Metal Stamping Expected to Grow in 2018

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Metal stamping is set to have a great year in 2018—even beyond the already impressive year the sector experienced in 2017. This growth in precision metal stamping may largely be attributed to growth in the U.S. economy, which is set to experience an additional 2% GDP growth this year. Across the United States, new markets are opening up, providing a wide range of opportunities for various manufacturers, including the metal stamping industry.

Industry Growth

The metal stamping industry has seen significant growth in the aerospace, defense, and automotive verticals, which have all contributed directly to the substantial growth metal stamping experienced in 2017 and 2018.

  • Aerospace/Defense

The aerospace sector is making technological advancements at a record pace, leading to rapid growth––particularly when it comes to the defense and commercial aviation sectors. This expansion has resulted in greater demand for sheet metal fabrication worldwide, as metal stamped components make up a significant portion of defense and aviation equipment and vehicles. This demand has been most noticeable among the commercial and military aircraft market divisions.

  • Automotive

The automotive industry is also projecting significant growth in metal stamping demand. Metal stamping plays a critical role in automotive applications, as metal stamped components are widely used in everything from vehicle bodies to engines and fuel systems. The flexibility of metal stamping makes it an ideal process for automotive manufacturers, allowing for a wide variety of custom shapes and sizes that meet the various specifications of each model’s unique design.

In the midst of a strong economy, the demand among consumers for new vehicles has also grown. Increased production of passenger vehicles has steadily driven growth in the automotive metal stamping market.

The Asia Pacific region is experiencing the largest revenue growth in the automotive metal stamping market. Europe and North America follow, and growth in coming years is expected in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa as well.

Five Major Processes for 2018

Metal stamping is known for its versatility, due to the wide range of processes that stamping equipment is able to perform. This versatility enables stamped metal components to be used in almost any application and setting. Of the numerous stamping processes available, there are a few that are expected to stand out in 2018.

The five major processes for 2018 are:

  • Blanking
  • Embossing
  • Bending
  • Coining
  • Flanging 

Metal Fabrication Trends

To accommodate the steady growth demonstrated by the precision metal stamping sector, manufacturers are considering new processes to increase the efficiency, accuracy, and speed of current metal stamping procedures. The following metal stamping trends are currently growing in popularity:

  • Automation

Manufacturers are increasingly incorporating automated processes and robotics into their metal stamping operations as a way to enhance productivity and further increase the precision of metal stamped parts and components.

  • 3D Printing

3D printers have been a common tool for prototyping for several years. Many 3D printing providers already offer metal-printed parts, but the process is currently not cost-effective for large production runs. Recent advancements in this technology suggest that 3D printed metal components and parts will become far more cost competitive across metal fabrication sectors.

  • Reshoring

Rising costs for outsourced overseas manufacturing operations have made moving back to the United States more appealing than in years past, and metal stampers are taking notice. American manufacturers are taking advantage of new technologies and automated processes to build efficient and affordable operations on their home soil.

Learn More

American Industrial is a leading U.S.-based metal stamper, specializing in precision metal stamping and assemblies. For almost 30 years, our company has been ahead of the pack, using state-of-the-art technologies to provide our clients with customized solutions that can deliver precision metal stamped components and parts for any application. With our ongoing dedication to quality, we are committed to creating only the best products for our customers.

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for metal stamping. To learn more about this year’s trends, download American Industrial’s newest eBook­, Made in America: Metal Stamping 2018 Trend Report.


Five Industries That Rely Upon Custom Metal Stamping

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Stamped metal components form the building blocks of vehicles, equipment, electronics, appliances, tools, and so much more. Precision metal stamping processes employ a wide range of specialty equipment to cut, pierce, bend, and form sheet metal to meet modern needs.

Steel and steel alloys, brass, aluminum, and copper are all popular materials for stamping projects, and all often begin as simple sheets. Through metal stamping technology, these essential materials are transformed into either stand-alone, high-performance components, or pieces of larger, more complex assemblies. 

