Category Archives: Podcast

Swarfcast Ep. 38 – Connecting on Cobots: James Persenaire of FANUC

By Noah Graff

On today’s podcast I spoke with James Persenaire, a district manager at FANUC America Corporation. James gave insight into the strengths and weaknesses of collaborative robots and how Fanuc’s collaborative robots differ from competitors such as Universal Robot. He also addressed misconceptions about traditional robots that they are expensive and dangerous. He emphasized that the integration of the robot is the primary factor in both its cost and safety.

Listen to the podcast beneath the video.

Question: Have you brought robots into your machining operation?

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Swarfcast Ep. 37 – Finding Purpose in Your Work with Brent Robertson

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

Have you ever asked yourself what your purpose is when you go to work in the morning? Sometimes I wonder if I’m spending enough time making an important impact on the world, or if I’m too wrapped up in the mechanics of making deals on machine tools.

In this week’s podcast we interviewed Brent Robertson of Fathom. Brent is a business philosopher and consultant. His mission is help people discover what their purpose is, beyond just making money. He has found that if he can give people purpose in what they do, it inspires those they work with and their clients as well.

Listen to the podcast below the video.

Question: Is making money purpose enough for you?

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Swarfcast Ep. 36 – Ben York on Taking the Art Out of Machining

By Noah Graff

In today’s podcast I interviewed Ben York, an inventor and consultant for machining companies. I met him at the 2019 Precision Machining Technology Show where his company, Theory 168, was presenting his Perfect Zero Alignment system. The system uses a camera installed in a CNC machine to set work coordinates and align and set tooling (see demonstration video below).

Ben said his mission is to “take the art out of machining.” He wants machining to be easy enough so people can do it even if they don’t know the “tricks of the trade.” In the podcast Ben talks about his process of inventing his new product and starting a company in the machining field.

Listen to the podcast below the video.

Question: Is machining an art form?

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Swarfcast Ep. 35 – Graeme Sinclair on Precision Machining in Australia

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

In today’s podcast we interviewed Graeme Sinclair, owner of Parish Engineering, a prominent precision machining shop in Australia. Graeme has been in the machining business for 60 years, since he served his apprenticeship at age 14.

In the interview Graeme discussed the challenges faced by machine shops in Australia verses the rest of the world, his eclectic taste in CNC machines, and his passion for the game of squash. Sinclair explained that one reason he has many different types of equipment is that automotive companies have shut down their operations in Australia, meaning a lot of high volume work has disappeared.

Question: Would you like to move to Australia?

Listen to the podcast on the player below.

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Swarfcast Ep. 34 – Ed Crowley, Master of Insert Tooling

By Noah Graff and Rex Magagnotti

On today’s podcast we interviewed Ed Crowley, owner of Crowley Tool Company, a company that specializes in making custom insert form tools and quick change tooling packages for the precision machining industry. Ed explained in detail how his company has developed modular tooling that an operator can change on the fly, which can reduce set up time from days to minutes.

He admits that the marketshare for form tools is shrinking as the cam multi-spindles have lost favor, but he thinks that his products will stay relevant for the foreseeable future.

Question: Are you replacing your form tools with quick change insert tooling?

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or go to swarfcast on your favorite podcast app such as iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts.

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Swarfcast Ep. 33 – Aneesa Muthana, the Success of a Woman in the Machining Business

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

On today’s podcast, we interviewed Aneesa Muthana, owner of Pioneer Service Inc., a CNC machine shop that features 26 Star CNC Swiss lathes. Aneesa shared her fond memories of being raised on the floor of a centerless grinding shop, M&M Quality Grinding, founded by her Yemeni immigrant parents. While other girls were playing with Barbie dolls, Aneesa relished learning to use micrometers and cleaning out oil tanks from Cincinnati centerless grinders. At 23 she left M&M, where she had once thought she would stay forever, and bought into Pioneer Service Inc. a Brown & Sharpe shop owned by her uncle.

Aneesa shared her views on a number of topics, including how women are treated in the machining industry, her preference to work with Star CNC Swiss lathes over Samsung and Brown & Sharpe machines, and the significance of the hijab she wears.

Question: Is being a woman in the machining industry an advantage or disadvantage?

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Swarfcast Ep. 32 – Work Less and Do More, with Ari Meisel

By Noah Graff

Like many people, I get overwhelmed at work. Sometimes I don’t get the work done I want to do, so I stay at the office an hour or two extra. By the time I get home I feel like I don’t have enough free time for relaxation and other activities.

