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[12/30/2020] With the holiday season and a new year upon us, no one has to remind machine shop owners and machinists that 2020 will be THE year remembered for its long list of unprecedented challenges and change affecting everyone, both personally and from a business perspective. Early on, the entire world experienced a transformation as we were consumed by the pandemic which continues to devastate lives and livelihoods. What followed in the U.S. was a watershed movement in racial and social justice and a divisive general election, just two moments out of many further cementing 2020 as a year of tumult. For all of us, it has been difficult to remain optimistic in light of recent events, and the future is uncertain. Challenges certainly lie ahead, but we must stay confident and positive as we roll into the future. At Advanced Precision Machining’s Colorado machine shop, we are hopeful and have come to grips with the “new normal” we are living through. Given the circumstances, this past year did have its share of highlights and as it comes to a much-anticipated end, we want to share with readers a few of our milestones and what we’re looking forward to in 2021.
Coming off a very successful 2019, the first three months of this year brought a most welcome increase in demand for our milling and machining services resulting in increased sales and net profit. The precision manufacturing sector was, and is still, faced with the widening “skills gap” between unfilled jobs and finding the skilled employees capable of filling them. We were confronting an unfamiliar reality; the inability to find experienced machinists. With a belief that our most important assets lie in the expertise and professionalism of our employees, and after an exhaustive search, we were lucky and grateful to have hired two new CNC machinists who had decades of experience to bring to the shop floor. Delivering on any manner of CNC machining work and able to put out a quality end product, both new hires have proven themselves to be a cut above the rest, and we are excited to have them on board in 2021.
To keep pace with the competition, inspection reporting requirements, and the demand for machined parts requiring ISO and ITAR certification, APM upgraded its commitment to part accuracy and precision this year with the purchase of a new coordinate measuring machine (CMM). Utilized as a geometric tolerancing tool, today’s advanced CMMs incorporate the latest features in 3D metrology and CNC technology allowing us to maintain our strict quality assurance practices. Into our lineup of machine tools, we welcomed a Keyence XM Series handheld CMM to better perform 3D and GD&T measurements on all types of machined parts moving forward. We can now more easily compare parts with CAD programs and create inspection reports right on the shop floor, simplifying the inspection process by reducing bottlenecks. As standardized requirements for quality management and certified machining increase, APM is in a better position to fulfill orders from customers with these specific needs.
In a year of unprecedented change, 2020 delivered diversification and a new business relationship with APM’s machine shop and ownership. Since opening our doors in 2005, our milling and machining capacity has undergone remarkable growth as a result of expansion and the procurement of new equipment. This year was no different, and the business continues with its evolution. APM founder Gerry Dillon recently entered into a working partnership with Advanced Shooting Analytics (ASA), a company utilizing novel metrology technologies to improve precision and accuracy in the long-range rifle market. ASA incorporates Coordinated Thermal Expansion (CTX™) mechanics into its rifle components, improving performance in environments with changing temperatures. APM and ASA look forward to revolutionizing this market through advanced prototyping, cutting-edge machine tool capabilities, and continued product development.
Late in the year, and despite having to navigate COVID-19’s economic impact on the precision manufacturing sector, we were fortunate enough to experience continued demand for our machine shop services, allowing for a major upgrade to our suite of CNC machining tools. Our most significant purchase in years delivered a new CNC turning machine designed to better multitask operations and maximize productivity. APM’s procurement of a Hyundai WIA multi-axis turning center is revolutionary for us in terms of its design and production improvements and is a monumental advancement over more conventional technology. The SE 2200LSY unit is a versatile Y-axis machine tool engineered with high-speed and semi-automation capabilities. This means greater throughput, more complex parts, and less labor. Our CNC machinists are thrilled to have this technological marvel in our lineup, and it’s already paying dividends.
As a result of the public health crisis, we have confronted a year faced with operational slowdowns and supply chain disruptions, but despite the uncertainties that lie ahead, our long-term initiatives remain unchanged; to meet our client’s needs for precision parts and components machined accurately, on-time and on-budget. We have a history of adapting to change, and the unprecedented turn of events this past year has provided APM with even more incentive to deliver a quality end product. We remain optimistic as all of us return to a sense of normalcy soon, and we will continue with the best customer service experience in the machine shop business, even while social distancing!
Need help with an upcoming project? APM’s reputation for quality parts, on-time reliability, and exceptional customer service cannot be matched! We're happy to discuss any machining needs you have. Call us at 303.776.1910 or send us an email.
Gerry Dillon is a co-founder, current owner, and certified CNC machinist at Advanced Precision Machining (APM), a full-service machine shop located in Longmont, Colorado. Before making his home in the United States in 2000, Gerry was born and raised on the emerald isle of Ireland and took an interest in milling and machining from an early age, ranking #1 in the Irish National Apprenticeship Program. In 2005, he and a partner began what’s grown into a leading Colorado machine shop. Gerry brings over 30 years of machining experience to the shop floor and is certified in all aspects of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing.