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AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL COMPANY BLOG


America’s Renewed Focus on Manufacturing

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Over the past several years, the American manufacturing industry has seen significant shifts with new initiatives in place to propel small businesses and independent manufacturers forward on both a national and global scale. While new resources and better information are helping manufacturers succeed, many businesses — particularly smaller ones — are also actively tapping into new, innovative marketing opportunities to increase exposure. (more…)


Metal Stamping in Aftermarket Auto Part Manufacturing

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While the automotive aftermarket is just one step of a lengthy development and sales process, it is in itself a diverse field, encompassing everything from entertainment features and accessories to replacement parts and car servicing.

metal-stamping-aftermarket-auto-part-manufacturingAs the industry shifts, various automotive aftermarket industry trends are emerging. For instance, within the B2C auto aftermarket, sales are shifting from traditional methods to e-commerce. Direct selling — from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to consumers — is also becoming more common.

Aftermarket car parts manufacturers, such as automotive metal stamping companies — and the garages, service centers, and fleets they sell to — are also part of this shift; as B2C sales shift toward e-commerce, so too do B2B sales.

Get an Inside Look Automotive Aftermarket Infographic

Finally, factors such as vehicle lifespan and improved quality of aftermarket car parts are allowing the automotive aftermarket industry to grow.

The market will continue to shift as digital service aggregation becomes more prevalent, integrating B2B and B2C business models and allowing consumers to easily connect with suppliers to procure aftermarket auto body parts and accessories through third-party aggregators.

Popular Aftermarket Auto Parts

At American Industrial Company, we can produce a wide range of aftermarket auto parts, from small prototypes to high volumes of complex parts.

For instance, one of our clients required a part that would safely secure an automotive floor mat. We formed a cold rolled steel (CRS) bracket utilizing cold tooling and created the profile on a press brake. To provide strength cost-effectively, we then utilized spot welding for the assembly.

After a quality check, the bracket components were zinc and clear chromate plated to prevent rust and corrosion. All of the brackets were produced well within the ±0.010 inch tolerance requirement.

These types of brackets are among the most common aftermarket parts requested from automotive metal stamping companies. Steering wheel spokes and other components, horn buttons, and rearview mirror mounting plates are also common, as well as motorcycle parts, such as GPS mounting plates, motor mounts, foot pegs, and bearing retainers. These parts and accessories can be made from various materials, including cold rolled steel, stainless steel, aluminum, etc.

Metal stamping and automotive metal fabrication companies are particularly well-equipped to handle the diverse demands of the automotive aftermarket, as state-of-the-art equipment can produce parts with great precision and accuracy, handling mass-market-sized runs efficiently and inexpensively. Many manufacturers also offer comprehensive value-added services, such as heat treating, finishing, and painting.

How We Help Automotive Aftermarket Companies

As the industry shifts, it becomes increasingly important to keep up with automotive aftermarket news and trends. American Industrial Company — a family-owned business specializing in precision metal stamping and laser cutting — is here to help you find the right approach for your next project.

To learn more about how metal stampers can help you with your automotive aftermarket needs, download our free automotive aftermarket infographic.


3 Steps to Sourcing Materials for Manufacturing

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Sourcing materials is essential to ensuring a project runs smoothly and cost-effectively. Vendor qualification serves as an important step to ensuring a successful sourcing process. Each project requires a different set of standards and can determine a vendor’s ability to match your needs. For example, your thermoforming vendor will be quite different from your precision metal stamping vendor.

material sourcingBy qualifying vendors, a company gains product and service consistency to its desired requirements. Going forward, they also have a tried-and-true choice to source materials from.

1. Set a process

Initiating and maintaining a process for vendor sourcing allows for consistency and proper analysis of vendor selection each time. First determine material specifications. Know what your goals are and be able to interpret these to the potential vendor. This will allow you to properly evaluate the validity of a sourcing partnership.

