Safety Basics for Machining Companies

gloves, work boots, safety goggles, hard hat on a wood plank background w/ "work safety" written on a framed chalkboard

gloves, work boots, safety goggles, hard hat on a wood plank background w/ "work safety" written on a framed chalkboard

In any industry that utilizes any type of machinery, the absolute number one rule everyone knows is “Safety First.” When machining companies don’t take safety seriously, serious accidents happen.

That’s why we take safety seriously at United Scientific. We serve machining companies that take every precaution to make sure their employees and customers are safe, so we do the same.

If you are looking for a partner that takes safety as seriously as you do, look no further than United Scientific. Not only do we provide the highest quality materials, but we also do so in a manner that surpasses safety standards.

How We Stay Safe

Each one of the employees at United Scientific is well-trained in safety. We know you don’t cut corners in your business, so our employees don’t cut corners in their own safety.

Personal Safety

There are a few basic rules all of our employees follow, and they are likely similar to your safety guidelines.

  • Always wear appropriate clothing.
  • Never wear loose clothing.
  • Steel-toed shoes are STRONGLY encouraged.
  • Secure or cover hair and facial hair.
  • Always be aware of and use proper safety equipment, including safety goggles, respirators, gloves, aprons, or coats.

danger placard held by a clasp held by a safety lock

Machine Safety

When it comes to operating machinery, it is essential everyone operating the machine knows the basic rules.

  • Know and follow the lockout or tag-out procedures.
  • Ensure all tools are in good, working condition with no chips, cracks, or burrs.
  • Only work on a machine you are trained or certified to use.

Workplace Safety

Employers know that a factory or workplace is only as good as its employees and the quality of the machines. If your workplace is not safe, the quality of the product suffers.

At United Scientific, like most other machining companies, we focus on keeping the workplace safe.

  • Keep each work area clean.
  • Return every tool to its proper place.
  • Walk or stand in designated safe areas only.
  • Always know where the first aid and eyewash stations are located.

Why We Stay Safe

It might seem obvious why safety is paramount. However, it is essential to employees why focusing on safety is critical, and why it should happen every day at every station.

  • Focusing on safety minimizes injuries.
  • Focusing on safety ensures equipment is used correctly and eliminates faulty mechanisms or tools.
  • Focusing on safety ensures the highest quality parts for the least amount of dollars.
  • Focusing on safety means no downtime due to not following procedures.

Check out the 10 Commandments of Good Safety Habits here.

man with industrial hand injury

Essential Safety Tips

With all of these safety focuses in mind, it’s time to focus on some safety tips. As a profitable business, you must be able to produce high-quality items customers trust at a reasonable price in the most efficient way possible.

Focusing on safety is the key to all of this and more. Read on for some essential safety tips that are always in place at United Scientific.

Take Extra Steps When Necessary

Most heavy machinery comes with safety mechanisms like safety interlocks. However, some machines don’t, or they aren’t in all parts of the machine. If you have a machine without a built-in safety mechanism, add one.

While we are NOT advocating altering your machine, it is perfectly acceptable to add a sign or a barrier. Furthermore, ensure you thoroughly train all of your operators on which areas need extra consideration.

This rule is especially true with newer operators that don’t have experience with that particular machine. To avoid catastrophic accidents, clearly label all areas with the appropriate precautions.

A simple way to keep your operators safe is to have a sign or warning telling each operator when the machine is back in its home position, or when it is safe to open a compartment.

Finally, allow each new operator to complete a dry run on all new machinery without stock or tools. This step will allow everyone working on the machine to see and understand the process without risk of injury or damage to products.

Clean and Maintain all Machines

Cleaning and maintaining all of your machines has multiple benefits. Obviously, a clean machine runs better, ensuring the operator is safer while working with it. When the machine is up to date on all maintenance and free of debris or residue, there is less chance of malfunction.

Furthermore, a clean and well-maintained machine will extend the life of the machine. Not only will the machine last longer, but it will also produce high-quality parts for longer.

Industry Worker working on cnc machine in metal industry factory

Utilize All Essential Safety Equipment

Ensuring each of your operators uses the correct PPE, personal protective equipment, is vital. It is up to the employer to provide training and equipment, so every employee meets the correct standards set by OSHA.

Proper PPE doesn’t stop at the eyes and feet. Consider protection for ears, hands, faces, and bodies when necessary. Even if the machine has a suitable enclosure and specific protection is not required, it is always wise to utilize appropriate foot, eye, and ear protection.

Along with using the correct personal protective equipment, ensure every employee knows where the first aid and eyewash stations are. To be even more secure, provide regular training to all employees on how to use these stations.

Have a Checklist

Having a checklist all employees must complete before clocking in or out for the day can ensure safety measures are always being met. A few examples might be:

  • Wear all appropriate PPE:
    • Safety Goggles
    • Protective Gloves
    • Respirators
    • Proper Clothing
    • Proper Shoes
  • Inspect your machine and all parts before operating. Ensure there are no loose bolts, screws, or other components.
  • Slow down! Do not rush the machine or feeds. Not only can you get hurt, but you can also damage the machine.
  • Pay attention! Don’t leave your machine unattended. Listen to your machine while it is operating. If something sounds wrong, stop and inspect it.
  • Always follow the appropriate procedures for lockout before doing any work to a machine.
  • Be a professional! Never goof around or play around machines.
  • Clean up after yourself. This includes your machine and your workspace.

Let United Scientific Partner With You

United Scientific is the partner you are looking for that cares about safety and quality of the product. We focus on safety and providing the best parts at the most competitive prices.

