Category : CNC Automation Manufacturing

Energy efficiency as car speedometer. 3d illustration

Energy Efficiency – The Key to Success in Manufacturing

In today’s world there is a great deal of focus on sustainability and energy efficiency.  It seems everything, from cars to buildings, is measured by its carbon footprint, or environmental impact.  Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have strict energy regulations in place for manufacturing industries and for machine shops.  The United States currently does not have any formal regulations regarding energy usage, but that should not stop the CNC machinist from doing everything in his or her power to limit energy consumption in their machine shop.

Limiting the amount of energy used within the machine shop has several benefits.  Of course, limited energy expenditure is more environmentally friendly, reducing the amount of electricity pulled from the power grid.  Reducing energy also has a trickle down benefit to the machine shop owner, OEMs, clients, and customers alike.  Less energy usage can reduce the amount of money spent on electricity, replacement parts and tools, and waste material.  Saving money in the manufacturing process is the key to success by allowing the shop to create an environmentally conscious product for less money.

Mindful Process Changes

One way a CNC machine shop is able to become more energy efficient is by making mindful and impactful process changes.  There has been a great deal of research conducted regarding the amount of energy consumed within the manufacturing process.  By making strategic and thoughtful decisions related to the process of creating components, it is possible to create a more energy efficient process.

Cycle Time

Selecting tools that can both increase a faster feed rate, while reducing feed time, is an excellent way to impact the cycle time between completed components.  In one study, simply selecting the right tool for the job made all the difference.  Consider the advantage to using multi-fluted tools.  This is a great way to deliver instant energy savings over the course of the manufacturing process.  The higher amount of flutes allows for a shorter cycle time, creating more parts per minute.

There is some trade off though, so the CNC machinist must be strategic in their selection.  More flutes, and thus more components, is not always better.  In some cases, while more flutes can certainly increase production, wear on the component can become a challenge.  Multi-fluted tools, or specialty tools, can be expensive to replace.  Further, more fluting can often result in irregular wear patterns which means the tool has an overall shorter lifespan.  Understanding the broader reaching purpose for the job, and selecting the right tool, will ultimately find a happy medium.  The key to cycle time energy efficiency is being able to balance the cycle time increases with the life expectancy of the tool.

Coolant Process

Another area machine shops are able to find energy saving changes is within the coolant process.  Often, coolant delivered to the tools via through-tool delivery help to prolong the life of the tool.  This method can increase how long a tool can be used, thus saving money and resources on replacement parts.  Further, using through-tool coolant can make the wear on the various tool components more uniform.  If the wear is uniform, it helps the CNC machinist predict the wear pattern, thus increasing the usability of the tool.

Further, there are methods to use coolant recycling systems.  These systems can easily be connected to the machine plant cell.  They work by combining a combination of recycled coolant with new coolant.  Studies have shown that by mixing recycled and new coolant there are no noticeable differences in performance.  Not only does this recycling method help to reduce coolant costs, but it has also shown to cut water usage by upwards of 10%.

Software Programming

Using various available software programs to better aid in the manufacturing process, particularly for custom machined parts,  helps to save energy.  Specialized programing is available to help create a custom tool path.  This allows the user to maintain uniform stress on the tool, keeping constant and even pressure, to create a curving, circular path.   Using this continuous, smooth motion allows the machinist to create the component with faster cutting speeds, without risk of tool damage with sudden, sharp turns, thus reducing energy costs.

Another software element indispensable in precision manufacturing is specialized programming that allows the tool to cut with uniform force.  Having a steady cutting force results in energy reduction without varying forces and additional electric input to adjust for changing pressures.

Machine Tool Selections

Aside from making logical and strategic processing decisions, the tools within the machine shop itself can be energy efficient.  There are several tools designed for energy efficiency, especially with the eco-friendly mindset of several companies and customers alike.

Limit Base Load

There are many energy-sapping functions within a tool that can go unnoticed, aside from the immediate energy load required to operate the tool during active phases.  Many auxiliary parts continue to run, even while the tool is in between phases.  The tool’s base load still consumes energy even while the tool is resting.  Luckily, there are many new tools that can be switched off during these non-productive phases which can help save on energy costs.

Tool Selection

Addressed earlier while mentioning the practice of selecting the right tool to increase cycle times, tool selection can also impact the amount of energy consumed.  Of the many components, a spindle can greatly impact the tool’s efficiency.  If the spindle drive is run too slowly, below it’s intended operating speed, it can eat up a tremendous amount of unnecessary energy.  Further, throttling the tool to reduce the speed only increases the time it takes to manufacture a component.  Increased manufacture time leads to an increased use of electricity.  It is recommended that spindle motor efficiency is considered for the component in question.  Sometimes energy efficiency can be improved by using synchronous motors as opposed to asynchronous motors.

Regenerative Supply Usage

Lastly, tools are now made in precision manufacturing that have a regenerative energy supply.  Traditionally, fast moving tools require an internal braking system to slow down the acceleration.  In a non-regenerative system the power used to brake the tool is converted to heat, from friction, which is then lost in the overall process.  Regenerative tools are now available that redirect that lost energy into useable kinetic energy, sent right back to the power grid.

This regenerative supply can help save energy in several ways.  Not only can regenerative power help maintain consistent power to the tool, foregoing the momentary power loss sometimes exhibited when the tool starts and stops, but it can also help in processes that require multiple tool changes.  In systems that require one, or multiple tool changes within 100 seconds regenerative power supplies are able to keep constant energy to the system.  In a non-regenerative tool, the power it takes to restart the machine after a tool change spikes, drawing an excess amount of power from the grid.  This can be avoided with a regenerative tooling system.

Just because the United States has not fully regulated energy consumption by machine shops nationwide, does not mean manufacturers are not interested in the valuable savings associated with energy efficiency.  Conserving energy is a key factor for an original equipment manufacturer in the Denver manufacturing market.  Between prolonging the life expectancy of tools, saving money on energy costs, and making environmentally friendly choices it is clear that energy efficiency is the path for a successful manufacturing process.

Check out another article on renewable energy in Manufacturing.

CNC machine at work

Challenges Manufacturers will face and how to overcome them in 2019

Manufacturers are constantly faced with a variety of challenges and staying competitive and profitable requires the ability to identify issues and enact effective resolutions that can adequately provide a remedy. One of the biggest challenges manufacturers will face in 2019 is creating new markets for custom manufacturing. Perhaps a company can identify a need for a particular product for an emerging market, but creating the avenue to successfully engage that need and fulfill the gap poses a definite challenge.

