The Importance of Machine Tools to the US


If you are new to CNC machine tools, you probably find there is an element of mystery to it. Know first that machine tools both constrain the workpiece and provide the workpiece with guided movements. With this context, it becomes a bit easier to understand what tool holders, retention knobs, ER collets and the like do for a machine. Learning about them helps you understand why they are important to the U.S.

For those interested in what machine tools do, the below is a little primer. CNC tool holders are what hold a cutting implement while it is reshaping the tool. Bound to the cutting implement with retention knobs, these CNC tool holders work in high velocity, high impact environments. Ideally, with strong retention knobs, CNC tool holders are great for production runs.

A counterpart to tool holders and retention knobs are ER collets. ER collets are the standard clamping system in most machine shops. Often holding the workpiece in place, the most common collets grip a round bar or tool. Collets are also designed for squares, hexagons, and many other shapes.

Now that you have an idea of standard CNC tools, you can now see why retention knobs, Er collets, and other bits are so important to the American character. In the past few decades, machine shops, like other manufacturing, has moved overseas. From Japan and Mexico, many machine shops found there way over to China and Eastern Europe. Labor was cheap, and transportation costs were even cheaper. Apparently, retention knobs were the same quality over there as they are here.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, machine shops have begun reshoring to the United States. Businesses may tell you that reshoring is due to high transportation costs and labor costs overseas. This is true, but does not negate the fact that the American worker is so high quality.

Since the early days of the Industrial Revolution, when machine tools helped textile plants, retention knobs and other parts have been important. Today, CNC tool holders, retention knobs, and other tools are being used in machine shops across the U.S. As manufacturing hums, let us hope they continue a revival. To see more, read this:

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