The machine shop where most of the major components are made for cars, construction equipment and electronic devices, had remained almost unchanged for nearly fifty years previous to the end of the last decade. Everything from Axis machining equipment, to the uniforms that the workers used had not seen much innovation. However, at the end of the 90’s when machine industry giants began noticing that the machine shops from other countries were starting to take over the industry, they released that changes and advancements had to be made in order to avoid losing all of their worldwide market share in the machining industry. We have reviewed the practices of a major machine shop, www.cutterinnovations.com, from the late 90’s and the current time, in order to illustrate some of the major changes that have taken place in the machining industry over the past decade. People who want to learn even more about modern machining processes after reading this article should check out the books on the machining industry which can be found at most local libraries.
One of the most basic and yet important changes that has happened in the last decade within the machining industry has been the expansion of machining shops to include more machines and different machining processes in a single location. It used to be that in order to manufacture something as simple as a car axel, one machine shop would have to begin the process in its shop for the cutting and molding of the metal, the piece would then be sent to another shop where it would be polished and heat treated to prevent rusting. Finally, the piece could be sent to the car maker for use in their automobiles. The fact that there were so many different places needed to perform the basic manufacturing of parts was a major reason for the lack of production in the machining industry during the last decade. Now, machine shops that produce a part usually do so from the first to last step. A single machine shop which is able to produce parts on its own has helped beef up production by a huge amount, and helped to keep machining jobs in this country.
Another big change that you can see in a modern machining shop is the number of workers in the machine shop at once. The average, medium sized machine shop used to have around fifty workers on shift at any given time. Workers were needed for all sorts of things from operating machines, to making repairs on different devices and loading machines with raw materials that they needed to make their parts. Today however, a large machining operation might only have ten or fifteen workers on shift at any given time. In order to keep up with international competition, machine shop owners new they would have to improve production, while also reducing labor. Many of the machine shop processes which required humans in the past are now done totally by machines. The reduction of human labor has made working in a machine shop safer, as well as making machine shops more profitable.