Identifying Emerging Market Potential

The ability to identify an emerging market and firmly secure a place for custom and precision manufacturing companies within that market is one of the keys to promoting growth and remaining competitive in an ever-changing business landscape. Each year, there are new products and services being developed in mass for the consumer marketplace. If a manufacturer can get a lead on identifying the next big market in which they can provide custom or precision manufacturing, they will have an advantage over the other competitors.

The most effective way to identify these new emerging markets is through research. Part of that research may also involve engagement with a variety of potential consumers across several demographics to establish viability. Having highly trained and insightful staff who can accurately gauge the interest in a particular emerging market and focusing in on specific details that involve providing necessary manufacturing processes will allow companies to partner with new and exciting businesses.

Show How Custom Manufacturing Can Replace Traditional Methods

An effective way to secure the confidence of new clients in emerging markets is to show them how manufacturers can improve on a product and make it more appealing and of a higher quality. Replacing traditional manufacturing that can’t offer the same benefits will allow those products to be more well rounded and versatile. Adding better, high quality 1 features and making more versatile products will benefit all parties. Here are some key points to address and focus in on when presenting an argument for selecting customer or precision manufacturing for new emerging markets.

  •  Value

One of the most important topics related to manufacturing is value. Manufacturers should focus on proving their clients with value they can’t find elsewhere. The argument for value can be presented by highlighting the benefits of using specially created custom parts that add to the function, durability, and quality of a consumer good.

  • Originality

The best way for a product to stand out from the crowd is by having the originality factor. Businesses which feature products that are unique in design and provide specific features that other products in a competing market can’t offer will allow them to create a niche for themselves and provide an extra foothold. Manufacturers can also present their argument for providing originality showing examples of custom machinery that they can provide to produce unique features for a product that make a company and their offerings unique within the market.

  •  Quality

Quality is always a factor when consumers make a purchase regardless of the specific product or market. When working to create a new market for precision and custom manufacturing, highlighting the quality factor they can provide is essential to partnering with new companies within an emerging  market. Pinpoint exactly how the manufacturer can provide a high level of quality that sets their brand apart and makes it an attractive option to consumers.

Utilize Tax Credits For Research Funding

As mentioned previously, one of the keys to creating new markets for custom and precision manufacturers is through research. These companies can actually receive tax credits by using R & D tax incentives. They were enacted in 1981, and were designed to assist companies that are producing new products or even improving on an older variety of product. Harnessing these tax credits will allocate additional funding for research and development to help create and establish new markets for the manufacturing companies. The following are examples of how these tax credits can be utilized for manufacturers to create new markets.

  • Research conducted at institutions such as colleges or other research organizations.
  • Expenses related to employees who play an integral part of the companies research and development.
  • Third parties who are hired to conduct research and research related tasks on behalf of a manufacturer.
  • Tangible supplies that are used to conduct research and development. This tax credit covers property and land improvements related to these processes as well.

In order for a company to qualify for this tax credit, it must fall within the guidelines presented by the IRC section 41, which defines the protocol. Essentially, these guidelines are used to demonstrate how a manufacturer is creating new or improved products. This tax credit can also apply to new software, inventions, or techniques that can be used within the consumer market. In the case of software, there are additional qualifying criteria which must be met to qualify. These tax credits can prove to be especially beneficial for research and development of a CNC Company and American manufacturing companies. These credits can dramatically reduce the cost of staying on top of development of new machinery and equipment necessary for working within new markets.

Companies producing machinery and precision manufacturing equipment must constantly evolve to remain a competitive entity within their market. This entails the use of a combination of research, development, technology, and creative marketing skills. Creating new markets to work within may be one of the toughest challenges these companies face in 2019, but with some insight and a solid strategy to appeal to those key individuals working to establish emerging markets, they can rise to the occasion and provide quality products and machinery these new companies need to provide products consumers want to purchase. For more information, visit the Tag Team Manufacturing website and browse the blog. Tag team is a CNC company and American manufacturing partner dedicated to providing clients with the parts they need for their businesses.

Continuous Improvement Always Get Better Speedometer 3d Illustration

Improving your Machine Shop

A machine shop can be compared to the parts that are manufactured on a daily basis, with many moving parts, all of which needs to work together in synchronized processes to achieve the maximum efficiency in a machine shop. It’s a delicate balance to keep the machines running at tiptop condition and all the employees working efficiently as well.

 

Keeping Your Processes Updated

 

Machine shops of all kinds need to be aware of current trends and standards in their industry to increase your efficiency in the CNC machine shop. The Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT is a relatively new process to help revolutionized the way that we look at different prototype designs. It also monitors the specific customer feedback to newer products and with the rise in mobile connectivity; it leads to more networking possibilities. It also has a high level of connectedness between all of the equipment and machines on the shop floor.

 

Employee Education

 

All employees in a machine shop should be properly educated on the OSHA requirements that need to be followed in order to reduce employee injuries that lead to downtime. The employees should be aware of the workplace hazards for their particular part in the machining industry process and how to operate all machines safely in the manufacturing shop that they use on a daily basis.

 

Quality Control

 

The last step in most manufacturing processes include quality control checks to make certain that all parts in a product are the correct size and items such as pumps operate correctly. If your employees are trained correctly to do their jobs, there will be little errors in the final product. However, if one employee makes a mistake more than once, you can have them re-trained so this doesn’t keep happening. Making another component or part to replace a defective one costs your machine shop extra materials, time and labor and can be very costly. On the other hand, the QC inspector may actually notice that a setting on the CNC machine needs attention by finding inaccuracies in the products made.

Examining the Workflow

 

The process of examining the workflow in your local machine shops can lead you to realize that it is not running as efficiently as it could be. You may be able to improve your daily operations significantly after an inspection by analyzing your shop processes. Lean manufacturing processes are the route that the product travels through a machine shop in the manufacturing stages. For example, if parts are produced in a CNC Machine Shop and the process starts at the front of the shop, then the part moves to the back of the shop for the next phase in the process, then time is being wasted by the two workstations not being next to each other in the shop. It may not seem like a lot of time to walk several hundred feet from one area to another–but it all adds to the inefficiency of the entire workload in your shop. The best idea is to figure the route that is most commonly used for the majority of materials you produce in Local Machine Shops and place the machines accordingly.

