Sometimes it can be difficult for me to explain to people outside of the manufacturing world what the heck I write about. They ask me what the precision machining industry does and they want an explanation of why they should care. The following are two stories from the 2011 PMTS show that brought the machining world to life to me.
At the show, Matt Redder, a sales representative from a Haas Automation distributor in Cincinnati, Ohio, came over to the Today’s Machining World booth. He told us the story of his recent surgery to repair a bad disc in his neck (he attributed it to “getting old”). For his procedure at the Mayfield Clinic in Cincinnati, Ohio, he had four titanium screws, a titanium plate, and bone segments from an organ donor inserted in his neck. Soon after the surgery he received 10 orders for machines from the Schaerer Mayfield production shop, the very shop that produced the components surgically inserted in his body.
The cadaver bone segments were cut on a small Haas Office Mill, and the titanium plate was produced on a Haas 5-axis machining center. As far as the four titanium screws, he told me they were produced with a proprietary secret method.
Brings a new meaning to a salesperson betting his life on the product he sells.
That same day at the show, I had the privilege of meeting a man by the name of Curtis Spencer from West Virginia. Curtis appeared to be in his mid to late 40s and when I asked what company he was from, he proudly proclaimed he was a student. Curtis told me that for the last 10 to 12 years he has produced 190 guitars (mostly electric), all one-offs, custom made by hand. He said that each custom made guitar takes him roughly 50 hours to create and he sells them for an average of $8,500 each. He has now decided to learn to operate CNC machines so he can produce guitars in half the time or less.
Question: How do you explain what you do in a meaningful way to other people?