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Automation and the Future of Manufacturing

Technology is advancing at a remarkable rate across all industries. This advancement brings with it some anxieties but also some excitement. In the manufacturing field in particular, new technologies are ever-improving in terms of capability, flexibility and availability—bringing us ever-closer to fully-automated production facilities. (more…)

Robotic Welding: When Does It Make Sense?

Robotic welding is now one of the most common applications of automation technology in manufacturing and fabrication operations. Manual welding is a labor-intensive, highly-skilled and potentially dangerous trade. Escalating labor costs, trained operator shortages and increased competition have spurred advances in robotic welding technology. For organizations faced with these challenges, welding automation presents a real cost-saving solution. (more…)

How Laser Technology Rendered the Plasma Cutter Obsolete

Until recent years, laser cutters and plasma cutters have been considered comparable technologies with different uses, advantages and disadvantages. Thanks to recent advancements in laser cutting technology, however, that assessment has changed. (more…)

Troubleshooting Tips for Plasma Cutters

Many mechanical and electrical variables influence the cut quality of the plasma cutting process. This being the case, it can be difficult for an operator to troubleshoot cut quality and dimensional problems when they arise. In this blog post we discuss common sources of plasma cutter problems and offer diagnoses for different excessive bevel angles. (more…)

What is Incremental Sheet Forming?

Incremental Sheet Forming (ISF) is an umbrella term for a few variations of a sheet metal forming technique. Through ISF, a sheet is formed into the final workpiece through a progression of small, incremental and localized deformations. The sheet is generally formed by a spherically-ended indenter, which can be attached to a CNC machine and moved over a custom-designed, numerically-controlled tool path.  Flat-bottomed and parabolic indenter profiles can also be used to achieve different surface finishes and forming limits. (more…)

Indiana: National Champion of Steel Production

There are countless reasons to be Hoosier Proud. We’re home to the Indy 500, the historic St. Elmo Steak House, the Pacers and the Colts, mild Midwest manners and incredible state and county fairs. No matter what Kentucky and Illinois try to claim, Abraham Lincoln was raised in our great state. Those who “fly over” this country are missing out on some beautiful natural gems. Add this to the list: Indiana continues to lead the nation in steel production. (more…)

Metal Fabrication Trends in 2018

2018 is well underway, and, as we move forward, we must anticipate what the year may hold. Metal fabrication is constantly evolving as the technology and the market change and shift. In order to remain informed and proactive, the following are metal fabrication projections and trends to stay abreast of in 2018. (more…)

Align Your Vendor Relationships: It’s Good for Business

Generally speaking, there is a simple principle for pursuing growth as a business owner: align your resources with your business strategy. Of course, when put into practice, this principle becomes increasingly complex; there are countless opportunities for strategic alignment. Essentially, you must review every aspect of your internal organizational structure and align every facet to a broader goal or budget line objective. However, it’s important to not just think internally but externally as well. In the manufacturing industry, the vendor relationship is a valuable, but often-overlooked, resource. Improving and aligning your vendor relationships will enormously contribute toward strategic growth. To that end, you need to ensure that your vendors are working with you, not against you. (more…)

Mainstay Invests in New Trumpf Fiber Laser Cutting Machine

Mainstay has invested in a new Trumpf Fiber Laser Cutting Machine. The machine’s BrightLine Fiber function guarantees high edge quality with a broad range of materials (including thick mild steel), facilitates easy part removal and produces very small holes which could previously only be drilled. This impressive machine offers increased flexibility and cost-effectiveness, cutting all sheet thickness efficiently. (more…)

Rethink Risks: How to Seek Out New Opportunities and Pursue Growth

It is impossible to be both risk averse and aggressive about growth. The two business philosophies simply cannot be reconciled. Business owners shy away from taking risks because they think about those risks as gambles endangering their bottom line: “How much capital could I lose?” However, when owners avoid these risks completely, their business stagnates and plateaus — they lose all upward momentum. If you’re a business owner truly committed to aggressively pursuing growth, you need to rethink risks. Don’t look at business risks as rolling the dice for profit and loss. Instead, reframe your mindset and look at risks as opportunities for growth. Make calculated but bold decisions in pursuit of that growth. Ask yourself: “If you’re not willing to take risks, if you’re not willing to adapt and grow, then what are you doing this for?” This blog post is intended to help you rethink risks and fearlessly pursue growth in your future business endeavors. (more…)