A laser is a highly focused beam of light that emits a specific wavelength and heat. A system of mirrors and lenses in the laser machine guides and concentrates the beam into a predetermined focal point. Heat given off by the laser hits a material substrate to permanently alter it, by marking or etching its surface, or by cutting through it completely.
Depending on the type of laser (i.e., CO2, fiber, etc.), its wavelength, and the power level, lasers can be used for many creative purposes, commercial products, and manufacturing processes including welding, cutting, etching, annealing, and more.
Here we’ll look at the differences between laser cutting, engraving, and marking operations.
Laser cutting is an efficient and highly accurate alternative to water jet cutting or mechanical cutting tools like shears. It can be used for precision cutting of glass, plastic, wood, textiles, and metals, including steel.
The laser beam is focused and guided by a system of optical components inside the laser machine, directing the beam to a point on the material. Heat from the laser melts the material enough to burn or melt through it. Different materials require different types and strengths of lasers. For example, a powerful CO2 laser is required to cut through steel.
After making an initial puncture in the material, the beam is moved according to the desired pattern and cuts a path. Laser cutting machines are controlled by computerized motion control systems that use G-code programming to create specific cuts, features, and shapes. Laser cuts can be simple or intricate. A laser can also be used to drill holes with great precision.
Lasers for Precision Cutting Applications
Laser cutting is used in many manufacturing applications. Some examples include:
Cutting precision automotive and aerospace components
Flat panels that require smooth joins
Producing extremely accurate parts for medical devices
Designing and cutting unique custom signs
Advantages of Laser Cutting
Laser cutting is fast and makes efficient use of material. The layout is optimized to cut as many parts as possible from each sheet of metal, which reduces waste and production costs. This makes it very cost-effective for high-volume orders. Because it is a computerized process, adjustments are simple to make.
The beam can be focused on a highly concentrated and tiny focal point, and exact coordinates are programmed into the machine, so it’s possible to achieve extremely tight tolerances for cuts and shapes. As non-contact tools, lasers don’t leave stray marks, scorch, or otherwise damage material outside of designated areas on the workpiece. What’s more, because the material is melted and vaporized, cuts and holes are usually smooth and clean, requiring little to no additional finishing.
Laser engraving is a type of laser marking used in both artistic and manufacturing applications. Like laser cutting, this process involves using a laser to permanently alter material along a pre-programmed path; however, instead of cutting through it, only a thin layer of material is removed. This process of melting and vaporizing a thin layer of material is called ablation.
Solid state fiber lasers are often used for engraving. Materials including metal, stone, brick, wood, acrylic, fabric, and cardboard can be laser engraved. Depending on the wavelength and other parameters, engravings can be raised, shallow, or deep. Most engravings are between .0001 in. and .005 in. deep.
Laser engraving applications
This process is used for applications including:
Engraving ID or serial numbers on parts and equipment
Adding reference maks to subassembly components (i.e., brackets, plates)
Metal or other solid labels and tags for tools and equipment
Laser marking encompasses several operations including laser annealing, carbon migration, etching, and engraving. While all types of laser marking are permanent, some methods use low heat, so no material is removed. The result is smooth, high-contrast markings that resist fading and abrasion.
Metal, plastic, some ceramics, and wood can be laser marked. Manufacturing uses for laser marking include applying serial numbers, reference marks, traceability codes, branding, or other custom graphics or messages.
Laser Cutting Services From Evans Tool & Die
At Evans Tool & Die, we provide complete solutions for metal fabrication, including high-quality laser cutting services. Our team can help at every step of the manufacturing process including engineering and design, prototyping, tool and die building, stamping, machining, welding, finishing, assembly, and packaging.
Precision tools and metal forms — known as dies — are responsible for producing most consumer equipment and products in the market. These gears are used to cut, shape, and mold metal and other materials and are made by tool and die markers.
Often known as machinists, tool and die makers use mechanical and computer-controlled technologies to precisely cut, shape, and finish tools, instruments, and metal components. In addition, they produce gauges, various measuring instruments, and jigs and fixtures, which are used to hold metal while it is being punched, stamped, or drilled.
This article will dive into the process of tool and die making.
Tool and Die Making: What’s the Difference?
