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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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How Machine Shops Can Save Money: Is it Time to Recondition Your Tools?

Machine Tool Reconditioning: When It’s Right for Your Shop

If you’re looking to reduce costs and improve efficiency in your facility, machine tool reconditioning may be the cost-effective solution you’ve been looking for. To help you decide if tool reconditioning is right for you, we talked to our friends over at Guhring for more details on the tool reconditioning program available for M&M Sales & Equipment customers. 

What is Machine Tool Reconditioning?

Tool reconditioning and re-sharpening is a process of rejuvenating existing tooling such as carbide drills, reamers, end mills and milling cutters and returning them to a factory cutting edge. As you know, good quality cutting tools are not cheap and tend to wear down over time. The cost of replacing them is often steep, especially for smaller machine shops with tight budgets.

For many high-performance cutting tools, re-sharpening is a viable option for extending tooling life — often at a fraction of the cost associated with buying brand new.

How Does Machine Tool Reconditioning Work?

Manufacturers like Guhring offer reconditioning services on drills, step drills, carbide end mills and reamers on both Guhring tools and competitor tooling. These reconditioning services can bring your cutting tools back to factory quality, condition and performance. Examples of tool modifications that are possible include reconditioning of chamfer, radius, neck relief, shank flats and more.

How does it work?

Your M&M Sales & Equipment representative arrives on-site to assess both your standard and special Carbide and PCD tooling and can identify areas of potential savings. You’ll then discuss whether or not it is more cost-effective to recondition your tools or purchase new ones. Once you decide on your course of action, your sales rep takes care of the rest; including building a quote, sending out your tooling for service, monitoring lead time and ensuring quality upon delivery.

What Should You Look for in a Machine Tool Reconditioning Service?

The truth is, the better the original quality of the tooling, the better the result you’ll achieve from re-sharpening and reconditioning services. Companies hoping to cut costs are surprised when lower quality tools end up costing them much more down the road when they go to recondition or re-sharpen them.  There are often more errors in the original manufacturing of lower quality tooling that make it difficult to recondition them. Far too often, the result is a shorter tool life and higher reconditioning costs.

The solution?

Purchase quality cutting tools from a manufacturer that also offers reconditioning and re-sharpening capability, saving you time and money.

Guhring not only manufacturers cutting tools, but they design and build the equipment that creates them. That means when you send in your tool for servicing, you’re not just sharpening the tool, you’re getting the original point, proper geometries, edge preps, honing and the original coating for a complete reconditioning back to factory specs.

Another thing to consider when reconditioning your cutting tools is traceability. An added benefit of having your tools reconditioned with Guhring is the batch number that is etched on to every order. If you ever encounter a problem with a particular tool, you can trace its origins the same way that you would with a brand-new tool. This helps to not only troubleshoot existing operational defects, but also identify potentially expensive problems in the future.

Related: 4 Ways to Save Money, Extend Tooling Life and Get More from Your Tools

How Do I Know It’s Time to Recondition My Tools?

Other than the clear-cut signs of dulling cutting edges, there are a few things machinists can look for to help them identify when their tooling may be due for reconditioning. Pay attention to these factors:

  • Diminished cutting ability
  • Excessive tool wear
  • Higher machine and spindle loads
  • Equipment run time
  • Signs of different chip formation
  • Longer chip sizes
  • Bird nesting on the drill

When Is Tooling Not Worth Reconditioning?

There are no definitive answers on when tooling isn’t worth reconditioning. Instead, there are several factors to consider including the cost of the tool, the number of tools to be reconditioned, freight charges and more. Ask your sales rep to run a quote on the costs associated with reconditioning your tooling and ask for specific quantity breaks. A good rule of thumb is when you send in more of the same type and brand of tool for reconditioning, it is more cost-effective than sending in just one or two.

Looking for more ways to save?

We have almost 60 years of experience serving the industrial supply needs of machine shops, oil companies and manufacturing facilities throughout Texas. We understand the challenges associated with operating during a difficult economy. That’s why we offer several different services that can help you operate for higher profits and lower costs.

