) on the surface.

Take these 6 Steps to Minimize Coronavirus Exposure Risk in Your Facility

  1. Develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan
    Stay up to date on recommendations from federal, state and local health agencies. Consider what, how and to what sources of COVID-19 exposure that employees, customers and the general public may have. Consider individual health risks to your workers. Then, develop a plan on how to mitigate those risks through social distancing, alternative work schedules and remote work options. Be sure to consider any supply chain disruptions that could impact your operations.

  2. Prepare to Implement Basic Infection Prevention Measures
    Basic measures should include frequent and thorough hand washing. Make sure employees have access to warm water with soap as well as alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Encourage sick workers to stay home. Practice proper respiratory etiquette like covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Then, washing hands immediately. Maintain regular housekeeping practices like cleaning and be sure to disinfect surfaces often.

  3. Develop Policies and Procedures for Prompt Identification and Isolation of Sick People
    Plan how you will identify and isolate potentially sick workers and train workers on how they can identify their own symptoms. Provide face masks to limit the spread of coronavirus and educate staff on the proper use and disposal of any personal protective equipment (PPE).

  4. Develop, Implement and Communicate about Workplace Flexibilities and Protections
    Clearly communicate policies regarding employee and family-related sick leave. Be flexible about employees’ needs, especially regarding staying home to care for a sick child or family member.

  5. Implement Work Controls
    It may not be possible to eliminate the risk of COVID-19 exposure in your facility, but you can take steps to mitigate those risks. Use controls such as high-efficiency air filters. Install physical barriers such as sneeze guards and utilize drive-through or curbside service options. Limit the physical contact shared by employees and customers. Alternate shifts or allow employees to work from home when appropriate. Discontinue any nonessential travel and train workers on how to improve protective behaviors, use their PPE and how to spot risk factors.

  6. Follow Existing OSHA Standards
    Remember to follow OSHA standards for safe work practices regarding the occupational hazards your employees face every day. Some of these requirements may also prevent occupational exposure to COVID-19. Personal protective equipment like eye and face protection, respiratory protection and hand protection may help control some sources of the virus.

For the full recommendations, please readGuidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.

To learn what precautions we are taking at this time, read We’re Open: COVID 19 Update.

M&M Sales & Equipment remains fully operational at this time, but due to the precautionary measures we are taking to protect you and our employees, service may be slightly slower than usual.

Please contact the M&M Sales team with any questions.

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Spring Promotion: Starrett Precision Tools and Accessories

We’re offering specials on Starrett Precision tools and accessories now through May 31, 2020. Don’t miss out on 10% off Indicators, 25% Off Shrink Rules, 10-25% Off Micrometers. Buy 4 Get 1 Free on Blades and much more. Check out the great deals in all of the following categories:

  • Precision Tools
    • Micrometers
    • Calipers
    • Indicators and Gages
    • Handheld Testing Equipment
    • Squares
    • Precision Rules, Straight Edges & Parallels
    • Protractors and Angle Measurements
    • Fixed Gage Standards
    • Precision Shop Tools
  • Hand Tools and Power Accessories
    • Portabands
    • Hole Saws
    • PVC Saws
    • Hacksaw Blades and Frames
    • Jigsaw Blades
    • Reciprocating Blades
    • Tape Rulers
    • Layout Tools
    • Chalk Lines
    • M1 Oil

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KanBan in Manufacturing Can Eliminate Bottlenecks and Maximize Capacity

Are you looking for ways to identify and stop bottlenecks and waste in your facility?

Sure. Who isn’t looking to optimize operations to achieve maximum results with minimal investment? For that reason, many manufacturing facilities and machine shops alike are starting to look to lean manufacturing techniques to help them get there.

Kanban systems are one such method that offer production teams the support they need to get the most out of their operational processes. Following the design of pull systems and just-in-time inventory plans, Kanban cards are small cards with important information related to specific operational processes. These cards can include information about materials and part descriptions, identifying bar codes, routing information, lead time, supplier information, order date, due date, responsible parties and more.

Kanban boards are ideal for controlling production and making operational processes visible when used as part of a lean manufacturing program. Kanbans are best described as visual markers that highlight each step of the manufacturing process. Kanbans not only helps to visualize the workflow process, but also the actual work that passes through the process. By increasing the visibility of the work to be done, over time you begin to eliminate wasted labor, inventory and time.