In the metal stamping process, nearly every mechanical instrument that cuts, forms, supports, or molds metals can be termed a tool. On the other hand, dies are a subset of tools capable of altering metals’ shapes.
A die is primarily used in manufacturing to shape or profile materials by cutting or forming them. Like molds, it frequently undergoes customization based on its intended use in production. There is a vast array of die-made products, ranging from simple office essentials like paper clips to more complex aviation components.
In contrast, tooling (also known as machine tooling) is the process of acquiring the specialized equipment and parts necessary for the large-scale manufacturing method. Effective tooling ensures the effective performance of manufactured products, prolongs product longevity, and contributes to quality improvement.
Tool and Die Makers: What Do They Do?
Tool and die makers focus on operating machinery to build tools and machine components. These specialists have received substantial training, and they advance in their careers by refining their areas of specialization and acquiring certifications. Tool & Die making is a trade skill. To achieve master toolmaker status, it takes a toolmaker 5-10 years of apprenticeship and years of hands-on experience.
Responsibilities of a Tool and Die Maker
Among their fundamental responsibilities are the following:
Reading and interpreting blueprints, sketches, specifications, or computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) files to create tools and dies
Calculating and confirming the workpieces’ dimensions, sizes, forms, and tolerances
Setting up, using, and disassembling manual, CNC, and conventional machine tools
Filing, grinding, and adjusting parts
Quality checking and testing finished tools and dies if they satisfy specifications
Buffing and polishing tool and die surfaces
Generally, machinists must possess a high school diploma or equivalent certifications. Similarly, tool and die manufacturers may be required to complete additional coursework.
Still, there are a variety of techniques for personnel to become proficient in their positions as machinists, toolmakers, and diemakers. One popular method is via on-the-job training, which usually lasts a year.
Working as a Tool and Die Maker
Most tool and die makers are employed in the manufacturing industry. They do their duties in well-lit and air-conditioned machine shops, tool rooms, and factory floors.
Although the activity is mostly risk-free, using machine tools presents some hazards. Therefore, workers must take safety precautions using protective equipment, such as safety glasses and earplugs.
In addition, tool and die makers and machinists are common in industries, including the following:
Metal die finishing
Plastic die making
Evans: Your Tool and Die Making Professionals
Evan Tool & Die offers a variety of solutions, including the manufacture of tools and dies. We handle everything from design and engineering to simulation testing, tool-making, and maintenance.
Our team comprises professional and seasoned tool and die makers with expertise in metal stamping, machining services, design engineering, welding, and finishing. We employ the best to offer our clients nothing less but the best!
Contact us today to book an appointment or to get a quote for your tool and die making needs!
Tool and die makers are an incredible asset for any manufacturing facility. They excel at the top of the metalworking trades, with their mechanical aptitude allowing them to create parts and machines requiring high precision. Moreover, these experts can independently design and construct tools without requiring managerial oversight or instruction. The highest skill level is a “master toolmaker,” which takes 5-10 years of apprenticeship and hands-on experience.
Responsibilities of a Tool and Die Maker
A tool and die maker is responsible for designing and fabricating tools, dies, and other metalworking equipment. Thus, they must understand metalworking processes, mathematics, physics, engineering principles, and computerized machining to create these tools with extreme precision. Additionally, they must be able to accurately read blueprints and designs to reproduce them as closely as possible.
Here are some of the specific tasks of a tool and die maker:
Fabricate specialized tools and dies to craft fixtures and construct new gears whenever needed.
Troubleshoot and repair dies, molds, tools, jigs, fixtures, and other components as required. Safely dismantle parts, then put them back together after a successful repair.
Possess the capacity to comprehend and interpret blueprints and intricate schematics to manufacture tools, fixtures, and machine parts.
Utilize computer-aided design (CAD) software to develop innovative designs and transform them into blueprints.
Thoroughly examine finished tools and dies for marks of defect or wear that might hinder performance.
Guarantee that all equipment, tools, and machines are functioning optimally. Regularly inspect them for proper configuration.
Customize machines to precisely adjust speed, material feed, and cut paths for maximum quality assurance to produce a product that meets specifications.
What To Look For in a Reliable Tool and Die Maker
Tool and die makers are highly skilled craftsmen who specialize in designing, creating, repairing, and testing various production tools, such as dies, cutting tools, jigs, and fixtures gauges made out of metal alloys or plastics. They must be able to produce precision-made parts that meet tight manufacturing tolerances with utmost accuracy.