Next, establish fee restrictions, as well as any service requirements. Once you evaluate risk, set up and send out questionnaires to potential vendors. Within these steps, material failure evaluation is crucial. Understanding the risk associated with a vendor and their supplied materials helps prevent catastrophic failures in manufacturing.

2. Customize a questionnaire

Beyond the general and informative questions, include questions that are specific to the type of vendor you are looking for. A customized questionnaire will help to ask questions specific to the manufacturing process that could impact your project’s timeline.

While it’s great to get specific with your questions, avoid invasive questions. Asking about a manufacturer’s backend finances may deter the vendor from completing the qualification questionnaire. Treat the questionnaire as an introduction to what vendors can expect from working with your sourcing company.

3. Track and EvaluateMetal Stamper Must-Haves

If you have a set process and questionnaire in place, it only makes sense to have a set evaluation process, as well.

Recording capabilities, certifications, quality assurance, equipment, referrals and more lets you put the data side-by-side. Each candidate will have to stack up to your standards at the very least, with one prevailing above the rest as the vendor for your project.

As metal stamping experts, our staff at American Industrial Company created a helpful guide for choosing a metal stamper. Access our Metal Stamper Must-Haves Guide for useful information on sourcing companies and vendor selection. For more on selecting the right vendor, especially for metal stamping, get in touch with our team today.

 

 

 

 


Let’s Work Together: A Message from Dave Dunn to Injection Molders

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One of our most important goals is to grow our business — I’m sure that’s one of your goals, too. Every business wants to grow, but what’s the best way to make it happen? In the case of metal stampers and injection molders, the answer is very simple: Let’s work together. If we pool our resources, we can get more done by better serving our customers as we expand our businesses.

Meeting the Challenge

Many of today’s most highly sought-after components contain metal, plastic, and rubber elements. At American Industrial Company, we want to forge partnerships with injection molding companies to give our clients complete turnkey solutions for their toughest projects. Working together not only helps our mutual businesses to grow, but it also provides our customers with convenient solutions that are completed in one go.

Latch AssemblyWe’ve already tried this solution, and we know it works. Take our recent latch assembly project, for example. We put all of our capabilities to the test to fulfill our customer’s specifications — but the work didn’t stop there. A partner in the injection molding field then manufactured the rubber component to fully complete the client’s part.

We all know the frustration that comes from turning down jobs because they require capabilities we can’t provide. For example, as a metal stamping company, we can’t help clients who need injection molding and metal stamping for the same part without engaging in a partnership. It’s the same for rubber and plastic companies without in-house metal stamping — a customer may need a part that is both injection-molded and stamped. Without metal stamping skills or a partnership, the potential business opportunity has to be turned down.

Working togetherJoining forces through partnerships doesn’t just benefit our customers and our businesses; it also helps American manufacturing to grow. As our company expands, we are proud to bring more manufacturing jobs to Chicago and beyond. Bringing our resources together will help us to do this — and will help to improve our local economy, job by job.

Help Us Do More, Together

Do you want to expand your business capabilities and reach new clientele at the same time? You can help by uniting your talents with ours.

American Industrial is looking for an injection molder in the Midwestern region to join our Injection Molders Partnership Program. Let’s work together to help more clients. Contact us today for more information or to apply.

Join American Industrial's Injection Molders Partnership Program


The Automotive Industry’s Record-Breaking November

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This past November proved to be one of the most lucrative and successful for the American automotive industry. With the abundance of enticing Black Friday deals and the added benefit of low gas prices for drivers, the industry experienced a record high in automotive sales for the month.

Automotive SalesIn fact, November 2015 was so profitable that it reached a 1.4% sales increase over November 2014, totaling a whopping 15.82 million vehicles sold from January through November of this year. At this rate, 2015 promises to be a likely record-breaking year.  Buoyed by the month’s striking sales numbers, the industry is on track to rival the $17.35 million sales peak attained back in 2000, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Reduced Gas Prices Contribute to Sales

GasolineGas prices, which remained relatively stable throughout the past year, also offered consistency to those who recently purchased vehicles. Averaging around two dollars a gallon, these dependable prices likely contributed to the industry’s successful month – and a successful year overall. Lower prices encourage drivers not only to use their current vehicles more frequently and for longer trips, but to purchase new vehicles with the added benefit of future fuel savings.