Related: 5 Ways to Reduce Scrap in Your Metal Cutting Operations

7 Surprising Ways Kanban Can Support Your Manufacturing Goals

  1. Measure and manage workflow
    Kanbans allow production teams to have both a high-level view of workload, as well as more detailed information regarding individual tasks and priorities. Kanban systems for manufacturing can also help measure team members’ progress through each stage of the workflow.

  2. Communicate more effectively
    The use of a Kanban board in your facility ensures clear and accurate communication of goals, policies and expectations without confusion. Every affected employee knows exactly what is required at every stage of the operation.

  3. Limit Work in Progress (WIP)
    With an effective Kanban system in place, it’s easier to visualize workflow and backlogs at various points in time and concentrate on completing existing work before taking on new work. This offers added insight into current workload to determine if work needs to be cut back or if you have capacity to add more.

  4. Improve customer satisfaction
    Using Kanban to optimize your production flows, your company can complete more work on time and in budget. Not only does this lead to happy customers, but also loyal customers who are more likely to act as evangelists on your behalf.

  5. Reduce worker stress
    Individual workers, production teams and management alike experience reduced stress with the successful implementation of Kanban in their facility. Kanban offers enhanced visibility into operations and helps managers understand conflicting priorities and create solutions that eliminate bottlenecks. Workers can now focus on what they do best, rather than what is piling up ahead.

  6. Improve safety and compliance
    Kanban in manufacturing not only helps to reduce production costs and waste, but can help improve safety. A smooth workflow guided by clear standard operating procedures (SOP) can eliminate bad habits and faulty material and equipment, resulting in fewer accidents and more consistency in safety programs throughout the facility.

  7. Improve collaboratively and continuously
    When all parts of the process are understood by all affected employees, it’s easier to spot potential problem areas and brainstorm solutions collectively. Plus, all stakeholders have improved visibility with a clear and consistent view of the workflow.
M&M Sales & Equipment Kanban Tips for Manufacturing

Related from Medium: Learn more about various types of Kanban cards here.

It’s no secret that lean manufacturing methods have been key to the success of many small and mid-size manufacturing facilities. When Kanban is used with other lean manufacturing best practices, managers have experienced lower overhead and inventory costs, improved reporting, standardized production goals, better teamwork and increased accuracy.

We’re always on the lookout for ways you can improve operations and increase your profitability. From cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid to safety and MRO supplies, we are your full line distributor. If you have questions on how M&M Sales & Equipment can help you, please call one of our four Texas locations.


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We’re Open: COVID-19 Update

To our valued customers and friends,  

Thank you to those who have reached out during this stressful time; we want to extend our sincere thoughts and prayers. As COVID-19 continues to expand throughout the U.S. and attempts are made to slow the transmission of the virus, we want to alert you that we do remain open at this time.  

We are fully operational and will continue to support your business needs by accepting walk-in traffic and maintaining deliveries. To that end, we are following the safety guidance provided by the CDC, as well as state and local governments, to keep our customers and employees safe.

We are implementing a policy that restricts interactions to one employee per customer in the building at a time.

Please be advised that accounting is working from home so they may have to call you back or you can reach them directly through email (ar@mmsls.net).

To ensure the safety and well-being of both our employees and our customers, we have taken certain precautionary steps that include thorough cleaning and sanitation of our shop and enacting new handling procedures. To prevent unnecessary interactions, we have the following protocol in place:  

  • Rather than require customers to sign tickets, we will ask customers to state their full name. We will then track orders by writing “Picked Up By:” or “Delivered To:” on the ticket, printing names legibly on both copies of the ticket.  
  • For deliveries, we will keep all tickets on a clipboard to prevent contact with any work surfaces. We have also closed our showroom to minimize touch points and interaction with materials.  

The situation remains fluid, but at this time our account personnel will be working from home until the recommended guidelines for 10 people or fewer are lifted.  

We remain fully operational at this time, but due to these precautionary measures, service may be slightly slower than usual. We will continue to monitor the situation and alert you of any changes regarding your orders or future developments.  

Together, we will get through this. Thank you and be well. 

Contact us with any questions.