Design for Manufacturability is Key to CNC Machining

Two male engineers having a discussion leaning over a table covered with conical metal parts

Two male engineers having a discussion leaning over a table covered with conical metal parts

You have developed a mechanical solution to a significant challenge in your sector. You think you have a way to make that component less expensive, or those pieces easier to assemble.  This component could result in higher quality, longer-lasting product without increasing cost. A win-win situation seems a foregone conclusion.

If you could put this assembly in place on your company’s product, your device will improve significantly. But, can your solution be manufactured with CNC machining and increase product margins while solving problems?

Here is where Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is critical. When you do your design groundwork effectively, you’ll create your winning process scenario before production starts.

At United Scientific, we incorporate DFM into our prototyping process to ensure that the manufactured components meet the prescribed specifications while maintaining manufacturability and containing costs. Contact our design team today, and let’s get started on that brilliant solution.

Why do Design for Manufacturability?

DFM is the process of designing components so that they are easier to manufacture and result in a better product at a lower cost. The cost savings can come from reduced material, overhead, and labor costs.

It can be tempting to dive into production on the assumption that your estimated savings are accurate. However, launching production without DFM could be a costly mistake.

The design process is responsible for approximately 70% of the manufacturing costs of a product. Decisions made during the production process contribute only about 20%.

Pinning down a component failure during production is much harder than trouble-shooting your component with DFM. Perhaps the fault was caused by something in the design such that current manufacturing processes or tooling can’t produce the item.

It’s also possible an error occurred in the production process itself, causing singular or multiple component flaws.

This failure can mean running multiple testing scenarios, design of experiment type matrices of variables, and results, all while lost material and labor costs pile up.

And, if this particular design solution required multiple components, your losses could multiply quickly. DFM is a proactive solution to this scenario.

Antique key laying on vintage metal gears on a dark background

The key components of DFM

Process

First, you need to choose the right method to manufacture your parts. At a high level, you must consider production volume and general material requirements before production begins.

The production volume of the final component is one key to deciding how you might expedite the manufacturing process. Low volume quantities would most likely require the use of existing equipment and tooling. High volume and longer-range repeatable projects may require increased investment capital into specialized tools, jigs, or dies.

General material requirements are an essential element to consider at this point, as well. Materials like fiberglass, aluminum, or titanium require different machining specs. Does the facility you chose have the capability to work with your preferred medium?

Tolerances are also a factor. Toy wagon parts may require significantly less precision than heart catheters, for example. DFM means that you choose each process step for its tolerance limitations and inspection capabilities.

It’s also imperative to consider design features not suitable for typical CNC machining processes, such as parts with deep cavities or thin walls. These specifications may be better suited for other machining processes or require additional tooling to produce the quality desired.

Design

The first step in DFM is to determine if you need all the parts as initially proposed. If the part count diminishes, the production process simplifies.

There may also be assembly modifications to consider that would reduce the number of interlocking components and fittings. In other words, do you need a nut-bolt-washer fastener across four different openings, when a cotter pin would suffice?

Another cost-saving measure in DFM are off-the-shelf item substitutes. A good question to ask is:  “Are the designed tolerances the only way this component will fit with the others?” Perhaps there is an option of modifying a tolerance, or any of the other components it will be assembled with, to accept a standard, off-the-shelf part.

A cost-benefit analysis is required in this scenario, as modifying another part could entail higher expenses than customizing the one at hand.

Material selection

Hopefully, you determined during the first process selection step what types of materials you will require. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the specifics of your materials.

Here are a few queries to run as you further refine the DFM model:

  • How strong does the material need to be?
  • To what degree does it need to be heat resistant?
  • Have the other components been designed to match, or allow for, the expansion and contraction of the selected materials surrounding it?
  • Does the material need to have any specific surface qualities such as color or reflectivity?

Some of the answers to these questions could depend upon the answers to the following questions as they pertain to the environment.

Environment considerations

Material selection will vary dependent upon the environment in which it will finally be used. Will this component be performing in:

  • Space
  • Seawater
  • A human body
  • Outdoors
  • In variable weather?

You may not want a material that corrodes used in a stent any more than you want one that turns brittle in the cold traveling through space.

Quality and testing

One last DFM consideration is what kind of industry standards must this part meet? Is the manufacturing partner you chose ISO certified? Will third party testing be required?

Is your manufacturing partner aligned with third-party testers, such that they know the ins and outs of getting product pushed through? You’ll want to vet the compliance process as part of your DFM so your production timelines don’t get hung up for non-compliance.

Digital calipers, protractor, lead pencil, small machined parts laying on engineering drawing

Make the most of CNC machining with DFM

You can use the DFM process on new product development. DFM is also useful for cost savings initiatives on existing assemblies. The goal is to get engineering to work with production from the beginning.

The key to effective DFM is to utilize the current production capabilities to the fullest and advocate for new technologies when needed.

Design for manufacturability also ensures that designed components require minimal purchasing of new pieces of equipment, as well as avoiding never-before-used finishing processes currently only done overseas.

Production, in return, can alert the designer to any off-the-shelf items that would fit seamlessly or with a few tweaks in the protocol. You may also discover, through DFM, that the production team already manufactures a similar, non-proprietary, item. With those same tweaks, the volumes could be combined, and the startup process eliminated.

Contact United Scientific, and let’s start working together from the beginning to get you that better product at a lower cost.

Manufacturing our Defense: The History of Defense Manufacturing

High abrasive grinder machining a cylinder and throwing sparks

High abrasive grinder machining a cylinder and throwing sparks

Since the day the first explorers came to North America through to the American Revolution, we have had a need to manufacture supplies used to defend ourselves from harm and to stand up for our ideals.

The American Industrial Revolution started soon after, in the mid-1800s, and although focused on agriculture and textile mechanization, it would ultimately lead to the modern factory.