Due to this influx of favorable trends, many auto dealers and car makers can now afford to offer competitive financing and significant discounts to consumers. With deals high and gas prices low, the current landscape of the automotive industry is especially conducive to an increase in overall purchases.

American Industrial and the Automotive Industry

Established in 1981, American Industrial is the premier source of precision metal stamping and die cutting services. We are proud to provide high quality and comprehensive manufacturing services to the entire automotive industry. Our ISO 9001:2008 certified facility is located in close proximity to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, and offers us the ability to respond quickly and efficiently to all consumer requests.

At American Industrial, we specialize in servicing customers across the automotive industry; we provide precise, reliable delivery to the entire industrial vertical. In order to complete a recent project, for example, American Industrial was tasked with designing twelve custom brackets for a high visibility prototyping venture, each of which would work to ensure a secure floor mat for automotive applications.

Employing top notch operations and spot welding for assembly, we created a bracket comprised of cold rolled steel and formed with cold tooling. After a broad and complete quality assessment, the brackets of the component were subject to a clear chromate and zinc plating in order to resist future corrosion or rust. The project was completed within a three-week delivery frame and thorough documentation of inspection processes was provided.

At American Industrial, we are proud to produce quality parts for a range of services within the automotive industry. To learn more about American Industrial’s ability to produce new and efficient auto products and metal components, download our automotive infographic today.


Motorcycle Innovations: Introducing the Amphibious Motorcycle

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Since its advent, the motorcycle industry and its engineers have never ceased to continue developing and evolving. As time has progressed, so have the capabilities and features of the technology used to help the industry evolve. With the recent development of the amphibious motorcycle, it’s evident that a new and exciting level of automotive innovation has been achieved.

Motorcycle on the roadThe amphibious motorcycle is a new vehicular concept with the ability to operate on both water and land, transitioning between terrains in a quick and simple manner. When operating in water, the amphibious motorcycle – which resembles both a jet ski and a small motorcycle – raises its wheels and is guided by jets on each side of the wheel.

Gibbs Sports Amphibians Inc., the manufacturer of the Biski, Triski, and Terraquad amphibious motorcycles, employs a 55-horsepower twin cylinder engine in their vehicles. The unique motorcycles can offer speeds of up to 80 miles per hour (mph) on land and 37-45 mph on water. Switching modes between terrains typically takes a mere matter of seconds.

At this rate, the future of the automotive industry appears seemingly limitless. The development of the Biski, Triski, and Terraquad amphibious motorcycles illustrates unparalleled advancements within the automotive market, accompanied by the promise of continued innovation to develop even more distinct vehicle designs and capabilities.

At American Industrial, we have years of experience working with the automotive and vehicular industries. As the premier resource of precision metal stamping and die cutting services, we are dedicated to providing manufacturers of vehicular equipment with the highest quality services and parts available.

Our chromate-plated custom brackets serve a wide range of purposes within the automotive industry. Metal stamping is employed in the production of rear-view mirror plates, foot pegs, steering wheel components, track brackets, and more. They are also used to secure floor mats within an automotive application and are essential during prototyping processes.

Our team recognizes how important it is to select the proper metal stamper for your project. Our team of seasoned experts will work closely with clients to create a list of factors for consideration when choosing a suitable metal stamper. Our catalogs and eBooks also provide in-depth information about our high quality stampers.

Contact us today to discuss your automotive and/or motorcycle industry needs. Learn more about how our team of experts can assist your next project, by reviewing our Guide to Working with American Industrial.


What it Means to be a Single Source for Metal Fabrication

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Since our founding in 1981, American Industrial Company has been at the forefront of the metal stamping industry.

Metal stamping may seem like a simple one-step process, but it rarely is. There are processes that must be performed before any actual metal stamping takes place, such as piercing or blanking. After the stamping itself has been performed, any number of secondary and finishing processes must be applied to the part.