 

Collaborate with Full-Time Employees

 

It’s a great idea to talk to your employees with the most tenure that are full-time employees. These people will have the best ideas to help you to decide about any changes that need to be made in your local machine shops. Most employees will just do their job and not create waves, but if you ask them for their opinion, you may find a goldmine of information to draw on and increase proficiency by leaps and bounds. This strategy also strengthens your bond with employees and encourages input from teammates in the future that will help the machine shop.

 

Keep Realistic Deadlines

 

When bidding on a job, make the deadlines for the products realistic. Employees don’t want to work so many hours that they have no family time to themselves and even if they are paid well for the overtime, they will eventually tire out from extra long hours on a daily basis, which leads to more workplace accidents. Planning the deadlines correctly will give you a bit of leeway in the deadline to account for machine downtime and employee sickness if they should arise.

 

Upgrade Machining Tools

 

For Quality Manufacturing you can upgrade your machining tools to take advantage of the newer processes of additive manufacturing and 3D printing to reduce the costs and time of having to do custom tooling by hand. These types of tools will cost you in the beginning, but your largest budget is usually the tooling needs and in the future when the tools are paid off, it will pay for itself in the lower amounts that you pay employees for labor and the time saved.

 

Routine Maintenance

 

Routine maintenance, preventative maintenance or PM, helps keep all of your equipment in functioning order in your Manufacturing Shop. It’s best to have all machines examined at the beginning of the workday to see if they are operating correctly and have employees fill out check lists. It’s much less expensive to have specific intervals for routine maintenance than to have a major setback when a machine goes down. Downtime is not only expensive because you need parts and labor right away, but the parts may not be available for a few days, which will delay you reaching your deadlines and it could cost you future jobs from a customer.

 

Machine Downtime is Your Enemy

 

Machine downtime is the leading cause of inefficiency in any machine shop. You can make some decisions if you keep good records on all the machines and tooling devices in your shop. Make a record of machine downtime on each machine and find the cause of it. Keep records on how many machines are down and for how long. If one goes down often and it has the scheduled maintenance that it requires to be up and running, you may think about a replacement instead. You can assign team members from a different area to do the inspections as they may notice something that isn’t right on a machine that took a long time to surface, whereas the member that uses the machine daily may not notice because the inefficiency occurred over quite a bit of time. Also, make note of the corrections that were made and if they were efficient or need to be changed.

 

Following these ideas can help your machine shop to operate efficiently by timely operations and lower labor costs, extend the life of your machining tools and help to keep great team members on board with you.

5S. Kaizen management methodology. Workplace organization method that uses a list of five words.

Enhancing Workplace Safety with 5S

5S is lean Six Sigma approach designed to reduce waste and maximize productivity by keeping an orderly workplace and achieving consistent results that can be checked via visual cues. Implementation organizes the workplace within its existing framework, and this is the first step toward a lean Six Sigma effort. However, in an advanced manufacturing environment, there are many benefits to adopting these practices outside the formal Six Sigma system.

Benefits of 5S in an Advanced Manufacturing Environment

Developing consistency and organization leads to a conscientious attitude and a safer, more efficient workplace. Conversely, when defects and waste aren’t measured and controlled, costs begin to pile up. Here are some examples:

  • Output falls short due to variations between crews.
  • Utilization is reduced due to longer-than-expected product changeovers.
  • Missing parts make it necessary to rush in a new one

Companies try to guide improvements via Six Sigma, Lean, or Total Productive Maintenance programs. However, studies show that up to two-thirds of such efforts fall below the expectations of stakeholders. Learning these methods is easy, but putting into action is not due to the following:

  • Process improvements decline.
  • Continuous improvement isn’t realized or prioritized.
  • The initiative isn’t global enough.

5S is One Solution

Companies like Danaher and Toyota went through the 5S program to develop positive cultures. 5S engages people to contribute to a visually-oriented organization, where cleanliness facilitates increased safety, productivity, and quality.

5S forms the foundation for more disciplined actions. Workers who put their tools back in place are more likely to follow production standards. Its visual nature makes it easy to spot items that are out of place. It lays the way for continuous improvement and provides:

  • Cleaner, safer work areas with fewer tripping hazards
  • Less wasted time searching for tools and materials that are more accessible
  • Unneeded items are eliminated so that less floor space is required
  • Improved self-discipline fostered by the visual nature of 5S, which makes abnormal conditions stand out
  • Improved culture due to 5S-motivated teamwork and motivation

What are the 5S’s?

The components of 5S are sorting, simplifying, systemic cleaning, standardizing and sustaining.

  • Sorting activities eliminate unnecessary items from work areas in order to clean it.
  • Simplifying arranges the work area for safety and efficiency.
  • Systematic daily inspection of facility and equipment helps determine if corrective action is needed.
  • Standardizing makes abnormal conditions stand out so that the workplace organization is sustainable.
  • Sustaining aims to keep current improvements to allow further progress to be made.

Implementing 5S

5S is not a housekeeping activity. Instead, 5S has to be a team effort and everyone should be able to tell instantly what’s out of place. With organization forming the crux of 5S, it’s vital to start with getting rid of unneeded items.

Sorting

During this phase, employees can sort and clear their work areas. This can take weeks in each department as everyone works to establish criteria for what to throw out. Much like cleaning your closet, anything not used for a year can be removed or put in a holding area. Disposing of uneeded items may mean transferring them elsewhere in the company, selling or discarding them. Then, the employee can conduct an initial cleaning.

Simplifying

Simplying gives everything a home and places each item in order of efficiency. Frequently-used items, for example, have to be close to where they’re used as possible. To accomplish this task:

  • Pick a spot for each item arranged in order of frequency of use and take safety precautions into account.
  • Label items so that there’s a home for everything.
  • Create a process to replenish supplies.
  • Document the equipment, layout and plan to replace supplies.

Systematic Cleaning

Systematic cleaning creates a document that enables inspection of the area. Everything should be swept, mopped and dusted and kept neat and clean with rags or brooms. Daily cleaning and inspections should be easy. Inspections include:

  • Identify points to check.
  • Define acceptable condition.
  • Mark equipment that has visual indicators such as gauges.
  • Conduct cleaning and visual check parameters.

Standardizing

Standardizing ensures that all workers understand the expectations.It is the workplace team that establishes the set of standards they will follow. It’s crucial that everyone has some involvement. Here are the steps to standardize the 5S processes.

