Category Archive: Uncategorized

Leveraging LinkedIn for Sales: A LinkedIn How To Guide for Sales

As the Marketing Manager of US Metal Crafters, I spend a good amount of time on LinkedIn building our company profile link. While LinkedIn is an incredible tool for businesses, sales representatives can also turn their LinkedIn profile into a sales generating machine.  So incredible that we hosted a LinkedIn Webinar for all of our sales reps. You watch the webinar view here or keep reading for the top ticks and tricks from the webinar “Leveraging LinkedIn for Sales.”

I like to think of LinkedIn as the modern-day equivalent of a Trade Show. With the impact of COVID-19 and the increase in digital communications, this rings even more true today. Many in outside sales are facing the reality that doors are not open for visitors-and in-person networking has become increasingly difficult with many of the top trade show events being canceled for the year. Feeling a bit stuck? Utilizing LinkedIn can help you start to open more doors again and develop new business and network. Here’s how to turn your LinkedIn profile to an All-Star virtual trade show booth!

Start By Building Your Trade Show Booth- (Your LinkedIn Profile)

When planning for a trade show your first thought is what will my booth look like and what kind of material do I need to draw in visitors? For LinkedIn, you build your trade show booth by completing and updating your profile. They are four key sections to your LinkedIn profile: Intro, About, Featured, & Background.

By completing these sections you build trust and transparency and offer conversation starters. Your intro should include a current profile picture, cover photo, and descriptive headline. Your headline acts like your tradeshow banner tagline giving visitors a quick look into your offering.

LinkedIn Screenshot Headline & Summary

Headline & Summary

By including your work and education history in your background you are providing LinkedIn with the tools it needs to suggest relevant content and connections. To do so, you’ll want to update your Featured and Background sections. Your Featured section can take the form of links to external content including web pages, videos, and podcasts, as well as adding documents like PowerPoint presentations, PDFs or photos, while your Background will act as your digital resume.

Screenshot LinkedIn Background

Background (Experience & Education)

Next, Make Sure Your Trade Show is in the Right Room- Curating Your Newsfeed with Relevant Content

Now that your trade show booth (profile) is looking flawless, you’ll want to make sure you’re in the right room bringing in the right visitors. To do this follow relevant companies and hashtags aka topics, and join groups.

This will help bring content from industry influencers, potential business contacts, and companies that by interacting with will allow you to build your network through relevant conversations. Think of this as the networking sessions at your trade show- by being an active part of the LinkedIn conversation you’ll naturally build your network.

LinkedIn Comment

Activity

Manage My LinkedIn Network

Hashtags, Pages, Groups etc.

 

Now what? How to keep getting the most out of LinkedIn & Keep Your Trade Show Booth Relevant

You’re all ready for your “LinkedIn Trade Show” debut! You’ve carefully crafted your trade show booth, made sure your booth is in the right location, and brought the right visitors to your booth. However, it doesn’t stop there. To keep the momentum and continue to build your network and sales opportunities there are a few tricks to get the most out of LinkedIn.

  1. Regular Activity & Updates- including work history or achievements as they change
  2. Set LinkedIn Browsing/Connecting time- daily or weekly
  3. Keep it Manageable- spend only 15-20 mins at a time
  4. Keep Learning- LinkedIn updates regularly and there are many great resources to stay up to date on any changes

Hopefully, you aren’t feeling stuck any longer and have a path to knocking open some new doors & sales opportunities. Let your LinkedIn Trade Show Booth shine and utilize the new network you are building. And while you’re at it be sure to follow US Metal Crafters on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/us-metal-crafters/

Automation & Quality Assurance For Manufactures In 2020

IMPLEMENTING ADVANCED OPTICS + 3D SCANNING

I have been with US Metal Crafters for a little over a year now. During this time I have seen a number of new updates, new processes, new machinery, and renewed growth. In my opinion, some of the most exciting changes have taken part in our Quality Assurance department.

QA is an essential part of any manufacturing business, not only does QA increase customer confidence but it also improves internal process and efficiency. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, we are dedicated to not just meeting quality standards but exceeding them. Fintegro, has a great diagram to explain the role of QA in product development:“QA makes sure that the end result meets the business and user requirements. It ensures the reliability of the application and satisfaction of the user and is a secret key to draw development of the business.” – Arine Baghdasaryan, Research Specialist

diagram

 

At US Metal Crafters, we are paving the way in what is the new standard quality assurance by implementing some of the most advanced technology 2020 has to offer. Our newest shop addition, the 3D Optic Planar Inspection System utilizes world-renowned QA technology providing uniform and actionable data. Not only can we ensure each first article meets specifications but we can ensure consistency across production runs and be alerted of any deviance with one click scanning ensuring we meet both customer demands and expectations.

