Survey: Has the Economy Affected Your Shop?

To All:
    Has the economy affected your shop?
[ ] Yes, adversely.
[ ] No, busier than ever.
[ ] Not that I can tell either way.
[ ] Other.
Comments:
PS And please Cliff, no political comments or crossposting to kook groups, I seriously would like to know how the regular's shops are doing.
--
BottleBob
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BottleBob wrote:

I'm hurting, as I have two customers all but dead and gone along with the $40k/year worth of work I did for them. Probably lost another due to putting them on COD for running months past due over the last 18 months. Another big customer mfgs high end audio, something that's not high on most people's priorities right now. The local customer that wants to hire me, it's on hold as none of the big dollar contracts he's been working on are closing. Half a million is a small project for him, some would run to 5-7 million. Companies seem to be in no hurry to commit to such orders right now.... And of course, this time of year has been slow for me over all but one of the past 10 years. I do expect things to pick up some in January.
Nevada County over the past decade has done little more than pay lip service to any sort of real manufacturing. There is some, but seems to me at best, it's been on a slow decline. County was making big dollars on all the high dollar homes being built by folks that sold off their overpriced real estate from the SF bay area and SoCal. Homes that few local working stiffs can afford to buy. That market has taken a big hit, though maybe not quite as bad as other parts of the state. Nice area to live, and there's still people with cash to buy... We've lost all our dealerships (Ford is moving out soon, others are closed up) and even the larger used car lots are closing down. There's a pretty large base of high tech companies doing digital switching as in TV and such, but they're suffering too. Three local companies just invested millions in building very nice new, and large facilities. A car dealership, a motorhome dealership, and a hardware store. The car dealership is an empty lot and the other two are hurting big time. A Canadian company wants to reopen the historic Idaho-Maryland gold mine. They want to not only resume mining for gold, but have developed a process for making ceramic tiles out of the waste rock. While there are legit environmental issues to consider, there is a vocal segment of newcomers that just are not going to settle for less than scuttling the whole thing. If it did open, it would employ several hundred people and really help the local economy. Fiscally anyway... The larger machine shops rely on work from outside the county. Probably the largest local machine shop put in a $300k horizontal this year, but don't know if they're still busy. Other smaller shops seem to be doing OK, as in OK to just surviving. I know I could do a lot better elsewhere, but I gave up a good job in the bay area 28 years ago so when I started a family my kids could live in and enjoy the country. And this area has some of the best schools in the state. So I'm going to do my best to hang out the 3.5 years until the youngest graduates. Then I'm out of here, and probably off to Australia to semi-retire.

AMEN!
Jon
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BottleBob wrote: > To All: > > Has the economy affected your shop? > > [ ] Yes, adversely. > > [X] No, busier than ever. > > [ ] Not that I can tell either way. > > [ ] Other. > > Comments: >
We're running all the hours we can find people for, and have new orders and new customers
. We have four new machine tools to install in January, two more in June, and will probably replace five of the older ones in the meantime. And we still have red notes all over the shop schedule, barely keeping up with demand.
We're hoping (but trying not to be too callous about it) that if other shops have trouble, maybe there will be some good people looking around for work. We could use a dozen right now.
KG
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Kirk Gordon wrote:

Kirk:
    So refresh my memory, what is it you guys make/do?
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BottleBob
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Who gives a flying fuck what they make--I want to see one of their actual "machinists wanted" ad....IOW Im calling bullshit.
--


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Bipolar Bear wrote:

Go to http://www.fitzengineers.com
Click on the "careers" link. Most of the machinist's jobs are under "General Manufacturing". If you check Monster.com, or CareerBuilder.com, search "machinist" in zip code 19073. We're the ones with constant, never ending ads in Newtown Square, PA. The ads on those sites show up under a headhunter's banner, but it's still us.
Call bullshit if you like; but calling for a job interview is better - if you're good enough, that is.
KG
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Kirk Gordon wrote:

And in case you're interested enough to take a look at the equipment list, we're adding 4 new Mazak Integrex machines in January, 2 more in June, plus another Star SR type, as soon as we can figure out where to put it. The Mazak SQT's and older Multiplex's will be replaced next year too. There are a couple Matsuura pallet-pool machining centers in the mix someplace; but we're still looking for floor-space before we can take delivery.
KG
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BottleBob wrote:

We're a job shop. We make components for medical devices (like vacuum regulators or tiny fluid/gas manifolds), scientific instruments (like gas chromatographs), and parts for auto racing (like pistons for high-perfomance shock absorbers). Over the past two years, we've been getting more and more bone screws, spinal implants, and the parts that go with them.
The company's "personality" is that we run multi-spindle mill/turn equipment, including Swiss types. We put bar stock in one end, and get finished parts out the other end - including in-process deburring, and things that most shops would consider secondary operations. We also have a couple 5 axis mills. We're good at small parts (under 6" cube, typically, and down to little needle-like things) with lots of features and dimensions, close tolerances, and difficult or tight relationships from one axis or surface to another.
We spend a lot of skill and effort on setups, but then run with very little operator intervention, and often fully unmanned for long periods. We even ship work to some of our customers' assembly plants in China.
I feel for those who are getting pinched by the economy; but for me, life is very, very busy.
KG
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Kirk Gordon wrote:

Kirk:
    Saw the pictures of your shop. Real spiffy!
--
BottleBob
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I think we need a new monthly award category: Who has the biggest matchining dick on AMC?
The pre-eminent KG is def'ly in the running.
NOTE: This is NOT the same award category as: Who IS the biggest dick on AMC?
That award, by default, goes to jb, each and every effing month, of each and every effing year. BD would occasionally vie for the honor, but we have apparently bonded now, so I shan't make a ruckus..... <sigh>
But yo, I see the ratio of lathes to mills is 11 to 1. Seems kinda high, for a job shop. Is there a "typical" ratio for a job shop? I guess it would depend on how many axes the lathes have. In essence, these super lathese *are* small mills.
Also, Kirk, what manual machines do you have?
And why are all these shops ahm seein so well lit and clean? goodgawd....
--

Mr. PV'd

Mae West (yer fav Congressman) to the Gangster (yer fav Lobbyist):
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Proctologically Violated wrote:

The lathe/mill ratio is deceiving. All the round machines are 8 axes or more. They can mill, drill, cross-tap at funny compound angles, and pretty much do everything except left-handed four-dimensional hyperbolic retrocirculation. And the only reason they won't do that is that we're too busy to play with the programming.
We actually make a lot of prismatic parts, including some with no diameters at all, on the lathes. Small parts can be made from bars, cut off when all the milling and drilling is done, and dropped into a parts catcher - fully automatic and hands-off. To do them on a machining center, we'd need sawn blanks, and special fixtures (instead of just collets), and we'd need to handle and load the parts at least twice. The lathes are all twin opposed spindles with twin turrets, or are Swiss types with sub spindles, and tools pointing every which way. So machining all 6 (or more) sides of even a cubic workpiece is more efficient and more fully automatic than it would be on a mill.
The mills do mostly castings, which are sorta tough to bar-feed, or things that are long and springy enough that they want to be held in a vise or fixture, instead of hanging out of a collet. But even the long springy stuff goes into the Swiss machines if it's small enough.
Sadly, we don't have ANY manual machines, unless you count an ancient sinker EDM that does a couple funny features on some really specialized jobs. We desperately need a real tool room, but every time we find or rent an extra square inch of floor space, the owner buys more CNC's. There's a real, custom building in our future though, and that'll have a Bridgeport and some grinders in it if I have to sneak them in myself on a Sunday night.
KG
KG
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On Wed, 17 Dec 2008 23:30:44 -0500, Kirk Gordon

==========Wonderful to hear that your shop is doing well.
Have a Merry Xmas, and wonderful New Year (and keep up the good work).
Unka' George [George McDuffee] ------------------------------------------- He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, "Of Innovations" (1597-1625).
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BottleBob wrote:

That said, we only do turbine stuff - blades, blisks, rotors, etc. It's a niche that seems to keep us booked well in advance. We do find some of of our suppliers are not stocking tools as much as the past. No one wants inventory these days.
Bob, any work from ADI lately? They must be taking a beating these days.
-- Bill
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Bill wrote:

Bill:
    About 2 months ago ADI cut their hours to 30 or 32 per week. Then about a month ago they laid off about 40 people. So yeah, I'd say they were taking a beating.
    We haven't done any work for them in probably a year or more. We're as busy as always, actually there's probably more work than normal. Well, I probably should get out of the habit of saying WE, it's THEM now.
--
BottleBob
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?????? Bob?
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Joe788 wrote:
Joe:
    I'm officially still on the books to the end of the year since I've still got accrued vacation time coming. But as of Jan 1 I'm retired.
--
BottleBob
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Retired? Was it because of the coolie wages and chinese vises?!
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Joe788 wrote:

Joe:
    I just couldn't stand the humiliation one more minute, well... one more month. LOL
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BottleBob
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