Inventions, such as the steam engine, emerging at the same time propelled production efficiencies forward, reducing labor costs, and decreasing prices, allowing access to a whole new sphere of customers.

A short half-century later, World War I would come to fruition, and the worlds of defense and manufacturing would begin to merge.  Defense manufacturing is one of many industries United Scientific serves.  Contact us today to learn more about the current state of defense manufacturing or read on to learn more about its history.

Defense manufacturing history in a nutshell

Pre-World War I

Before World War I, we relied on arsenals of ground weapons and naval armadas to protect us from unfriendly fire. However, during this period in history, new technologies emerged, like the light bulb, the telephone, and wireless transmission devices like the radio.

While the development of these technological advances came into play, so did improvements in manufacturing. Milestones such as Ford’s production line would set the benchmark for large volume production of complex parts and assemblies.

Black and white drawing of metalworking, turning bench lathe

World War I

At the start of World War I, the US only supplied foreign force allies with military equipment. The adoption of mass production lines, like those in the Ford plant, changed that. In factories everywhere, these mass production lines became the norm, and the US began providing arms, ammunition, and military vehicles, as well as military supplies, to allied forces until we entered the battle ourselves.

After World War I, the US began protecting its interests around the world. Manufacturing capabilities were rapidly expanding across the globe as well, and that included those producing military stockpiles.

Up until this point, most military products were designed and produced within the US armed services themselves. But as the needs became higher and the weapon systems became larger, design and production were outsourced to the private sector. Here, state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies arrived for both commercial and military endeavors.

World War II

In anticipation of World War II activities, the US government expanded existing plants or built new production facilities.  Many Government Owned, Contractor Operated (GOCO) facilities launched, and existing commercial manufacturing plants converted to military production.

With the end of World War II, the production of ammunition and military equipment slowed down significantly, if not shut down. Many plants reverted to manufacturing commercial goods in to keep themselves and the economy booming.

The Cold War

Christened initially as the National Military Establishment in June of 1947, the name became The Department of Defense (DoD) in August of 1949.

The DoD tackled re-aligning the individual armed forces and associated civilian agencies. One effect of the resulting re-organization was that under-utilized equipment and supplies collected dust in storage, or were destroyed.

Due to downsizing, the US was unprepared in its needs for current weaponry at the start of the Korean War. The Defense Production Act of 1950 became law to make sure that a similar shortage would not happen again.

That act provided funds to ensure that new defense materials would always be available and new production methodologies were continually brought into facilities.

As we moved through the Cold War Era, alternative weaponry development took precedence. Then the Space Race began, and so did the need for even more sophisticated componentry.

Up-and-coming weapon componentry was so complex that it could not be manufactured on existing equipment.

As part of the Defense Production Act, the Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program was established in the late 1950s, championing the development of new manufacturing processes and tools.

The end of the Cold War brought with it an end to the support for massive military expenditures.

The resulting funding constraints culminated in mergers across the country of military and commercial entities in order to diversify product offerings and consolidate applicable technologies. The distinction between military and commercial manufacturers continues to soften, especially for those shops creating space and communication systems.

Male engineer wearing virtual reality headset and using hands to manipulate a 3D machine part model

Current state of affairs

According to several sources, we may still be in the Third Industrial Revolution – the Digital Revolution – but we are also on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robotics, and 3-D printing will once again change how we create the products we need now, and how we manufacture products going forward.

There may be an ebb and flow to world events affecting the necessity of defense manufacturing. There may be revolutions within the industrial world itself. However, there will always be a need for timely, cost-effective, quality production.

Part of a long-standing history

In our current state of affairs, the defense industry still relies on its manufacturing partners.  Those partners still must deliver:

  • Precision manufacturing
  • The highest quality available
  • Accurate production timelines
  • Documented components that can pass all regulatory certifications
  • Mixed volume complex production

United Scientific has been producing on these deliverables for over 70 years and is part of the long-standing history of defense manufacturing.

Our St Paul facility is up to date with the latest CNC technology, finishing processes, and inspection equipment. We offer a wide range of services including:

  • Prototyping
  • Machining
  • Milling
  • Centerless grinding
  • Plasma cutting
  • Welding
  • Aluminum casting
  • Heat treating
  • Coating and plating
  • Inspection
  • Assembly
  • Supply Chain Management

Our men and women in the military deserve the best equipment and supplies we have to offer. They deserve the best equipment available to keep them safe while they keep us safe.

There is no margin for error in weaponry and component production. The lives of many individuals depend upon having flawless componentry at their disposal. “Keep our service-people safe and bring them home safe,” that is our true end-run goal.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you navigate these industrial revolutions to manufacture the highest quality parts you need.  We’ll assist you to produce the safest and most accurate supplies our military needs.

How to Choose a Precision Machining Partner

Silhouette win win

Silhouette win win

There is nothing better than peace of mind. When it comes to your business, this is far and few between. Start your journey to finding a trusted precision manufacturing partner. Precision machining is, as it says, precise and needs a trustworthy partner with credentials and expertise to back you up in your precision machine shop. 

A partner is an endeavor laced with unknowns and new routines for everyone during and once implemented. CEO’s to quality control to CNC machinists are going to be affected by the change; choosing your partner correctly the first time is your goal. 

United Scientific Inc in Minnesota is an ISO 9001 registered and certified precision machine shop. Specifically, United Scientific Inc has an internal audit program that excelled tremendously; take a look at the report here.

If you are considering a partner for your precision manufacturing machining requirements, make sure to continue reading. 

Frame of Mind series. Composition of human face wire-frame and fractal elements with metaphorical relationship to mind, reason, thought, mental powers and mystic consciousness

Knowledge

The cream of the crop is the dream of any business, from the employees to the equipment and technology. Your product must produce meticulously precise results, and there is a deadline looming at every turn. 