If you plan on working with a tool and die maker, here are some of the qualities you should look for:
Attention to Detail
Tool and die makers need to pay close attention to detail to ensure accuracy in their work. They must also focus on the task without becoming sidetracked, especially when dealing with complex requirements.
Strong problem-solving skills are a must-have for tool and die makers. This will help them determine why a particular machine or tool isn’t functioning correctly.
Mechanics are integral when designing, constructing, and repairing tools and dies. Therefore, a solid understanding of this field is essential for success as a tool and die maker.
Tool and die makers must have strong math skills since they often need to convert measurements from one unit of length to another when creating their tools. They also need to be able to read blueprints to ensure that the finished product meets all specified requirements accurately.
Being familiar with CAD software is key for tool and die makers since it is increasingly becoming more common in modern factories and manufacturing processes.
Work With Expert Tool and Die Professionals at Evans
Evans Tool & Die is the best place to look if you seek reliable, seasoned, and knowledgeable tool and die makers for your fabrication needs! Our master tool makers have over 200 years of experience. We provide a comprehensive range of dies, progressive and transfer stamping, coining, shaping, secondary, and hand transfer dies. After we build your beautiful die, we can run it or you can run it; our 200,000 sq ft facility houses 67 punch presses.
Call us to learn more about our products and services, or request a quote today!
Tool and die makers are some of the most skilled workers in precision manufacturing; they craft tools and metal forms needed for stamping and other forging operations. The work of a tool and die maker entails analyzing design specifications cutting and shaping metal, assembling parts, and testing completed products for use in manufacturing facilities.
Making a good product starts with having the tools fit for the job. So, to help you acquire the best and most appropriate gear for your needs, this article will help you know what to look for in a tool and die maker.
What Makes a Good Tool and Die Maker?
Most professional tool and die makers undergo formal technical education programs and apprenticeships, allowing them to develop the expertise necessary to adequately serve clients. The following are the fundamental skills you should look for in tool and die makers:
Displays a Proficiency in Math
Tool and die makers should be proficient in using and understanding geometry equations and theories to calculate the dimensions of the products and machine parts. They should also have an eye for numerical detail to ensure precision and accuracy in their calculations and work.
Possesses Excellent Dexterity
Because tool and die makers are considered artisans, they should be good at performing tasks using their hands. For example, tool and die makers use dexterity skills to operate machinery by hand or computer.
Shows an Understanding of Blueprints
Tool and die makers are relied on to create new products, which is why they need the necessary skills and knowledge to read and understand a blueprint. In addition, they should be familiar enough with instruction manual jargon and other trade-specific concepts to efficiently operate, maintain, and repair machines and other equipment.
Possesses Great Analytical Skills
Analytical skills are a must for tool and die makers since these will allow them to examine machine parts and tools for quality assurance, make logical decisions on processes, and troubleshoot manufacturing hurdles.
Knowledgeable About Welding
Tool and die makers also need to know about welding. These craftsmen use welding techniques to weld parts together to complete their assembly after creating machine parts and tools. They also utilize welding to correct errors in their designs.
Certifications of a Tool and Die Maker
There are three certifications tool and die makers can pursue in their careers. These help prove whether a tool and die maker have passed the necessary tests and have undergone the required apprenticeship and ample work experience.
Master of Die Casting Tooling Certification
The North American Die Casting Association awards this merit according to three levels, each focusing on a more nuanced understanding of die casting. The first level requires a tool and die maker to pass an exam and spend a specific amount of time in an apprenticeship. In addition, tool and die makers need to retake exams every three years for this certification to remain valid.
The Certified Machine Tool Sales Engineer certification is a nationally recognized program that recognizes tool and die makers who possess the necessary skills and knowledge to perform effectively as machine tool sales engineers. So, having this certification allows the tool and die makers to take on more responsibilities.
Master Engine Machinist Certification
The Master Engine Machinist requires tool and die makers to be knowledgeable about engines. To earn this recognition, they must pass a three-part exam on cleaning, inspecting, repairing, and assembling standard and diesel automotive engines. This certification must also be renewed every five years to retain validity.
