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Measuring the ROI of Tooling Investments in Manufacturing

Measuring the ROI of Tooling Investments in Manufacturing

Is new tooling worth the investment? Can new tools and equipment pay for itself in the short term? That depends on how you calculate those costs and how you view your total cost of ownership over the long term. This calculation is a valuable asset when it comes to justifying the return on investment to management. It’s also critical to getting the best performance out of your operations.

Deciphering your total cost of ownership (TCO)

When considering a new tooling or equipment purchase, many managers may look to recent spreadsheets and compare the cost of the equipment against their budget constraints. But total cost of ownership goes far beyond improvement costs alone and includes direct and indirect costs as well.

Your tools and equipment can have a significant impact on your operational costs over time. Outdated or inadequate tooling and faulty machinery can slow down production and result in a poor finished product — costing your company additional time, labor and material. By considering your total cost of ownership, your operation can benefit from data-driven decisions designed to improve efficiency and productivity while reducing waste in previously overlooked areas.

To reach optimum ROI on new tools and equipment, consider these TCO variables when deciding on a new purchase:

  • Operating costs
  • Cycle time and run time
  • Scrap rate percentage
  • Feed/speed rates
  • Equipment run time
  • Labor hours
  • Cost-per-part
  • Tool and machinery life
  • Downtime for maintenance and repair
  • Carrying costs

See how one M&M Sales & Equipment customer experienced shorter production run times, longer tool life and reduced machine downtime with better tooling.

The Problem: One customer runs a machine shop that manufactures turned and milled machine parts for various industries. They were looking for a way to achieve faster run times while getting more life out of their tooling. After a full evaluation of their current machines and processes, we recommended a solid carbide high feed side mill from Sandvik Coromant. The new tooling enabled them to reduce the number of runs required in each batch and increase their product rate to five times the feed rate of the previous tooling.

The result: By investing in new tooling options, our customer was able to shave 1,000 production hours, save $100,000 per batch and gain improved customer stickiness with lower cost-per-runs while achieving better tool life and increased machine uptime.

Read the entire case study here. 

If you would like assistance on new tooling and equipment to get your shop running at peak performance, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment rep or call 800-592-4516.

Why Some Companies Hesitate to Invest in New Cutting Tools and Equipment

In manufacturing, process is everything. So, it can be hard to shift gears and try something new. Many times, this resistance can be blamed on habit, especially when faced with “selling” a new idea to upper management or the purchasing department. Common objections include:

We’ve always done it this way.

We don’t have time to try something new.

Our current supplier doesn’t support new technology.

We need readily available parts and service for maintenance.

We don’t want to change.

What if it doesn’t work? 

The Value of Investing in New Cutting Tools and Technology

The fact is, new cutting tool technology and programming has paved the way for faster and more accurate processing, longer tool life and reduced cycle time, and is well worth the investment. Today’s innovative cutting tool technology, programming processes, insert and grade compositions have set new standards to deliver higher performance than yesterday’s tools. Plus, many are available with quick change systems that minimize downtime from tooling replacement. Adapting to a new way of doing things is never easy. But with the right tooling, it’s always worth it.

Better tooling can help you:

  1. Reduce scrap percentage
  2. Create a better maintenance plan
  3. Shorten set-up times and decrease machine downtime
  4. Improve cycle times and shorten run time
  5. Attain a better finished product

Related: Making the Case for CNC Robotics in Machine Shop Automation 

Tool Package Assessment: No Risk, All Reward

M&M Sales & Equipment takes the uncertainty out of tool investment. Along with our team of engineers and highly trained metal cutting and fabrication specialists, we offer a performance guarantee. Let us assess your current equipment and processes and make tool package recommendations that improve your operations from day one for faster payback. If it doesn’t work, we take it back and help you find a better option.

M&M Sales & Equipment is here to be your partner in success, with advice and suggestions on how you can improve operations, increase production 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.

PMR Global saves time with tooling recommendations from M&M Sales & Equipment

PMR Global saves time with tooling recommendations from M&M Sales & Equipment

PMR Global is a state-of-the-art ISO 9001-2015 and AS9100D machine shop based in Burleson, Texas. PMR Global provides precision turned and milled machine parts to industries including oil and gas, aerospace and defense. In addition to their machine shop, they also have a dedicated electronics lab providing turnkey solutions for electronic assemblies and kitting. They take pride in having over 100 years of experience supplying the highest quality products to customers worldwide.

