Crafts Technology Thinks “Inside the Box” with Creative 3D Packaging Solutions

Crafts Technology engineers advanced systems and tooling that enhance the utilization and performance of industrial equipment, including superhard wear parts and cutting tools.  With over 100 years of experience working with some of the world’s largest manufacturers of production applications, we are skilled at thinking outside the box to create solutions based on innovation and continuous improvement for both the OEM and end-users.

At Crafts, one competitive advantage we provide our customers is developing custom refurbishing programs that deliver significant cost savings over the life of tooling and consumables.

CRAFTS IDENTIFIES OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT

As a solution-focused organization, we pride ourselves on finding opportunities and solving potential issues before they’re identified by clients. Some ideas may seem small, but these improvements make a big difference in the total cost of operation and the usability of components.  After noticing the assortment of boxing options clients use when returning parts for refinishing, which sometimes results in delays and transit damage, we identified an opportunity for improvement.

Superhard tooling and components are ridged.  If not properly packed, they can break during shipment.  Cutting consumables are sharp, which poses both safety and shipping challenges.  By analyzing every stage of the packaging process, a creative solution was discovered.

UNIQUE 3D PRINTING IDEAS THRIVE IN A ‘WHY NOT?’ CULTURE

Generally, we think of 3D printing as a technology used to accelerate early-stage product development through rapid prototyping. However, our engineering team developed a creative solution leveraging 3D printing equipment to manufacture highly customized packaging by thinking outside of the box.

By using 3D printers, we’ve overcome the packaging challenges of cost, availability, and geometric limitations. Today, we design and print individual packaging on-demand based on the specific needs of an application.

The development process includes looking at the geometry of the part, identifying critical features (i.e., sharp or fragile tips that might break during transport), and understanding the current process.  Next, the package is designed using CAD software. Finally, after conducting real-world testing to confirm form and fit, we send samples to our partners for comments and approval.

According to Brett R. Staehlin, Crafts Technology Mechanical Process Engineer, “After developing a few 3D printed packages we realized that adding embedded magnets helped eliminate alignment issues between the part and packaging insert or between two inserts that could otherwise lead to damage.  This is just one example of how small upgrades make a big difference.”

Once approved, we provide our partners with on-demand kits that include the needed packaging along with instructions if parts are being returned for regrinding.

Adding part to packaging
Removing part from packaging

CRAFTS CUSTOM 3D PRINTING IS A CREATIVE PACKAGING SOLUTION THAT HAS SEVERAL ADVANTAGES:

  • Saves time by not requiring your shipping department to procure materials and hand-build packages for geometrically challenging parts or pieces that need additional protection
  • Embedded magnets keep everything in place during shipment to eliminate alignment issues that can lead to damage
  • Each box is ergonomically designed for personal safety based on the unique part
  • Component sharp edges and fragile points are protected to avoid breakage during shipment and to reduce safety issues
  • Continuous fiber reinforced packaging provides structural integrity during transit
  • When necessary, the 3D package serves as an ideal storage vessel
  • Packages are built as needed with no minimum order requirements and can be increased to scale as required
  • Recyclable design is better for the environment than plastic options
  • By using rapid prototyping to develop the perfect package, a positive brand impression is built

Crafts adds a little magic in every box by creating innovative solutions that protect parts, improve ergonomics, and safely transporting components using recyclable 3D printing.

If you’re looking to partner with a team that has a history of developing unique solutions for the most demanding applications, contact our subject matter experts to learn how to build solutions that you did not believe were possible.

How Crafts Technology’s Modular Composite Countersink Drilling Solutions Reduce the Cost Per Hole in Aerospace and Automotive Applications

Countersink tools are used in the aerospace and automotive industries to produce holes that allow fasteners to sit flush to the surface on advanced composite and aluminum applications. Integral countersink drills consist of a single piece that produces countersink holes. Crafts Technology has successfully reduced the cost per hole by designing a modular system with no adverse performance effects.

Crafts has been perfecting modular countersink drilling for decades. The modular component includes a holder, insert, and drill.  According to Jeff Roberts, vice president of engineering, “Our solution has revolutionized countersinking applications by allowing the end-user to systematically refurbish the countersink inserts and PCD drills, which reduces changeover time and overall cost.” 

Crafts Technology Modular Countersink Drill

Over the years, our experience and continuous improvement culture have developed alongside the exponential growth in composite usage, particularly within the aerospace sector. Today, the most technologically advanced companies from Silicon Valley to the largest airplane producers in the world incorporate modular countersink tooling.

Holders are engineered and manufactured per application using customer specifications and the highest quality materials. The modular design allows users to harness current drill solutions without changing engineering/production specifications. At Crafts, we have successfully created modular designs that substantially reduce tooling costs for various clients, including major aerospace companies.

As a design leader, we embraced continual improvement, which has resulted in improved runout, ergonomics, and regrinds. Our ongoing experience has allowed us to pioneer design changes like converting existing product-specified drill tips to straight shanks within a modular system that maintains the validation process.

