Category Archive: Uncategorized

Why American-made Matters?

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, America realized just how much the dependence on overseas manufacturing comes at a high cost. With the recently imposed tariffs on Chinese imports and manufacturing cost changes, many Americans have suffered from delayed shipping and difficult product sourcing on account of relying on imported goods.

 

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IMPACTED THE GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN AND FRACTURED RELATIONS IN USA AND CHINA. 

 

The pandemic caused a huge breakdown in the supply chain and fractured relations between USA and China. This made it difficult for companies to produce products, and to know whether these products were deemed essential or not.  To add to this obstacle, shipping products to warehouses and customers proved to be an issue. Because of transport cost and delays, manufacturers had to order much larger volumes at once to fill complete containers and to keep their manufacturing running.  It is not unusual for companies to order a six- or 12-month supply at once.

Due to transport costs and shipping delays, companies realized that domestic products had fewer supply chain issues and the customers they serve were less effected. This realization led to the re-ignited interest in domestic products.  To which, according to the 2017 Reuters survey, “70 percent of Americans think it is “very important” or “somewhat important” to buy U.S.-made products”.

Here at US Metal Crafters, we have always believed in the value of American made products and manufacturing. We believe American made products are the priority, and companies who invest in domestic products experience fewer supply chain disruptions allowing their customers to feel little effects.

 

And if a company can obtain the product geographically closer at a competitive price, there is an advantage. The products arrive in the consumer’s hands faster and design changes are implemented faster based off demand.

We give the customers something to rely on with American-made metal fabrication and place importance on “American made” for our brand. By doing this, we are constantly ensuring that our products are quality, reliable, traceable, and dependable.

 

 

Quality Assurance

 

Americans perceive quality as extrinsically valuable, and we, as Americans, want products we can trust.  Purchasing American-made products means purchasing a product that is “naturally better” at doing the job. Companies have full control over the manufacturing process from materials used to constructing the product. The total oversight of the manufacturing process creates a quality product that cannot be matched by outsourcing.

As customers demand tighter tolerances, better consistency, and higher overall quality in their components, sheet metal fabricators must invest in more advanced control tools and technologies for their operations to remain competitive. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, QA is an essential part of US Metal Crafters’ operating process. US Metal Crafters employs computer-controlled manufacturing and inspection systems, and we are fully committed to ensuring the quality of our products and processes. As part of this commitment, we have implemented the use of InspecVision’s Opti-Scan 3D—to verify our finished components meet all applicable customer and industry standards.

 

Reliability

 

Products are easier to re-stock if made in America because manufacturers do not have to rely on long shipping times and costly rates. Shipping in a container from Europe or China can add months to the delivery time. Over the last 5-6 years, the cost to bring a container in from Europe has risen from around $5,000 to closer to $25,000. And they must pay upfront.  With a US vendor, they can often order on a month-by-month basis.

A big part of the equation for customers is delivery. At US Metal Crafters, we know that making the product is only one part of manufacturing, and lead time is a factor in managing complex supply chains.

 

Traceability

 

Should there ever be a concern, we can trace back to the source and figure out a fix quickly. As an American manufacturer, US Metal Crafters finds it easier to maintain relationships throughout the supply chain and provide an incredible guarantee on all projects.

 

 

 

 

It’s easier to stand behind American-made products, and the “American made” label creates value by representing American values such as: work ethic, freedom, and strife to be the best.

American businesses and workers are the backbone of our nation, and keeping manufacturing here helps maintain our economic independence. So, when you buy or support American-made products, you are supporting the recovery of manufacturing, which yields economic and job recovery.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that American made is valuable and matters. And US Metal Crafters will continue to create value in American-made manufacturing and metal fabrication through quality, reliability, and traceability.


If American-made also matters to you, contact us to learn more about the benefits of American metal fabrication and manufacturing.

 

 


 

As the Marketing Manager at US Metal Crafters, Meghan Caulder is learning everything to know about metal fabrication. Self-ascribed google search addict and chronic researcher; she’s discovering the art of metal crafting one click at a time.  Follow along on her journey as she forges her way into the manufacturing world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Things To Consider When Selecting A Manufacturer – Checklist

Selecting the right manufacturer for your needs can seem like an overwhelming task. There are so many options and sources for information- decision fatigue is real!