In 2019, M&M Sales & Equipment opened a facility in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It was then M&M’s Director of Sales Jeff Westhoff reached out to PMR Global’s Manufacturing Manager and Programmer Chad Morgan to introduce their product line and services. Morgan was looking for a solution to improve tool life and achieve faster run times.

Tooling Solution

After a complete evaluation of PMR Global’s production needs, Westhoff suggested a solid carbide high feed side mill from Sandvik Coromant. That same day, he provided the quote with recommended feeds and speeds, placed the order and PMR Global received the tool the next day.

PMR Global also received a tooling package from M&M which included the tool cart, hydraulic holders and chucks, and other components for a 5 axis machine. Morgan noted that while many companies provide tooling packages, he was impressed with M&M Sales & Equipment’s flexibility with tooling options. “Jeff and M&M opened their entire database of products and allowed me to pick and choose the products and brands I wanted instead of being limited to one manufacturer,” Morgan said. “This was extremely beneficial because different companies have different strengths and it’s made the machine a complete success.”

Valuable Results

The tooling recommendations provided by Westhoff resulted in a time savings of over 1,000 production hours for PMR Global, representing over $100,000 in savings per batch. Not only did they experience production time savings, PMR Global reduced the number of runs required in each batch, effectively increasing their production rate to five times the feed rate of the previous tooling. Fewer runs also led to longer tool life and fewer machine stops necessary to change out tools, resulting in less downtime.

As a result of reduced run times and improved feeds and speeds, PMR Global has been able to offer lower cost-per-runs and competitive quotes to their customers, a benefit their customers have appreciated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The success of their relationship has led PMR Global to purchase additional tools including various end mills, drills, turning inserts and more. “Jeff and M&M Sales & Equipment have been great all around,” Morgan said. “Everyone is supportive and knowledgeable about their products. They have a broad array of anything I could ask for and are quick to respond to my needs with support. I look forward to continuing our relationship and recommend them 100 percent.”

M&M Sales & Equipment appreciates the ease of the relationship as well. “It’s easy to work with them,” said Westhoff. “Chad is a great programmer, knowledgeable in his work and open to trying new solutions and advanced programming techniques that help them run efficiently and more profitably.”

Download this case study (PDF).

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Looking Ahead: Uncertainty Remains High for Texas Oil in 2021

Looking Ahead: Uncertainty Remains High for Texas Oil in 2021

2020 has been a year of uncertainty and no man, woman or child has been spared the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdowns. And this rings true for the Texas oil and gas industry. Because we are deeply rooted in the oil business here at home, we like to stay on top of any new developments or trends that impact our customers, friends and neighbors. This is what we’ve found:

West Texas Oil Activity

Reduced economic activity and shutdowns have certainly had an impact in energy demand throughout Texas, further impacting oil prices. Whereas West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices were $56.99/ barrel in 2019, they were just $38.24/barrel as of a November 10, 2020 EIA report. As of November 25, prices are rising to over $42/ barrel. On the horizon, there appears to be an incremental increase going into 2021, with projected WTI crude oil barrel prices exceeding $44.

WTI Crude Oil Price and NYMEX confidence intervals

Source: EIA

Texas was the hardest hit regarding oilfield employment, losing 59,200 oilfield services jobs since the pandemic started, according to the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association.

Texas’ tough year in oil and gas continues with uncertainty about the coming year’s Federal policies on fuel production. The state accounts for 41% of the nation’s crude oil production and 25% of natural gas production (EIA).

The Texas rig count fell from 400 active rigs at the start of 2020 to just 133 in October. Texas crude oil production fell from a seven-year high of near 5.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to about 4.5 million bpd after the first quarter of 2020, but seems to be increasing slightly to 4.69 million bpd in August (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas). However, Texas is far from out of the woods.

Short-Term U.S Energy Outlook

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s Short-Term Energy Outlook report from November forecasts continued changes in energy demand and supply patterns and notes that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 4.4% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time the year prior. They do expect GDP to grow by 3.7% from 2020 to 2021 (EIA).