The collective expertise and experience of the team you choose must be just that, the cream of the crop. Programmers, machinists, CNC experts, and so many more positions are required when producing the absolute best product on time and within budget. 

Do your research on the potential partner before committing to a company that may set you back in production time. The last potential problem you want to take on is an unreliable partner who has not been in the industry for a long time. 

United Scientific has decades of experience with combined totals of 70 plus years within the company. Expertise is just one aspect to consider, technology and equipment must be at the forefront of thought as well when expanding your production numbers. 

Expertise is essential if the part needs fine-tuning to streamline the process and, ultimately, a better bottom line. A business partner must know the industry, their equipment, and they must be on your side. 

Caucasian Lathe Machine Technician with Wrench Trying To Adjust Machinery Elements.

Equipment and Technology

Who knew we would need to upgrade and maintain technology and equipment as much as we still do? This one crucial consideration puts a hole in a budget challenging to swallow. When researching a partner, make sure they upgrade regularly and continually update outdated machines. 

A precision machining partner must be well versed in CNC machines for the most precise results. The CNC machine integrated into the industry, and your partner must be vetted in this machine that controls them all. 

Read on: What Do the Letters “CNC” Mean and How Does CNC Machining Work

As we all know, technology tends to go through a revolution every two weeks, and we must consider a partner with the capabilities to keep up with the ever-changing environment. Take into account the technology the potential machining partner has in place and the technology you require for production. 

Non-machining experts could have trouble with everyday computers in one way or another. A CNC expert has specific instructions to follow, maintaining efficiency and effortlessly working with other team members in a time constricted environment. A CNC team is essential for a precision machining partner.

A new partner can bring expansion, opening doors left and right. The wrong partner can bring frustration, ending an exciting moment of your company expanding. Use a partner with history who can back you up when you need it the most. United Scientific Inc will not disappoint with a track record to prove it. 

businessman doing yoga in lotus pose

Kept Relationships

Yes, relationships. Instead of the “service” word, look for a partner who has connections with their clients. A bond is more than a screen to screen conversation; look for an accountable partner who you know by name and face.

It’s known throughout the psychological world that business relationships are better when they grow as an actual type of friendship. Business is business, although sometimes it’s a relief to break away for some life outside of work. 

Though it is frowned upon to make mistakes in any industry or personal life, having a partner who learns from them and listens to their clients and partners alike moves production along. On the other side, employees can be too scared to bring up a mistake, resulting in a halt in production until the issue resolves. 

Employee relationships are just as meaningful as the head honchos getting along. Staff members are only going to work hard when their relationship is in good standing with their employer. Your partner’s employee’s happiness can bring out more production; take a peek inside their facility when looking into your machining partner. 

These small but impactful relationship goals for your potential precision manufacturing partner matter in your decision and, United Scientific Inc has employees with decades loyal to them and many more on their way. 

Break it Down

Expertise, technology, and relationships are only a few of the points to weigh when choosing a precision machining partner. Don’t make a choice lightly as it is costly to switch again and again, not to mention taxing on your employees. 

Make sure to research for the most expert and knowledgeable partner for precision machining. As the title states, precise machining requires machinists and programmers who have the experience you need. 

Ask questions about the equipment in use, training of the employees for the machines, and get some partner or client reviews. With the evolving industry of machining, having added the CNC machine, what’s next? 3D Printing?

Read more about the future of manufacturing in “The World of Modern Manufacturing: Is There a Stopping Point?” 

It’s hard to say where we will be in 15 years with the changing world of computers supposedly making our lives less complicated. These machines are essential for a partner in the industry and will continue to be a necessary part of the industry.

What do CNC Machinists do?

Closeup of generic CNC drill equipment. 3D illustration.

 

Engineer hand on industrial keypad

A computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinist is a job you may have never heard of before. This job is essential to the manufacturing of many common, household goods and machinery. For more information on what CNC machinists do, a manufacturing quote, as well as employment opportunities, visit United Scientific INC online now.

What Does a CNC do?

Now that you know what CNC stands for, you’re probably wondering what does one of these machinists do, exactly?

Simply put, CNC machinists help create parts for larger products by mapping out the specifications of these parts on computer software. The instructions the operator inputs then give an instrument operating instructions, and the ability to make these machine parts.

These commands that are created by an engineer control the speed, movements, and other factors to create the perfect product, whatever it may be. CNC machining is the result of technology and man-power working in total harmony

For example, a computer numerically controlled machinist doesn’t manufacture a new car. They are responsible for a smaller piece of a car–something like a fuel injector or upper shock mount. CNC companies and machinists produce some of the smaller, yet critical parts, that make up all cars.

These machinists use a variety of equipment to create each product or prototype. Some of the different machines they utilize are::

  • Milling
  • Turning
  • Waterjet cutting
  • Laser cutting
  • Turret punching
  • Plasma cutting

Additionally, there are a plethora of materials used in CNC machining. Some materials you may see on the job are: 

  • Brass
  • Titanium
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Stainless steel
  • Steel
  • PVC
  • Polycarbonate

The number of unique products that machinists manufacture, and the equipment they use to make those products can almost guarantee that no two CNC positions are the same.

Closeup of generic CNC drill equipment. 3D illustration.

What Industries Use CNC Companies?

One of the most exciting things about computer numerically controlled manufacturing is the variety of industries that utilize their services. With each new client, new products need to be developed and manufactured, making each product and day a little different.

Here are some of the industries that utilize the services provided by a CNC:

  • Construction
  • Automotive
  • Defense
  • Medical Devices
  • Food Processing
  • Transportation
  • Recreational Equipment
  • Agriculture
  • Aerospace Technology
  • Oil and Gas

Amazing, isn’t it? CNC machining is a crucial component to almost all modern product manufacturing.