Metal StamperWhen a metal stamper has to turn to third parties for certain processes such as laser cutting, this will often result in increases in production time and costs. Working with AIC is different. We are a single source metal fabricator.

AIC as Your Single Source

From prototyping a single piece, to short runs of a simple part, to long runs of complex pieces; AIC is equipped to perform virtually any secondary or value-added process that is required.

Secondary Services

If there is a particular process that your part must go through, AIC is able to perform it. We can perform a wide array of standard stamping procedures, including: deep and shallow drawing, coining, blanking, bending, and progressive stamping.

Unlike other stampers, though, we offer a similarly large selection of secondary and finishing operations. Some of these services include:

  • Laser
  • Tapping
  • Secondary machining
  • Welding
  • Deburring
  • Plating

We also offer a number of value-added services. As a single source, our team offers design engineering and prototyping, in-house die design and building, reverse engineering, sub-assembly and assembly.

Logistical Support

When we say that AIC is single source, we truly mean it. One of the most important ways in which we work to help your business run smoothly is our logistical support.

Whether you use a Kanban inventory control system, work using the Just-in-Time (JIT) methodology, or require Dock to Stock (DTS) compliance, AIC has the infrastructure to meet your needs.

Learn More

We have recently published an eBook, “The Benefits of a Complete Turnkey Partnership,” to help you learn more about our turnkey services and how they can benefit your business. Download your free copy here today.


9 Metal Stamping Processes to Consider

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There is much more to metal stamping than most people take into consideration.
Complex parts often require a series of several different steps to create. Parts that may seem simple at first glance rarely need only one stamping step to be considered properly completed.

Confusion is often found when determining the appropriate process for metal stamping. When selecting a metal Metal Stampingstamping process, one should consider:

  • How the stamping process will impact the functionality of the design
  • The design or industry-specific requirements
  • Production time and cost-effectiveness

Common Metal Stamping Processes

Disregarding steps such as design and prototyping, which are necessarily performed prior to stamping, there are nine primary processes involved in the actual stamping of metal parts.

Blanking

When required, blanking is the first step of the stamping process. Blanking is the process of cutting larger sheet or coils of metal into smaller, more manageable pieces. Blanking is usually performed when a stamped metal piece will be drawn or formed.

Piercing

If a part requires slots, holes, or other cutouts, piercing can be employed. Piercing, which can be performed simultaneously with blanking, punches the requisite shapes out of the metal sheet.

Drawing

Drawing is the actual stamping in the metal stamping process. A punch forces a section of metal through a die, providing the primary shape of the part. When the depth of the part is less than the primary opening, it is considered shallow drawing; parts with a depth greater than the opening are deep drawn.

Bending

Bending is a fairly self-explanatory process. The part-in-progress is placed on a specially designed die and a ram pushes against the metal, providing the required bend. Bending is performed after drawing, as attempting to punch an already bent piece of metal causes the entire part to deform.

Air Bending

Air bending is when the flat surface of a part is bent by a punch into a die, often V-shaped. The space between the punch and die is larger than the metal thickness, resulting in a bend that relaxes slightly when the part is released. Air bending uses less power and pressure than other bending methods.

Bottoming and Coining

Bottoming and coining are bending processes are similar to air bending, but use anywhere from two to 30 times the pressure and the material is forced fully into a tight-fitting die, resulting in a more permanent bend.

Forming

Forming is a bending process similar to bending, bottoming, and coining. It creates parts with multiple bends, such as U-bends, in one step.

Pinch Trimming

Pinch trimming is a method of cutting a piece from the metal sheet, separating it from the scrap metal. It is an unconventional process: the metal is pinched against a flat vertical surface. It is often, but not exclusively, used to cut deep drawn round cups from the sheet.

Lancing

A unique process, lancing is a type of metal cutting used to make vents or tabs. A section of a part is cut along three edges and simultaneously bent. This creates the opening or hook-like feature required but eliminates a scrap collection or secondary machining step.

