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Making Chips Podcast for Manufacturing Leaders

MakingChips is hosted by a set of multi-generational manufacturing leaders who are on the factory floor everyday, living their lives in the world of manufacturing—they know first hand that manufacturing can be challenging. Founders Jim Carr and Jason Zenger released their first podcast in late December 2014—releasing over 300 episodes to-date, reaching more than 650,000 downloads—all while striving to deliver on their mission, to “equip and inspire the metalworking nation.” In 2019, Nick Goellner, another multi-generational manufacturing leader, joined the MakingChips hosts, bringing a third generation of manufacturing leaders to the table. Join the hosts as they work through industry challenges with leaders such as Titan Gilroy (Titans of CNC), John Saunders (NYC CNC), Mark Terryberry (Haas Automation) and more.
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Making Chips Podcast for Manufacturing Leaders
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Jul 20, 2018

This week on MakingChips, Jason asks Jim whether or not you really need a 5-axis machine. Every manufacturing company owner has to determine the right time to add a new piece of machinery to his or her shop. That decision isn’t always easy. More often than not, there are multiple good options that leave the leader with the daunting task of determining the best choice. Jim explains to Jason his rationale for a recent purchase making decision for Carr Tool and Machine and gives advice for making a big purchasing. Hear all that and more on this episode of MakingChips.

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2 main factors that can help you make decisions about machinery

When considering a big purchase of machinery for your shop, the decision largely depends on two factors. The first factor is what you currently make. Know your current customer demand and your ability to meet that demand. If you are having trouble with turn-around or customers are continually leaving your business because you can’t meet their demand, it might be time to upgrade to a new piece of machinery. The second factor is how will your company grow in the future. Considering what technology you need to integrate into your company to allow for growth and expansion will help you make a wise purchase.

Buying a 5-axis machine should be a need-based purchase

After originally planning to buy a 5-axis machine last summer, Jim recently purchased a 4-axis Mazak 500mm twin table horizontal machining center with full fourth axis machining capability. He explains that while he was unable to complete the deal on the 5-axis machine the 4-axis machine has served him well. He has been able to meet customer needs with the 4-axis horizontal machine. Jim also expressed that he hasn’t had the need for a 5-axis machine. When considering a machine tool purchase, Jim advises letting need be a key determining factor. Buying a piece of equipment that you already have a need for ensures that you get an immediate return on your investment.

How to make a good purchasing decision

It is difficult to balance the tendency to resist change with moving forward too quickly. The danger is that you purchase a piece of machinery that won’t give you a quick return on investment. It is wise to introduce technology incrementally. Jim encourages leaders to utilize the wisdom and experience of your team to help make educated decisions for your company. He also suggests reaching out to your customers to see if they need the kind of work that would justify purchasing a 5-axis machine.

Will a 5-axis machine make or break your company?

Not having a 5-axis machine will not keep Carr Machine and Tool from being competitive in the long run. While Jim chose not to buy the 5-axis machine yet, he will definitely be looking to purchase one in the near future. Knowing the plan for future growth and expansion gives Jim a head start in finding the skilled labor or training current employees so that they can run the machine effectively. Jim and Jason would love to hear from you. Have you purchased a 5-axis machine? If so why?

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • It is better to have a well placed fan than having an oscillating fan
  • Buying new technology requires you to balance risk and reward
  • JIm shares his excitement about a new relationship with an aerospace customer
  • Manufacturing News: Machine Metrics shares shocking machine utilization numbers
  • Jim shares his reasons for deciding not to buy a 5-axis machine
  • Though it wasn’t a 5-axis Carr Machine and Tool did add a new piece of equipment in the shop
  • Buying a machine should be based on the production needs you currently have
  • Jim shares the impact of 5-axis machines could have for his company
  • Jason and Jim ask for your feedback about 5-axis machines

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