  • Establish a checklist for the work area. The checklist should show everything the team checks during self-audits.
  • A multi-level audit system helps to make sure that the organization fulfills the overarching 5S goal of sustaining the work areas so that the system can evolve to more stringent controls and process improvements.
  • Establish and document a single source of truth as to the 5S processes for the company
  • Add new standards to the master document.

Sustaining

Sustaining is considered the hardest “S.” However, it shouldn’t be if you let the 5S system work for your advanced manufacturing company. At this point, you should have engaged everyone in the work area during 5S activities and have a “tell at a glance” visual workplace. If this is so, then sustaining is much easier. That is important, but not sufficient. A more systematic way to prevent backsliding and to foster continuous improvement is needed. The steps of sustaining are:

  • Define the 5S overall grade.
  • Perform routine 5S checks via the 5S checklist.
  • Address new opportunities that are uncovered during routine checks.
  • Conduct scheduled, routine checks by supervisors or someone not directly from the work area in the machine shop that is being inspected.

Perform higher-level audits to evaluate how well the 5S system is working overall. For example, are there systemic issues with sustaining 5S? Often, the company’s safety committee is an excellent body for conducting these audits.

When you develop sustaining activities everything that follows becomes part of the 5S process and future refinements. When items are returned to their place, the entire operation is smoother. When something is out of place its cause is probably that the organization needs to be tweaked so that it’s convenient. The work team should be the ones who safeguard the sustainability of 5S and improve morale, safety, and productivity.

CNC machines at the plant for the production of valves. Factory workspace

10 Amazing Benefits of One-Stop Machine Shop Employment

Have you ever thought about pursuing a career in manufacturing? Whether you realize it or not, there are lots of hidden benefits for working in a CNC Shop. Like buried treasure in a forgotten hill, machinists and manufacturers have lots of career perks that most people overlook. Let’s review the Top Ten benefits of working at a machine shop that can do just about anything!

1. An Easy Educational Foundation

Many jobs in the medical, educational, and legal industries require at the minimum a bachelor’s degree, but you only need a degree from a technical college as a foundation for a great machining career. From there, you can enroll in a state sponsored apprenticeship at a machine shop. This combined time is about the same as getting a master’s degree, but it’s a lot more affordable and you’ll already be working by the time you become a journeyman and the apprenticeship ends.

2. Creative Problem Solving

Machines are anything but boring! Smart career machinists look at manufacturing problems that pop up as career opportunities. If you love to tinker with parts and find new creative ways to engineer things and solve intricate problems, a machine shop career is the perfect fit. You just might solve a production issue that other machinists won’t have to encounter again in the history of manufacturing!

3. Lasting Relationships

One of the most important things about a manufacturing career is building lasting relationships with your customers and those who work in your environment. With this in mind, you’ll enjoy new opportunities that open for you if you carefully cultivate these relationships.

4. Opportunities with Innovation

What an exciting time to be in the manufacturing industry! Each year, new technologies are implemented in manufacturing plants that produce more products faster and make workers safer. From tool and die to robotics, young career mechanics and machinists have awesome things to look forward to at a precision machine shop as products in many industries are becoming more automated for the Internet of Things, a not-so-distant future where many common household items like cars, appliances, and even clothing will be connected to the internet. And as a machinist, you know what that means – more things to fix!

At Tag Team, automation is coming alive through the CMM and Smartscope.

Meanwhile, Tag Team Manufacturing has innovation right inside the CNC Shop. The Smartscope and the Coordinate Measuring Machine offers remarkable precision and ensures quality for checking thousands of parts in a single day. This helps ensure that the high demands of delivery schedules are met for each client we work with. These innovations and more are what make the manufacturing industry all the more exciting!

5. A Steady Income

Dedicated machinists who have completed their apprenticeships and become nationally certified enjoy good and dependable wages. Depending on where they work, they may also have good health insurance and vacation time benefits too. These factors help secure a steady income and a good retirement down the road. For more information about Tag Team Manufacturing’s competitive benefits package, contact our CNC Shop for more information.

6. Consistent Work

Thanks to an increasing interest in American made products, demand for skilled manufacturing has gone up, and that’s not diminishing anytime soon. In fact, manufacturing companies are seeking to fill more job openings now than ever before. In some cases there are more spots to fill up than they can keep up with! That’s good news for the career machinist. Work certainly won’t run out for a very long time.

7. An Active Lifestyle

Can’t stand the thought of being chained to a desk job? Do you like to get your ‘hands dirty?’ Manufacturing just might be your thing. Work life on the plant floor and job sites connected to manufacturing is as different from an office like night is to day. It can be very physical and hands-on. You’re very much a part of the action, so to speak. There’s a lot of strategy and critical thinking involved. And machine grease. Lots and lots of machine grease.

8. Made in America – by You!

Whether it be a old school metal machine shop or a modern CNC shop, there’s something wonderful that happens inside the first time you make something all on your own with your hands. A spark ignites, and you feel satisfied that you made it. Right here in America. And your customer will use it to suit their purposes. No matter how long you’re in the business, that feeling never gets old. That alone is a great reason to start a manufacturing career!

9. Making a Difference

It’s one thing to do a job well, but it’s completely another matter when it’s a job that makes a difference in society. A one-stop metal machine shop can make parts for many industries, from hospital cardiac devices to aerospace plane parts to decorative ironwork that makes a homeowner feel good about where they live. A machinist’s valuable skills can do a lot of good in American society, in many ways. And that’s what makes this industry a rewarding experience.

10. Work with a ‘Smart Robot!’

Who says you can’t have fun with manufacturing? Meet Sawyer, the Smart Robot at Tag Team Manufacturing. With his state of the art technology, Sawyer directly communicates with the machine at the CNC shop to perform multiple tasks at metal fabrication, procedure testing, box assembly, and more with his robotic arm. With Sawyer’s help, Tag Team Manufacturing has multiplied annual productivity and workers are safer. Plus, it’s just plain fascinating to watch Sawyer work on his own!

As mentioned before, now is a great time to begin a rewarding career in manufacturing! Did you know that Tag Team Manufacturing is hiring? Check out our positions here to see if we’re a good fit together. You can also contact us directly. We’d love to get in touch with you!

If you’re a potential client interested in Tag Team’s manufacturing services, you can find out more of what we do here. Thanks for visiting! We look forward to meeting you soon.