Metal Stamping Processes

The processes and tools employed by metal stampers are nearly as diverse as the applications they serve. A few of the most common include:

  • Progressive Die Stamping
  • Blanking
  • Piercing and Punching
  • Coining
  • Shallow Draw Stamping
  • Laser Cutting and Water Jet Cutting
  • Bending
  • Forming

For most custom stamping projects, a unique finish or secondary machining process enhances a part’s lifespan and performance. Craft the ideal component with:

  • Deburring
  • Tapping
  • Grinding
  • Riveting
  • Powder coating and plating

Electrical Components

Precision metal stamping serves a wide variety of applications and industries. Within the electrical and power industry alone, stamped metal parts serve countless needs across a wide variety of electrical components.

The absolute accuracy of reliable metal stamping proves critical to everything from the intricate components in automotive set-ups to large metal industrial housings. Clips, cups, covers, fasteners, and even sensitive electronic assemblies join the list of precision products made from detailed stamped metal parts.

Construction

Construction environments require durability. Harsh conditions, aggressive use, and high wear are all par for the course. Custom metal stamping combines accurate, repeatable manufacturing processes with these rigorous needs. Stamped parts are long-lasting, resist temperature strains, maintain integrity under the threat of rust or corrosion, and offer high strength alloy material choices for heavy lifting.

Metal stamping serves the needs of power tools, panel fastening systems, industrial switches and connectors, and even complex custom assemblies for construction projects.

Hardware

From doors, shelves, and cabinets to lighting fixtures and custom switches, stamped metal parts serve hardware needs both commercial and residential. Nuts, bolts, screws, hinges, and washers don’t even begin to cover the comprehensive list.

Specialty stamped hardware products include:

  • Catches, latches, locks, and closer systems.
  • Household tools.
  • Power tools.
  • Doors, handles, and cabinetry essentials.
  • Mounting brackets and chassis.
  • Custom quick connects and lighting components.

Fastening

The precision and durability of stamped metal components make for exceptional fastening solutions. Hooks, bolts, and even complex contact elements can all be stamped.

The range of capabilities and finishes available for stamped parts make for readily customized brackets, latch assemblies, and lock systems to fit tools, machinery, automotive projects, and more.

Appliances

Appliances encompass a dramatic range of sizes, shapes, finishes, and functions—both residential and commercial. This industry demands an equally complex suite of parts and components for a number of appliance types, including:

  • Ice machines and freezers
  • Microwaves, toaster ovens, standard ovens, ranges, and cooktops
  • Refrigerators and refrigeration systems
  • Grills and outdoor kitchens
  • Trash compactors and disposal systems
  • Fryers and griddles

The custom finishing solutions offered by metal stamping are an especially effective fit for appliance work. The resulting components perform with reliability, precision, and the appropriate polish for finished projects.

Working with the American Industrial Company

Since 1981, the American Industrial Company (AIC) has worked to serve precision metal stamping needs around the world. Our team is driven by quality and dedicated to customer service. We craft the best parts for your job. To learn more about the specialty industries AIC serves, or to request a quote for your next project, contact us today.


A Closer Look: How Metal Stampings Work

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Metal stamping is used across a huge range of industries. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) typically utilize metal stamping to produce parts in situations in which casting would be too expensive. Metal stamping is much more cost-efficient, as sheet metal is easily recyclable.

OEMs, especially those in the automotive, appliance, and aerospace industries, often drive the need for metal tooling. Some OEMs produce their own stamped metal parts onsite, while others outsource to Tier 1 suppliers. These suppliers build the dies for stamping down the line.

Metal Stamping Components and Processes

A metal stamping operation involves a metal being cut and formed into a desired shape or profile. Three basic items are essential: the metal from which the part is to be made (typically steel, though all kinds of metals can be used, including golds and advanced super alloys), the stamping press, and the stamping die. During metal stamping, a flat metal sheet, also known as a blank, is pressed between a die and a punch to achieve the desired shape.

