Metal Formers Perform Great Feats

November 20, 2019


December speaks to the ending of one year and the promise of a new beginning, and for us here at MetalForming it means it’s time to present the 2019 winners of the annual PMA Awards of Excellence program. I’ve toured hundreds of stamping and fabrication shops over the years, and often my tour guide will say something like, “There’s really nothing special to see here, we just cut, bend and weld like everyone else.” Well, as the winners of this year’s awards illustrate, nothing could be further from the truth.

Once you start to look around a shop and talk to the folks on the floor, you quickly understand that every shop has its “secret sauce.” This year’s edition of the Awards of Excellence describes the secret sauce at three metal forming companies, each in separate areas of operation: productivity, quality, and training and education.

  • Anchor Manufacturing Group upgraded a stamping-line lubrication system and process, among other adjustments, which now saves the company more than a half million dollars annually in scrap reduction and increased efficiency.
  • A bonus system put in place at metal stamper HK Metalcraft rewards employees for meeting monthly quality goals (zero defects shipped).
  • North American Stamping Group’s comprehensive tool and die apprenticeship program, as well the firm’s 4-year-old Total Quality Production System for Leadership workshop has trained, to date, nearly 400 associates with, managers say, a total return of $6.06 million in tangible cost savings since 2018.

We present these stories not just to recognize excellence, but also to inspire. We hope you gain some ideas that you can apply in your own operations.

Meanwhile, it remains a great time to be working in manufacturing. Per a recent Thomas survey, a majority of Americans say that they prefer to buy American-manufactured products; consider manufacturing a good career choice; and believe that manufacturing is important to our national security and to the U.S. economy.

That said, challenges lie ahead, particularly in the automotive market. The 2019 Technology Roadmap from the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) presents well the landscape for 2020 and beyond. Subtitled “Materials and Manufacturing,” the roadmap notes that “fast, cost-effective manufacturing processes is one of the top priorities in making profitable, good quality vehicles.” Also noted: disruptive technologies such as additive manufacturing, Internet of Things and other Industry 4.0 initiatives; and increased penetration of battery-electric vehicles, forcing OEMs and their suppliers to look at new materials and manufacturing techniques.

These ideals also should serve to inspire metal formers to be better in 2020, and beyond.

Industry-Related Terms: Penetration, Scrap, Center, Die, Forming
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Management

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