Red River Precision’s Prototyping 101

Red River Precision works on existing or never before built prototypes year round. Some designs are variations on an existing design or are from new customers. Regardless of the prototype Red River Precision aims for quality in all our projects. We want our work to be the solution for any of our customers’ prototype design challenge.

How Many…
When the design is set, the order may be anywhere from 1-10 in quantity. Many times one prototype is all a customer needs to ensure it is correct before full production, other times they may send it to other districts as well for a company-wide review. Red River accommodates any amount necessary for analysis.

How To…
Typically prototyping is usually a quick resolution but there are other circumstances where customers may need more of our expertise and assistance with a prototype. When one of our customers’ needs a bit more assistance, we are happy to step up and consult all their options with them.

How Much…
We review the design, any cost-saving procedures that may work for their budget, like special tooling to reduce labor costs or substitutions in assembly methods other than welding and sanding. We can also advice on how we can incorporate extra LEAN manufacturing options if they are an environmentally conscience company. We enjoy working with all our customers to guarantee their satisfaction and to work with their needs and budget.

An Independence Day Reminder: Why American Manufacturing Matters

As we celebrate America’s Independence Day—and enjoy everything that comes from the historic event—let’s take a brief look back: Following the country’s independence, there fourth of July and Industrial revolutionwas a great success that came as a result. The Industrial Revolution occurred shortly after, and the U.S. was built on this revolution. The manufacturing industry was born out of it, and what followed was the rise of America to the forefront of the world in every sector.

Simply put, out of our freedom came our country’s entire success.

Now let’s look at American manufacturing today. As noted in this article, manufacturing “is essential to innovation, and tightly linked to our nation’s economic health and national security…[manufacturing’s] output came to $1.9 trillion in 2012, and by itself would have made the world’s tenth largest economy. The U.S. manufacturing sector was larger than the total economies of India, Canada, Mexico, or South Korea.”

And according to NAM:

• Manufacturing supports an estimated 17.4 million jobs in the United States—about one in six private-sector jobs.
• For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.32 is added to the economy, the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector.
• Manufacturers in the United States are the most productive in the world, far surpassing the worker productivity of any other major manufacturing economy, leading to higher wages and living standards.

The fact is, manufacturing today is as important to our country’s success and future as it was when it first began following the country’s independence and the Industrial Revolution. Innovation, employment, technology, the economy, and infinite other factors grow and improve from American manufacturing.

So this July 4th, as you enjoy barbeques and fireworks, remember the importance of buying American, and what making this decision means to the entire success and livelihood of the country; every decision to buy a Made in America product makes a major impact in myriad ways.

How Small Manufacturers are Continuing to Live the American Dream

Since the dawn of the industrial age, manufacturing has been the driving force behind America’s success. It’s been the very backbone of our economy, the catalyst for technology and innovation, and the way countless Americans fulfilled the American dream. From the largest factories and players to the small manufacturer operating off of Main Street, USA, manufacturing is as much a part of this country as baseball and apple pie.

For the past few decades, it saw some big setbacks. Outsourcing hurt many small and large manufacturers, and, as a result, our economy suffered, and so did the quality of products being sold. But now it’s back and opportunities abound.

One example of many? Tesla’s recent acquisition of a small tool and die manufacturer in West Michigan. Like many of our manufacturing friends, peers, and colleagues, Riviera Tool is an American factory that employs 100 people and works hard to stay competitive. They build metal parts for the production of automotives, and until recently, they were just another small American success story. But recently, they hit the industry jackpot and became a huge success story when Tesla—singlehandedly the future of electric vehicles—decided to buy them.

As of now, Tesla plans to keep Riviera Tool’s 100 employees, and it’s safe to assume that they’ll employ many more Michigan residents in the near future. What does this mean for the overall American manufacturing industry? It’s an example of how businesses large and small are working together and helping each other, building more and better products while employing more people and pouring more money into the industry and the economy.

It’s also proof that the small manufacturer can get ahead, and can continue to successfully pursue the American dream. In this way, it’s an example of how the industry continues the drive and growth it was originally built on, and how there’s a lot to look forward to.

When it Comes to Semiconductors, Samsung Means Business

Ask anyone what one of the most widely used, prolific consumer electronic is, and they’ll unanimously answer, “smartphones.” They are used by people in the most remote places in the world, are given to children practically before they can talk, and have changed the world as we know it.

