Hot Sheet
a company president and two technicians examine a customer's part
CEP President Ken Kaufmann Jr. and engineer/technicians evaluate a customer’s part.

As metal alloys become scarce, raw materials expert helps fabricators evaluate alternatives

Stampers, job shops and fabricators continue to feel the sting of the bullwhip effect in raw materials. With the list of scarce alloys growing, and lead times upwards of 52 weeks, “customers need to understand part requirements and consider alternative materials that might satisfy their specifications,” says Ken Kaufmann Jr., president of CEP Technologies Corp.

The Yonkers, New York, company produces standard and custom precision miniature to small stampings for markets that include automotive OEMs and aftermarket applications, EMI/RFI shielding, telecommunications, power protection, lighting and oil and gas exploration. CEP is using its rapid prototyping and engineering skill sets along with its experience in a broad range of alloys to help customers consider other options.

“We are very diverse in the types of metals we stamp,” says Kaufmann. “We understand raw materials and how they react to different processes. We took the initiative to deliver the bad news to customers about the status of different metals and are working with them to evaluate whether or not an alternative would work.”

Supply chain issues are going to impact us well into 2022.
Ken Kaufmann Jr.,
CEP Technologies Corp.
CEP is transitioning its standard product line from brass and grade 510 phosphorus bronze to grade 430 stainless steel. Components range from bendable spark plug and distributor terminals to terminals for automotive ignition harnesses.

Manufacturing facilities in San Antonio, Texas, and Chengdu, China, also help the stamper cultivate new material sources. “I have a customer with a product that calls for grade 194 copper, a high-strength modified alloy,” says Kaufmann. “Due to extended lead times, we were able substitute the alloy with grade 110 copper out of Asia. The electrolytic tough pitch (ETP) copper had short lead times, which meant the material could act as an inventory buffer until the 194 copper came in. Transportation costs are higher because you have to have everything air shipped. We opened our Asia facility in 2005. We have an established network of vendors who are vetted, approved and certified.”

With no immediate end in sight to supply chain and transportation disruptions, Kaufmann points out other potential ripple effects. “It doesn’t matter how much material I order right now, if I can’t get it,” Kaufmann says. “The resulting backlog can’t continue to grow because companies facing lead times of 52 weeks or more could decide to redesign a product or phase it out. That could have significant impact on customers. Optionality is lacking in the industry. We’re trying to open new avenues for customers to help them circumvent the shortages.”

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HKS rebranded as ESAB

ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, Annapolis, Maryland, announced that all HKS brand equipment—which includes the flagship WeldQAS quality assurance system for real-time monitoring and recording of arc characteristics—have been rebranded as ESAB products. HKS Prozesstechnik GmbH was founded in 1994 in Halle, Germany. ESAB acquired HKS in 2017 to reinforce its strategic focus on automated welding and grow its suite of ESAB Digital Solutions.

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Trumpf names new president

Trumpf Inc., Farmington, Connecticut, chose Lutz Labisch as its new president and CEO. He succeeds Peter Heckling, who has left the company after working there for 18 years. Labisch will manage production, sales and service of Trumpf’s machine tool and laser technology product portfolio in North America and oversee strategy and business operations at Trumpf’s U.S. subsidiaries. He will also be responsible for Trumpf operations in Mexico, Canada and Brazil.
Hypertherm accepting grant applications
a Powermax45 XP air plasma system

Hypertherm, Hanover, New Hampshire, is accepting applications for its Spark Something Great educational grant program. Now in its eighth year, the program will choose 12 North American schools to receive a Powermax45 XP air plasma system and in-person training from a Hypertherm product expert. The Spark Something Great grant program is designed to support the next generation of welders and fabricators by making the newest generation of plasma cutting equipment and standardized instruction available to schools. To date, the company has awarded systems to 76 schools. Applications are due April 1 and grant recipients will be notified May 2.


GM invests $7 billion in EV factories

aerial view of a large factory
General Motors Co., Lansing, Michigan, will invest more than $7 billion in four Michigan manufacturing sites, creating 4,000 new jobs and retaining 1,000, and increasing battery cell and electric truck manufacturing capacity. The projects include building a Ultium Cells battery cell manufacturing facilitiy in Lansing; converting GM’s Orion Township assembly plant for production of the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra. Orion is GM’s second assembly plant scheduled to build full-size electric pickups, as soon as 2024.
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Headshot of Javed Gardezi
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Headshot of Rob Maley
AIDA-America hires specialists
AIDA-America, Dayton, Ohio, has hired several new employees. John Reynolds and Javed Gardezi were each named project manager for after-market solutions. They manage assigned customer AMS projects, such as equipment upgrades and retrofits, from start to finish. He coordinates between internal departments and external suppliers, serving as a single point of customer contact. Rob Maley was hired as marketing coordinator, working in the Americas while also coordinating with other AIDA group companies globally.