These are just a few of our services that can help you save: 

  1. Recondition and Re-Sharpen Tools
    Revive existing tooling and restore them to original factory quality condition and performance with reconditioning and re-sharpening services available through M&M Sales & Equipment.
  2. Perform a Tool Evaluation
    Spec out the right tools and supplies to minimize scrap and reduce excessive wear on your machines with an onsite tool evaluation.
  3. Perform a Process Evaluation
    Assess your manufacturing processes, identify inefficiencies and areas of waste with an onsite process evaluation.
  4. Assess Operational Costs
    Assess your cost per hour to run equipment, identify output rate per part and approximate your scrap rate to lower your operations costs.

Right now, you’re trying to get the most out of every dollar you spend. We can help. Contact M&M Sales & Equipment to learn more about how we can help you improve operations and increase your profitability. Call one of our four Texas locations today.

4 Ways to Save Money, Extend Tooling Life and Get More from Your Tools

4 Ways to Save Money, Extend Tooling Life and Get More from Your Tools

Machine shops around the country are competing to take your business. So, what can you do to gain a competitive edge?

Your company’s profitability is directly related to its level of productivity and efficiency. While much of that is dependent on the efficacy of your employees and your processes, it’s important to remember that in the world of manufacturing, a worker is only as good as his or her tools. An idle machine becomes overhead when tooling components must be changed out due to early wear and tear or damage to the equipment itself.

Whether the tools of the trade include power tools, lathes or CNC machines, their effectiveness depends on proper usage and regular maintenance of cutting tools such as end mills, annular cutters and saw blades. If you’re experiencing premature tool failure, we have some tips on how you can save money by getting the most out of your tooling and machinery.

Related: The Guide to Choosing the Right Saw Blades for Optimum Productivity.

1. Maintain Your Tools and Equipment Regularly

Don’t wait until your tools require servicing to make repairs. Similarly, don’t rely on your advanced tooling to remind you to perform routine maintenance. Doing so leads to unnecessary downtime that can cost your company thousands, and oftentimes the servicing is performed too late. Instead, create a maintenance schedule that outlines change-out schedules, lubrication schedules or replacement timelines. Be sure to document these activities so that all employees, regardless of shift, know exactly where each tool or machine is on their maintenance schedule requirements. Additionally, these documents can identify recurrent machine failures or needs, helping you improve future machine and tooling reliability.
Check out these tips from industry leading cutting tools suppliers on getting more out of your cutting tools.

a. Stop band saw blade breakage
New band saw blades have razor sharp tooth tips. To withstand the cutting pressures used in band sawing and avoid microscopic damage, the tooth tip must be honed to a micro-fine radius. To avoid blade failure and get the most out of your new band saw blade, follow these blade break-in tips from Lenox Tools:

  • Choose the proper band speed for material to be cut
  • Reduce the feed rate/force control to 20-50% of normal cutting rate
  • Begin the first cut, and once teeth form a chip you can slightly increase feed rate
  • Make gradual increases in feed rate/force until normal cutting rate is established
  • If chatter or vibration occur, make slight adjustments
  • Once blade is broken in, feel free to use recommended band speed

b. Use tool reconditioning services
For getting more life out of your standard and special Carbide and PCD tooling, Guhring has an entire Reconditioning Division committed to bringing your cutting tools back to factory quality, condition and performance. They offer reconditioning services for drills, step drills, carbide end mills and reamers on both Guhring tools and competitor tooling.

c. Take advantage of cutter remanufacturer programs
The Slugger Cutter Remanufacturing Program through FEIN allows annular cutters to be sharpened up to 6 times (excludes Carbide cutters). Getting reground on the same CNC machines they were manufactured on ensures they are just as true and just as sharp as the day they were made. They also offer recoating services at an additional cost.

If you’re interested in saving money and want information on programs like these, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment rep or call 800-592-4516.

2. Get Organized

One of the fastest ways to damage or lose frequently used tools and tooling components is by failing to return them to their proper place when not in use. How often have you heard the complaint, “I can’t find the grinding wheels” or “Has anyone ordered new drill bits? I’m all out.