What makes the Opti-Scan Planar different is it is the world’s only system that can measure edges in 3D and read out accurate hole sizes and the true position of edges. Our Opti-Scan 3D measures edges in 3D with actual measurement data, not with the absence of data like other systems. Edge measurements are critical in measuring fold lengths and holes.

Opti-Scan 3D uses market leading white light scanning technology to scan formed parts. A White Light Scanner (WLS) is a device for measuring the physical geometrical characteristics of an object. It doesn’t stop there- the innovative Opti-Scan software then analyses the data to output a point cloud of the surfaces and edges of the object in a variety of report formats based on customer needs. Each scan can contain up to 40 million edge measurements and 20 million surface measurements.

For US Metal Crafters and our customers, this means we can accurately measure surfaces and edges in 3D, identify and resolve issues through single click inspection, complete instant product quality verification, reverse engineer from existing parts, & provide comprehensive report generation and CAD comparison.


   
   

Contact us to learn how our QA process can make a difference in your part development and production.


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

US Metal Crafters: A Story of Growth and Agility

Here at US Metal Crafters, we have been dedicated to investing in and developing processes that allow us to better serve our customers’ needs and to offer a full metal crafting solution. Part of our solution is the ability to be dynamic and adjust to fit customer’s unique needs and this has garnered USMC attention from Industry Leaders.

Recently, US Metal Crafters was featured in two The Fabricator articles highlighting our new machinery, processes, and ability to be agile to meet customer needs. While we’d love to have you visit to truly understand the US Metal Crafters difference these two articles will give good insight to what has been going on at US Metal Crafters over the past two years.

 

ARTICLE EXCERPT

“You aren’t going to get bored working in a metal fabricating shop. The nature of the job guarantees that.”

“In the world of metal fabricating, experience doesn’t get in the way of major change. In fact, it makes it all the more possible. For example, consider this quick turnaround story. Kernersville, N.C.-based US Duct, a manufacturer of ducting, fittings, industrial ventilation systems, and tubing products, purchased a stamping operation in Archdale, N.C., that was about to close. It relaunched the company as US Metal Crafters and with a new business strategy: It wanted to be the metal fabricating service provider for the largest manufacturing OEMs in the area and beyond, if necessary.

In two years the company’s new focus was paying off. It added metal fabricating capabilities to its in-house tool- and diemaking and repair business and stamping business. Now it is working with some of the largest multinational companies in the world. The shop is no longer entertaining the local “inventor” who was looking for someone to build a prototype of his doohickey. US Metal Crafters has remade itself into the metal fabricating expert for its customers that are more interested in assembling a final product than fabricating one from the ground up.”


 

ARTICLE EXCERPT

“They have changed the trajectory of US Metal Crafters’ business in a major way. They have developed a new customer focus, increased the workforce from a handful of employees to more than 30, and invested more than $1 million in new technology.”

“Just how was this transformation achieved in such a short time frame? Having the right location, plan, and technology mix helped to put US Metal Crafters on the right path for success.

The growth of the Sun Belt’s economies is not a new trend, but it’s still a developing story. Population shifts are occurring as people leave the Midwest and Northeast in search of a warmer climate, lower cost of living, and lower tax burden. Manufacturing companies also have been a part of this shift, taking advantage of an expanding working-age population and infrastructure that has been created over the last 25 years to support these companies. The rise of vehicle manufacturing in states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee is just one example of how manufacturing has found a home in the southeastern U.S.

Archdale, N.C., is conveniently located to most of this economic activity. It’s only about 360 miles from Atlanta and less than 500 miles from Nashville. (It’s actually less than 500 miles from Philadelphia as well, so the East Coast is covered too.) US Metal Crafters actually can call some of the country’s biggest OEMs “neighbors,” as they are only a state or two away. These are some of the largest manufacturers of agricultural, construction, and hardware equipment. You might also consider Archdale a “suburb” of High Point, N.C., the hub of furniture-making in the U.S. For a provider of fabricating services, Archdale is a pretty good place to be.”


CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION, QUOTES, OR LEAD TIMES


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

What does it take to be a Tool and Die maker?