Being in the marketing field, I’m always curious to know how customers find us and what led them to select US Metal Crafters or any of their other suppliers. Breaking down the key decision-making factors helps to hone in on what you truly need in a supplier and simplify your selection process.

Our customers have consistently mentioned 5 key elements that helped them in their decision-making process.

So, we’ve created a quick checklist of the 5 most important questions to ask yourself to make your selection process a breeze!

Download Supplier Checklist

 

The first page of the checklist is an example of how a Purchaser might answer the checklist, while the second page is blank for your use.

Having a clear picture of your project requirements at the start of your search will help quickly narrow down a list of potential manufacturers. We recommend referencing the quick checklist to develop a complete picture of essential project requirements.


Below are the 5 key elements that Purchasers consider during their decision-making process and how they help you ensure you are selecting a manufacturer that is the best fit for your needs.

 

1. What Capabilities & Qualifications Does My Project Require? 

First, asking yourself the question, “what capabilities and qualifications does my project require?” will keep you from spending time speaking with manufacturers that won’t be able to meet your needs. For example, if you require ISO certification, assembly, and fabrication, you can use this to narrow down your list of potential suppliers quickly.

Having this understanding will also ensure you are prepared for your initial discovery conversations. 

 

2. Just How Important Is Location, Location, Location? 

Just how important is the location of your manufacturer? There are a lot of factors to consider here.

 

Partnering with a domestic manufacturer offers a wide range of benefits:

  • Consumer Perception. Often products manufactured in the US are considered more trustworthy and of higher quality to consumers.
  • Quality Control. Having insight into your manufactures operations can provide peace of mind and better control over quality. With a US manufacturer, you can visit more easily and frequently. 
  • Simplified Logistics. In today’s world, simplifying your logistics is key- customs, container costs, time zones, language barriers, and shutdowns can all run the risk of creating a logistical nightmare. Having a US-based manufacturer eases your supply chain risk with shipments being a few days truck away or even closer!

 

3. Is The Equipment & Technology I Need Available?

While it might seem like a no-brainer and perhaps redundant, understanding the technology in place can help determine if the project will be cost-effective. It also says a lot about how the manufacturer plans to evolve.

Understanding if the manufacturer is willing to continue to invest in new processes and machinery lets you know if they are looking to craft a partnership or looking for work. It’s a great qualifying question and a quick way to “dig deeper.”

 

4. How Much Insight Will I Have Into The Process- Transparency?

Another critical question to ask yourself is how much insight do you need into the process? For example, do you need insight into how the company arrived at their pricing, or production updates, or communication about shipping, or only delivery confirmation?

It is easier to have a transparent partnership with a US-based manufacturer due to the ability to visit frequently and not run into communication barriers such as language and operating multiple timezones apart. Having an open and transparent partnership starts as early as the first sales call through quoting to delivery- so ask yourself this question early.

 

5. What Is The Quality Assurance Process & Commitment To Delivery?

As any good purchaser knows, quality and delivery are a must. So how can you ensure on-time delivery and quality are a part of what you are purchasing? A great way to ask is, “how do you handle late orders or quality issues?” This will help you understand how a company would handle a worst-case scenario and how they prioritize delivery and quality.


Download Checklist


American-owned and operated US Metal Crafters provides quality metal fabrication and finishing services, including stamping, laser cutting, fabrication, assembly, powder coating, and tool & die from our facility in Archdale, North Carolina. To learn more about the US Metal Crafters difference and our “Incredible Guarantee” contact us today 

Contact us to learn more about the US difference.

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As the Marketing Manager 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.

How Does Powder Coating Work?

US Metal Crafters serves a wide range of metal component requirements, from design to production and finishing, all under one roof. One of the services we offer that is growing in demand is powder coating. Since this has become such an in-demand service for our clients in various industries such as agriculture, HVAC, automotive, construction, home appliance, outdoor equipment, and more, we want to take an opportunity to talk more about it in this blog.

What is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a dry finishing process that is rapidly becoming more popular in the industrial finishing market. During the powder coating process, we apply a free-flowing polymer resin powder to the surface of the component. It is then cured to form a smooth, hard coating that is both protective and decorative, depending on the exact powder formulation used.

