Production Machining Vs. Prototype Machining

No matter how much money is spent on high-end equipment for production machining (5th axis, horizontals with pallet pools, probes, high end
CADCAM (Vericut, NX, etc.) is this really a market that will ever been stable / sustainable in the U.S and does it give the employee the kind of job security that being a very good and very quick prototype machinist does?
My answer is no.
Jon Banquer San Diego, CA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Oh, you are getting fired?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You mean how can you get fired when you were forcibly retired?
Good question.
The answer is you can't and you're unemployable.
Jon Banquer San Diego, CA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Actually I am amazed you are still employed. With your attitude, do you possess some pictures of your boss? As to unemployable, I still get head hunters coming to me. I have to much to do in retirement to have time to work at a 40 hour job. Went to Slidell, LA after Katrina and worked for a week with HAB. Tow my boat, that I can afford, to Canada for a few weeks. Stuff like that. As well as visiting the grandbaby. Life is good, except for the knee that is going to get scoped next week. I, unlike you, have a happy life.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
jon_banquer wrote:

And who asked the question again?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I did.
Are you having trouble answering it?
I don't think it's an easy question to answer.
Jon Banquer San Diego, CA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
medical.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
vinny wrote:

I've got two medical customers and they've been rock solid through this current recession. One of the customers we do tooling for their different products, so it's 1-10 pieces of part kits that might have several parts. The other is more of a production outfit. We do 6 or 8 parts in lots of 500-1000.
Best, Steve
--


Regards,
Steve Saling
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Once again, you prove that your knowledge of the machine shop business is as non existent as your knowledge about machining and CADCAM. Is there ANYTHING out there that you actually *do* know how to do? (Other than constantly humiliate yourself on the internet and in real life).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Once again, you prove that your knowledge of the machine shop business is as non existent as your knowledge about machining and CADCAM. Is there ANYTHING out there that you actually *do* know how to do? (Other than constantly humiliate yourself on the internet and in real life).
*** Don't look now, but there's some homo humping your leg.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jon, I'm sorry, I don't see the point of your question/statement?. If you are asking the question Can America compete in the manufacturing industry in today's market place? The answer is no for commodity pieces.......our labor is too high. At the same time, the volume of prototype developement cannot sustain the amount of people in the industy either.........So, what does that mean?.......It means you need to do something else, that's what it means. We no longer need TV technicians or Boilermakers either. I do this shit for fun, you sure as hell can't make money at it, like when we were competitive. As uncomfortable as it is, you need to get a skill people are willing to pay for. Steve

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Steve, the question can also be stated this way:
Can small run production be done by most machining job shops in the U.S. that will *sustain very expensive top of the line CNC equipment* or is this an extremely risky venture?
As far as prototypes and very short run that market isn't going to China and most certainly is viable in the U.S.A.... it's what I do for a living and I do very well at it.
Jon Banquer San Diego, CA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
jon_banquer wrote:

Why don't you try asking a better question.
There is not nearly enough info here to give an intelligent answer.
First of all, what is "top-of-the-line"? Haas? Mori Seiki? Not much difference in price these days for comparable CNC lathes.
More importantly is whether a machine shop *needs* a top-of-the-line machine. If the shop has older machines that are holding tolerance and running without significant downtime, the best that can be accomplished with new equipment is that it will continue to hold tolerance and run without downtime.
Or in other words, nothing.
Likewise buying good used vs new.
Also a lot depends on whether or not the owner has the cash to buy a new machine. If the owner is flush, buying a machine is an excellent way to bank that cash without paying taxes on it. If the owner has to finance, it may make a lot less sense.
So are you looking at buying some new equipment or just making smalltalk?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm looking for experienced input on what I believe is a machining market that has seriously changed.
Jon Banquer San Diego, CA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A huge chunck of it, and engineering etc has gone to china, probably even a lot of the prototype work... for 5 dollars a day you can get development done, supervised by PhD's who worked their way though college in a machine shop or whatever in China or India or the US...
and you can get it fast, wiith all the brain work done on the web with edits etc...and the hardware shipped to the US if needed for a check overnight ..... for half what a US engineer or prototype machinist gets per *hour...
and remember, those test 45th in the world in math/ science behind many of the chinese.... btw only about 10% of the engr and tech grads in china get jobs...so its the top 10% we are competing with...and now they are better than us across a broad spectrum.
these were crappy at first, as were the japanese in the 1950's...by the 70's the japanese stuff was on a par with US mfgrs. by the 80's they were beating us.... China is moving even faster...
its moved to china and india.... enough of it to drive US prices below viability levels... something like a horse race you only have to run a few seconds off the lead pace to finish last...
*** My approach (Im 68) has been work that cannot be offshored, thats construction and on-site engineering and specialty engineering on larger projects that cant be inported as easily... and I joint venture with others who need the work to keep their shops and staff busy.
I dont take wage jobs... instead I get a premium to do occasional work for a wide range or clients I do subscribe to various industrial construction reporting services.. that provides me leads to the work... I scope it out and approach one of my clients with a JV offer where I can see a fit or a chance to win the job with value engineering.. You would approach shops who need the work ..and..dont have the skill sets to do what you bring them. then you joint venture the contract. (if they have the skills and equppment they dont need you... if you have a line on the right equipment and terms that fit the job..you can cut a deal.
a person could do something similar in the machining business... to advance in my business, early on I read all the trade journals (mostly free) and the ads.. after 10 or 20 years of that and working on the leading edge whenever possible... you can start to get damn good at what you do..
Trying to make it all fast, usually has problems... trying to make it away from the leading edge, and in the commodity range of schlock doesnt work well either, unless you want to own the company and spend 20 years building volume.
Phil scott...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
*

Much of the machining prototype work I do can't be sent offshore and much of it can't be done by outside shops for what our in-house shop can do it for. Also, outside shops can't do it in the time frame and with the same quality we can.
I really question why someone would want to get into production machining at this point. I see it as very unstable and very cyclical which is unfortunate.
Jon Banquer San Diego, CA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

that makes sense, but... with production machining going to china that leaves prototype work which Id *guess. is a small fraction of the business, with a lot of half starved shops after it... to stay busy youd need to operate nationally, and ideally in a nich you are set up for and others are not...
thats been my approach with equipment... for instance a chilled water skid is sold by Carrier corp for say 50k... they sell em by the thousands... I cant compete in any aspect. but a minus 120F skid sells maybe 2 a year nationally, no one is tooled up for that..so the going rate is 150 to 200k.. so that I can make money on.
but not staying local. its two in the nation sold per year or whatever.
** similar in the prototype machined items market Im guessing.. not enough locally to keep the prices up. I noticed you said you can do it for less than other shops... thats comon logic..and is workable in some aspects when there is a LOT of business... if there is not much, and you compete on price, your cash flow dies off, thats fatal.
the cure is broadening your market... and tactics that allow that... for m with skids its going to better and better 3D solids, rotatable etc in a PDF file... one jump pretier than the competition.
Id do the same ff I were in the prototype machiining busenss..but I dont know that business, maybe it wont work with small parts..good chance it wont, with so many local shops...but say a complete robot? not too many small shops could do that... then no way in hell would I be cheap... you need to make better money per job in tight times even than flush times.
Phil scott
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I don't think the business model is viable. CNC and small run go together like oil and water. Very large investment, very low return. Further more, there is a lot of you all competing for the same business in this business climate. Just my two cents. Steve
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's not a problem when the investment is say $50,000. Small runs go very, very well with this type of CNC machining center. When the price goes to half a million dollars for a production horizontal machining center with a pallet pool, I think there is now a big problem because the *consistent volume* you need to pay for a machine like this, as well as to *sustain the business model it requires*, seems to be very elusive for many machining job shops. It's too bad because machines like this require much less labor, can run lights out and can produce lots of parts very quickly. They can also be lots of fun to program.
Jon Banquer San Diego, CA
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Your opinion is based on such minuscule experience and sampling, it's completely meaningless. If the business model you speak of is too hard to sustain, why are there virtually ZERO late model multi-machine FMS systems for sale on the used market? Hundreds of those systems were installed in the last 5 years by Mazak, Mori, Makino, Matsuura, Toyoda, and Fastems to name a few. How many of them are up for sale, or bank repossessed? You'll only find FMS systems that are 8, 10, 20 years old, and most are being sold because they've been replaced with newer systems.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.