Over the past few months at US Metal Crafters, I’ve continued to learn the technical side of metal crafting and how our services integrate and flow into one another. However, even though I had seen Tool & Die work first-hand here at USMC and completed my typical googling process I still struggled to understand fully what Tool & Die was and why it was such an integral part of the metal crafting world- including here at USMC. So, I set out to fix this and set up an interview with one of our Tool & Die, experts, Anthony Richardson. I was especially curious to find out from Anthony how he got into the Tool & Die field and what all his job entails. Anthony graciously responded to my interview request and was able to shed light on these questions and more!   

What is Tool & Die?

Anthony: Tooling is what produces your parts within the stamping area of manufacturing. The essential work involved in Tool and Die is design, building, and maintenance of tool and dies that are used to make parts.

But, what do you make with Tool & Die?

It is used to design new tool fixtures and for assembly, fabrication, and prototype development. Another major part of Tool & Design work is maintaining the Tools & Dies, ensuring that they are properly sharpened. At USMC we’ve recently created a new tool called the CGT angle bracket to go on garage doors, a variety of solar panel parts, lawn care blades, and bed frame parts. The list goes on and on!

What kind of education is required?

Typically, apprenticeship is required after going to machining school because there are not many dedicated programs for Tool & Die schooling.  For me, I completed six years of Machinists schooling at a local community college. I then started as a stamping press operator and was fascinated with how parts are manufactured, so I began an apprenticeship in Tool & Die. I have been in the field now for over 12 years.

What do you need to succeed in the Tool & Die world?

To be a successful Tool & Die maker, you need to be organized and very detailed oriented. There is a lot of precision work with Tool & Die as tolerance is as small as one-thousandth. How small is that? It’s the same as if you were to divide a piece of hair into five pieces. In Tool & Die measuring is your friend!  You’ll need to learn how to measure with calibers and in mics. Knowledge of engineering software such as Solidworks or CAAD is very important.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Being able to see a part that you have developed and created being used to make a final product and meet people’s needs. Like seeing a seat frame come to life after it is upholstered and know your part helped make that.

Anthony Richardson

 

Anthony Richardson

Tool & Die Specialist, US Metal Crafters


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

In The Press: New Name, New Vision

Over the past year, we’ve garnered attention about the transformation under new US-based ownership and the investments to increase our operating speeds and capabilities. Here’s what we’ve been up to…

Archdale based metal crafters under New Ownership, gets new name and vision.

Steve McDaniel, local business developer, announces his completed acquisition of the assets of the former Speed Metal of Archdale, NC. Returning the company from Chinese to US ownership, the acquisition means an increase in opportunities for manufacturing in the Triad. The rebranded business will operate as US Metal Crafters, LLC.

US Metal Crafters is now an ISO 9001:2015 certified metal crafting company with many capabilities including laser cutting, metal stamping, and roll forming. Original equipment manufacturers in North Carolina will have a trusted partner in a company with several laser cutters, EDM machines, press brakes, and seasoned fabrication capabilities.

From company owner Steve McDaniel: “We saw a void in the industry for a responsive, American-owned and -operated metal crafting company. This acquisition provided us with the foundational equipment, personnel skill-set and positioning to grow that company right here in the Triad. It’s a win for the industry and the area.”

US Metal Crafters has already invested over $1.5 million in facility, equipment, and software improvements since the change of ownership. The company expects to continue to grow over the next five years by adding over 100 jobs for welders, fabricators, computer-automated machinery operators, engineers, and office support. 

Read Additional USMC Press here: 

Inquiries? Contact info@us-metalcrafters.com


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

Cigars & Metal Crafting: The Perfect Blend

Crafting Cigar Barrels

On my first tour around the US Metal Crafters shop, I learned about some of the unique parts we make. One that really stood out to me as unusual was our cigar barrel clamps. These were not your typical furniture or machine part and another reminder as to how pervasive the metal crafting world is.

 

Cigars have been in the Americas as early as the 10th century and have become a pop culture reference hearkening back to the roaring 20’s or symbolizing a life of luxury to becoming synonymous with mobsters and politicians. Think the Great Gatsby, Scarface, and Churchill.