OEM concept blurred background 3d render illustration

Benefits of Working with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) parts make a difference and that variation is amplified in precision machining. The benefits of OEM parts are important and will make a difference in any industry, some are just more pronounced than others. To make this case obvious, we should begin by looking at the difference OEM parts make in general.

The OEM Difference

From quality, fit, and time, there are many benefits to working with an OEM, regardless of what industry you work in. The difference is evident right from the start, from the moment you order your first part…

The Right Parts Faster

When ordering from an OEM, the time it takes to find a part is generally quicker because so many other variables have been eliminated and part identification is that much easier for the clerk. This also means it takes less time for the warehouse or stockroom to locate and pull the part. On the shipping end, an OEM will generally always be able to have the part packaged, labeled and shipped faster than a broker or distributor. That is in large part due to the aforementioned factors and the elimination of needing to order a part from a supplier because the OEM is the supplier. 

The Right Fit

Nobody should knock the concept or use of “universal” parts, they can and do serve a very important purpose in many different sectors. It isn’t that universal parts don’t work, they do. The question is, do they work best? This isn’t an issue of aesthetics and function. This is a matter of performance, efficiency, durability, and money. The right parts are the parts that were made to fit, specifically designed for a machine, motor, component or part. We don’t have to look far to find out why OEM parts are the best option, the reason is quality. OEM manufacturing affords customers parts that perform better because of the advantages of having the original part design. That performance is often recognized in efficiency as the right parts promote the best possible operation of the tool or machine the part is for and the better the part works the more durable it will be. This all eventually results in savings, from lower production costs to increased profitability because of parts that help motors and systems run precisely as they were designed and built to.

OEM Quality

Original equipment manufacturers are putting their name on every part. They work directly with their customers and they have the original design, plan, and blueprint for their parts. All of that adds up to simply being able to produce the highest quality parts possible and more than a few reasons to do so. OEMs depend on keeping their customers satisfied and their parts working properly because that is their business and the business relationship depends on being able to deliver. The robotics, medical, electrical and aerospace industries are just a few of the fields that rely on quality parts that do more than work but work exactly how they were designed to work. That is the quality difference and this is where quality and precision machining go hand in hand.

OEM in Precision Machining

The best technology and software, the most advanced CNC, Lathe or machining tools and even the highest quality materials aren’t enough to deliver the finest in precision machining. It doesn’t matter how smart your system is or if you are working with plastic, stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum or brass. Getting the best results won’t happen without the most talented machinists who know how to utilize today’s technology. It is this mix of talent, that kind of technology and the best machining equipment that set OEM parts apart.

The Little Things Matter

It could be the precision used in billiards, the precision required in the medical arena or demanded of space exploration, the little things in precision machining matter. Reaching out to an OEM will mean getting that kind of precision for your parts, the parts that make you tools accurate, your motors run perfectly or that enhance your efficiency and production. A little part on an assembly line can stop everything. Small parts in a motor that aren’t perfectly calibrated will reduce efficiency and increase cost by creating wear or causing the engine to work harder than it should. Businesses and organizations everywhere and from every industry rely on parts to fix, replace, upgrade or improve their tools, their motors, their operations and in the end, their business. It’s the little things.

From ball racks to perfectly measured calipers, small factors like calibration and tolerance range measurements determine if a part works and how well it works. Working with an original equipment manufacturer helps companies to not only get parts that work but parts that work properly and well. When companies can operate, run and work at optimal levels, how big do those little things become?

The OEM Advantage for Tomorrow

Keeping your business and your operations running smoothly today also means being prepared for tomorrow and the future. With upgrades to equipment and tools and the need for companies to continually upgrade and keep up with competition, the benefits of working with an OEM go far beyond the here and now. An OEM will always have an advantage when changes or improvements are made or needed to existing parts because they have the original plans, molds, designs, and measurement. This simply results in being able to more accurately adjust or update parts to meet whatever changes are needed. This benefits those who are using OEMs by getting faster updates to parts, by having more accurate adjustments or changes made and by receiving those parts sooner.

People choose to work with an OEM because of their quality, expertise and the relationship they forge. Having a partner who understands what your business does, what it needs, and with the tools to help is an advantage of working with an original equipment manufacturer – not just today but for the future too. There is a place for aftermarket parts but the front of the pack is reserved for OEM parts. 

Where is your company at in the race and how can the OEM difference make a difference for you?

blurring in motion as a concept of modern technologies in Metalworking machine with control panel CNC machine

The Keys to Successful High Speed Machining in your Machine Shop

Advancements in CNC manufacturing and industry developments in high speed machinery are just two of the factors that are driving a global CNC machines market that is expected to reach $100 Billion by the year 2025, according to a research study. This industry growth is underpinned by CNC technology that provides manufacturers with a reduction in machining errors, lower operating costs for machine shops, and lower labor costs when state-of-the-art factory automation is implemented in US manufacturing sectors across the board.

Taking Advantage of CNC Manufacturing

The key to successful high speed machining in your machine shop is directly tied to your adoption of high speed CNC machines and tooling or partnering with a machine shop Denver that delivers high speed, custom machine shop services to US manufacturers. These companies provide mills, lathes, grinders, ad routers controlled by computer CNC programming to operate at a significantly higher feed rate – and with a minimum of tool breakage.

Expect a cleaner cut with high-speed machines that operate at lower heat per piece due to the efficient manner in which metal chips are evacuated. The result is tooling that remains cooler with less vibration and a reduction in other machining forces when compared to conventional machine shop operations.

These inherent traits of CNC manufacturing will also provide 3 other major benefits to US manufacturing production – repeatability, precision, and range of materials:

  • Improved Repeatability: CNC programming and machines can reproduce a shop outcome that is unchanged for multiple pieces running at high speeds. Even more important than accuracy, repeatability means errors can be traced and compensated for, to reduce scrap and gain higher precision for intricate geometry machining.
  • Component Precision: When 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) software is used in conjunction with CNC machines, expect components that are manufactured to exact and extremely precise specifications. Complex shapes and fine or thin parts which at one time required a Master machinist and hours of labor are now easily manufactured without error.
  • Greater Range of Materials: Aside from common manufacturing metals, CNC machining is used to produce components and products from a wide range of materials, including steel, aluminum, bronze, gold, and silver. Today, many domestic consumer products manufactured from polymers such as ABS and PTFE are machined using high speed production as well.