Fabricator opens fourth shop

view of a factory in the snow

Miller Fabrication Solutions added a fourth manufacturing plant to its three existing facilities in Brookville and Homer City, Pennsylvania. The 186,000-sq.-ft. Pine Creek facility brings Miller’s total space to 675,000 sq. ft. Miller Fabrication employs about 400 people throughout western Pennsylvania. The company plans to hire more people for multiple positions in welding, machining, general labor, maintenance and other manufacturing functions.

Chinese motor factory orders drive assembly line
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Comau, Turin, Italy, has developed and installed an automated e-drive assembly line for Geely Automobile Holdings at its Geely Veremt plant in Ningbo, China, for the end-to-end assembly of the electric motor, gearbox and inverter. Designed in close collaboration with the Geely team, Comau’s line uses a flexible automatic production system to assemble the permanent magnet motor rotors, gearboxes and electronics drives, in addition to automated quality control and testing. The solution increases the plant’s automation rate from 40 percent to 80 percent.

Bystronic acquires automation specialist
In 2018, Bystronic, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, acquired 70 percent of the family owned Antil S.p.A. in Italy, which manufactures systems for loading and unloading, laser cutting and punching;, automated sheet metal storage systems; and robot-assisted bending solutions for the gold industry. More recently, Bystronic acquired the remaining 30 percent stake and now has full ownership. Since Bystronic began integrating Antil’s assets, it doubled sales, hired 90 people and grew more profitable. Now, Bystronic expects to increase customer proximity and expand Antil’s market participation. Bystronic already runs a center for automation solutions in Italy.
Headshot of Danielle Lindsey
Headshot of Danielle Lindsey
Striker Systems picks marketing manager
Striker Systems, which develops software for sheet metal processing, appointed Danielle Lindsey as marketing manager. She will develop and manage marketing programs for multimedia channels and trade shows, and build a platform to expand brand engagement and awareness.
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Headshot of Yu-Hsien Ho
Saw builder promotes sales expert
Cosen Saws, Charlotte, North Carolina, promoted Yu-Hsien Ho to director of channel sales and marketing. He started in 2008 as a sales and marketing assistant and has held several positions in sales, marketing and operations within the company, most recently as inside sales and marketing manager. Ho will focus on increasing sales in welding supply and cutting tool/MRO channels.

Sales team earns award

three quarter front view of an Eriez USA factory building

Hi Pro Equipment Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, won the 2021 Merwin Award, established by Eriez USA, Erie, Pennsylvania. The honor is given to manufacturers’ representatives for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the ideals and mission of Eriez and is exemplified by superior sales performance, high quality service and support, and conducting business affairs in an efficient, capable and friendly manner. Hi Pro Equipment has represented Eriez for 21 years and is now a three-time recipient of the Merwin Award, with previous wins in 2012 and 2017.

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Headshot of Mark Willcox
Walter expands solutions expert team
Walter Surface Technologies, Windsor, Connecticut, is expanding its solutions expert team across the United States. With the addition of new brands such as ArcOne, Drillco, Triumph and Allegro Industries, Walter is more than doubling its field team of solution and process experts to provide reliable support to end users and distributor partners. Mark Willcox of Drillco Cutting Tools was named president of Walter USA. He will lead the relationships with U.S. buying groups, working with Jeff Tisdell, vice president-USA, and an expanded regional sales director team.
Tube distributor selects vice president
Tony Brummel has joined National Tube Supply, University Park, Illinois, as vice president of operations; he will oversee operations and logistics for all of NTS’s North American service centers. The company also named Jim Conley as purchasing manager. He will manage MRP process review and inventory optimization.
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Turkish aerospace manufacturer orders giant printer

Sciaky Inc., Chicago, will deliver the world’s largest electron beam directed-energy deposition 3D printer to Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Kahramankazan, Turkey. The customized 300 Series electron beam additive manufacturing system (EBAM) will print some of the largest titanium aerostructures in the industry. The machine’s work envelope stretches beyond 6 meters in length by 2 meters in width by 1.8 meters tall. Deposition rates will exceed 20 kg of metal per hour for many metal alloys. TAI will be able to combine EB welding and 3D printing functionality for applications that require both technologies.
Unison signs distributor agreement with Phillips
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John Murray, Phillips Corp. product manager

Unison Ltd. has signed an exclusive distributor agreement with Phillips Corp.’s Federal Division in Hanover, Maryland. All U.S. federal government supply contract requirements for tube bending, pipe bending, end forming machines that are received by Phillips Federal will be built by Unison Ltd. in Scarborough, UK, and supplied by Unison’s Danville, Virginia-based North American division. “Unison’s capability and track record with our European allies and international markets make them an integral part of our comprehensive machine tool offering to the U.S. Department of Defense and [other] U.S. government agencies,” stated John Murray, Phillips Corp. product manager.


Sustainability goals laid out

Hypertherm employees stand in together for a group photo inside a factory

Hypertherm, Hanover, New Hampshire, created a set of four objectives to meet its 2030 environmental sustainability goals. The four goals are to achieve carbon neutrality; reduce the usage impact of Hypertherm products by 50 percent; Reduce waste from all waste streams by 50 percent; and achieve a circular economy score of B.

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