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Score Big on JET® Metalworking Saws with our March 2020 Promotion

We are excited to extend some big-time savings to you on the metalworking saws you depend on for precision cutting results. From bandsaws to cold saws and more, we can get you the metalworking saws you need.

From now until March 29, 2020, save on metalworking saws from the industry leader JET®. Save up to 10% on select saws:

  • JET® 5″ X 6″ MITERING HORIZONTAL BANDSAWS
  • JET® 5″ X 6″ MITERING VARIABLE SPEED HORIZONTAL BANDSAW
  • JET® 5″ X 6″ VARIABLE SPEED HORIZONTAL VERTICAL BANDSAW
  • JET® 5″ X 6″ HORIZONTAL VERTICAL BANDSAWS
  • JET® 7″ X 10-1/2″ MITERING HORIZONTAL BANDSAWS
  • JET® 7″ X 12″ HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL BANDSAW WITH COOLANT SYSTEM
  • JET® 7″ X 12″ HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL BANDSAW WITH COOLANT SYSTEM
  • JET® 14″ & 18″ VERTICAL METAL/WOOD BANDSAW
  • JET® 12″ (315mm) MANUAL FERROUS COLD SAWS
  • JET® 10″ (275mm) MANUAL FERROUS COLD SAWS

Watch JET in action now!

Don’t miss out on these limited time savings! Promotion ends March 29, 2020. Talk to your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative today!

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Wrapping Up 2019: West Texas Oil Economy in Review

M&M Sales & Equipment supports our local communities and one way that we do that is by staying informed on the issues that matter to you. We provide products of all kinds including cutting tools like end mills, face mills, grooving inserts and drill bits to various industries, and we have a special relationship with those working in oil and gas. As 2020 kicks off, we wanted to take a look back and reflect on how the oil industry has impacted West Texas residents and beyond over the past year.

Oil Activity in Early 2019

Back in March of 2019, we explored West Texas’ boom-bust oil industry and shared some expert insights on the status of crude oil production and where it was headed. The U.S. Department of Energy expected the Permian Basin to pump 3.9 million barrels of oil per day (bpd), with futures anticipated at 9 million bpd by 2021.

We also shared examples of how the oil boom was impacting West Texas and its residents. Rising employment rates were a welcome relief to many who were impacted by massive layoffs in 2016, but food and housing costs also skyrocketed, hitting those same residents square in the pocketbook. Though market conditions looked good, West Texans are used to the ebb and flow of the oil industry and remain cautious. The old saying, “Oil giveth and oil taketh away” is one that’s always on the minds of those who live here.

Related: 2019 Oil Forecast in West Texas: Boom Expected to Continue

Year End Oil Report

As we continued throughout the year, the outlook remained positive overall. Energy technology company Baker Hughes recently reported an increase of four rigs bringing the active U.S. rig total to 667. Our own Texas rig count remained unchanged from the week prior at 400, but down 132 from 2018.

What’s interesting is that according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States exported 90,000 bpd more total crude oil and petroleum in September 2019 than we imported. This marks the first recorded month in U.S. history that the United States exported more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported. This supports the 2019 Annual Energy Outlook that forecast that the U.S. would become a net energy exporter by 2020.

While crude oil production looks healthy, coal consumption continues its decades-long decline.  Reports show that U.S. coal production employment has fallen 42% since 2001 (EIA). That seems to align with the decrease in Texas coal production from over 40 million short tons in 2014 down to roughly 25 million short tons in 2018.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, employment in oil and gas extraction jobs in Texas remain steady around 78,600. The Permian Basin maintains healthy crude oil production numbers of around 4.5 million bpd, meeting and exceeding the U.S. Department of Energy’s prediction earlier in the year. (View 2019 Energy Slideshow here)

Looking Ahead to 2020

As of the Dec. 10 report, the U.S. is still on pace to average 13.2 million bpd in 2020, a 0.9 million bpd increase from 2019 (EIA). It’s important to note that this is a slowdown from 2018 numbers, and the decrease in crude oil production is due to a continuing decline in drilling rigs. A decline in drilling rigs and wells drying up are factors that could impede the United States’ race to become a world’s leading oil producer. To keep pace, technological improvements must continue to support sustainable growth.