4 Keys to Successful High Speed Machining

Staying competitive in an increasingly fast-paced manufacturing arena means achieving better productivity from your  manufacturing automation strategies. And when it comes to high speed machine shops, the following four keys will do more to ensure success than most other factors:

Material Selection Process

Due to the high feed rates of high speed machine (HSM) processing, softer materials don’t fare as well. For the best results, tough or hardened materials provide the best results. When you consider that different materials are processed at vastly different speeds, mostly due to the preservation of the machine’s cutting tool life, the most common metals include hardened steels, stainless steel, tool steel, and titanium, and often mild steel.

CNC machines are high performing and depend upon critical attention to every detail between the cutting tool, the CNC program, and the material being cut, including:

  • spindle rpm
  • spindle power
  • high feed rates
  • tool path rates

Material properties will affect the material removal rate and how much wear and tear is being placed on the cutting tool. Companies can overcome these material selection challenges by partnering with a machine shop Denver that specializes in CNC manufacturing and custom machine shop processes. Here you will find the expertise required to overcome component material specification and cutting tool material challenges and how material will relate to depth of cut, coolant flow rate, and the type of coating for the cutting tool.

Acceptable Workpiece Geometries

While CNC machines are regularly used to process common geometries, when it comes to high speed operations, the tool geometry and tool access to all parts of the working piece are dependent on the geometry of each component. Workpiece geometry with internal or ‘hidden’ cuts will often place a limit on to the maximum depth of an undercut.

Likewise, the stiffness of the workpiece and the tool must be matched to reduce deformation and vibration during machining, otherwise the temperature increase due to cutting forces are too great for high speed applications. Consideration of workpiece geometry also includes maintaining a minimum wall thickness for a successful component that is machined using high speed CNC equipment.

The Right CNC Machinery

If your CNC machines are not rated for high speed operations, then expect broken tooling and lot’s of scrap pieces. There are a wide range of factors that are needed for high speed production to run smoothly – and these factors mut be considered when selecting a CNC machine for your machine shop. From complex mechanical parts to mold & die processes, the right CNC machinery depends on:

  • Part Complexity
  • Machining Operations
  • Operator Training
  • CNC Control System
  • Cost Per Part
  • Available Floor Space

When setting up floor space for high speed machining, operations may need to be rearranged to accommodate material flow from point-to-point for increased productivity. When selecting a machine, worker safety and chip disposal during non-stop machining operations are an integral part of operations planning.

If you are in the process of choosing a CNC machine shop Denver to drive your high speed manufacturing projects, request samples of their previous work and discuss any in-house limitations they may have which can affect how flexible they can be during production.

Partner with a US manufacturing service provider that can run a range of project sizes from big scale productions to small prototype machining with a variety of materials.

Access to Trained CNC Operators

There is no denying that there exists a shortage of skilled CNC operators in America to fulfill the needs of manufacturers for trained and experienced workers to fill new positions in high speed manufacturing. The Golden Age of skilled machinists existed during the Baby Boomer generation – and today that workforce is retiring at a record pace.

The majority of Millennials that have entered the manufacturing industry have looked to supervisory or management positions in lieu of the traditional machine shop occupations that were held by their parents.

For these reasons, companies are finding access to trained CNC operators that are experienced in the nuances of high-speed manufacturing by turning to third party or outsourced, machine shops to meet demanding production schedules.

Partner with a high speed manufacturing machine shop that specializes in custom production at a facility that features clean and organized shop floors that are technology driven. Tag Team Manufacturing is dedicated to production quality and s inspired by today’s innovations in high speed machining processes.

At Tag Team, we work closely with your engineers to develop first-run prototypes, and we can collaborate with your product developers to deliver quality components at a competitive price with the ability to output up to 50,000 units annually.

CNC Manufacturing

How Changing Manufacturing Perceptions Are Shaping the Industry

The manufacturing industry in general, including CNC manufacturing and precision manufacturing, is one that is consistently recognized as one of the most important industries that contributes to economic prosperity. However, the US manufacturing industry is facing a gap. Not only are there not enough skilled workers available, but also there isn’t an interest in pursuing long-term careers in CNC manufacturing. A lot of this has to do with the public perception of the industry.

What Is the Public View of Manufacturing?

Americans value the industry, with 83% believing that manufacturing is important to economic prosperity in the country. Seven out of 10 Americans believe that the country should invest more in the industry. Eight in 10 Americans view manufacturing as an important way to maintain the standard of living in the country. Sixty-four percent believe that the manufacturing industry in the country is high tech. Even with these positive stats, Americans still aren’t choosing careers in CNC manufacturing. One-third would not encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing because they believe it doesn’t pay enough, is not a strong career path, and they are worried about the stability and security of the job. While 67% believe these jobs are rewarding and interesting, only half believe that a career in this industry provides good pay when compared to other industries.

Even though Americans aren’t encouraging their children to pursue those jobs and don’t seem to want to have these jobs themselves, they are optimistic about the future of manufacturing jobs and do believe that these perceptions can change and improve. Americans believe that future jobs can have better career prospects because they will require higher levels of expertise, have safer and cleaner environments, and be more innovative and creative. In order to get more people interested in manufacturing jobs, Americans believe there should be more targeted programs, such as apprenticeships and internships, as well as CNC manufacturing degree and certification programs. When Americans become more familiar with the industry, they are twice as likely to encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.

Education Matters in the Industry

As Americans are becoming more educated about the industry, their perception is changing. In order to fix some of these perceptions, it’s necessary to increase the pool of qualified candidates to be able to get the right talent to staff the roles that today’s manufacturing companies need. Community colleges, as well as technical schools across the country, are working with government and non-profit agencies, as well as manufacturers, to develop curriculum that will help make sure that students have the in-demand skills that are needed for these roles. These institutions, as well as manufacturers themselves, are better understanding the role that they play in transforming the public perception. Oftentimes in the past, manufacturers would spend money to invest in technology and equipment, but didn’t invest in their existing workforce and in the human capital. Due to this, the industry has fallen behind and is lagging when it comes to adapting to new operations in more technologically advanced environments. Schools have worked with private manufacturers in order to develop programs that will help focus on specific skills employers want, which not only makes it easier for the manufacturers themselves, but also benefits the students who want to make sure they can get a job when they are done with school. An example of this is a worker training program with American Makes. This organization is a leading partner in research for 3D printing and additive manufacturing. The organization is a public-private partnership that works to accelerate and innovate additive manufacturing with the goal to help increase the manufacturing competitiveness in the United States. The curriculum that is offered is skills-based training, and the apprenticeships offer a range of jobs that are in demand with a focus on the 3D workforce.