These parts comprise the press:

  • Blank — The portion of the metal that is punched through the die
  • Die — Defines the outside shape of the part
  • Punch — Defines the inside shape of the part
  • Ram — Component that presses down on metal with upper die pattern
  • Bolster plate — Stationary lower part of the die
  • Blank holder — Holds the blank for control during stamping

As blanks are punched out of the sheet metal, they come through the die, which is built with a slight angle so blanks don’t get stuck inside. Punch presses are powerful machines. It takes about 71 tons of pressure to cut a 10” circle out of 0.125” sheet metal. Modern presses range from 10 tons to 50,000 tons of force.

There are a number of workers involved in the metal stamping process. A machinist cuts die components to correct dimensions. A diemaker tests dies for consistency and assembles stamping tools. A maintenance technician repairs and maintains stamping dies, correcting any problems.

Some parts require further work after stamping. During deep drawing, for instance, a flat blank is slowly drawn over a forming die to achieve the desired shape. Excess material is cut from the deep drawn metal. The metal might then need to be flanged.

Metal Stamping Services From American Industrial

American Industrial’s metal stamping services include progressive die stamping, coining or shallow draw stamping, blanking, piercing, laser cutting, bending, and forming.

Our manufacturing operations are designed for forming of a wide range of materials. Some of the most common materials we work with include stainless, cold/hot rolled and galvanized steels, aluminum, brass, copper, and high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel.

Metal stamping is used to create a huge range of products, including many everyday items. Common household products, such as washers and dryers, are made using a sheet metal stamping process. The flatware we use for eating, the pots and pans we cook with, and the soda cans we drink from are also manufactured partially with metal stamping.

Learn More

Ready to learn more about the uses of benefits of metal stamping? Read more about American Industrial’s metal stamping capabilities, or contact us today to discuss your specific needs with an expert.


How Laser Cutting Can Reduce Lead Times

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Laser cutting involves the use of a high-powered laser beam to cut through an object using computer numerical control, or CNC. As the laser beam glides across the material, everything in its path either is melted, burned, and vaporized away, or is blown away by a jet of gas.

This process allows for a range of benefits, including a very high-quality surface finish. Rarely is finishing work needed. Industrial laser cutters are used to cut various flat-sheet materials in order to create metal parts and components, as well as structural and piping pieces. Stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum are the most commonly cut types of metals. Laser cutting is typically preferred over plasma cutting for sheet metal applications, as it’s more precise and uses less energy.

The Vytek FiberCAB 44 Laser Cutting System

To ensure our customers receive the most cutting-edge laser cutting services available, the team at American Industrial Co. (AIC) recently added a brand-new Vytek FiberCAB 44 laser cutting system to our facility, allowing us to offer new, enhanced capabilities.

The FiberCAB 44 system makes use of the very latest in fiber-optic technology to perform precision laser cuts and etchings, allowing us to fulfill all of our customers’ metal stamping and forming needs completely in-house. One of the most advanced laser cutting systems on the market, the FiberCAB 44 can easily cut through as much as 0.25 inch of various metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and copper.

An advanced hybrid direct-drive motion control technology allows for increased cutting speed and accuracy, giving the FiberCAB 44 unparalleled precision and accuracy. And along with this higher accuracy comes reduced downtime, meaning we can offer quick, cost-efficient solutions for our clients.

The FiberCAB 44 is designed to meet the diverse needs of all customers, whether they require smaller batch runs, shorter lead times, or frequently altered part designs. The FiberCAB 44 also offers optimal energy efficiency, minimal routine maintenance, long machine life, compact and space-efficient design, and tight tolerances of ± 0.002 inch. This precision is possible thanks to the fiber-optic focus, which amplifies the strength of the laser while dramatically reducing the spot size.

How the FiberCAB 44 Reduces Lead Times

The addition of the state-of-the-art FiberCAB 44 system has allowed AIC to further boost our operational efficiency. Since fiber lasers cut sheets and thin metal much quicker than their CO2 counterparts, every step of the process can be optimized to reduce lead times and costs.