While powder coating services can be used for many types of materials, the most common application we see at US Metal Crafters is for metal parts, tubes, and products. Powder coating is an excellent alternative for coating components that are difficult to cover using traditional liquid coating methods. Other benefits include:

  • High durability and scratch resistance, leading to lower maintenance requirements
  • Color flexibility, when outward appearance is a high priority
  • Good resistance to wear for outdoor and industrial applications
  • Consistent thickness and coverage, even in hard-to-reach areas
  • Environmental friendliness — excess powder can be reused to eliminate waste
  • Cost-effectiveness over the long run due to the minimized need for re-application

powder coating oven 2

How Does Powder Coating Work?

Here at US Metal Crafters, we take great care in ensuring a high-quality finish from our powder coating services. Key steps in this process include:

  • Preparation. Our skilled craftsmen carefully prepare the workpiece for the powder finish application. We clean, rinse, and dry the component to remove any contaminants, so the powder will adhere and coat properly. Our wash booth is EPA-compliant and recycles the water supply.
  • Application. Once the surface is prepared, we typically apply the powder material via an electrostatic spray deposition, which causes the powder to adhere to the electrically grounded surface. We may also use a fluidized bed, where the component is preheated and then dipped into a bed of charged and fluidized powder.
  • Curing. The final step is curing the piece in our Heraeus PLC Infrared Gas Catalytic Powder Coating Oven. The powder fuses with the surface to create a hardened outer coating. Our curing process is up to three times faster than conventional convection ovens, allowing us to drastically reduce turnaround time for client powder coating projects. 

A particular benefit of our Heraeus coating oven is that it features both perpendicular and angular heating panels, which means that we have a unique ability to accommodate angular and hard-to-target parts. The oven’s perpendicular panels first provide even heat to the part. As the part reaches the angular panels of the oven, they then target the hard-to-reach areas. It is rare for a powder coating oven to have both panel types – the US Metal Crafters team is able to support our customers with diverse powder coating requirements.

Choose Powder Coating Services at US Metal Crafters

As a specialist in metal fabrication and metal forming, US Metal Crafters brings our diverse expertise and superior service to all powder coating projects. Our in-house facilities remove third-party delays and ensure on-time delivery of parts; our design-to-delivery capabilities ensure parts that meet even the most stringent specifications. We have a full spectrum of standard powder coatings available and can provide custom coatings in a matter of just days. 

With over 120,000 square feet of space, US Metal Crafters provides powder coating services for components varying in complexity. Our in-house powder coating services are just one facet of our vast fabrication, assembly, and finishing services, allowing us to serve clients of all sizes and from all industries with timely delivery and high-quality results. Contact us today or find your local US Metal Crafters representative to learn more about professional powder coating.

 

A Match Made in Fabricating Heaven: Laser Cutting + Forming

Valentine’s Day is a time to recognize the perfect partner in your life. So we thought, why not take a moment to celebrate the match of Laser Cutting + Press Brake forming. So what makes this such a good match? Fast, efficient, & clean laser cutting + automated press brake bending means we can manufacturer parts faster with more accuracy and provide an often cheaper alternative to Roll Forming. Don’t worry Roll Forming still has its own perfect match!

A World of Difference- Laser Cutting + Press Brake:

In early 2019, we purchased a 3-kW Mazak Optiplex Champion 3015 fiber laser cutting machine and a SafanDarley 100T electric press brake. We choose to invest in this technology because we knew how well they would complement each other in the shop for years to come.

In fact, it was such a great match that within 6 months we purchased another 8-kw Mazak fiber laser through our distributor, Capital Machine Technologies.

Mazak Fiber Laser

8kw Mazak Fiber Laser at USMC

Press Brake Keeping Pace:

Even with the laser cutting speed of our two Mazak Fiber Lasers, the SafanDarley press brake can keep up with the bending work. General Manager Mike Hansen describes just how the press brake is able to keep up: “When we have the parts that are coming off the laser as fast as they’re coming off, we need something that can do multiple bends on them very quickly. The press brake with fully automated gauging can do this,” Hansen said. “We’re not having a bunch of downtime or setting up multiple machines to run multiple bends, and we do it much more efficiently because everything is computerized. It also allows us to bend with a lot more accuracy.”