Improving the US Manufacturing Competitiveness

In order to improve perceptions about the industry, more than three-fourths of Americans agree that there needs to be a more strategic approach to invest and develop the manufacturing base. Seven in ten Americans believe that a strong manufacturing base should be a priority for the nation and there should be tax incentives to encourage it. There needs to be lowered health care costs, reforms in the education system, and a comprehensive energy policy. These are just some of the actions that Americans believe could help bolster the competitiveness of the US manufacturing industry.

What’s Really Happening in the Industry?

The manufacturing industry provides one of the most stable and secure career paths, and the average tenure of workers in manufacturing jobs is the highest among private sector industries. Manufacturing jobs have some of the lowest turnover rates as well. Despite what some think, CNC manufacturing jobs are paying well. According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor and Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average worker earned $81,289, which included benefits and pay, compared to the average worker in other industries only earning $63,830. Health benefits can be a concern with job seekers, and manufacturers have some of the higher percentage of workers who are eligible for health benefits provided by an employer. Skilled workers are needed, especially over the next decade. About 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed, which is due to a combination of the retirement of Baby Boomers and the strengthening economy. By making these statistics more well known and increasing public awareness, it can help dispel false perceptions to help get the news out that the industry is actually doing pretty well. Manufacturing is a big contributor to the US economy. The industry employs about 12 million people and the effect of it ripples throughout the entire nation. For every one dollar that is spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. For every job that is added in the manufacturing industry, four other jobs are added in the broader economy.

How Trends in the Industry Affect Perceptions

Different technological advances that are entering the industry, such as IoT and robotics, are also changing perceptions that are helping to shape the industry. Despite the new technology and many people thinking that technology is going to replace jobs, there is still a huge demand for jobs that are more skilled and can work alongside the changing technology. While some jobs are lost due to robotics and new technology, these jobs are being replaced with higher skilled jobs, which pay more and offer more stability. The newer jobs for higher skilled workers are exactly the kind of jobs that are needed to counteract the negative perceptions that go along with the industry.

DIgital marketing technology concept. Internet. Online. Search Engine Optimisation. SEO. SMM. Advertising.

Best Ways to Promote Your Small Manufacturing Business Online

Having a strong online presence is important for every company, including those in the Denver OEM Manufacturing industry. Promoting your manufacturing business online needs to tie into your overall marketing strategy.

It’s important to remember that OEM manufacturing marketing is about your audience and not about you. Many business owners and executives tend to think about the engineering or product side of the business and think about features and products, instead of thinking about results and outcomes. In order to have a successful online marketing strategy, and a successful marketing strategy in general, you need to figure out your “why.” Why should your customers care about your business? Why is your business the one a customer should pick over the others? It’s not what you make, but it is often tied into what the product can deliver.

Once you have figured out your “why,” you need to figure out your “who.” Ask yourself who really wants the why of the business. Is there a segment or customer type that is the most profitable for you, or a customer type that is the best to work for? Do you know what they really want? What do they search for online? At what point in the buyer journey do they reach out to the sales team? Have you taken the time to talk to your existing customers and asked these questions? Do you know why prospects didn’t buy from you? Getting the answers to these questions can help you narrow down your target audience and really focus your online marketing efforts. For online marketing, it can be especially important to figure out what the potential customers are searching for online and the buyer journey as a whole. This way, you can utilize many different online channels to not only create leads, but also help customers along the way to get them to buy from you.

Social Media

Social media is one of the best ways to engage with customers in the OEM Manufacturing industry. It can also help you get more leads and make personal connections with other fellow industry professionals. By sharing well curated content on Twitter and LinkedIn, you can help establish yourself as an industry leader. If you interact with your customers, then you could be in the position to be a go-to source for tips and information. This will help you gain followers, as well as generate leads. Not only is social media an important tool to connect with purchasing managers, but you can also utilize it on the paid side.

Paid Social Media Advertising

Paid social media advertising can also help you boost brand awareness, since ads can be targeted to specific users. You can target ads based on people’s search and browsing history. However, you don’t have to have any prior connections with people that you want to target with your ads. If their profile will match up with the messaging and target parameters you have set, then your ad can show up in the news feed or as sponsored content.

Search Engine Optimization

If you have a website, you need to be optimizing for the search engines. You need to figure out what your target audience is searching for and use that to your advantage. For example, if a customer is searching the phrase “OEM Manufacturing in Colorado,” you need to have that phrase on your website in order for them to find you. You can add these phrases to your website by including it in title tags, meta descriptions, and in the content on the website. Be careful to not overly spam your website with too many keywords, which will have the opposite effective. The questions you ask yourself about your target audience and customer are important because this helps you understand what they are searching for and what keywords are going to be the most beneficial.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay per click advertising, or PPC, works by charging businesses a fee each time someone clicks on their ad. This is a way for business to essentially buy site visits and it can be very effective for getting leads and traffic. Companies can choose to have their ads appear in search engines alongside organic results. A lot of research has shown that users will click on paid search ads more often than other forms of advertising. If the advertisement is directly related to what people are searching, then people don’t mind advertisements. Starting a PPC campaign can take some trial and error to see what people are searching for. If you are going to use Google Adwords, the platform makes it easy to get started and businesses can flesh out a more targeted campaign based on where and when they want to advertise, and work on selecting the right keywords. Not only can businesses focus on keywords, but they can also add in negative keywords, which tell the search engine when not to display the ad. Some keywords cost more than others, but PPC campaigns can be customizable for different budgets and, with the combination of the right keywords, can be very effective for small businesses.

Email Marketing

Email marketing works for new customers and is a way to nurture and create bonds with current customers. Lists can be segmented so customers receive the content that is most important for them. Procurement managers and design engineers can receive different emails, and it allows you to target different people when they are in different stages of the buying process. Oftentimes businesses can receive email addresses at trade shows or on a website conversion page and not do enough with these addresses. With a proper email marketing campaign, you can keep these customers engaged with industry specific content. With advanced email marketing software, you can track emails and do A/B testing, in order to determine which strategies are more effective, and continue to tweak your messaging to get the most out of it.