In addition to impacts brought on by coronavirus, an active tropical storm and hurricane season has caused evacuations and well shutdowns in the Gulf Coast. The U.S. Energy Information Administration anticipates global consumption of liquid and petroleum fuel to continue falling in coming months (EIA). U.S. oil and gas employment also fell in 2020 with support activities for oil and gas operations dropping to 178,400 from near 300,000 in 2019.

Oil & Gas Industry: Looking Ahead to 2021

America is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, providing 80% of U.S. energy, employing millions of Americans, ensuring our energy security, and pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into new American manufacturing (U.S. Department of Energy).

So, what can we expect for Texas and beyond? While Texans are used to the boom and bust of the oil markets, they may have to prepare for another turbulent year ahead. In an October article published in World Oil, Deloitte predicts 30% of those lost oilfield jobs won’t return until late 2021 and that is only if oil prices rise to their anticipated $44 per barrel.

Related: Wrapping Up 2019: West Texas Oil Economy in Review

Stay in the know with us. Keep on the lookout for future articles discussing both the local economy here in 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.

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 visiting our website or calling one of our four Texas locations.

Odessa: 800-592-4516

Lubbock: 806-765-8461

Amarillo: 806-351-1400

Ft. Worth: 682-841-1700

Making the Case for CNC Robotics in Machine Shop Automation

Making the Case for CNC Robotics in Machine Shop Automation

High-volume and fast production machine shops around the country are using technology like CNC robotics to improve productivity and efficiency, especially during turbulent economic times.

Companies have been experiencing limited labor markets for some time and it’s increasingly difficult to fill skilled manufacturing positions. Shops that supply machined parts for oil and gas drilling systems often require highly skilled machining operators, and these employees are in high demand and short supply. Even for those shops that are adequately staffed, production managers look to maximize labor capacity and get the most out of staffed hours. Honestly, some machining work just takes too much time.

If you would like assistance on ways to get your machine shop running at peak performance, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment rep or call 800-592-4516.

On the other hand, even if you find talent, hiring additional skilled labor is expensive. After experiencing the devastating blows brought on by COVID-19, many shops can’t afford to bring on more people. The solution? Many are investing in machine shop automation to redeploy employees to tasks of higher value and using robotics to handle more mundane shop processes and even intricate detail work. Robotic automation can also help machine shops attract fresh talent, as CNC robots can make lighter work out of the toughest and dirtiest tasks. The upside is that industrial robots pay for themselves relatively quickly.

If you’re concerned that automation will phase out human employees, don’t fret. Highly skilled workers are still vital to shop performance and quality assurance.

How to Make CNC Robotics Work for Your Shop

Below are three examples of the ways machine shops are using automation and industrial robots to make their shops run safer and leaner, while increasing profitability.

Handling Heavy Parts

Some parts are heavy, cumbersome or awkward for handling by humans, leading to increased worker injury and costly parts damage. CNC machine handling robots can be configured with various mounting options to handle heavy payloads and reduce risks to employee safety. They can also improve employee ergonomics.

Machine Tending Applications

There is increased risk any time a worker comes in contact with pinch points which are present when loading raw materials or when unloading finished parts from a machine. Worker safety can be improved with CNC machine tending robots because they are designed specifically to tend to multiple machine tasks. In addition to safety improvements, uptime can be improved compared to manual loading and unloading times. Robotic machine tending can be utilized for:

  • Bin Picking
  • Grinding
  • Milling
  • Turning
  • Polishing
  • Welding
  • Deburring
  • Parts Cleaning

Automatic Inspections

CNC robotics now come with vision systems and scanning sensors to access part features. That capability allows them to record geometric and surface data ensuring quality and part accuracy. Automatic inspections not only improve quality assurance, they also detect abnormalities early on — saving on scrap, time and unnecessary machine wear and tear.

Related: How Machine Shops in Texas Use Innovation to Adapt Operations in the Time of COVID-19

Machine shops looking to get started with CNC machine robotics can start with a simple robot, one that is lightweight and portable. Be sure to select an automation solution that can be customized to your specific application. Choose robotics carefully and select a system that can be configured to each application. If production needs slow in one department, it can be moved to a new location and re-programmed to adapt to a new function.