Shaun Reiff, of Capital Machine Technologies, describes how the SafanDarley press brake utilizes state of the art technology to handle multiple detailed bends:

“Bending jobs are created with an offline software package called AutoPOL. The brake uses this data to illuminate the LED lights on the upper and lower tool clamping system. These LED lights, part of the brake’s Smart Tool Locator, indicate precisely where on the press brake the tools need to be loaded in the machine to run every job.

When the job is ready for the press brake, all the operator has to do is call it up, load the appropriate tools, and form the part. The process of loading a program, loading the tools, and running a part that meets quality specs typically can be done in less than five minutes.”

SafanDarley Press Brake

SafanDarley Press Brake Operator

By having machinery that is both user-friendly and technically advanced we have been able to serve the growing customer demand for laser cutting and press brake work and can easily accommodate additional shifts to ensure we deliver on-time with accuracy.

Automating Manufacturing:

The addition of this modern fabricating equipment has set us up to get parts out the door on-time and according to specs. As a supplier to OEMs, we often have long receptive runs of parts and components spanning throughout the year. “The great thing about the laser and the press brake is once the files are in there, you only need to create the program once,” Hansen said. “If it’s a repetitive part, you can just call it up and hit go.” Once we have done one run of a part the next run can be processed even faster.

Owner & General Manager in front of Mazak Laser

Our President, Steve McDaniel & General Manager, Mike Hansen- Another “Perfect Match!”


Contact us to learn more about this perfect match.


As the Marketing Manager 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.

Cleaning & Pretreatment in Industrial Powder Coating

Over the past two years at US Metal Crafters I have witnessed our continued commitment to invest in our facility and processes so that we can offer a full metal crafting solution under one roof. As an OEM supplier, many of the parts and components that we produce require specialty finishing. To ensure quality and on-time delivery we added Powder Coating to our service line in-house to better serve our customer needs. There are a number of benefits to utilizing powder coating and a seemingly endless number of potential applications.

WHY USE POWDER COATING?

Powder Coating is used across many industries and is an important part of modern-day manufacturing. Powder coating creates a durable finish that prevents scratches, chipping and corrosions. With the variety of color options and finish types, powder coating is used in many industries where the cosmetic appearance is important. Industries that frequently use powder coating include automotive, aerospace, marine, furniture, medical devices, appliances, pharmaceutical, construction, and more

Automotive Powder Coated Parts

Powder Coating Oven

CLEANING- A CRITICAL STEP IN POWDER COATING:

A critical step in the powder coating process is the cleaning of the metal surface you are about to powder coat. If the surface is not properly cleaned it will cause uneven application or it could completely prevent the powder from sticking to the metal. Typically metal parts and components are cleaned through blasting, washing, or wiping.

  • Blasting allows rust, scale, and rough welds to be smoothed out so that the service is more adhesive.
  • Wiping with solvent cleans the surface of oils and other contaminants but it is a less preferred cleaning option. It is inefficient as the cleaning rag becoming saturated with the oil that you are trying to remove recontaminating the surface. Have you ever been cleaning a counter and feel like you are just spreading the mess around? Well, that is exactly why this is not a preferred cleaning options.
  • Washing with detergent is the most efficient way to remove oils and contaminants from the surface providing a clean adhesive surface.
Environmentally Friendly Powder Coating Wash Booth

Environmentally Friendly Powder Coating Wash Booth

PRETREATMENT- PROTECTING YOUR FINISH:

Once the cleaning process is complete a pretreatment step can also be completed to further enhance the adhesiveness of the metal surface and to prevent corrosion. This can be done through chemical etching, phosphating, or Zirconium. How you select a pretreatment is based on how the part or component will be utilized. If it is a cosmetic application the adhesion property of the metal is critical but if the part will need to withstand outdoor elements preventing corrosion will be more important.

AN ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND CHOICE:

Powder Coating is growing in popularity not only due to its durability but because of its added environmental benefits. The powder coating process is more environmentally friendly than traditional painting because there is minimal waste throughout the cleaning and application. Powder Coating wash booths operate through a loss system recycling the water supply. Additionally, powder coat waste can also be reused when the finished color is not a factor. Another benefit of selecting powder coating is no harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can be found in powder coat unlike in traditional paints.