What the average person might not know, however, is that these smartphones are made possible by semiconductors, which are the backbone of the phones’ processors. There are close to a billion smartphones in use today, each of which relies on a semiconductor.

As a result, the semiconductor industry is very big and very important. Its second largest player—Samsung, which according to this article has “gradually been encroaching on Intel’s dominant position,”—realizes this importance, and its potential. After all, while Samsung hasn’t been able to compete with Apple in the sale of smartphones, Samsung provides Apple with the iPhone’s semiconductors.

As a result, Samsung has recently announced the plan to build a $14 billion complex dedicated to the manufacturing of these semiconductors. It’s been reported that the factory will be the size of 400 soccer fields—or the size of two of their largest semiconductor factories put together—and will officially begin operation in 2017.

Realizing their position as a semiconductor leader, and the increased global demand for these products, Samsung clearly thinks this is the best area to invest.

As we at Red River Precision work with clients in the semiconductor industry, manufacturing critical parts for them, we wonder how this plan will affect the industry and the overall electronics market—and we’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Back to Basics: All About Sheet Metal Fabrication

In the world of manufacturing, name any industry—automotives to appliances, electronics to energy—and that industry relies on sheet metal fabrication. It’s where it all begins and ends, and is responsible for an infinite amount of everyday products

Within the topic of sheet metal fabrication, there are plenty of subjects to delve into; in the past, we’ve discussed such things as the advantages of metal finishing and looked at specific metals of choice.

But sometimes it’s important to get back to basics. Here, we’d like to look at sheet metal fabrication, and what it’s all about.

The Process
Simply put, sheet metal fabrication begins with a piece of raw sheet metal, which is shaped into a desired part through forming/deforming or material removal. The thickness of the metal sheet varies based on the specific metal being used and can range greatly—for example, up to 3/16 in. for aluminum, or 14 gauge for stainless steel.

By cutting, burning, and stretching, using special metal fabrication tools (such as band saws), the sheet metal is formed into any desired shape. Various processes can be used to achieve the exact shapes and specifications of the part. Rolling machines, for instance, form steel into round sections, while cutting torches are used to cut large pieces of metal easily.

To simplify it even more, sheet metal fabrication can be broken down into two categories: cutting and forming. To use the examples above, rolling machines fall under the forming category and cutting torches fall under the cutting category. Further processes used in metal fabrication include shearing, punching, hot and cold sawing, tapping, bending, and more.

Welding, one of the most common of the processes, forms fabricated pieces into place while protecting them from defects, such as warping. Once the fabrication is complete, various finishing processes can be applied, including painting, powder coating, and plating.

The Materials and Specifications
A wide variety of metals can be used in sheet metal fabrication. At Red River Precision, we work with alloys, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, titanium, molybdenum, and more. Using our press brakes can accommodate parts up to 10 feet long, weighing up to 125 tons. Extremely tight tolerances can be achieved—up to ±.005 in.

The Advantages
There’s a reason sheet metal fabrication is so common and preferred; it is a cost-effective way to achieve any number of desired shapes and sizes, creating the exact part needed in a short amount of time. Whether it’s a small part of the semiconductor industry or a larger automotive part, sheet metal fabrication meets precise needs and creates parts that are strong and long lasting that meet exacting standards.

To learn more about our extensive fabrication services, visit our website and feel free to contact us anytime with questions.

Why Stainless Steel Is Right For You

Stainless steel is corrosion resistant steel that resists rust and remains intact against aggressive chemicals, liquids and gases that generally cause other materials to fray, disintegrate and fall apart completely. Most of these classified steels display a powerful strength against extreme environments and are able to manage escalated and extremely low temperature levels making it suitable for a wide array of uses. All stainless steels materials carry iron as the main element and include a chromium range percentage, which varies from 10% to 29%. The chromium used ensures the weathering resilient traits for the stainless steel. This composition differs from chromium-nickel stainless steel.

Stainless steel has a multitude of uses from cookware to US naval ships making it a very versatile metal found in virtually every industry. It is exceedingly durable and easy to work with rendering it a great solution for commercial and residential solutions. One of the most sought-after traits of stainless steel is the corrosion resistant property.