What Makes a Good CNC Machinist?

It turns out that certain qualities correlate with being a fabulous computer numerically controlled machinist. 

If you find yourself being excellent at:

  • math
  • have great control of manual dexterity,
  • maintain extraordinary attention to detail
  • have remarkable problem-solving skills, 
  • have a significant understanding of computers
  • preserve superb physical stamina

Being a CNC machinist may be the dream job you never knew you wanted.

CNC machining is a career that is the perfect combination of creativity and practicality and works well for those when an aptitude in mathematics, sciences, engineering, and technology.

Worker pressing programming buttons on CNC machine control board in factory

What Does it Take to Become a CNC Machinist?

Does the world of CNC interest and excite you? Here’s how you can become one.

While each employer will have different requirements for hiring, there are many paths that you can take to pursue becoming a computer numerically controlled machinist.

Typically, some higher education is required to start working within CNC, specifically areas of math, engineering and computer sciences. Some degrees that may work well for following a CNC career path are machining and manufacturing, industrial engineering and industrial automation engineering technology.

Furthermore, an apprenticeship through a trade school or community college program will skyrocket your CNC career to success. These programs last for roughly four years and frequently are paying while you are taking classes and learning critical on-the-job skills.

An apprenticeship-style education environment is indispensable in careers like computer numerically controlled machining. They are so useful because it may provide you with a job opportunity with the company you apprenticed with, once your program and degree are complete. 

Do you see how huge this is? With a paid apprenticeship to become a CNC machinist, you can focus on gaining experience and knowledge in your field without the additional burden of making an income. On top of that, it creates a higher education environment where you’’ start out making money, rather than in piles of student loan debt.    

Here are some colleges to look into to kickstart your CNC career:

  • Universal Technical Institute
  • Lincoln Tech
  • Sullivan University
  • HoHoKus School of Trade & Technical Sciences

Once you’ve landed your dream job as a machinist, you can expect a median salary of around $43,630. That CNC machinist salary will vary depending on your place of employment and cost of living. 

Summarizing it All

This unique career path is ideal for those who love math, engineering, science technology, and hard work. With so many educational and career opportunities to capitalize on, this career is tailored for those who dream of being innovative.

CNC machining is the perfect combination for those who enjoy working closely with technology while still getting to be hands-on. If you are looking for a job with a new problem to solve every day, machining may be the career path for you.

For more information on CNC machining, manufacturing quotes, or employment opportunities contact United Scientific INC. in St. Paul Minnesota today by phone at 651-483-1500 or by email at sales@usimn.com.

 

 

 

What Does a CNC programmer do and is it a good job?

Engineer using laptop computer for maintenance automatic robotic arm with CNC machine in smart factory.
Engineer using laptop computer for maintenance automatic robotic arm with CNC machine in smart factory.

Have you ever taken time to think about how the big machines perform tasks “independently” as nobody is there to oversee the process? Who develops the programs that control the processing of plastic and metal parts in the manufacturing industries? The answer: a CNC programmer. 

At United Scientific, these are the people that keep all our processes moving to manufacture aerospace parts, medical devices, vehicle parts, recreational equipment, and more. Visit our website for more information on what we do and how we do it.

Now, many don’t know the meaning of CNC manufacturing, let alone what it does and why it’s crucial to any manufacturing industry. 

We’re going to share information with you about what a CNC programmer does and the salary you might get if you decide to pursue it as a career.

A little about CNC Manufacturing

For decades, we have seen giant leaps in technology. We’ve had many inventions taking place almost every day for the betterment of our living.

It’s still uncertain what we will have in the future, but we keep our faith in technology as it slowly unravels that mystery as the days go.

However, with CNC manufacturing, you can predict the future of CNC programming. Research that has been done to determine this comes to one end – It will be a highly sought-for career in the future.

CNC manufacturing first came into the limelight in the late 1940s, and since then, it has tremendously transformed industrial production.

Automation is one of the major driving forces of CNC manufacturing. What manufacturers designed almost a century ago is different from what we make today. 

As automated manufacturing continues to take foot in the industrial field, new inventions come, and CNC programming has a significant part to play.

Who is a CNC Programmer

CNC programming in full means computer numerically controlled programming. In other words, the tools or machinery parts are controlled by a computer program to manufacture different products.

The work of a CNC programmer in an industrial line is to create program codes or instructions to run the machine that shapes or cuts products like aviation, automobile, or industrial parts.  

Therefore, a CNC programmer is very vital in any industry. If they are not there, nothing can move. They foresee every manufacturing process and quickly come in when they notice a technical hitch in the machines.

At the Factory: Female Mechanical Engineer Designs 3D Engine on Her Personal Computer, Male Automation Engineer Uses Laptop for Programming Robotic Arm.

A Career in CNC Programming

Since CNC programming is becoming one of the most coveted jobs, being a top-rated CNC programmer is an uphill battle. However, the rewards are worth the hard work. 

The industrial world is getting exposed to the importance of CNC programming. With a 16% yearly growth rate between now and 2026, opportunities are multiplying. The employment gap is growing larger as many people have not come to the knowledge of this goldmine.

Before you embark on this career, there are some qualifications that you should possess.

To begin with, you should be good in technical subjects or at least show some interest in them. You should have a prolific mechanical aptitude and be able to work independently. 

Have an open mind to welcome new ideas to help the technological world at large.

As a CNC programmer, you have a high chance of getting into other highly coveted careers like computer programming, software productions, or information technologies. The remuneration for such jobs ranges from $50k to over $100K in some reputable companies.

Now, CNC programming is at par with these careers. According to Glassdoor, a CNC programmer salary ranges from $40k to $80k, with an average of $58,328 per year. 