Learn More

There are many different processes involved in the stamping process and, clearly, not every process is the best, or even required, for every part. With a full understanding of the processes, you can better design parts to minimize scrap, create cost savings, and increase production speed without ever sacrificing quality.

American Industrial Company, a single source metal stamper since 1981, recently published an eBook, “Understanding Metal Stamping: Design to Prototype to Production.” To learn more about these different stamping processes, as well as the metal stamping process as a whole, download your free copy today.

Metal Stamping eBook


3 Metal Stamped Component Concerns for the Power Tool Industry

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Types of material, plating, and cost-to-quality concerns are critical for design and fabrication.

The power tool industry holds a unique set of challenges. Designers and engineers have to respond to a demanding combination of high voltages, sharp edges, high revolutions per minute, and operation by a wide range of users, with the potential for some users to be novices.

The design of power tools poses as a test for an engineer’s design capabilities and a manufacturer’s expertise and precision in the fabrication. It is vital to be able to identify those metal stamping solutions that result in the most efficient combination of performance and cost-effectiveness.

Here are three concerns to keep in mind when designing power tools.

  1. Material selection

The first decision you will need to make is the material for your product. Steel is one of the most popular materials across industries, with a large variety of grades for multiple applications. You will need to decide whether to choose cold rolled against hot rolled steel, each with its own durability, strength, and machinability properties.

Carbon steel is an alternative to steel that offers improved draw quality compared to decreased hardness, while aluminum offers better lightweight and conductivity properties.

  1. Strength to weight ratio

Due to the sheer range of environments and applications in which power tools are used, the ratio of strength to weight is imperative for the success of your power tool. For heavier duty applications, choose robust and durable materials like steel. For smaller power tools for wide consumer use, lightweight materials like aluminum will allow you to offer competent performance at accessible price points.

  1. Quality and cost of steel

One of the most common mistakes is to save on costs by cutting back on quality. This can lead to performance issues or even potential recalls that ultimately hurt your bottom line, not to mention your reputation. With the varieties of steel available, there will be options to meet all your quality concerns will not breaking the bank.

ebook_AIC_stamping-concerns-for-power-tool-industryLearn More about Metal Stamping for Power Tools in Our New eBook

American Industrial’s new eBook, Metal Stamped Component Concerns in the Power Tool Industry, has much more detail about what power tool designers need to look for in order to produce a successful final product. Inside, you will find in-depth information about how to select material, how to ensure precise thermal and electrical conductivity, and what proper plating and coating mean for you.

Visit us today to download your free copy, and contact us with any questions about designing and producing your next product for the power tool industry.

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Learn About Our New Laser Cutting Machine

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AIC Expands Turnkey Metal Stamping Services

American Industrial Company (AIC) is pleased to announce the acquisition of a new VyTek FiberCAB 44 laser cutting system, adding an important new service to our already considerable offerings.

Our new fiber optic laser cutting machine expands our capabilities to include metal laser cuts or etchings in house – within budget and without delays – while adhering to the company standard of the highest possible Quality Assurance.

VyTek FiberCAB 44

The FiberCAB 44 is among the most advanced laser cutting systems available. The 3,000 watt fiber laser cuts and engraves various metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, brass and copper, in thicknesses of up to a quarter of an inch. It operates at high rates of speed and with pinpoint accuracy.

Laser FrontOur main consideration in selecting a laser cutting system was to minimize overhead without sacrificing speed or quality. The FiberCAB 44 meets both of these criteria. It is highly energy efficient (reducing operating costs), and is cooled by air as opposed to liquid, which virtually eliminates the need for maintenance. These are savings that we pass on directly to our customers.

See an example of what our laser cutting machine can do here. Our new FiberCAB 44 will be available for new custom jobs beginning this month. For more information, call AIC at 847-855-9200 or contact us online.



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Additional Resources

Design to Prototype to Production Download eBook What to Look for in a Metal Stamper Download eBook Aluminum Material Selection Guide Download Guide