Stainless steel is also used to make heat exchanger tubes, which are used in different industries including chemical, nuclear and natural gas processing. They are designed for heat transfer processes and mostly applied in heating, cooling, condensation and evaporation of liquids, gases and steam. Heat exchanger tubes are always a cold finished product and they are known to be extremely resistant to aggressive mediums such as acid.

Another important industry where stainless steel is used is the Oil and Gas Industry, which understands the benefits to using duplex stainless steel pipes. These duplex stainless steel pipes are resistant to an extensive variety of corrosive mediums found in both offshore and onshore locations. Another advantage of using stainless steel is the elevated strength it has that holds up under high pressures confronted at great depths. They are also the first choice for the constructions of oil rigs (mainly due to its strength and corrosion resistant properties), which are always under relentless weather conditions.

After considering all the applications stainless steel is used in and the qualities it possessed it may be the right fit for your manufacturing needs. Keep these facts stored away for you next project.

The What, Why, and How of Metal Finishing – And the Many Advantages

Metal finishing is one of those manufacturing processes that so many people and businesses use without knowing exactly what it is, or why it’s as prevalent and advantageous as it is. The fact is, it’s relied upon in countless applications and industries, and has brought the industry equally numerous benefits.

The What and Why of Metal Finishing

The manufacturing industry relies on a huge array of metals; from stainless steel and metal_fabricationtitanium to aluminum and copper, the vast majority of manufacturing equipment—as well as the products the industry produces—are made from metal.

However, what many people don’t realize is that these metals wouldn’t offer close to the amount of advantages they do without metal finishing. The process treats the exterior of a metal product by adding various layers, making the product exponentially better.

There are numerous types of metal finishing, but whichever the type and its specific process, the result is a product that lasts longer and looks better. Some of the types of metal finishing include:

  • Metal Plating
  • Metal Grinding
  • Sand Blasting
  • Powder Coating
  • Hot Blackening
  • Buff Polishing
  • Brushed Metal Finishing

Benefits and Applications for Metal Polishing

Most often, metal finishing is done to achieve longevity, resistance to wear, ease of maintenance/cleaning, and improved appearance. More specifically, advantages include:

  • Greater chemical and electrical resistance
  • Improved durability
  • Better electrical conductivity
  • Better tarnish resistance
  • Enhanced brightness, color, reflectivity, etc.
  • Improved corrosion resistance

As a result of the many distinct advantages provided by metal finishing, there are limitless possibilities for its use in manufacturing. Some of the many industries that use it include electronics, aerospace, telecommunications, automotives, appliances, and many more.

For so many reasons, the process of metal finishing makes good products great, and is relied upon by manufacturers of varying products throughout the world.

Celebrating Our Industry: Manufacturing Day 2014

Consider these numbers and statistics related to American manufacturing*:

  • Manufacturing supports about 17.4 million jobs in the U.S.madeinusa
  • In 2013, manufacturing contributed $2.08 trillion to our economy
  • American manufacturers are the most productive in the world, surpassing the productivity of every other manufacturing economy
  • The average manufacturing worker earned $77,506 in 2013

Considering these remarkable facts, along with the knowledge that the industry is continuing to grow and is more innovative than ever, it seems that American manufacturing has a lot to celebrate. Likewise, it should be celebrated, and we can all do just that, on October 3, 2014.

This day, the third annual Manufacturing Day, is a celebration of the industry in our country, co-produced by the nation’s leading manufacturing associations, and occurring throughout the country. Thousands of events will take place and tens of thousands of people will participate—manufacturers, students, parents, teachers, and community leaders will come together. Manufacturers will have the opportunity to open their doors to the public and show what they make, what they do, who they employ, and how their work matters.

This is not only a great way to get the country involved in what we, as manufacturers, are all about, but it’s a wonderful chance to get young people excited. We can showcase manufacturing as the high-tech, fast-paced, invaluable industry it is. This can help get the next generation of Americans interested in rewarding careers, while also helping to address the skilled labor shortage.

As proud American manufacturers, we are excited to celebrate this great industry, and encourage everyone to take part in MFG DAY 2014.

* http://www.nam.org/Statistics-And-Data/Facts-About-Manufacturing/Landing.aspx

How and Why to Choose a Contract Turn-Key Manufacturer

It’s safe to say that all businesses, no matter what product they offer or service they provide, have the same overall goal: to offer quality to their customers while staying cost-effective.