Reputable companies are ready to part with over $85k year to pay their programmers. CNC programmers are paid these hefty amounts because employers understand the magnitude of the tasks they perform.

Advantages of becoming a CNC programmer

CNC programming has impacted the manufacture of materials significantly, creating significant advances over the old ways of manufacturing. Some of the improvements seen with CNC are;

  • Accuracy in Production

Since man is to error, machines are not. According to studies, humans have a 23% chance of making a mistake, while mechanical devices can only manage 8%. 

However, the 8% error happens if the system did not undergo servicing. So, the error is entirely on man.

With this in mind, a machine manufactures according to the variables keyed into the system. The results of any product that has gone through the hands of a CNC programmer are accurate and uniform.

  • Operation is Safe

Remember, the work of a CNC programmer is to make numerals in the computer that operates the machines. No one has to operate the machine manually, which would expose them to potential danger. 

In short, the CNC programmer works behind closed doors and leaves every work for the device.

  • The Number of Operators is Minimal.

Once hired as a CNC programmer, you are often doing the work of at least five people. Usually, to manufacture something, you need a supervisor, technician, electrician, and a welder. 

As a CNC programmer, your job is to input the concept of the four people while the machine does the whole task.

  • Uniformity in Designs

Unlike humans, a machine manufactures a complete replica of what it has produced before. In CNC production, every product made is precise; why? The next product manufactured uses the same numerals to create a new product.

  • Reliability

Whenever a CNC programmer is absent, it doesn’t mean that the factory will stop working. The codes and schematics are already in the system ready to go, keeping the industry busy and able to meet customer demands.

Worker controls the CNC machine

Bottom-line

CNC programming is a game-changer in the manufacturing world. The benefits of a CNC programmer to any firm are countless, and their tremendous contribution to a production firm is irreplaceable. 

Would you want to have a look at the work of expert CNC programmers? If so, you can visit our site, United Scientific and explore the world of CNC manufacturing, its products, and learn more about a CNC programming is all about.

What Do the Letters “CNC” Mean and How Does CNC Machining Work

Closeup of generic CNC drill equipment. 3D illustration
CNC

CNC Machining Services Decoded

If you’re new to the manufacturing or precision machining world, there’s a unique alphabet to learn and assimilate. As machining technology evolves, so do the language, skill requirements, and associated competencies of that technology.

In this article, we’ll take a trip through several industry acronyms. We’ll define them for you, and help you understand how you might pursue a career in the leading-edge manufacturing sector of CNC part-making.

At United Scientific, we service the precision machining needs across a wide variety of industries. We are a synergistic partner in projects large and small, with an accuracy rating of 99+ percent. Call us today to begin collaborating on the parts you need to make your business go.

CNC: Computer Numerical Control

Here we go.  Let’s begin with the way parts are machined on both large and small scale with Computer Numerical Control manufacturing.

In the machining methods of yesteryear, a person with a tool was responsible for designing and cutting parts to fit into a finished product. 

Even though the tools in question could use automation to a degree in a production line, a person or team was responsible for manually telling the device what to do and how to do it. Directions for metal or other base material cutting and machining were manually entered into the cutting process. 

This type of implementation meant higher personnel costs, lower product accuracy, and potential limits on large scale projects.

With the advent of CNC manufacturing, a computer software program translates design specs from another program into numbers that cutting machines can read. The numbers correspond to a three-dimensional graph (picture a grid) and direct the tool to make precision cuts in whatever material is being shaped. 

The cutting machine applies the grid numbers to the cuts it makes in the base material and creates a highly accurate cut without human intervention beyond the original coding for the part.

The CNC lathe cutting the steel cone shape parts. The hi-technology automotive parts manufacturing process by turning machine.

CNC Machines

CNC cutting machines come in many shapes and sizes.  Here are a few that we commonly see in today’s factories:

  • Mills: a piece of material moves past a spinning, stationary blade that slices off portions of the ‘blank” as it moves by. A CNC mill can cut in three dimensions.
  • Lathes: In this application, the material to be cut is placed on a spindle and spins at high speed. A stationary blade slices chips of the material as it rotates. An example of a product that’s precision-cut by a lathe is a chess game piece.

Machining a piece of material on a lathe is called “turning.” Lathes are a little less flexible that mills, in that they cut in only two dimensions. However, they come in many variations and remain incredibly functional in CNC manufacturing.

  • Routers: A variation on a mill that cuts wood exclusively
  • Plasma cutters, waterjets, and lasers: all are used to cut flat materials like sheets of metal or plastic
Industrial cnc plasma cutting machine with sparks

CAD and CAM: the software that makes CNC happen.

We can’t discuss CNC manufacturing without also defining CAD and CAM programs. CAD means Computer-Aided Design. CAM means Computer-Aided Manufacturing. CAD and CAM are the drivers for many CNC functions. 

When a product is in the design phase, a CAD designer crafts the shape, size, and specs for the product in the CAD software program. 

Once the CAD program creates the product, it must be translated into G-code. G-code is a programming language that CNC machines understand and use to direct the cuts they make into a block or sheet of material.

Are humans still required to mass-produce products?

Today, many manufacturing machines require different kinds of supervision by humans. That’s where our career discussion begins. 

Gone are the days of large teams of people working on lines and supervising quality. Now, computers tell the machines what to do with greater precision and efficiency. 

There is plenty of human involvement in manufacturing, but it’s at a different level.

The jobs associated with making things center in telling the machines what to do. Translating CAD language into G-Code that cutting devices can read is one example of a machining career path.

Design work in CAD and CAM programs is another production profession. Teaching and training other people computer-based programming and design is also an essential career path in the manufacturing sector.