With the Vytek FiberCAB 44, we’ve streamlined our cutting process into four steps: Parts are designed in CAD software; the design is imported vectorially to Laserworx software; the software converts the vector lines of a CAD drawing into cut paths; and, finally, the fiber laser either cuts parts entirely from sheet metal or cuts parts into precut strips to prepare blanks for roll forming.

Not only do fiber lasers save time, they also reduce scraps thanks to their high-precision performance, producing clean-cut edges and eliminating additional costs such as those associated with burring. Typical AIC lead times range from two to four weeks.

Learn More

Allowing for lower costs, improved efficiency, and reduced waste, our new FiberCAB 44 laser cutting system is proving highly effective for reducing project lead times — putting reliable, top-quality solutions into clients’ hands faster than ever before.

Ready to discuss how AIC can help improve your product quality and bottom line? Request a quote from our specialists today to learn more.


The Difference Between Hot and Cold Rolled Steel

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To meet unique application needs, there are many different types of steel available, in various shapes, sizes, and finishes. Fully understanding the unique properties and benefits of each type can allow for significant time and cost savings while helping to ensure optimal quality and performance of the end product.

Cold rolled steel and hot rolled steel, in particular, offer different features and benefits, and are best-suited to different applications and industries. The main difference between cold rolled steel and hot rolled steel is the manufacturing process involved in forming each of them.

Download our free guide to compare, contrast and evaluate cold rolled steel by grades, composition and applications below:

Material Selection Guide - Cold Rolled Steel

Cold Rolled Steel

Cold rolled steel is essentially hot rolled steel that has undergone further processing. When hot rolled steel cools, it is rerolled at room temperature. Strain hardening — by as much as 20% — increases the strength of the final product and ensures a smooth finish. The cold roll process creates steel that is stronger and harder than hot rolled steel, and allows for more exact dimensions. For instance, bars are truly square, with more precise edges and corners. Tubes also have better straightness, and exhibit superior concentricity and uniformity properties.

However, this also means cold rolled steel is limited to only a few shapes, such as round or square. Shaping operations — such as sizing, breakdown, semi-roughing, semi-finishing, and roughing — can create bars, rods, strips, and sheets that are typically smaller than hot rolled products. Cold rolled steel should be used for products requiring optimal durability and tolerance levels.

Hot Rolled Steel

The hot rolled steel process occurs at temperatures over 1,000 °F, which is above the recrystallization temperature for most types of steel. The steel reconfigures itself during cooling, giving it a looser tolerance than the original material. This forming process makes products easier to work with, as the malleability of hot rolled steel allows it to be formed into many different shapes.

Hot rolled steel can also be made in much larger sizes than cold rolled steel. And since reheating the steel is not required, hot rolled steel is generally cheaper than cold rolled steel. Hot rolled steel is ideal for applications in which exact shapes are not required; the steel shrinks when it cools, so there is less control over the size and shape of the finished product.

Hot rolled steel bars can be used in welding and construction applications for I-beams or simple cross-sections like train tracks. The hot roll process is also often used to produce sheet metal.

Hot rolled steel products often have scaled surfaces caused by the cooling down from extreme temperatures. If this presents a problem, scaling can be removed with grinding, blasting, or acid-bath pickling processes. The cooling may also result in slightly trapezoidal forms, which can lead to slight angle distortions. On bar and plate products, slightly rounded edges and corners may also occur.

Learn More

Understanding the unique features and benefits offered by cold rolled steel and hot rolled steel is hugely helpful in determining which process and material will work best for your specific needs.

With more than 35 years of experience in precision metal stamping and assemblies, American Industrial Co. is proud to offer precision metal stamping services for a wide range of industries and applications. To learn more about hot and cold steel rolling and discuss how we can help with your unique application, reach out to the team today.

Download our free guide to compare, contrast and evaluate cold rolled steel by grades, composition and applications below:

Material Selection Guide - Cold Rolled Steel


Metal Stamping Quality Control

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When selecting metal formed parts, it’s critical to partner with a reliable, knowledgeable manufacturer who employs comprehensive quality assurance processes. This will help ensure you receive the highest-quality metal formed parts available, without the need for frequent maintenance or costly downtime.