Employing Safety with Robotic CNC Solutions

Worker safety is always the first priority when working with new equipment or tools. CNC robotic equipment isn’t intuitive to the location of humans (yet), and safety measures must be taken into account to protect against accidental injury. Protective cages, safety fencing and guards are reliable ways to increase operator and bystander safety without slowing down your machine’s production.

M&M Sales & Equipment is here to help your business succeed with advice and suggestions on how you can improve operations, enhance worker satisfaction 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.

When Weak Abrasives Won’t Cut It, the Pros Choose United Abrasives

When Weak Abrasives Won’t Cut It, the Pros Choose United Abrasives

Since 1970, United Abrasives has been committed to delivering the best abrasive products to the hardest working tradespeople on the planet. From their manufacturing facilities in Florida and Connecticut, you can rest assured that their high-quality cutting tools are always made in the USA with state-of-the-art equipment and rigorous control testing. They offer cutting tools and heavy-duty abrasives for the most demanding applications. Their selection includes:

  • Grinding Wheels
  • Cutting Wheels
  • Coated Abrasives
  • Non-Wovens
  • Wire Brushes & Carbide Burs
  • Accessories

Never settle for weak abrasives. Choose the tools you need to get the job done well.

United Abrasives grinding wheels are among the toughest in the business. It’s why we’ve been partnering with them for years. No matter how rigorous the job, they have the grinding wheels, cutting wheels and heavy-duty abrasives to help. From surface preparation and grinding to cleaning and polishing, our partnership enables us to get the best products at the best price. United Abrasives even has a tool that can help you select just the right product for your specific application based on tool requirements, materials, material diameter and thickness. Check out their product finder here.

If you would like assistance on selecting the right abrasives and cutting tools for your needs, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment rep or call 800-592-4516.

Why choose United Abrasive? We may be biased, but we count on United Abrasives because:

  • They last longer because of their premium grains
  • They’re safer because they don’t use cut-rate abrasives
  • They’re always high quality because of their heavy-duty fiberglass reinforcement
  • They’re made in the USA, and isn’t that enough?
  • Every order is a rush order, meaning we can get your products quickly.

Learn more about the full line of United Abrasives products. Talk to your local M&M Sales & Equipment rep today! If you have questions about selecting the right cutting tools for your operation in West Texas, we’re here to help. Just ask your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative or call one of our locations in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, Ft. Worth and surrounding areas.

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When was the last time you thought about deep cleaning your power tools? With the exception of cleaning off excess dirt and grime, it’s probably not something you consider regularly.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 with Metabo’s Tips on Cleaning Power Tools

When was the last time you thought about deep cleaning your power tools? With the exception of cleaning off excess dirt and grime, it’s probably not something you consider regularly. But with the recent spread of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), it may be time to rethink your tool maintenance plan.

You’re familiar with the reasons why regular maintenance is important for the life and effectiveness of your tools. You know that consistent tool maintenance helps you prevent:

  • Rust build up
  • Dust that can clog moving parts
  • Loose or missing bolts, knobs or gauges
  • Dull cutting edges
  • Poor alignment

But did you know that good tool hygiene can prevent the spread of coronavirus in your workplace?

What We Know About How COVID-19 Spreads in the Workplace

We’re learning something new about the novel coronavirus every day, but current research shows that the virus spreads via respiratory droplets through person-to-person transmission. That’s why it’s recommended that workers remain at least 6 feet away from one another, wear masks when they cannot socially distance and try not to share tools, equipment or other materials that could have COVID-19 on the surface.

Workers can minimize the risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus to one another through frequent handwashing and sanitizing of work stations and equipment. To learn more about preparing your facility against the virus, read COVID-19 Preparedness Tips: Does your facility pass the test?

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 with Metabo’s Tips on Power Tool Cleaning

Sometimes it’s not feasible for every employee to have their own set of power tools. In this case, it’s important that power tools are appropriately cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace.

If your tool, battery or charger needs to be cleaned, there’s a right way and wrong way to get the job done without causing damage to the tool or injury to the operator. Our partners at Metabo created a handy guide on the best way to clean power tools. View the entire guide here.