Engineer, Constructor, Designer in Glasses Working on a Personal Computer. He is Creating, Designing a New 3D Model of Mechanical Component in CAD Program. Freelance Work

Production Jobs and Salaries

In today’s production sector, it pays to have technical knowledge and skills.  Four of the top nine manufacturing jobs in the US today include:

  • Mechanical Engineer: A person who designs, researches, builds, tests, and inspects mechanical devices. This job pays an average salary range of $64-$89K per year and requires the most education. A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is the norm.
  • Instrument Technician: Someone who inspects, repairs, monitors, and calibrates machining devices. This role requires a high school diploma, but an associate’s degree or higher may be preferred. The salary range is for an Instrument Tech is $40-$62K per year.
  • CAD or CAM Draftsman: These are the designers for parts and products. Technical drawing, listening, and collaboration are skills a draftsman must have. You’ll be working extensively with engineers, architects, and product manufacturers. A CAD certificate or associates degree is required. A typical salary range is $37-$49K per year.
  • Quality Control Inspector: These employees perform spot checks on products to make sure they are maintaining consistent quality and accuracy. As an inspector, you’re responsible for making sure the parts produced in the CNC process are a precise and consistent fit for the client’s requirements. A job like this requires a high school diploma and sometimes an Associate’s degree. A typical salary for an inspector is $29-$41K per year.

At United Scientific, Inc., we pride ourselves on our collaborations. We partner with large companies to fill part orders from small to large, with incredible accuracy at greater than 99 percent. 

Our clients know they’ll get quality precision-made parts with each order they place. We deliver on time at competitive pricing. We service our clients with professionalism and reliability every time. Call us or visit our website to get started planning your next precision part order.

 

 

 

 

What is CNC Manufacturing?

CNC Manufacturing

What is CNC Manufacturing?

CNC Manufacturing

At United Scientific, our customers are in the “making things” business. The things that make the world go ‘round. These various items permeate several industries, including:

  • Aerospace service
  • Automotive service
  • Defense
  • Agriculture
  • Recreational equipment
  • Medical Device

United Scientific is a parts manufacturer, using a manufacturing process called Computer Numerical Control or CNC. In other words, we make the stuff that goes into other stuff, and we make it with a high degree of precision and engineering, via computer software and code-writing. Our lathes, grinders, and other machines can be commanded digitally instead of manually, raising the bar on quality control and product measurement accuracy.

Let’s contrast CNC manufacturing with numeric control manufacturing or NCM. In NCM, cutting instructions are placed into a machine via punch card guided by a human. In CNC, design specs and machining instructions are entered into a computer, which allows for higher memory and automation, like a robot.

Programming code is easily edited or changed to produce customized results in a CNC process, and those changes remain in the computer memory for future use if desired or needed. CNC means we use a combination of human design and computer software and sometimes custom code to make your part. Here’s how this works.

A brief overview of the CNC process

First, we talk. Our professional staff will consult with you to determine the size, scope, and details of your parts project, as well as delivery deadlines, and competitive pricing. Our end goal is to deliver a defect-free, precision-made part that fits your application the first time, flawlessly.  

Next, we program. We use precision pre-programmed software and sometimes specific code to map out the machining cuts we need to perform and materials we will use to create your part.  We create the specs for your project from design to execution to delivery.

Then, we cut. With your carefully communicated part specifications, we will “measure twice and cut once,” as the saying goes, to ensure the fit and function of the part you order. Our internal audit protocol is one of the most stringent in the nation, providing an accuracy factor of 99-plus percent.

Finally, we deliver. We listen to your feedback, requests for refinement, and budget concerns to tweak the overall project to your specifications. We make sure the parts you request are accurate to your specifications and machined safely, with the highest “lean and green” standards we can offer.

Service Manufacturing in “The Gap.”

Service Manufacturing in the Gap

Precision manufacturing is a fascinating operating system for a parts company. We understand that leading-edge machine technology like CNC is paramount to providing top-quality product and maintaining accuracy throughout the cutting process.

CNC manufacturers are often “gap specialists.” What do we mean by that? Well, at United Scientific, we focus on servicing part gaps in the “making things” process. How does this work?

Let’s say that one of our clients has several large contracts with other parts manufacturers for the primary widgets in their products. The parent company needs thousands upon thousands of those widgets for the finished product they make. However, the same company also requires a much smaller number of gadgets for their product to function optimally as well.

The widget-maker has a minimum part quantity order requirement that would result in an excess of gadgets with no product in which to place them. The parent company now has a problem: order a large quantity of gadget and leave a ton of capital sitting on their shelves tied up in unusable gadgets, or provide a sub-par finished product and risk losing customers.

That’s where United Scientific comes in. Our service-based manufacturing approach allows us to customize orders for exactly the part and quantity you need. The client gets what she wants, built with the highest precision and quantity standards, so there is no wasted time or materials.

Evolving From Pushing Products to Selling Services

Of course, we sell parts. Parts are actual products. You can touch them, hold them, box them, and use them. However, in the CNC industry, we are now beginning to look at our products, more like services. This change in perspective is a subtle but significant shift in the way we do business at large, with many positive outcomes to be had for the customer or partner.  

The precision of CNC–the programming, the software, the tools we use, as well as the human component, allow us to come alongside our customers and partners to ensure a high degree of customization and flexibility in the parts we make and the jobs we complete.

We view our products to be part of our overall service, keeping you on the winning side of your project budget and providing only through-put with little to no waste, as well as on-time custom delivery.

Nimble is Where it’s At

Agility in Creating What You Need

Our CNC process makes us agile. We can easily complete several projects concurrently with our technology. Which makes us a reliable partner for a client’s changing needs, as well as allowing us to manufacture parts in a variety of industries. We can handle any job from large to small and provide the most competitive pricing on the market.