Find Your Master Tool Makers at Evans
Evans Tool & Die has trained and apprenticed master tool makers for decades. We employ around 20 master tool makers who create dies, molds, machine tools, cutting tools, and other tools used for manufacturing. With over 200 years of combined work experience, 75 years in business, woman-owned and an ISO 9001:2015 certification, we can provide precision custom tool and die design services that achieve tolerances of less than 0.001 of an inch.
Tools and dies are essential to the manufacturing industry; without these, cutting, forming, or shaping metals would be unthinkable. A tool-and-die business can help other companies manufacture and innovate products for various industries, from automotive parts, to medical components, to everyday household items. Some machinists and tool and die makers use computer-aided designs to produce parts and products, and they work on many different mechanically controlled and computer-controlled machinery to produce precision tools or components.
What Is A Tool and A Die?
The terms “tool” and “die” are often used interchangeably, but dies are essentially a subset of tools. Thus, all dies are tools, but not all tools are dies.
In metalworking, a tool is a mechanical device used to cut, form, support, and mold metals. Some examples include jigs, fixtures, drills, and cutting blades. On the other hand, dies are tools used to functionally change the shapes of metals and produce stamped parts at high-volume quantities.
What Is Tool and Die Engineering?
Tool and die engineering is a manufacturing industry field involving the creation of various gears needed in different manufacturing processes. Tool making produces fixtures, cutting tools, machine tools, and metal forming rolls.
On the other hand, die focuses on maintaining and creating dies — die sets, steel rule dies, and punches. In die making, precision is crucial because die steel and punches should have the proper clearance to create components accurately. Tool & Die engineers design and create blueprints using computer-aided design (CAD) so that toolmakers can build dies.
A tool and die engineering expert usually work in a designated area, room, or space close to where the tool and die manufacturing process takes place. These skilled craftspeople usually learn their skill through a combination of hands-on instruction and academic coursework, and they work closely as part of the whole manufacturing team.
What Is Tool and Die Manufacturing?
Tool and die manufacturing is a machining process where the tools and dies are put into action. Here, tools are used to cut out and form metal and other materials. They are valued for their precision in producing custom components and equipment.
This process also uses dies similar to a mold. The dies create complex and custom-shaped materials through methods like forging and stamping. Additionally, jigs are used in this process as tools to hold the metal while it is being bored, drilled, or stamped. A metal-stamped die is placed into a punch press to manufacture metal-stamped pieces.
Get The Best Tool & Die Services At Evans!
Here at Evans Tool & Die, we have the best artisans that create dies, molds, machine tools, cutting tools, and other custom manufacturing tools. We also offer master toolmakers in-house and a variety of dies and stamping capabilities, including forming, coining, progressive and transfer stamping, and secondary, and hand transfer dies. We can run your die in our 200,000 sq ft facility with one of our 67 punch presses.
With over 200 years of combined tool and die experience, we can create precision custom tool and die designs with tolerances of less than 0.001 of an inch. In addition, we are ISO 9001-2015 certified, woman-owned business with over 75 years in manufacturing; and our expertise and capabilities allow us to provide quality tool and die manufacturing and repair services.
Evans is your American-made, one-stop tool and die shop! We design, build, stamp, finish, pack and ship to your dock! We offer high-quality products with excellent customer service. Get a quote from us today for your tool and die engineering or manufacturing needs!
The tool and die industry allows people to innovate and make custom parts for the automotive, technology, and aeronautic industries. Tool and die shops are responsible for fabricating dies, molds, and tooling using specialized cutting technology. They help manufacturers and customers create durable and complex machine tools, cementing their spot as key players in the industrial sector.
Things To Look for in a Tool and Die Shop
Picking the right tool and die shop to rely on is crucial. With the high demand for precision, quality, and fast-paced production in most industries, manufacturers cannot risk working with a partner that delivers poor customer service and subpar tools and products.
To help ensure that you find a dependable and experienced service provider, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right tool and die shop.
Before picking a tool and die shop, you have to be confident that the shop can meet quality standards. One of the best metrics of reliability is customer satisfaction and professionalism. Thus, it’s essential to do a background check on a prospective provider. Look for client testimonials and accolades from renowned organizations and authorities in the industry.