Both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Metabo recommend tools be cleaned according to the operator’s manual and left to rest for 72 hours. This is because the virus is thought to live on plastic surfaces for as long as 72 hours. If you are unable to let it sit for that long, you can consider cleaning with a sponge or cloth dampened with a diluted bleach solution and allowing to air dry. Just remember you can only use the solution to clean a power tool or charger, but never a battery.

Metabo recommends mixing 5 tablespoons of bleach per one gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per one quart. When cleaning the tool, be careful to not allow liquids to flow into the tool. Avoid contact with any electrical terminals or power cords.

Important Things to Remember When Cleaning Your Power Tools

  • Always unplug and remove batteries before cleaning
  • Check manufacturer’s instructions for proper care and maintenance
  • Treat your battery maintenance differently than power tools and chargers
  • Don’t use bleach to clean batteries
  • Don’t use tool or charger if you spot any form of degradation
  • Never mix bleach solution with ammonia

At M&M Sales & Equipment, it’s our mission to help our customers work safer and more productively, especially during these difficult times. If you have questions on how you can protect your workers and your shop while improving operations, please call one of our four Texas locations.

How Regular Machine Coolant Sump Cleaning Leads to Better Metal Cutting Performance

How Regular Machine Coolant Sump Cleaning Leads to Better Metal Cutting Performance

Sumps are the underappreciated workhorse of your machining operations and play a major role in metal fabrication. Sumps hold the liquid that keep cutting inserts and workpieces cool in the metal cutting process. Sumps also collect oil and gunk so letting it just sit there can gum up machinery, causing major damage to machines and their performance.

Any time a sump isn’t in use, even for a short period of time, the coolant begins to break down. Have you ever come into work after a long weekend and been met with a terrible smell? That smell is likely your cutting fluid breaking down. Tiny microorganisms are chomping on tramp oil that has leaked into your coolant. The result is not only a horrible odor, but also the potential for degradation of your cutting tool’s performance. Regular sump cleaning and maintenance helps you eliminate things that could be lurking in your sump, including:

  • Chips
  • Swarf
  • Mold
  • Fungus
  • Bacteria
  • Tramp oils

If you’ve had to shut down operations for any period of time, even over the course of a weekend, and haven’t performed regular sump coolant maintenance, you could be looking at serious and costly problems.

Related: 8 Steps to Prepare Your Sump for a Temporary Shutdown

3 Reasons to Keep Your Machining Coolant Clean and Free of Sludge

Operators that perform regular sump cleaning and coolant recharging experience benefits such as better machine performance, fewer machine breakdowns and less downtime. Here are just a few ways that your metalworking fluid can impact your shop’s performance.

  1. Better Tool Life
    Regular coolant changeouts and maintenance allow your machines’ tooling to perform better. Fresh coolant offers better lubricity when cutting a variety of materials, from soft metals to very hard and brittle variations.
  2. Better Machine Performance
    Old or dirty coolant can leave residue on the machine causing components, plates and tool holders to become sticky. Gummed up parts can lead to slower production, tools falling out of place and breakage of inserts and drill bits.
  3. Less Wear and Tear on Machines
    Using poor quality coolants can cause rust to form on chucks, vises, ball screws and other machine surfaces. Over time, this corrosion can cause premature machine failure and unnecessary replacement costs. Additionally, the wrong fluid can cause excess foam which may diminish the fluid’s ability to carry heat away from the tool, further limiting tool life.

If you’re looking to get the most out of your machine tool investment, Master Fluid Solutions has the general use and specialized formulas you need for improved sump life, repeatability, reliability and increased profitability. Contact your M&M Sales & Equipment representative to learn what coolant is right for your applications.

10 Steps to Sump Coolant Changeout and Tips for Longer Sump Life

Part of any good coolant maintenance program is regular evaluation of the coolant and laboratory testing performed either internally or through the coolant manufacturer. Depending on the size of your operation and the systems in use, this can be a cost many don’t expect- especially in cases of smaller coolant systems. Compared to larger coolant systems that may have the capacity to hold thousands of gallons of coolant, smaller coolant systems can be more expensive to maintain and have less filtering capabilities. On the other hand, failing to perform regular maintenance can quickly lead to poor machine performance and system breakdown, costing you thousands in unplanned downtime, repairs and lost jobs.

Below you’ll find recommendations on steps you can take to ensure optimum sump health and coolant life.