Our Partnerships Seal the Deal

We are a trusted collaborator for other manufacturing companies as well as servicing our own clientele. We assist aerospace and automotive manufacturers as a “second” builder, and our product quality and on-time delivery standards cement those relationships. When other big builders trust us, you know you can trust us for any custom part project you have, no matter the size.  

Choose United Scientific as a Trusted Resource for Your Next Part Order

Our commitment to quality, to the right fit and function the first time, and our high level of customer service make us the clear choice for your next CNC project. We are manufacturing trailblazers with a small business heart. Our customer relationships are paramount to our success.  We mean it when we say Scientific in Process-with our leading-edge technology, and United in Purpose, delivering you the best parts, made lean, made right and making your business work.

 

Four Reasons Your Company Can Benefit From a Precision Machine Shop

Benefits of using a Precision Machine shop

Benefits of using a Precision Machine shop

In the ever-changing global marketplace, staying competitive in your industry can be challenging. With rising costs of materials, the increase in digital marketing demands, and uncertain economic times, it is critical that you streamline your company’s efforts to stay profitable and viable year after year. Choosing to use a high-quality precision machine shop will allow you to do just that.

If you have wondered if hiring a precision machine shop is the right move for your business, reach out to the team at United Scientific Inc. today. With a highly-trained staff and industry-leading technology, we can produce what you need, when you need it.

What Does a Precision Machine Shop Do?

At its basic level, a precision machine shop uses subtractive processes to remove material from a starting blank to produce parts, pieces, and components for manufacturing clients. This subtraction happens through the use of any or all of these machining practices:

  • Drilling
  • Turning
  • Boring
  • Sawing
  • Milling
  • Grinding

Specialized tools use the digital plans rendered from computer-aided design to produce the required specifications. Trained machinists set and adjust the devices and run the program as specified.

In contrast to the machining systems, additive processes form pieces by adding layers of material until the desired shape, size, and parameters emerge. 3D printing is one of the most popular types of additive production.

Also Read: What Happens in a CNC Machine Shop

Although it has gained popularity in recent years, 3D printing remains a much more limited option compared to precision machining. There are limits to the type of substance that can work as a filament in the printers. Machining, on the other hand, can work on almost any material such as wood, foam, metal, and plastic.

Who Uses Precision Machine Shops?

Who Uses Precision Machine shops

You might be surprised by the number of industries that rely on the skills of machinists. If you look around your home or office, the odds are there is something within your reach that uses machined parts.

In addition to traditional manufacturing markets, all of these industries use precision machine shops to produce what they need:

  • Medicine and Research – Medical laboratories rely heavily on precision machine shops to provide accurate pieces on time. Modern research facilities cannot operate without the myriad equipment needed to run tests and protect samples. Machinists supply the parts for that equipment.
  • Aerospace and Aircraft – Not many industries demand precision as much as the aircraft and aerospace industry does. Landing gear, security machinery, and control panels impact people’s lives and safety daily. There is no room for error in aerospace machine shops.
  • Defense – From tank parts to weapons to communication devices, defense departments around the globe need the services of precision machine shops to have top-notch supplies on time.
  • Commercial – Retail companies need reliable, repeatable machining services to be able to keep up with market demand for their products. Fast, high volume output with the ability to change specs as needed is critical in commercial markets.
  • Optics – The precise nature of machining makes it feasible for manufacturers of optical products to work rapidly through several prototypes. Everything from reading glasses to telescopes to microscopes uses machined parts.
  • Food Industry – As food production becomes more and more streamlined and automated, the demand for machined parts is growing. From devices to assess food safety to equipment used in food preparation, machining is becoming a big part of the industry.

Four Reasons Your Company Needs a Precision Machine Shop

If you have been on the fence about hiring a precision machine shop, take the time to learn all about their services for these reasons:

1. Accuracy

As you would expect from something with precision in its name, a precision machine shop is all about accuracy. Many industries, in particular, defense and aerospace, require parts with extremely tight tolerances. There is almost no room for deviation. If your company hopes to win bids in these areas, you must employ a machine shop that can deliver with extreme precision.

United Scientific Inc. is proud to hold the prestigious ISO 9001 Certification that demonstrates our commitment to zero defects and documented accuracy of at least 99% of the time.

2. Timeliness

Modern industry moves fast. Your business cannot compete if it doesn’t have a way to produce parts and merchandise quickly enough to keep up. When you need a prototype in a hurry or must make changes to the specifications of an existing piece, you need the work finished right away. Using a trusted precision machine shop ensures you can get what you need with a short turnaround. If you waste precious days or weeks waiting for a part, the market may leave you behind.

3. Expertise

Although there are times a business may try to produce self-made prototypes and components, they soon recognize that they lack the experience and knowledge to do so. The skill of machinists is not something to take lightly. They have specialized training and significant know-how that a novice cannot duplicate. They also have state-of-the-art tools that finish the job correctly and in a short time.

4. Cost

Businesses are all about the bottom line. You want to increase profits and lower expenses. If you do not have a precision machine shop completing jobs for you, then you likely are paying for a lot of employee hours to complete something a shop could do in moments.

Also, when trying to do this in-house, there are going to be a lot of mistakes that cost more time and materials. Hiring the services of a precision machine is worth it. The return on investment will boost your bottom line.

United Scientific Is On Your Side

United Scientific is On Your Side

If you are wary of trying to go it alone in your parts manufacturing, let United Scientific Inc. help you out. Our expert machinists and friendly staff will work with you to determine what level of service you need for your company to be competitive and profitable.

Our team represents over 70 years of experience in the machining industry. We are honored to be your trusted partner. Contact us today to see how we may serve you.