Quality Equipment and Facilities
A reliable and professional tool and die shop should be able to easily meet tight tolerances and part specifications. Ask about details like the technology used to manufacture designs, the usual turnaround time for custom orders, and the quality of facilities where the products are made. Your chosen tool and die shop should have the proper tools to do the job and not outsource their equipment; doing so takes time and can compromise quality.
The ideal partner should also have air compressors, E.D.M., cutting equipment, measuring gear, proper die handling, milling equipment, drilling, grinding, shaping, welding, and turning equipment. In addition, all the equipment should be specific for the job, with the correct specification and number, to create streamlined components manufacturing.
Tool and die shops often provide their customers with key components for larger projects by original equipment manufacturers. Hence, orders should be tested and delivered to the client on time. Any delay in service provision can lead to significant production setbacks, costing the customer valuable time and money.
Before full production, the right tool and die shop should have tested the tooling dies. This not only speeds up service but should also save money and valuable time from shipping the tooling die back and forth for modifications.
All-around service is a good bonus for a tool and die shop. Providers catering to a wide array of manufacturing and machining processes allow their clients to streamline their procurement process by sourcing several products and services from a single supplier or partner.
Different tool and die shops offer varying services, depending on their capabilities and facilities. At Evans Tool & Die, we offer the most reliable service for tool and die making, custom metal stamping, design engineering, welding and finishing, and other custom machining services.
Choose Evans As Your Tool And Die Shop Partner!
Evans Tool & Die offers a reduced supply chain risk, efficient and cost-saving solutions, decreased lead times and time to market, excellent products, and a host of services to help you build great things!
Evans builds the highest quality tools available on the market. One stop Shop allows your stamping Die to be run in one of our 67 punch presses. you receive lifetime maintenance service to your tool at no cost as long as Evans runs your die.
At Evans, we have over 200 years of combined tool and die experience to offer excellent service to our clients. We employ master tool makers capable of producing dies, tools, molds, machine tools, cutting tools, and more using our wide variety of equipment.
Tool and Die is a process of making custom metal parts. It involves using specialized tools and dies to cut and shape the metal into the desired form. Tool and die can be used for a variety of purposes, from creating small parts to fabricating large components.
The process of Tool and Die begins with a design. The design is then transferred to a computer, which will create a simulation of how the part will be machined. This allows for greater accuracy and eliminates the need for trial and error.
Creating Specialized Tooling
The next step is to create the tooling. Tooling is made up of the tools and dies that will be used to cut and shape the metal. The tooling is specifically designed for the part that is being manufactured and must be precise in order to create the desired outcome.
Once the tooling is created, it is used to cut and shape the metal into the desired form. The metal is then sometimes welded and finished as needed.
Design Engineering and Custom Metal Stamping
Design Engineering is the process of designing and creating custom metal parts. Design Engineering is a specialized process that requires a high level of precision and accuracy. When it comes to creating custom metal parts, Design Engineering is the process of choice.
Custom metal stamping , machining, welding and finishing are all part of the Tool and Die process. When it comes to creating custom metal parts, Tool and Die is the process where it all begins.
Metal stamping is the process of using a press to stamp metal into a desired shape. Metal stamping is a common manufacturing process that is used to create a variety of parts. Metal stamping can be used to create parts for a wide range of applications.
Tool makers in the tool and die industry create the dies, molds, machine tools, cutting tools, and other tools used in manufacturing. Tool makers are essential to the manufacturing industry and at Evans our senior tool makers are highly trained and have years of on the job experience.
Welding and Finishing Metal Components and Parts
In Tool and Die, ‘welding’ is the process of joining two pieces of metal together. Welding is a common manufacturing process that is used to create a variety of parts. It is an essential process in the manufacturing industry and provides a high level of precision and accuracy. Welding can be used to create parts for a wide range of applications.
In Tool and Die, ‘finishing’ is the process of polishing or cleaning metal parts. Finishing is a common manufacturing process that is used to put the finishing touches on the manufactured parts. It is an essential process in the manufacturing industry and provides a high level of precision and accuracy. Finishing can be used to create parts for a wide range of applications.
One Stop Tool and Die Shop
At Evans Tool & Die, Inc and Evans Metal Stamping, Inc. we’ve been a one stop shop since 1948. We have the capability to perform all the various services discussed in this article with precision, speed and care. Contact us today to get a free and fast quote to get started with your next tool and die project.