There is anticipation that because of rising global oil inventories, crude oil prices will be lower in 2020 than in 2019, but that remains to be seen. In a December article in the New York Times, it was reported that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia agreed to make cuts in production to compensate for higher oil output. But their cuts have done little to raise crude oil prices in the past due to the steady increase in U.S. shale oil production, especially those barrels from the West Texas area. Only time will tell.

Stay in the know with us. Keep on the lookout for future articles discussing both the local economy here in West Texas, as well as what’s happening in the world. We would love to hear your insight and how you are impacted by our regional and global oil industry. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

We are your cutting tools specialists and are committed to helping you remain profitable and productive in a changing world. Have questions? Reach out to us by clicking here.

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Lessons in Commonly Used Commercial Valves from Apollo Valves

A valve is a valve, right? That may be true to the rest of the world, but out here valves are as complicated as they are necessary. The ordinary person probably doesn’t know there’s a different valve for almost every need, and choosing the right valve can quickly become confusing in an industrial setting. Valves can be categorized in several ways, including how they operate, how they function, and in which applications they are to be used.

Fortunately, we have some helpful tips on understanding the six main types of valves from industry-leading valve manufacturer, Apollo Valves.

We’ve been partnering with Apollo Valves in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth, Texas, for many years. You may be familiar with Conbraco Industries, leading manufacturer of American Made flow control products. Today, they are housed under the Apollo name and together blaze the trail to create the innovative products that drive American industry, one valve at a time.

Understanding 6 Types of Valves and their Applications

  1. Gate Valves
    Industrial and residential piping applications, as well as sewage pipes and water distribution pipe systems commonly use gate valves because they have the capability for more substance flow and lower pressure drops within the valve. The new Apollo International™ cast iron gate, globe and check valves provide full flow capabilities.

  2. Ball Valves
    Otherwise known as quarter-turn operation valves, ball valves are designed with a spherical ball with a hole that goes through it. When the valve is open, the substance passes through. When the valve is closed, the hole becomes perpendicular to the opening and stops flow. The Apollo® 70 Series is the most widely used and trusted bronze ball valve in the industry.

  3. Butterfly Valves
    Butterfly valves are similar to ball valves in that they are also quarter-turn operation valves, but have a butterfly disc that allows the substance to flow aerodynamically around it. They are ideal for regulating flow and can handle thicker slurries or suspended solids because there are no open cavities where particles can settle. The large diameter Apollo International™ LD141 Series Ductile Iron Butterfly Valves are ideal for use in Industrial and Commercial/HVAC/Mechanical applications.

  4. Globe Valves
    When you need to control the flow of fluids that are more viscous in nature such as oil, globe valves are often your best bet. They can control both on and off operations, as well as flow rate control. Just remember that the S-shaped nature of the passageway often leads to more high pressure drops than other valves.

  5. Needle Valves
    For fine adjustments in regulation and control of flow rate, needle valves use their tapered, needle-like valve stem to act as a control mechanism. They are often used in pressure pump governors, automatic combustion systems and instrumentation controls. The Apollo® 60A Series Steel & Stainless Steel Barstock Globe Valves are ideally suited for use in instrumentation, sampling lines and flow control applications.

  6. Check Valves
    What is a check valve? Check valves are used to prevent backflow in piping systems and activated by the pressures of what is running through the system. When fluid flows in a certain direction, the value opens; but if the fluid were to reverse direction, the valve would close.

View the Apollo’s Commercial Product Lineup here.

Match the Valve Type to the Function It Performs 

If you’re looking to get the most out your equipment (and who isn’t?), there’s three things you need to know when choosing a valve. First, you need to match the valve type to the function it performs. Not doing so will lead to leaks, damage and subprime performance.

Second, you must evaluate the material flowing through the valve. What temperature is the material? What is the pressure? Is the valve in an open or closed position? Do you need a shut-off valve or regulator?

Lastly, consider the pipe size, operating flow and piping material and match it to the valve that not only fits, but performs. For instance, the size of a copper pipe is different than a PVC pipe. An adapter may be required if you want to use a copper valve on a PVC pipe rather than a PVC valve.

Have more questions about selecting the right valves for your needs? M&M Sales & Equipment is here to help in West Texas, with locations in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock and Ft. Worth. Reach out to our knowledgeable sales representatives and they’ll be happy to discuss your needs and help you find the best solution. Contact us online, by phone or stop in and say hello.


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