 

  

  

 

Cigars get their flavor through the chosen mix of tobacco leaves, wrapper, binder & filler but also the aging process. USMC makes a barrel band that secures barrels for aging, as shown above. This process was taken out of the winemakers’ book, as a unique way to influence flavor based on wood selection and the unique longer shape of the barrel is to allow for optimal space usage. While this process is not as widespread as it once was, US Metal Crafters crafts these barrel clamps for one of the last oak barrel-aged cigar makers in America. These cigars are appreciated by cigar connoisseurs for their enhanced flavors and the attention to detail, just as USMC crafts each barrel band with attention to detail and precision.

Want to learn more about Cigars? Check out these awesome articles.


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

Beginner’s Guide to Laser Cutting

After diving into the three main processes of metal crafting in my previous post “Metal Crafting Guide For Dummies,” I found that lasers had grabbed my focus (pun intended) and wanted to dive deeper. I was, after all, not previously aware that lasers formed a new type of energy, and I wanted to understand more about the origins of laser cutting and how it has influenced our society.

HISTORY:

Lasers were invented in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories through optical amplification of light by radiation. Which helps to explain how the acronym Laser got its name “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” Five years later, the first production laser cutting machine was developed to drill holes in diamond dies.

 

  

 

LASERS IN POP CULTURE:

Within the next few years, laser cutting began to be applied to more materials such as metal, textiles, wood, and glass. This cutting edge (another pun. I’m on a roll) technology became a part of pop culture with spy classic films such as Goldfinger the third installment in the James Bond series and has remained a part of pop culture with films like Star Wars and Austin Powers.

 

 

“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

LASERS IN FASHION:

What do James Bond and Fashion Houses have in common? Lasers! Beyond its impact on film, laser cutting has made a huge influence in the fashion world. Laser cutting techniques have been applied to a variety of textiles, including wool, cotton, nylon, polyester, silk, leather, and more. Initially, laser cut clothing was as an exclusive design technique reserved for top fashion houses but has become commonplace and a trend that can be found across the fashion industry.

 

 

LASER CUTTING AT US METAL CRAFTERS:

Once I knew everything about lasers and pop culture, I wanted to see how they applied to US Metal Crafters. I discovered that we offer precision laser cutting services to customers across a spectrum of industries such as the furniture, energy, and general metal manufacturing industries creating custom fabricated components to meet their needs.

I learned that we are also ISO compliant (meaning we follow guidelines and standards established by the International Organization for Standardization) and that due to our advanced laser cutting system, we can have multiple configurations. I also discovered the importance of lead time to our customers and that our team of seasoned professionals can create parts of numerous geometries with typical lead times of just 2 to 4 weeks.

Excitingly, we have also just purchased a Mazak Optiplex Champion 3015 Fiber laser which will allow for faster operations speeds meaning parts will get to you faster! Watch the video below to see it in action.

 

Comment with your favorite movie or show that features lasers below. Mine has to be Toy Story “To infinity…and beyond!”

Metal Crafting Guide for Dummies

In its simplest terms metal crafting, otherwise known as metalworking, is the process of creating or fashioning metal parts and objects. It gets a bit more complicated as you get into how these parts and objects are actually created. Through my journey to learn more about metal crafting, I discovered there are A LOT of ways to fashion metal…which was a bit overwhelming at first. To help trim things down and understand the “important stuff” I dove into researching the main processes of metal crafting, I’ve broken it down below and created a quick “metal crafting guide for dummies” based on my learnings.

Metal Crafting experts- have a family member or friend who never quite understands exactly what you do? Share this blog post with them and problem solved!


Metal Crafting Guide for Dummies

I discovered that there is a hierarchy of metal crafting that begins with a group of main process with a larger number of sub-processes (or techniques) that fall within the main process. The three main processes in metalworking are Forming, Cutting, and Joining. I’ll briefly cover these processes and some of the main techniques that allow each process to be accomplished below.

FORMING:

The number one thing I learned about forming is that it is only a process of reshaping, and no material is gained or lost. There two types of forming: hot or cold working process. The process chosen is typically based on the metal type and end product goal. Bending and forging are two of the oldest metal crafting forming techniques.

 

 

  • Metal Bending

    • Is often a cold working process but can be hot. It is typically used to create a desired geometric shape and to remove sharp edges.
  • Forging

    • I’m sure you think forging must be a hot process well…drumroll…it can also be cold. Forging is just utilizing compression to shape metal. Forged parts are touted for their strength.

CUTTING:

Cutting in its simplest terms is taking an object and removing parts to make a new shape. Think about those snowflake paper projects. For cutting metal, it’s pretty much the same as your grade school project, but the tool by which the cutting is completed is very different, and there are several variations for cutting.