As a certified SBA – Woman Owned Small Business, we keep the entire process in-house. From concept, to design, to creation, packaging and shipping… we remove the need for 3rd party involvement. This ensures your project will be done to the highest quality standards and completed on time and on budget. With Evans, there won’t be any issues with supply chain delays as we handle everything ourselves.
Metal stamping is a type of metal working that has been around for decades. It involves shaping various metals into specific shapes or parts through multiple stages of compressive deformation. The stamping process works by applying an external force over a single work piece or metal sheet which can be made up of different alloys, each having their own degree of malleability.
Various types of metal stamping materials can be used in order to produce stamped metal parts and goods with greater strength, durability, mass-proportion, and performance without changing the weight significantly.
Stamped metal parts play a major role in today’s manufacturing
Products produced by metal stamping companies like Evans Metal Stamping, Inc are part of virtually every part of our lives where metal parts are used. From medical supply tooling to construction tools to decorative emblems and major structural components in automobile manufacturing… Metal stamping plays a major role in production.
Manufacturing has become highly specialized with the evolution of various techniques, advanced stamping presses and different materials used for stamping. By using the finest metals available for stamping, manufacturers can provide customers with high quality products in mass quantities and in a timely manner.
Most common types of metal stamping used when stamping products
The two most commonly used techniques used in modern day manufacturing are progressive die metal stamping and transfer die stamping. Both of these techniques have specific processes that make them unique. Depending on the size of stamped work piece, complexity, material and quantity needed, the manufacturer decides which technique to use.
The progressive stamping process at Evans Tool & Die
Progressive metal stamping is a manufacturing process involving the progressive deformation of an object by successively applying compressive force. It has also been known to be referred to as progressive die sinking and owes its name to the fact that it involves a series of dies (some would call them punches) which, through successive action, progressively form the product.
Stamping can necessitate low and high tonnage presses, using significant energy and large or small dies. The products are usually made from metal rolled up on heavy coils . The coiled metal is fed through the punch press and the part is stamped in progressive stages through the die that is bolted into the press. Progressive stamping will produce a significantly higher volume of parts at a much faster rate than hand transfer stamping.
At Evans Metal Stamping, Inc, we can assist with prototyping or run high volume jobs. Our metal presses can handle 30 to 1,000 tons at speeds up to 1,200 cycles per minute. When your project calls for high quality, precision stamping, Evans can handle your project no matter how big or time sensitive it may be.
Our capabilities in producing precision, high quality and high-volume runs are due to the state of the art machinery we use and our highly trained and experienced technicians. Our stamping machinery includes but is not limited to:
39 conventional presses from 30 to 1000 ton
27 high speed (1200 SPM) Bruderer presses from 40 to 125 ton
6 brake presses from 150 to 250 ton
Hand transfer metal stamping
Hand transfer metal stamping is used to place individual pieces or parts of the design onto sheet metal, or stamp more heavy-duty single hit designs. Transfer die stamping is similar to progressive die stamping, but the part is free from the metal strip. Hand transfer metal stamping can also be used to add detail into already existing designs or produce larger components such as industrial generator pans which may require moving the workpiece from die to multiple dies.
Hand transfer metal stamping has been around for centuries and still used today by metal fabricators all over the world.
Evans has the capacity to produce high volumes of industrial type metal parts due to our decades of experience and machinery used to produce the parts.
Evans Metal Stamping is proudly made and produced in the USA
Evans is a one-stop shop, made in the USA, Preferred Provider of precision Tool & Die builds and progressive and hand transfer metal stamping products. We provide complete design and engineering processes, assembly, and packaging. We provide risk management solutions to the overseas supply chain breakdowns for OEMs by localizing supply chains with high quality, seamless logistics and hands on supply chain control.
Consumer landscapes are continuing to change while businesses are adjusting for the new normal. Manufacturers and industrial companies across the world are working hard to maintain and strengthen their supply chains. And companies who preferred to source internationally to save on costs, are seeking other cost-effective solutions.
The growing reality is that procurement professionals actually prefer to source locally.
Advantages of Using Local Suppliers
It’s clear that most buyers prefer to keep the supply chain as close to home as possible. Here’s why:
More Flexibility. Local suppliers are typically more reactive than suppliers who are farther away. They can deliver products quicker, and it is much easier for a supplier to coordinate a shipment across the neighborhood than around the world.
