Why no one buys screw machines

I bought a few huge Acme Gridley RB-8 screw machines this week. They are similar in every way to this listing:
https://www.machinetools.com/en/for-sale/382995-acme-gridley-rb-8-multiple-spindle-automatic-screw-machines
They and their parts are all scrap material despite being in good condition.
I know that they are impossible to sell. What I do not understand is why?
They seem to be very useful and productive manufacturing machines for high volume production, making things like industrual fittings, etc.
And yet nobody buys them. WHat were they replaced with?
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On 01/10/17 19:31, Ignoramus13481 wrote:

I bought a few bits a couple of years ago from a guy that ran a
to another company and retired. He said they contacted him shortly after to come and help them set up the machines for a job which he did but ultimately they were on their own after that. It seems he had worked with them most of his life and knew them well but fewer and fewer people are about who know how to use them so they had become largely useless and went for scrap.
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On 01-Oct-17 1:46 PM, David Billington wrote: ...

But that wouldn't be so unless they weren't being used prior to losing the knowledge base--there'd still be plenty of people who did know them if they hadn't been unused for quite some time already.
I "know nuthink!" per Schultzie's line about commercial screw production but one presumes more highly automated machines did replace them and probably including at least some robotics but what, specifically?
Or, is it simply that there's no US production left; it's all in China and the like...
--




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Ignoramus13481 wrote:

CNC lathes. CNC-savvy machinists know how to set these up, and they can change over from one job to another in minutes if no tools need to be changed, and in an hour if they do. The cam-type screw machines need very tricky setup with a lot of trial and error until the parts come out within tolerance.
The screw machines can generally beat even a very good CNC turning center making just one part, day in and day out. The tool to tool time on a screw machine can be less than a second. But, few people today know how to set them up and maintain them.
Jon
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I thought that there is a lot of such high production parts needing to be made.
i
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On Sun, 01 Oct 2017 20:05:25 -0500, Ignoramus13481

Everyone else has covered this well, but you bring up something here that's worth adding: Extended high-volume continuous production has always been a rare exception in manufacturing. Back in the 1960s, and even in the '50s, there were articles (and, I think books) on the subject "the myth of mass production." Most production in the US and elsewhere has been batch production, and the time and cost of changeover has always been a big factor in production costs. Screw machines are slow to change over and require some expertise; CNC lathes are much faster. And they are much, much more versatile.
--
Ed Huntress

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My understanding is that the Thor Power Tool decision in 1979 [1] screwed up (pun intended) the bolt and rivet industry much as it did the publishing industry.
Company gets an order for, say, 100,000 3/16" x 1-1/8" button-head soft iron black-finish rivets. So they tool up, make 500,000, deliver the 100K order and stock the remainder. Same for maybe 2,000 varieties of rivets in dozens of styles, size and materials. After a few years, they can deliver almost anything from stock. Similar for bolts.
Until keeping that stock on the shelf becomes a tax liability. Then they go to making just the order and the customer has to pick up the set-up and material procurement costs rather than having the maker spread them over several/many years.
Under that rubric, CNC may be a cheaper way to go than screw machines.
[1] http://www.sfwa.org/2005/01/how-thor-power-hammered-publishing/
I vaguely recall that there was an "Acme Bolt & Rivet" case as well but I can't find a reference.
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada

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On 02 Oct 2017 17:11:52 -0300, Mike Spencer

Hmm. I never saw that reference to publishing before. It's interesting.
I don't know how much the tax issue drove the big switch to minimal inventories. Maybe it was a big issue, but the one that was touted over and over, as US industry tried out just-in-time (JIT) inventory control, was the shear interest and rental charges for maintaining inventories. JIT looked like an answer, and it has been for many industries.
But my sister-in-law, who was a buyer of castings and forgings for Caterpillar, said they eventually renamed it "OSWO," for "Oh shit, we're out."
d8-)
--
Ed Huntress

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On Tue, 03 Oct 2017 11:50:55 -0400, Ed Huntress