At American Industrial Corporation (AIC), we aim to provide industry-leading quality assurance throughout every aspect of the metal stamping process, beginning with preproduction, continuing through operations, and culminating in final inspection and shipment.

As part of this commitment to quality, we maintain the most up-to-date, cutting-edge equipment. Our team regularly inspects machinery and conducts thorough product inspections to guarantee all parts are made to exact client specifications. We also take great care in sourcing and selecting our materials, and bring unparalleled precision to our metal fabrication services.

AIC’s Commitment to Quality Control

AIC achieves stringent quality control through constant monitoring of production processes, allowing our workers to detect problems early and rectify them immediately, before serious issues occur.

Our metal stamped parts are held to stringent, industry-specific standards, which we easily meet and exceed through the utilization of sophisticated automated inspection tools — including in-die sensors and Micru Vu inspection systems — that provide instantaneous measurements.

These tools also allow records to be transmitted throughout the entire manufacturing process in order to detect variances and rectify them in real-time.

Precision Metal Forming Services Offered by AIC

The team at AIC is proud to offer a wide range of precision metal forming processes, and we are known throughout the industry for the top-quality components we produce.

Serving all types of industrial applications, we provide a wide range of services: forming and bending, progressive die stamping, blanking, piercing, shallow draw, coining, laser cutting, deburring, finishing, machining, and welding and additional secondary services.

All precision metal stamping services are performed with comprehensive monitoring, and thorough inspection of parts ensures optimal quality and accuracy. Finally, accountability testing and a lean manufacturing environment allow for streamlined, efficient operations — keeping turnarounds short and consistency high.

AIC’s ISO Certification

In 2017, AIC earned ISO 9001:2015 certification to further ensure all our products and services meet strict customer as well as the stringent regulatory requirements established by the global standards board.

ISO 9001 certification guarantees customers will receive high-quality products and services while also ensuring our company’s management and employees reap the benefits of a better-organized, safer, and cleaner workplace geared toward continuous improvement.

This certification positions AIC as an industry leader in precision metal stamping and clearly illustrates our commitment to ongoing improvement and enhanced quality assurance.

Learn More

Our ISO certification is available to download for your records. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

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How Metal Stamping Can Impact Your Bottom Line

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If you’re looking to increase your bottom line without sacrificing the quality of your product, consider metal stamping. To create new components, stamping presses transform metal blanks into desired shapes through the use of a tool and die. With a variety of modifications, metal stamping can create numerous shapes for your product, giving you greater versatility. It also offers a number of benefits including reduced product costs, shorter production time, and extended product lifespans.

To maximize metal stamping’s impact on your bottom line, here are some helpful tips:

1.      Reach out to your metal stamper early in the process

Getting your stamper involved from the start can save you considerable time and money later on. Often, there is a disconnect between the manufacturer’s envisioned design and what the stamping engineer can actually do within the limitations of metal stamping. If the manufacturer and metal stamper collaborate together early, however, they can eliminate such disparities and make improvements to optimize the design –– ultimately saving you production time and money.

2.      Forecast your requirements & Reduce costs

It’s important to share with your metal stamper your assembly process, projected volumes, release dates, and lead times for your product. If they have as much information as possible upfront, metal stampers can ensure a smoother production process from start to finish. For example, they may be able to redesign the stamp to reduce costs and streamline manufacturing.

Since production volume directly impacts costs, be sure to let the stamper know the volume at which you plan to produce the parts. In addition, providing your expected lead time can remove the need for rush jobs and build in time for extra review, modification, and production changes — eliminating extra costs.

3.      Assess the dimension for final assembly

Knowing exactly how a single part will fit into the overall design is very important when assessing your project budget. If you provide accurate dimensions for your part’s assembly, the metal stamper may be able to use in-die assemblies that can eliminate unnecessary manufacturing steps, reduce labor and production costs, and speed up the time to market.

