Stecker Machine Blog

When Do You Know It’s Time to Expand Your List of Qualified CNC Vendors?

11/09/2022 | Ken Jones

Choosing a new CNC vendor is challenging. Evaluating a current CNC machine shop relationship is equally important (and even tougher) because a relationship has developed. This vendor may have been a trusted extension of your team for quite a while, so seeing a clear picture isn’t always easy.

When do you know it’s time to evaluate a current CNC machine shop relationship? Have you properly monitored this vendor’s performance so you can make a wise choice? How can you add one to your list (or drop one)?

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How Does a CNC Machine Shop Rise to the Top? Stecker Machine’s Experience at IMTS

11/01/2022 | Matt Oswald

“It’s a long way to the top, if you want to rock and roll.”

Thank you rock legends, AC/DC. Yet, it’s a long, tough road to reach the top in the manufacturing world, too, especially CNC machining.

So, what does it take to not only be recognized as a “Top Shop” by industry influencer Modern Machine Shop, but also make the cover (and be the feature article) of their annual Top Shops issue? Let’s find out, and also hear about the award presentation during the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS).

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The Importance — and Challenge — of Safely Shipping Finished CNC Machined Parts

10/20/2022 | Howard Drews

So much time and effort is put into machining CNC parts and components: designing, planning, casting, machining, deburring, washing, controlling quality, managing inventory … plus all of the coordination required. Yet, without properly shipping the finished CNC machined parts, all of this effort could be wasted.

Shipping CNC parts — some reaching tolerances to 0.001” — requires the right methods and materials to ensure they arrive undamaged and ready to perform. “Metal” sounds hard and unbreakable, so protection may not seem like a priority … but it is.

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Working With CNC Manufacturing Robotics: A Threat or a Perfect Fit?

10/11/2022 | Scott Waak

Automation is here to stay.

While the overall labor shortage is forcing the hand of manufacturers that haven’t yet embraced automation, those that know it consider automation to be a manufacturing advantage.

Previously, we shared “Tips for Using Industrial Robotics in a CNC Machine Shop,” which covered various aspects of using robotics: robot functions, programming, and the best ways that a shop can use robots.

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How are CNC Machine Shops Adapting to Changes in the Labor Market?

09/22/2022 | Tom Sprang

Let’s start this blog with some numbers on U.S. labor. Today …

  • … there are 50% more job openings than at any time before the pandemic1
  • … there are 755,000 fewer people employed than pre-pandemic1
  • … there has been a 3% decline in workers ages 20 to 24 since the pandemic started1
  • … the unemployment rate is near a half-century low1

So, what does that mean? An unprecedented U.S. labor shortage.

While every industry is being forced to adjust, how are CNC machine shops specifically handling the challenge? Let’s dig in and find out!

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Stecker Machine Company Honored as “2022 Top Shop” by Modern Machine Shop

09/12/2022 | Matt Oswald

MANITOWOC, WI, September 2022 – Stecker Machine Company, a family-owned CNC machine shop with 250+ employees, was recently honored as a 2022 Top Shop for “shopfloor practices & performance” by the editors of Modern Machine Shop.

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CNC Engineering Services That Drive Part Manufacturability

08/24/2022 | Jason Schuh

Designing a new part is one thing. Manufacturing it is a different story.

Talk with any customer of a CNC machine shop, and you’ll no-doubt hear an example of their part design being altered, refined, and/or improved thanks to a CNC manufacturing engineer. Of all the CNC engineering services provided by a machine shop, having an influence on the design itself may not be what you think of first.

Yet, without that insight, there’s no way to determine a part’s design for manufacturability (DFM). And, when you consider all the reasons why a part needs to be more manufacturable — to handle high volume production, to maintain high quality, to make the process easy and, the big one: to keep costs low — it’s clear that a CNC engineer’s modification of a part design is critical.

Let’s explore how that’s done and why it’s so valuable.

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2022 Stecker Youth Employment Spotlight

08/17/2022 | Matt Oswald

Investing in youth employees provides a footing for success. Solid business is built on partnerships, and successful companies develop long-term relationships with employees, customers, and suppliers. Offering youth job experiences is key investment in developing partnership at an early stage.

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CNC Machining Supplier Selection: 6 Top Tips (Spoiler…“Focus on Quality” is #1)

08/15/2022 | Ken Jones

Precision CNC machining is a mainstay of modern American manufacturing. Its extreme accuracy, automation, and cost-effectiveness far surpass traditional machining technology when producing complex parts.

Although completed parts are the main goal, finding the right CNC machining service supplier to meet your specific requirements involves many factors.

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OEM Purchasing Managers Know: In CNC Parts Manufacturing, a Partner Relationship is Key

07/27/2022 | Scott Waak

OEM Purchasing Managers call the shots.

Rarely are those shots based solely on price, even though the responsibilities of a Purchasing Manager surely include exploring cost savings. The services provided by suppliers — including CNC parts manufacturing — are judged by their overall value.

Think about it: A low price is quickly forgotten if part quality is poor or if the delivery is botched. And nearly instantly, confidence is shot, trust is lost, and the future is uncertain … a place no one wants to be.

Let’s explore the real value of a trusted relationship when it comes to CNC parts manufacturing, and uncover what customers really need from a CNC machine shop to be successful.

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