With this overall goal in mind, companies of all sizes, whether they have been in business for decades or are just getting started, are often faced with the question of whether or not to outsource production. The fact is, the majority of successful companies these days have found that outsourcing to a reputable contract turn-key manufacturer simply makes the most sense. From Apple to Boeing, and myriad small manufacturers in between, they’ve relied on the services of their contract turn-key partners.

Why Use a Contract Turn-Key Manufacturer

Simply put, there are so many ways it just makes sense. First and foremost, your goal is to keep costs and inventory down. If you were to perform all design, engineering, and fabricating services on-location, your costs—labor, supplies, equipment, etc.—could go through the roof. You’re spreading yourself too thin.

Secondly, you might know everything there is to know about your industry, but do you know everything about fabricating each individual part necessary to make every product? By using an experienced contract manufacturer, you get their expertise, the expertise they’ve honed and perfected over years or decades.

What other advantages will you see?

  • Faster time to market – Your contract manufacturer knows how to get it done right and quickly, with no mistakes or downtime
  • Quality Assurance – Their services are backed by a mature, proven quality assurance program
  • Product Replication – They’ve performed these services countless times, and know how to assure repeatability
  • Decreased investment – You eliminate all costs associated with equipment, tooling, R&D, and testing
  • Supplier Relationships – Your contract manufacturer has spent years building up relationships with suppliers of materials and equipment, which means they can get things faster and at lower costs

At the end of the day, you eliminate so many costs and headaches by contracting out your manufacturing needs to a turn-key partner. You can focus on what’s important to you.

Choosing a Turn-Key Contract Manufacturer

Look for a contract partner who has proven experience in the services you need. Also look for consistent on-time delivery, certificates of compliance, and excellent service and support.

It’s also highly recommended to choose a domestic outsourcing partner. Due to supply chain disruptions and problems, higher overseas labor costs, inconsistency, and so many other factors, American companies of all sizes are now returning their business to American soil, realizing that overseas outsourcing no longer makes sense.

Red River Precision Mfg. is a quality turn-key manufacturer of metal products and prototypes, with many years of experience. Feel free to visit our website for more information, or contact us anytime.

Water Jet Cutting: The Process and the Advantages

Today’s manufacturing is unique and exciting; it often utilizes processes that have been in use for decades, but perfected through advanced technology over time.

One of these processes is water jet cutting, a precise method of cutting that can be water_jet_cuttingperformed on a variety of materials. The original concept of water jet cutting dates back to the early 1900s, but the first water jet cutting machine was officially patented in 1968. It was relatively limited then, compared to the technology used today, and since then, it has advanced leaps and bounds.

What is Water Jet Cutting?

Through the use of an abrasive water jet machining tool, high-pressure water—55,000 psi—passes through an orifice (typically made from a diamond or ruby) and then enters a very small nozzle. This causes a vacuum, drawing in a powdered/crushed abrasive. The water mixes with the abrasive, then makes contact with the material being cut. The simple principle of the process is: combine water, pressure, and abrasive, and you get accelerated erosion.

The Advantages of Water Jet Cutting

As a precise form of material cutting that is simple at its core, yet utilizes advanced technology, the advantages of this process are many. They include:

  • Material Variety: Water jet cutting can handle both metal and non-metal materials, including titanium, steel, bronze, plastics, rubber, ceramics, stone, granite, wood, foam, and more.
  • Minimum Part Stress: The process causes very little stress to the materials being cut, and results in no thermal distortion or hardening.
  • Quality: Water jet cutting is known for producing parts with perfectly smooth, finished edges.
  • No Secondary Operations: The process reduces or even eliminates the need for secondary operations, which also means time and costs are lowered.
  • Green Manufacturing: As it produces no hazardous waste, uses very little water (which can be recycled), and some scrap can be re-used, water jet cutting is actually considered a green technology. Its sustainability also results in cost savings.

Water Jet Cutting Applications and Specifics

At Red River Precision Mfg., we use a two-axis system with a cutting length up to 12 feet, and a cutting width up to six feet. Material can be cut as thin as .005 inches, up to two inches, and we work with extremely tight tolerances—up to ±.005 inches.

Our water jet cutting services are used for short production runs and prototype manufacturing for a range of industries and applications, including automotive parts, medical devices, electronics, semiconductor industry equipment, oil & gas fabrications, and more.

If you have questions about the process or would like to know more about how it can work for your needs, visit our website or contact us today.