  1. Completely drain sump of all fluids
  2. Remove any material, chips, sludge or gunk from your sump
  3. Add water to circulate throughout the entire system, filters and lines
  4. Add the recommended amount of machine coolant sump cleaner
  5. Circulate for several hours, longer if sump hasn’t been cleaned in a while
  6. Manual scrubbing or steam cleaning may be necessary to remove stubborn or hard to reach residue
  7. Drain the entire system free of all fluids
  8. Flush completely with fresh water, making sure to thoroughly circulate water throughout
  9. Add water and recommended amounts of coolant
  10. Circulate coolant throughout the entire system and be sure to reach normal operating temperatures

Pro Tip: Never use common cleaners like bleach or floor and surface cleaners when cleaning out your sump. Choose a sump cleaner specially designed to disinfect, inhibit corrosion and control foam. When in doubt, talk to your M&M Sales & Equipment representative or review your manufacturer’s manual for recommended cleaning instructions.

Master Fluid Solutions Logo

M&M Sales & Equipment customers can receive the exclusive Master Fluid Solutions TRIM® First Charge No Charge® free comprehensive plant survey to examine your facility and production and identify key areas of improvement. Just give us a call and we’ll walk through your facility and offer fluid solutions and problem-solving feedback to meet your metal cutting needs.

First Charge No Charge® Conversion Allowance through Master Fluid Solutions

Convert your facility at no cost with the FIRST CHARGE NO CHARGE® conversion allowance. The program will allow you to receive:

  • 30-day FREE trial of selected TRIM product in your machine
  • FREE assistance with conversion/cleanout
  • FREE training to all plant personnel across all shifts
  • FREE laboratory analysis of samples
  • Technical assistance to ensure your company’s success over the long term

M&M Sales & Equipment is your full line distributor for cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid, as well as safety and other MRO supplies in West Texas. M&M Sales & Equipment is also proud to offer the Master Fluid Solution products you need to keep your operations running smoothly. For other questions on how you can improve operations and increase profitability in your business, please call one of our four Texas locations.

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Machine Shop Clean Up: Save on Your Facility and Maintenance Costs with Master Fluid Solutions

Machine Shop Clean Up: Save on Your Facility and Maintenance Costs with Master Fluid Solutions

We’re proud to carry Master Fluid Solutions products, a family-owned company driven by values and founded on a commitment to improve manufacturing productivity in the metalworking world. Today, their “Golden Rule” way of doing business is even more important as businesses everywhere work to create a safe and healthy environment for their employees and guests.

As machine shops and metalworking facilities begin to get back to business, we know you care about keeping machine operators and your shops clean and safe. That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to a few products in the Master Fluid Solutions line-up that can help.

Master Fluid Solutions Master STAGES™ cleaners and washing compounds help you tackle a variety of messy situations ranging from coolant and light oil cleanup to deep cleaning of stubborn grease, heavy oil, lubricants and more. For improved safety and health in your shop, check out these facility cleaning solutions.

Master Fluid Solutions for Better Machine Shop Cleaning and Maintenance

Master STAGES™ Task2™ All Purpose Cleaner

Master Fluid Solutions Master STAGES™ Task2™ is an ideal industrial strength cleaner perfect for cleaning away common shop soils from almost every surface. In fact, the versatile cleaner outperforms all the green, crystal, purple and blue butyl-based cleaners you have sitting in your cabinets. Not only does it not include butyl, caustic, silicate, phosphate, nitrite, phenol or borate, it won’t harm your TRIM® metalworking fluids.

Related: New Product Alert: TRIM® E923 Metalworking Fluid from Master Fluid Solutions

Master Stages™ Clean F2™ Floor and Multipurpose Cleaner

For versatile cleaning power, the Clean F2™ from Master Fluid Solutions is a non-butyl floor and multipurpose cleaner that can be used at various dilutions to get every inch of your shop sparkling clean. This all-in-one solution not only saves money, but also controls consumption and improves worker safety and health.

Use in these common applications:

  • Floor machines
  • Window cleaning
  • Auto scrubber
  • Parts cleaning
  • Mop and bucket
  • Spray and wipe
  • Heavy-duty cleaning

Buy a drum of Master Stages Clean F2™ and get a Fluid Proportioner at NO CHARGE!