Organizational problems like these are so common in industrial facilities that an entire lean management strategy has been developed to cut down on the time employees spend searching for items. 5S is a lean management process that increases productivity and transforms workplaces from one of disorder and clutter to one that is organized and efficient. The 5S methodology includes Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Set in Order is one of the 5S’s designated for organization. Some methods of Set in Order are simple and straightforward like labeling bins, shadow boards and peg boards for power tools, cutting tools, and accessories like grinding wheels and drill bits.

Other methods require a more strategic approach, such as industrial vending machines. Whatever method you choose, you can greatly reduce lost production time due to lost, missing or damaged tools. Another advantage to better organization is that you can keep a closer eye on the replacement parts you need to repair or service your tools and equipment.

3. Train Employees Regularly

Every facility has its own unique roadmap to optimum production, one that is guided by the CNC machinery and tooling needed to do the job. Cycle time, metal removal rates and material costs are just a few of the considerations that vary from one shop to another. That’s why it’s critical to train both new hires and veteran workers on your machines and your policies. Pay attention to areas that employees are struggling with, as well as recurrent tooling issues. Then, devise specialized training on those procedures. By educating your staff on the processes specific to your shop, you can help them do their jobs safer and more efficiently, while cutting down on unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment.

4. Say Goodbye to Outdated Tools and Machinery

As difficult as it may feel, retiring old and inefficient tooling and equipment is essential to your productivity and profitability. Regularly assess the performance and reliability of your equipment and tooling. Old or obsolete equipment should be swapped out for advanced versions that are more accurate, faster and more reliable, ultimately providing faster payback on your investment.

Related: What’s Machine Downtime Really Costing You?

By following these tips, you can not only get more life out of your tooling and equipment, but also increase production. According to an article in American Machinist, businesses spend about 80% of their time reacting to maintenance issues instead of preventing them. Consistently monitoring tooling and equipment usage, as well as keeping regular maintenance schedules can reduce unplanned downtime and lead to longer tool life. Which, as we all know, means bigger profit and less wasteful spending.

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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8 Steps to Prepare Your Sump for a Temporary Shutdown

8 Steps to Prepare Your Sump for a Temporary Shutdown

During challenging times like these, we are committed to bringing you helpful advice and solutions that not only protect your business, but your investments, as well.

We know that shutdowns are a real possibility. Inadequate preparation of pumps and sumps can lead to major catastrophes when left unchecked. Machine operators should be mindful of three factors that can have an impact on sump health: coolant concentration, pH and reserve alkalinity. But it doesn’t stop there. Take a look at these expert tips from Master Fluid Solutions on how to prepare your sump for a temporary shutdown for a quick and smooth re-opening.

Download Preparing your Sump for a Temporary Shutdown

Step 1: It’s critical that the systems be in as good shape as possible when they are shut down. Concentration, pH, reserve alkalinity and other factors should be in the specified range.

Step 2: Remove the tramp oil from the sump. Tramp oil is both food and shelter for bacteria, which is the main cause of the rancid smell that can come from the coolant.

Step 3: Clean out chips and sludge from the sump. Chips and sludge are also food and shelter for bacteria. A Sump Sucker will make this job quick and easy.

Step 4: Bump up the concentration. This adds a little more pH buffering to the sump, which helps to prevent bacteria. Our recommendation is to bump up the concentration to the maximum recommended operating range for the product being used. If adds are needed for alkalinity, pH, or other factors, add them a day or so before the system is shut down.

Step 5: Make arrangements for whatever sampling you want to be completed and communicate the results before the shutdown occurs.

Step 6: If possible, recirculate the coolant in the sump during the shutdown. In many cases, maintenance staff may be present. Have them turn on the coolant pumps to recirculate the volume of the sump several times over.

Step 7: If you are going to run a centrifuge over the shutdown, make sure you have sufficient tramp oil and waste capacity.

Step 8: Make sure you have an adequate supply of coolant as well as cleaners such as Master STAGES™ Whamex XT™ and Master STAGES™ Task2™ GF to help keep your systems running smoothly and to prevent any issues when you resume normal operation.

M&M Sales & Equipment has 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.

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.

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.

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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