Supporting Student Invention Through Sponsorships

We all know how important it is to get young people interested in technical careers and to support their STEM education journey. At Red River Precision, we do this by getting involved in the community and sponsoring a local robotics team, Westwood Robotics.

The Westwood Robotics Team primarily does what their name suggests – they build robots. But beyond that, the team teaches students the fundamentals of design, problem solving, and outreach. Every year they take part in at least two major competitions. In the fall, they participate in BEST, and in the spring, they build a much larger robot for the FRC competition. They also host an FLL tournament themselves.

This past year was an especially active one for the team as they also exhibited their creations at Maker Faire and several other events. As far as successes, last year Westwood Robotics won the BEST marketing presentation, BEST Team spirit, and one of their members took home the Dean’s list award from FRC. They also placed 4th in BEST overall, 34/41 at the regional, and advanced to 34/67 at the world event, which had much steeper competition.

Red River Precision is pleased to see how far the Westwood Robotics team has come. We’ve been proud sponsors of the team, donating water jet cutting and form parts for them to use in their robots. These students are the next generation of manufacturing leaders, so we’re happy to help them build their careers in this hands-on way.

Learn more about the Westwood Robotics team by visiting their online site. To learn more about Red River Precision and our capabilities, visit us online or call 512-244-1508.

Manufacturing Trend Predictions for 2016

For those outside the industry, it often seems like not much ever changes with manufacturing. Raw goods go in, and finished goods come out. But, for those of us involved in the day-to-day aspects of the industry, we see how new technologies are having an impact on today’s processes.

With the coming of the new year, there is always anticipation and excitement about what changes may take place in the next 12 months. Surveys are completed regarding industry trends and how manufacturers will be working over the coming year. A new report by Citrix examined technology trends in manufacturing and found that most manufacturers are embracing some new technologies but the tried and true methods are still the mainstays of their business.

In 2016, the industry is predicted to embrace next generation materials for 3D printing and utilizing this process to design and manufacture more personalized products. Aluminum costs are dropping and the material is finding new applications in many industries (the Ford F-150, for example). Robots and high-tech manufacturing are also hot topics as connectivity and technology join forces with traditional methods.

Although the experts often point out the newest technologies as coming trends, we see the trends in combining the traditional manufacturing processes with the technology to improve their function. For instance, computer and software driven water jet cutting equipment handle both metal and non-metal materials and eliminates the secondary operations to obtain smooth, finished edges while improving on accuracy and efficiency.

While predicting the future is commonplace at this time of year, many of those predictions are not yet viable in today’s manufacturing environments to improve upon the processes currently in use. The technologies that do make it are the ones that allow us to improve processes and reduce costs for our customers. At Red River, those are the trends we will be embracing.

Four Tips When Searching For A Metal Manufacturer

How do you choose the right metal fabricator for your company needs? Many sheet metal shops may have a similar approach, but here are the key elements to look for when choosing the right partnership for you.

Partnership
Noticed how we mention partnership. Many sheet metal fabricators and their customers develop and rely on a trusting relationship for the overall success of the project.

Find a Fabricator or Custom Metal Manufacturer that has a culture of creating a partnership with their customers. One way of determining if they are is through their website. Do they have any special projects highlighted? Are any testimonials listed? Is there a place to request a quote or consultation? These are clues indicating the company not only gets the job done but that they provide a reliable customer service experience.

Location
Choose a vendor that is in proximity to you or has a central location to avoid shipping delays or communication hurdles (i.e., different time zones)

Capability
Choose one who has experience with different metals or techniques. When a manufacturer has different capabilities, they can adjust methods to ensure you are within your budget or can generate better lead times.

Experience
Are they experts in their field? An experience and professional fabricator gives you reassurance your product will be of quality. Look for years of experience, ISO certifications, and business accreditations to confirm they are dependable.

Did these four tips help you choose a metal shop manufacture? If so we would love to have you share this content or tweet us @redriverprec letting us know.

If you are in search of a metal sheet manufacturer we invite you to visit our website or give us a call to discuss your needs today!