The Fluid Proportioner from Master Fluid Solutions offers improved control on consumption of cleaning products, providing cost savings up to 30% and reducing the amount of cleaner in the waste stream.

For a limited time, get a fluid proportioner (a $240 value) for FREE with purchase of your first drum of Clean F2. Talk to your M&M Sales & Equipment representative for details.

Learn more about Master Fluid Solutions. Watch now.

If you have questions about selecting the best industrial cleaning solutions for your machine shop in West Texas, we’re here to help. Just ask your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative or call one of our locations in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, Ft. Worth and surrounding areas.

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It’s no secret that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been widespread, affecting everything: manufacturing production and machining orders, lead times and sales, even the very process of doing business.

How Machine Shops in Texas Use Innovation to Adapt Operations in the Time of COVID-19

It’s no secret that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been widespread, affecting everything: manufacturing production and machining orders, lead times and sales, even the very process of doing business.

Today, the availability of increased virus and antibody testing is moving many states to kickstart their phased reopening plans. As the world of manufacturing begins the difficult task of getting back to “normal,” smaller machine shops in Texas are employing safeguards like social distancing to help curtail risk and mitigate further disruptions to operations.

Businesses are implementing health and safety practices that include:

  • Restriction of interactions between employees
  • Alternating shifts, with some companies placing a minimum of one hour between shifts to prevent overlap
  • Performing temperature checks
  • Providing hand sanitizer and antibacterial soaps
  • Implementing regular cleaning and sanitizing procedures on high touch surfaces
  • Installing high-efficiency air filters
  • Recommending stringent personal hygiene
  • Continuing to allow non-essential personnel the opportunity to work from home
  • Providing personal protective equipment
  • Offering zero contact ordering and delivery options

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

These measures are allowing some businesses to operate in the short term while maintaining compliance with strict government guidelines. However, forward-thinking shops are considering innovations spurred by recent events for longer-term solutions.

If you would like assistance on ways to get your machine shop running at peak performance, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment rep or call 800-592-4516.

COVID-19: Innovation in Times of Crisis

The world of manufacturing is no stranger to innovating creative ways to solve problems. So, it should be no surprise that the challenges of the coronavirus paired with manufacturing ingenuity have led to advanced technologies and solutions for combating the virus.

These innovations have emerged to help industries of all kinds operate safely and in accordance with regulatory guidelines. Not only have many organizations switched gears to produce much needed equipment like respirators and face shields, but they are also using them to get back to business.

Here’s how machines shops can adapt to the many challenges of operating within the “new normal”:

Protective Shields have been designed to protect employees and guests from the spread of germs, especially in companies that conduct customer-facing activity. Meant to reduce the transmission of the virus, these shields can be used in a variety of ways and include freestanding and countertop options.

Temperature Check-In Stations have been developed that solve the need for regular temperature checks, as well as the required documentation of testing. Temperature stations can be configured to track employee check-ins and sound alarms when those who are above the temperature threshold or unauthorized personnel attempt to enter the facility.

No Contact Payment is a relatively new technology that combines computer vision and artificial intelligence. This enables retailers to bill customers as they leave the store. Additionally, many companies are employing curbside delivery options to reduce risk of exposure to both customers and staff.

In the midst of this crisis, company leaders have an opportunity to shape and mold their company’s culture. How employers react to a crisis can have a serious impact on not only your employees’ health and safety, but also their trust in the company.

Unfortunately, there is no roadmap on how to thrive during a pandemic, but we can offer a few examples on how businesses can build a stronger and more resilient team.

3 Ways to Help Employees Manage Coronavirus Stress

Mental health is as important as physical health for employees today. Here’s how managers are helping their teams:

  1. Maintain clear and honest communication
    Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, uncertainty has been the only constant — leaving many employees unsure about their future. Be sure to communicate company plans and encourage open discussions to help minimize miscommunication or rumors. Provide frontline supervisors with the information and data they need to answer commonly asked questions, both accurately and honestly.

  2. Focus on the needs of your staff
    It’s important to remember that everyone is struggling with various degrees of stress due to the coronavirus. Not only will employees need access to PPE, safety equipment and cleaning supplies, they may require additional flexibility in their schedules due to closed schools, limited childcare or other family responsibilities. Look into support programs that can alleviate the personal stressors faced by your team and offer leave packages, if possible.