4.      Evaluate simulations and prototypes

Be sure to test the design and functionality of your product before fully launching its production. Metal stampers have the ability to create prototypes and simulations that test how well the designed product will perform under certain conditions. If you find problems or issues, you’ll then be able to adjust the design to improve the product’s durability and function, as well as optimize its production. By using these simulations and prototypes, you can perfect your design before wasting any valuable time or resources in making something that won’t actually work.

Metal Stamping from American Industrial

At American Industrial Company, we specialize in complete turnkey packages, from prototype design to completed precision metal stampings, for companies worldwide. To learn more helpful tips from our dedicated staff or to see how we can help with your next project, please submit our contact form for more information.


AIC Earns ISO 9001:2015 Certification

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American Industrial Co. (AIC) is thrilled to announce that we are now ISO 9001:2015 certified. A global standard that dictates requirements for effective quality management systems (QMS), its primary purpose is to assist companies in developing efficient processes that ensure products and services consistently meet customer and regulatory requirements.

ISO 9001 provides a process-oriented approach to documenting and reviewing the structure, responsibilities, and procedures required for organizations to implement successful quality management. Specific topics include documenting a quality manual and determining process interactions, the responsibilities of management, management of resources including human resources and work environment, product realization from design to delivery, and how the organization uses internal audits and corrective actions and risk management to measure, analyze, and improve its QMS.

ISO 9001 certification gives customers peace of mind that they’ll be provided with high-quality products and services, while management and employees also reap the rewards of a better organized, safer, and cleaner workplace geared toward continual improvement. The new, revised version of ISO 9001 puts greater emphasis on leadership engagement and creates more structure for addressing and managing risks as well as identifying opportunities for improvement. Its use of simplified, easy-to-understand language is particularly useful for businesses using multiple management systems or those involved in knowledge- or service-based sectors. The updated standard also more effectively addresses supply chain management and takes into account the increasingly connected, globalized marketplace.

As an industry-leading precision metal stamper, the team at American Industrial is committed to continual improvement in everything we do. We sought out the revised ISO 9001 certification in order to provide customers with the best products and services available, with the most stringent possible quality assurance.

To view our new ISO 9001:2015 certification, download a copy today, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have regarding this certification or our quality management practices in general.


Three Metal Stamping Trends to Look Out For in 2017

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Thanks to several innovative technological developments, the metal stamping industry has seen steady growth. Advancements in robotics, automation, and numerical controls have all helped improve stamping precision and speed, while virtually eliminating setup time.

Metal-Stamping-Trends-2017With rising global consumer demand, the industry is expected to continue riding this growth wave through 2017. Here are three major trends you can expect to see in the coming year.

  1. Reshoring and the Growth of Manufacturing in America

You’ve probably heard about the surging reshoring trend in American manufacturing; after decades of outsourcing production and contract manufacturing, many companies are now considering the financial benefits of moving their operations back to the United States.

Today, reshoring actually results in a higher total cost of ownership than domestic production — despite the higher labor costs at home. Advanced automation techniques will allow the precision metal stamping industry to easily take advantage of the various business opportunities that will soon be sprouting up as more OEMs reshore their operations.

  1. The Rise of Solar Paneling

Significant price drops for photovoltaic (PV) systems have made solar power much more popular. Not only can metal stamping companies benefit from the energy costs savings and federal tax credits associated with switching to solar, but they are also uniquely positioned to service this growing industry; PV installations require many kinds of precision machined parts to support the metal panel frames.

  1. Integrating Automation in Production

Automation integration yields a two-fold benefit for manufacturing companies: higher production rates at lower costs. Utilizing advanced equipment such as laser cutters offers metal stampers unparalleled precision and speed for optimized production. Meanwhile, implementing robotics for repetitive tasks lowers the headcount in the shop while freeing up skilled machinists to take on more challenging work, such as programming.

Want to Learn More?

To get the full rundown on reshoring, solar paneling, and automation integration, as well as what these trends mean for the metal stamping industry, download a free copy of our eBook, “Trends Report: What to Expect in Metal Stamping for 2017.”

2017 METAL STAMPING TRENDS REPORT

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METAL STAMPING TRENDS


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…)

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