Scroll down to listen to the podcast with Ari Meisel.

I have been repeatedly listening to a book called The Art of Less Doing, by Ari Meisel, today’s podcast interviewee, which has had a real positive effect on my life. Meisel, who calls himself an “overwhemologist,” has a mission to cure the inefficiencies of folks like me so we can have more success professionally and have a lot more free time. He preaches that the secret to having the time to run a successful business and having free time to relax is to become “replaceable” through automation and outsourcing. He says that if a business cannot be run without you then you don’t own a business, you have the privilege of owning your own job.

In the book and with his coaching firm, Less Doing, Meisel provides resources for people to automate processes and then outsource tasks when necessary by using a virtual assistant. He says the ideal is to automate a task before giving it to another human being to accomplish. Some automation methods can be simple, such as creating automatic bill payments, having supplies automatically queued to be sent at the same time once a month, or having email automatically sorted between junk and important contacts.

Ari Meisel on Replacing YourselfMeisel also believes in the merits of a virtual assistant. This was something I had not really considered before and felt a little embarrassed to try, but several months ago Graff-Pinkert hired a man in Albania to work for $10 per hour. He looks online for new contacts to add to our database and he advertises our machines on the Web. In addition to speaking Albanian he speaks English, Swedish, and Turkish, which may come in handy for Turkish customers in the near future. This has freed me up to talk to customers and focus on more complicated tasks. I admit that he sometimes does a more complete job than I would on certain tasks because my attention would have been diverted. Meisel says that the brain is not designed to multi-task, so this result makes sense.

In addition to automation and outsourcing advice, Meisel prescribes a scientific approach to working efficiently based on brain research. He says it is important to find one’s personal peak time to work, which can vary significantly among people. Mine seems to be from about 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. He also believes that setting time limits makes a huge impact on productivity. Studies show that people often make work take the exact amount of time they are allotted, which is why many people, such as myself, work the most efficiently right before a deadline. Data also shows that the brain often works better in sprints, so rather than trudge through a to-do list, only stopping when one task is finished, it is best to work in 25 minute increments, taking five minute breaks in-between.

The idea of working less hours and becoming replaceable can be difficult for people to swallow because doing more work makes us feel valuable in our workplaces and society, but Meisel teaches that once you learn to do less, you can accomplish so much more.

Questions:

What tasks do you wish you could do more efficiently?

Are you replaceable at work?

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Swarfcast Ep. 31 – Ken Mandile, Employees Are Buying His Business

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

On today’s podcast we interviewed Ken Mandile, founder of Swissturn, a successful CNC Swiss machine shop in Oxford, Massachusetts. Ken’s children are not interested in taking over Swissturn when he eventually retires, so five years ago Ken began restructuring his company into an employee stock ownership plan or ESOP, in which he will gradually transfer ownership and management to his employees.

Scroll down to listen to the podcast.

Before going the ESOP route Ken turned down two lucrative buyout offers from private equity firms. Ken reported that after the first year of restructuring as an ESOP, the value of the company increased by 51%.

Question: Would you want to work at an employee-owned business?

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Swarfcast Ep. 30 – Developing a Machining Culture with Victor and Betty DaCruz

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

On today’s podcast, we interviewed Victor and Betty DaCruz, owners of DaCruz Manufacturing in Bristol, Connecticut. Victor and Betty have transformed their company over the last three decades from a multi-spindle screw machine shop with ACMEs and New Britains into a high-tech CNC turning operation. While other companies complain about not being able to find quality employees, DaCruz has created a culture that attracts high level young people to work at the company.

Scroll down to listen to this week’s podcast.

Question: Is it a good idea for a husband and wife to work together?

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Swarfcast Ep. 29 – Mark Fordyce, Hydromat Maestro

By Noah & Lloyd Graff

On today’s podcast, we interviewed Mark Fordyce, Team Leader of the Hydromat Parts & Rebuild department at Component Bar Products in St. Louis.

Mark is a Hydromat Maestro. He has been working with rotary transfer machines for over 40 years, first as a self-taught setup man in a job shop, followed by working in the engineering department at Hydromat Inc., and then at Component Bar. He is one of the first people Graff-Pinkert calls when we have a question about a Hydromat, and often the machine we are asking for help on was actually originally set up by him.

In the interview, Mark talks about the beauty of the Hydromat machining process and also where he sees the role of Hydromats in the manufacturing industry going forward.

Question: Is it a better business producing high volumes or low volumes of precision parts?

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