  3. Boost morale and build goodwill
    What services could your company offer your local community? Talk to employees to uncover the most pressing needs of their communities and then work to get involved. Not only will local towns benefit from this action, but helping others builds morale and puts things into perspective, reminding us that tough times will not last forever.

M&M Sales & Equipment is here to help your business succeed with advice and suggestions on how you can improve operations, enhance worker satisfaction 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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7 Tips for Choosing the Right End Mill for the Job

M&M Sales and Equipment is a cutting tool specialist, offering end mills and other cutting tools and accessories from Sandvik, Guhring, Drillco and other leading brands in West Texas, including Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth. Here’s a guide on end mills, and how to choose the right ones for the job:

It’s no secret that machinists tend to speak their own language — even in something as simple as basic math. The rest of the world starts counting at the number 1. But ask a machinist to explain how they measure, and they’ll tell you that it all begins at one-thousandth of an inch (0.001”).

When we talk about cutting tools, it’s very much the same thing. Machining terminology is not the same to a layman. To the outside world, the terms drill bit and end mill are often used interchangeably, but that can create confusion when referring to the specific tooling required in CNC machines. Industrial CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machines use rotational cutting tools called end mills to remove material.

What are end mills and how do they differ from drill bits? Drill bits plunge vertically into material to create holes while end mills typically cut horizontally and laterally, but most mills can actually cut vertically as well.

Here’s a good visual that shows the difference between a regular drill bit and an end mill:

(Source: Make: Magazine)

Choosing the Right End Mill for Your Job

End mills are designed with purpose and each tip shape offers a unique clearing path for various applications. Deciphering what end mill to choose is largely based on the project, what kind of material needs to be cut and the desired surface finish. Choosing the wrong cutting tool can quickly damage a work piece, causing you to scrap an entire batch. Not only is that a huge waste of time, but also a significant cost to your organization.

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

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right end mill for your CNC operation. We’ve pared down a few important tips from Machining News to help you select the right end mill:

  1. End Mill Length
    First, decide the depth your end mill must cut. Choose the shortest length end mill that can still make the cut. The reason? Choosing the shortest length greatly increases the stability of the tool. This will allow for more aggressive feeds and speeds, while reducing the tendency for the tool to chatter.

  2. End Mill Materials
    Two of the most common materials used in the manufacturing of end mills are high speed steel (HSS) and carbide. HSS is useful in older, slower, or less rigid machines as well as one off or very short run production. It will run slower, but is less expensive, less brittle and more forgiving of unstable conditions. Carbide is preferred in CNC machine tools where higher speeds, fewer tooling changes and increased productivity are required. In these applications, the higher cost is easily justified by longer tool life and shorter cycle times.

  3. Flute Count
    Flutes are the helical grooves that wrap around the sides of an end mill. A smaller number of flutes (2-3 flute tools) will offer more flute space for long chipping materials such as aluminum.   A larger number of flutes reduces the flute space, but can offer increased productivity in shorter chipping materials such as medium to high carbon steel and iron. For steel, stainless steel, high temp alloys and iron, a four flute endmill is preferred for slotting applications and can be a great general-purpose tool. Higher flute counts should be reserved for applications with a low radial depth of cut to allow for chip evacuation.

    Note: Proper chip evacuation is important because re-cutting chips will lead to significantly reduced tool life

  4. End Geometry
    Choosing the right end mill geometry is critical to the tool’s success. Paying close attention to the materials that the manufacturer recommends for a given tool can help to ensure your success. Of equal importance are the speeds and feeds the manufacturer recommends for that material.

     
  5. End Mill Coatings
    Coatings are helpful in reducing friction and protecting the carbide from the heat that is generated in cutting. Some coatings are more suitable for certain materials. Once again, paying attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations is the easiest way to make sure you are using the correct coating.

  6. Tool Life
    Cheaper isn’t better. 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 CNC machines.

Whatever the job, we are proud to carry a wide range of Guhring end mills designed to give you an edge over the competition. If you have questions about selecting the right end mills or other cutting tools for your operation in West Texas, we’re here to help. Just ask your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative or call one of our locations for information on end mills in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock, Ft. Worth and surrounding areas.

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