Hello Mr. Huntress,
We can confirm Mr. Wieber's account to some degree. We had a lot of junk that was costing us money to dispose of. Mr. Wieber took it off our hands at no charge. Although we are a little disturbed that he is sleeping in our parking lot and rummaging though our dumpster looking for half eaten sandwiches. He will only be allowed to continue so long as he agrees to begin abiding by the poop and scoop bylaws.
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wrote:

Oh, there you are! I wanted to tell you that since I don't like pickles, I wrapped up the ones off my burger today and put the package neatly in the corner of the dumpster. Bon appetit! Sorry about the swarf, a couple of the pickles fell on the floor before I wrapped them. I notice you've been putting bottles of what looks like lemonade in our dumpster. Cut that out or we'll have to insist that you move back to the Walmart parking lot.
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wrote:

Translation: you lied when you said you had the money to register Hotel Econoline. You'll have to keep sleeping in some other junker. Or you could tow Hotel Econoline to whatever parking lot you use as a campground.
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wrote:

No. You said you'd happily post a photo of the registration. No photo, no credibility, no registration.
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wrote:

Yes, Wieber, everyone knows that the phony VBG is what you do whenever you've boxed yourself into a corner. The irony here is that you got caught lying about tagging a vehicle. Making it obvious that a routine thing for normal people is only a dream on Planet Wieber. Doubly feeble, you blurted out your plan to defraud an insurance company. Should you someday manage to follow through on that plan and get caught, you've already trashed any hope of claiming an innocent mistake. What a dumbass!
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wrote:

That is one of those "shit eating grins" that I hear people talk about, isn't it? The kind you do when you get caught with your hand in someone else's pocket.
The next step, of course is to crouch down and sneak away like it wasn't you that did it.
But unfortunately the reality is that you are a sad, old, failure, and everyone knows it so no need to give the shit eating grin as everyone knows you.
--
Cheers,

Schweik
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wrote:

But you are the guy with the grin.
See, I don't need to as I can pay my taxes.
--
Cheers,

Schweik
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Going to Texas is how stuff gets shipped to Mexico, through El Paso and Laredo.
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I regularly sell to a fellow from Guatemala. I would hate to warehouse screw machines though.
i
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wrote:

They don't float around at 33k pounds apiece, either.
--
Stoop and you'll be stepped on;
stand tall and you'll be shot at.
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Ignoramus13481 wrote:

"Back in the day", when there were carburetors, they had 100 special parts on each one, needle valves, jets and the screws that held it all together, that were made by the barrel on screw machines. Lots of other products has screw machine-produced parts, too. All the threaded plumbing fittings were made on screw machines. Well, a lot of that production has moved overseas, some of those products are made differently (think fuel injection) and a lot of these parts are molded or cast in some manner now. So, there is less demand for this. Also, there are rotary transfer machines that are used to make all sorts of reall high production parts. These can even beat a screw machine for throughput.
For one thing, screw machines were at one time used to make -- SCREWS! I suspect that it would be VERY rare to make screws that way, now. Mostly, they'd be coined and have the threads rolled. Nowhere as precise, but precise enough to hold some gadget together.
Jon
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wrote:

I hope you don't mind if I pick some nits. d8-)

Yeah, mostly little Swiss automatics, though, not the big ones. Lots of fuel-system parts are still made on those machines (Citizen-Cimcom, Tsugami, etc.) They're basically the same machines, only now they're CNC instead of cam-controlled.

Hmm...for the past 60 years or so, actually on dial-index transfer machines.

...sort of. Cold-headed, actually.

Yes.

Some specialty screws and bolts are still turned, but the big volumes are made on ancient, beat-up headers and roll-threaders in countries where they work in their bare feet.
When I was at Wasino, we turned the big-end con-rod bolts for Cosworth racing engines on our precision CNC lathes, which would turn to +/- 50 microinches. I think they were $24/each, or possibly $24/pair, when we were done. d8-)
Do you remember Dobbie Dave, who used to hang out here? I wrote an article about him and his shop about 15 years ago. Most of his income was (and maybe still is) from production on his four 1947 B&S, leather-belt-driven screw machines (known commonly as "Brownies.")
He found himself a niche. He was a sole source, making parts for lie-detector machines, and a couple of other little hinge pins and such.
--
Ed Hunttress

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