Business Listings

There are a number of directories and online platforms that will allow you to list your business to attract leads. Since there are many niche OEM manufacturing websites, it’s necessary to find the ones that are most relevant to your target audience and list your business on those.

Creating content for all of these channels can be a challenge. It’s important to humanize the brand and it can be used as a way to edge out the competition. Many customers have seen a lot of corporate OEM manufacturing websites that are cold and want some value and conversation. Have content that will engage with customers, such as a Meet the Team page, and have company leaders share stories about why they are passionate about manufacturing.

Made in Colorado with USA Map

What Products Are Manufactured in Colorado?

Colorado and Denver Manufacturing account for about 7.34% of the total output in the state, and manufacturing employs 5.67% of the workforce.

The advanced manufacturing in Colorado includes a number of key segments, including petroleum, chemical, and coal products. There are also appliances and components, fabricated metal products, food and beverage, electronics and computers, furniture, machinery, rubber and plastic products, apparel and textiles, and allied and leather products. The state is at the forefront of advanced manufacturing and focuses on job creation in manufacturing.

Due to the state’s talented workforce and entrepreneurial ecosystem, it has created a premier hub for the industry. The manufacturing workforce in Colorado includes a large pool of well-educated and skilled workers. When looking at the age distribution across industries, the manufacturing industry has a larger share of employees who are between the ages of 35 and 64 years old. More than half the Denver Manufacturing related jobs in Colorado require a high school diploma or an equivalent, and 20% of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Many of the jobs, about 67%, require on the job training. The Colorado higher education system works to help with the workforce in manufacturing, and the state offers a range of specialized, scientific, and technical degrees. With the mix of two year, four year, and private and religious accredited institutions, there are nearly 300 manufacturing related programs throughout the state to help provide for the workforce.

There are some key factors that make the Denver Manufacturing industry successful in Colorado. There is access to highly technical and scientific workers. The state ranked sixth for the area of high tech wages, and tech workers in Colorado earn 98% more than the average private sector worker. The state’s central location in the U.S. allows for convenient access for air travelers in every North American city, and the location makes it a good midpoint between Frankfurt and Tokyo to help the state serve the world markets. There is plenty of existing land available, as well as low energy costs, which makes it a great place for a lot of manufacturing to take place. With the Colorado manufacturing industry doing so well, the amount of products that can be manufactured there seem endless and there are quite a few. It can be hard to list out every product that is manufactured in the state and products range from food to toys and games to machinery, but we wanted to pick a few top products to hone in on.

Food and Beverages

Beer is one of the main things manufactured in the state, since the state is home to Molson Coors and dozens of craft breweries. However, there is a lot of other food and beverages that are produced. Ardent Mills manufactures baked goods, mixes, and flours. Bobo’s Oat Bar company manufactures their oat bars in a Boulder facility and has been doing so since 2013. Boulder Organic soups are manufactured in the state and are sold in supermarkets across the Midwest. Boulder Sausage of Louisville makes fresh pork and sausage products that don’t have any preservatives or MSG.

Tea is another popular beverage manufactured in the state, as Celestial Seasonings tea company is based in Boulder. The brand serves more than 1.6 million cups of tea every year and manufactures teas with 100 different ingredients from over 35 different countries. Elevation Gourmet, based in Denver, creates organic ketchup that uses a family recipe in place for generations. Noosa Yoghurt, a popular yogurt brand that wins people over with unusual flavors and full fat products, is also manufactured in the state. Pickles from the Real Dill can be made in a Denver location. Udi’s products, a popular line of gluten free products, are manufactured in the state. Ball Corp. has a beverage packaging plant in Broomfield. Wild Zora jerky is manufactured in Fort Collins, Colorado, and this popular jerky is Whole230 approved and paleo, with grass fed beef and no hormones or antibiotics.

Clothing and Accessories

Ghost Rider Boots are handmade and custom western boots produced in the state. They may use older machines to do so, but the designs are new and custom made for you. Handcrafted hats are manufactured by Greenley Hat Works. Knotty Ties are handmade in Denver. Even shoes are made in Colorado by SOM Footwear. These shoes are manufactured entirely in the town of Montrose and are high quality barefoot inspired sneakers. The company offers factory tours for those who are in the area. Sometimes products that are manufactured in the state are also inspired by Colorado itself. The creator of English Retreads handbags got the idea for vegan and stylish handbags while floating in an inner tube down Boulder Creek.

Machinery

A number of different machines are manufactured in the state to provide for different industries. Colorado Corp helps make indirect air conditioning units that are energy efficient. Ice-O-Matic manufactures commercial ice machines and ice storage bins. Broomfield based Mainstreet Pedicabs manufactures human powered cycle taxis, cargo trikes, and vending vehicles. EarthRoamer makes luxury expedition vehicles. Ravenbrick, located in Denver, manufactures solar intuitive, smart glass windows.

Sporting Goods

Delta-13 manufactures the top billiard rack in the industry at their sister manufacturing company, Tag Team Manufacturing, located in Parker, Colorado.

Aerospace

Spacecraft devices for Ball Aerospace are built in a Boulder plant. A new A2100 satellite is being worked on in Jefferson County by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.

Toys and Games

Liberty Puzzles manufactures deluxe wooden puzzles. Curt Mangan Strings creates handmade electric and acoustic guitar strings. Sphero is a Boulder company that makes the toy version of the BB8 droid from Star Wars.

Furniture

FW Manufacturing makes case goods for the hospitality and hotel industries, as well as cabinetry for the multifamily and builder markets. Tuff Shed is Denver based and, while they do manufacture products at multiple locations across the country, there are also some manufactured in Colorado. Little Colorado produces furniture for children with a goal to make quality wood furniture for an affordable price.

Household Products

Scott’s Liquid Gold and the range of cleaning products is manufactured in Denver and has been since 1970. Thristies makes training pants and cloth diapers that are sold across the country.

With so many products manufactured in the state, Denver Manufacturing is still the primary driver in the Colorado economy, even though it is not as important as it used to be. It makes sense given what manufacturing does. If a factory is selling the widgets it manufactures across the world, then it not only creates jobs at a factory, but also indirectly creates jobs at the retail shops and grocery stores where the products are sold. It also benefits the utility that sells electricity to the factory in the first place. In 2015, there were almost 5,000 manufacturing companies in the state that produced about $23 million worth of goods!