Greater Control. The further away you are from elements of your supply chain, the less control you have over them. Face-to-face visits will allow you to address any concerns and ensure all products meet your standards. There’s also less chance of things getting “lost in translation,” which often occurs when working with big teams of people, many of whom aren’t actually on the floor and touching your products.
Reduced Supply Chain Costs. North American businesses send and receive parts and products all over the continent and the expenses can add up as quickly as the miles. Even then, these pieces have to be stored in warehouses until they are shipped again to the next supplier or, if you’re lucky, the customer. Many of these costs can be reduced by localizing your supply chain. And, with less money being sunk into logistics, there will be less weighing down your bottom line.
More Revenue. Local sourcing doesn’t just help save money; it can also help you generate more of it. That’s because companies in your region may be impressed by your efforts to keep a tight and fast-paced supply chain, which can help you attract new customers.
Good for the Community. It stands to reason that if sourcing locally increases your bottom line, it would do the same for other suppliers and manufacturers in your area, which can be a big boon to your local economy and the people who live there.
Happy, well-paid employees are more likely to invest in local businesses. Additionally, respected and well-off businesses are in a position to contribute to communities through fundraising, volunteering, benefits, and sponsored activities.
It Helps the Environment. Localizing your supply chain represents a tremendous opportunity to help the environment. When you reduce shipping and storage, you also reduce emissions and energy usage. Sourcing locally not only contributes to green manufacturing, but ultimately helps you build consumer confidence. When consumers buy with confidence, the business benefits from increasing positive brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Ability to Launch Products Faster. Manufacturers who source locally benefit from working with companies in the same time zone, which leads to easier and speedy communication. You can resolve problems faster and launch products to meet consumer demands and spikes.
This article is the second installment of three articles about Toolmaker Apprenticeships. In the first article, we discussed the basic structure, time, requirements, and expected outcome from an individual’s journey through an apprenticeship. In this post, we’re taking a deeper look at how a Toolmaker Apprenticeship has changed since the 1970s.
What has changed?
To learn what has changed since Apprenticeship programs in the 1970s, we talked with Ronald Joseph and Robert Tiller, both long time journeymen in the Tool & Die trade. Though we spoke with each of them at separate times, they agreed on what has changed and what has stayed the same.
The training – When Ronald Joseph began his apprenticeship program, he went to school one day each week. Every Monday, he and his fellow apprentices would get two hours of class time and then three hours of shop time, learning the very basics of the machines and tools. Today, when the “kids” start right out of high school, it’s all OTJ – on the job training.
The tools – When Ronald Joseph started, they made their tools by hand using a file. “They sure don’t do that anymore!”, said Ronald.
The maintenance – One of the first thing that both Ronald and Robert Tiller learned when they started was how to sharpen – by hand using a pedestal grinder – the tool bit. Today’s tools are coated, and are designed to last longer.
The technology – Back in the 1970s and 1980s, when a customer would provide a drawing, a toolmaker had to make the decision, based on experience only, the best way to make a part. Today, the drawings are all electronic, and computer software can quickly determine the best methods and materials to use.
The machines – From CNC machines to Electric Wire Cutting Machines, the speed and accuracy of how things get built on the shop room floor are very different today than they were 30, 40, or 50 years ago.
What’s still the same?
Despite all the advances in technology that allow experienced toolmakers to do things better and faster, some things haven’t changed. Both Robert and Ronald believe these things won’t change.
Time – It still takes 4 to 5 years for an apprentice to learn all the tools, machines, safety precautions, materials, speeds & feeds before that apprentice can turn a block of steel into a die to make a part.
Safety first! – The machines are bigger, faster, more powerful, and therefore even more dangerous than they were 50 years ago. The first rule of being a Toolmaker Apprentice was safety first back then, and it’s safety first today.
Math – The fact that a toolmaker has to know trigonometry will baffle a lot of people, but the math never changes.
Much has changed, and much has stayed the same in a Toolmaker’s Apprentice world. Evan still retains more than a dozen Toolmakers and a constant flow of apprentices to learn and eventually lead the operation at Evans.
In the next and final article on Toolmaker Apprenticeships, we will meet each of the Apprentices employed at Evans Tool & Die.