 

 

  • Laser Cutting

    • I was surprised to discover that when lasers were created an entirely new form of energy was developed. The laser cutting process is typically automated and allows for elaborate and detailed cuts that are exact; easily cutting through metal as if it were butter.
  • Blade Cutting

    • Think about the wood saw used for that diy pallet wall you saw on HGTV. It’s the same concept for blade cutting metal, but the blade itself is typically much stronger and often requires water as part of the process to keep the metal cool and to help extend the life of the blade
  • Water Jet Cutting

    • Your earth science courses taught you about the power of water and erosion think Grand Canyon. Water jet cutting harness the power of water into a high powered jet that allows the metal to be cut through easily.

JOINING:

Is exactly what it sounds like. Joining is the process of bringing multiple materials together. Joining can be temporary or permanent. These joining processes include bolt & screw, clamping, soldering, brazing, welding and more. Welding is distinct in that it melts both the base metal and the metal that is being joined.

 

 

  • Gas/Oxy welding

    • This type of welding uses, yep you guessed it, gas…but also oxygen to weld or melt both materials together. Typically a torch is used to direct the heat at the joining point.
  • Arc Welding

    • An electrical arc is used to create intense heat which is hot enough to melt both metals so that they can melt together and then form a strong joining point as it cools.

Additional Metal Crafting Resources

Now you are an expert on the three processes of metal crafting: Forming, Joining, and Cutting. Hopefully learning more about each of the main process of metal crafting sparked your interest. If you’re like me and you want to keep digging in and learning more, I’ve included a list some of the best resources I came across during my research for each process:

Forming Resources:

Cutting Resources:

Joining Resources:


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

History of Industrial Metal Crafting

What better place to start than the beginning? I’ve learned how much of an impact metal crafting makes in our daily lives, but how did it start and where is the industry headed?

If you’re like me, you’ve only heard about Eli Whitney as the inventor of the Cotton Gin in grade school. So I was surprised to see his name EVERYWHERE when researching the history of manufacturing. In fact, postmodern manufacturing can be traced back to Eli Whitney, the War of 1812, and a contract from the government for 10,000 muskets.

The rapid increase in demand for these muskets led to innovation that would influence the outcome of the war and change our society as we know it.

History- Interchangeable PARTS Make the Difference:

 

 

Whitney implemented the mass production of parts to specific dimensions through tooling, eliminating the need for expensive craftsmen needed for the usual specialized fittings.

So you may be thinking ok…but what’s tooling? My thoughts exactly! Glad we’re on the same page.

Well, the answer is pretty simple…industrial tooling is the part of manufacturing where you design and engineer the tools that are necessary to manufacture parts or components you need for your end product.

Talk about a game changer! Not only could end products now be rapidly assembled from standardized parts, but repairs could be quickly made by ordering and replacing a particular part rather than creating an entirely new end product.

Whitney’s developments in machining set the path for what we know as the modern machine shop which continues to grow and develop to this day.

Today- Poised for Rapid Growth:

 

 

Kelly Clark highlights just how rapidly the Metal Crafting Industry is set to grow in her recent Fabtech article: “…production in the U.S. is estimated to grow 2.8 percent from 2018-2021 (a faster increase than other segments of the general economy), and manufacturing continues to have an outsized influence on regional economies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, manufacturing generates $1.40 in economic activity for every dollar put in. The metalworking industry is poised for growth.”

Read more here.

Metalworking today is typically divided into the following categories: forming, cutting, and, joining -each of which contains various processes.

Whooo! That’s enough processes to process for now! Time for a latte break. Check back soon for the next blog, diving into each of these categories.


As the newest employee at US Metal Crafters, Meredith Barnes is fully immersing herself in all things metal. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the world of metal crafting one Latte at a time. Follow along on her journey to metal here.

Not So Heavy Metal Comment Policy

  

  

Let’s face it the internet is a bit like the wild west nowadays. To keep things a bit more lassoed in, let’s have some guidelines for comments here to keep the Not So Heavy Metal Blog a safe haven from buckaroo spammers and yeehaw trolls…you know the kind.

Just follow our golden rule for commenting: “Keep Calm and Comment with Courtesy” and we’ll be sure to have a welcoming community for metal crafters and metal newbies alike. Not quite sure what all that means? Check out the version of our comment policy that lawyers prefer here.

Thanks for the Crafter Courtesy & Comment on!