At US Metal Crafters we are able to serve all your powder coating and additional metal fabricating needs all under one roof. See our powder coating process in action below.
Powder Coating Oven with Yellow PartsPowder Coating Application Yellow Paint
Powder Coating Line Large Yellow PartsCustomer Viewing Powder Coating Oven

Contact us to learn more about our Powder Coating service.


As the Marketing Manager 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.

Everything You Need to Know About Metal Stamping

Metal stamping—also sometimes referred to as metal pressing—is a manufacturing process that employs specialized stamping dies to shape and cut parts and products from flat sheets of metal. It is used to produce a wide range of components for various industries and industrial applications. The following article provides an overview of the process, including the basic operating principles, equipment utilized, operations available, and typical industries served.

An Overview of Metal Stamping

Metal stamping is a cold working process, meaning it is generally performed in room temperature conditions with room temperature materials. The stamping dies are installed in stamping presses, which provide the force necessary to form and cut the workpiece into the desired shape and size. While this process is suitable for both short and long production runs, it is generally used to produce large quantities of identical metal parts and products.

Types of Metal Stamping Presses

Stamping presses can be divided into three main classifications based on how they operate:

Types Of Metal Stamping Presses
  • Mechanical stamping presses. Mechanical stamping presses utilize a motor connected to a mechanical flywheel to power stamping operations. They generally offer pressing speeds between 20–1,500 strokes per minute and pressing capacities ranging between 20–6,000 tons. They are typically used for high-volume progressive and transfer stamping operations.
  • Hydraulic stamping presses. Hydraulic stamping presses rely on pressurized hydraulic fluid to generate the pressing force. They feature adjustable stroke and speed capabilities. Pressing capacities range between 20–10,000 tons. They are typically employed for small-volume production runs involving complex parts and products.
  • Mechanical servo stamping presses. Mechanical servo presses use high-capacity motors powered by a link-assisted or direct drive system. They are usually used to manufacture complex components in shorter periods than would be possible with mechanical or hydraulic machines.

Types of Metal Stamping Dies

Metal stamping dies can be categorized into two groups:

  • Single-station dies include compound dies and combination dies. Compound stamping dies perform two or more operations within a single press (e.g., multiple cuts), while combination stamping dies perform two or more operations within a single press stroke (e.g., cutting and flanging).
  • Multi-station dies include progressive dies and transfers dies, both of which involve the various stamping operations they perform occurring in sequence across a set of stations. Progressive stamping dies come in a series. Each tool is installed in a different station, where it performs a specific stamping operation (e.g., cutting, punching, bending, etc.). Transfer stamping dies are similar to progressive stamping dies. However, they used to process workpieces that are separated from the larger sheet metal early in the stamping process.

Types of Metal Stamping Processes

Metal stamping is an umbrella term that encompasses numerous processes, such as:

  • This process involves cutting holes into a piece of sheet metal to produce the desired piece.
  • This process involves cutting the desired component from the piece of sheet metal.
  • This process involves forming bends or curves in the sheet metal. Coining is a type of bending technique that involves the punch penetrating the workpiece deeper to relieve internal stresses and form permanent bends or curves.
  • This process involves creating flares or flanges on the workpiece.
  • This process involves adding raised or recessed numbers, letters, and other designs on the workpiece.

Industries Served with Metal Stamping

Metal stamping is used to produce a variety of industrial, commercial, and consumer parts and products. Some of the industries that regularly employ the process for their manufacturing operations include:

  • Aerospace
  • Appliance
  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Medical Equipment
  • Military

Contact the Metal Stamping Experts at US Metal Crafters Today

Metal stamping is a highly versatile manufacturing process. It can be used to produce a wide range of metal components depending on the equipment (presses and dies) employed and operations performed. If you’re looking for a metal stamping partner, turn the experts at US Metal Crafters. Our extensive manufacturing experience and state-of-the-art metalworking equipment allow us to accommodate virtually any metal stamping need.

To learn more about our metal stamping capabilities or partner with us on your next project, contact us or request a quote today.

Leveraging LinkedIn to Generate Sales

As the Marketing Manager of US Metal Crafters, I spend a good amount of time on LinkedIn building our company profile. 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 to Generate 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 Marketing Manager 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.”


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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.