Crafts always provides modular composite countersink drilling parameters and prototype assemblies to clients to confirm each component works seamlessly as a complete solution. End-users understand that incorporating modular engineered systems allows for dramatic cost improvement over integral (solid/single piece) designs by seamlessly replacing inserts and drills.  A recently released white paper, “Modular Composite Countersink Drilling for Aerospace and Automotive Applications: Optimizing Cost per Hole”, further describes how we reduced the cost of tooling for a major aerospace company.

By partnering with Crafts, a company that has been perfecting this technology for years, your tooling life can be dramatically increased by refurbishing precision components and sub-assemblies. Our system provides an analysis of every stage of the value stream, from Just-In-Time [JIT] inventory management to the packaging and ergonomics of tooling returns and replacements.

Discover the possibilities and learn how Crafts can develop a custom refurbishing system for your application that delivers significant cost savings.

Crafts Technology Presents at AeroMat 2021

On Monday, May 24, 2021, Jeff Roberts, Vice President of Engineering of  Crafts Technology conducted a presentation on “Composite Cutting Solutions that Greatly Reduce TCO of Countersink Tooling and AFP/ATL Machines” during a technical program session at the virtual AEROMAT 2021 Conference. This technical program was part of their Composite Materials & Structures session.

AeroMat is hosted by American Society for Metals (ASM). ASM International is the preeminent association for engaging and connecting materials professionals and their organizations to the resources necessary to solve problems, improve outcomes, and advance society. As the world’s largest and most established materials information society, ASM engages and connects a global network of peers and provides access to trusted materials information through reference content and data, education courses, international events, and research. AeroMat is the forum that showcases the interchange of pertinent technical information on aerospace industry material and processes. With over 125 technical presentations, plenary speakers featuring the aerospace industry’s most pre-eminent leaders in aerospace materials and a diverse exposition with over 50 companies and organizations showcasing state-of-the-art products/services.

Crafts Technology specializes in using superhard materials for cutting solutions that can dramatically reduce TCO for all specialized cutting applications in the aerospace manufacturing process, including AFP, ATL, and countersink drilling. Crafts Technology collaborates with Fives Industrial Engineering Group to develop optimal cutting tools that achieve higher performance for both the machine manufacturer and the OEM. This video was created and presented by the VP of Engineering and the full video can be viewed on the Crafts Technology YOUTUBE channel.

Click to view this video

ERP Becomes a Communication Tool

digital display
Crafts Technology has implemented a central display that can show larger-picture information such as financial info, who has been cross-trained in various departments and more.

Modern Machine Shop is the leading publication and media brand in North America devoted to CNC machining. To report on the ways CNC machining technology is advancing and succeeding, their staff writers travel the world exploring the ways job shops, contract shops and captive operations use machining equipment, processes and strategies to become more effective and efficient.

Recently, Emily Probst from Modern Machine Shop conducted an interview with Joe Abbate on the topic of JobBoss ERP Software and its benefits to Crafts Technology. “Everything that came along with the COVID-19 restrictions was the opposite of what we were trying to achieve as an employee-owned company in terms of collaboration, teamwork and business transparency,” says Joe Abbate, technical sales manager at Crafts Technology. According to Joe, the JobBoss ERP software is shown on digital displays located throughout the facility at Crafts “to provide transparent, digital communication which has accelerated the company’s ability to streamline its communication efforts”.

Learn how Crafts Technology benefited from the use of this software and others in this interview.

Using Technology to Adapt to Today’s Changes

Joe Abbate is the Technical Sales Manager for Crafts Technology. Recently he was interviewed by Gretchen Salois, a senior editor at FFJournal magazine, which covers breakthrough technology and innovative manufacturing systems used by fabricators and OEMs. The purpose of the interview was to find how manufacturing firms like Crafts Technology were adapting to the COVID -19 pandemic and their use of software to help manage their business.

When the pandemic tied up the economy, Crafts Technology chose to add two software modules to its existing ERP system to streamline operations and communications between remote and on-premise departments.  Abbate stated, “We had to consider that a lot of our workers have gone in to work for 40 years and working from home seemed awkward.  It was not an easy change for them to make”.

Communication and collaboration are key to any teams’ success, and this is no different at Crafts Technology.  A coordinated live meeting among team members was now obstructed by alternating shifts, remote working, social distancing, and face coverings.  As if effective communication was not difficult enough.   

shop software
Joe Abbate showing how shop software helped company during pandemic

Using this new software, Crafts Technology was able to provide employees with updated visual display boards to increase information flow to the shop.  Workers back on site are also aided by electronic devices to help mitigate any confusion.  “We’re able to hold production meetings as we would normally,” says Abbate.  When we are not doing production meetings virtually, we socially distance (keeping 6ft apart) and have given our workers iPads and headphones to follow along during meetings on the floor. 

As part of the Crafts Technology management and leadership team, Joe helps develop, plan, and execute company strategic initiatives as well as support customer application solutions. Joe’s strong background in engineering, operations, grinding, and sales make him a great resource for solving industrial challenges both for customers and for Crafts Technology.

At Crafts, Joe has led projects for CRM deployment, ERP utilization and reporting, and capital equipment justification. Joe believes in communicating business information throughout the organization so that smart, data-driven decisions that align with company goals are made daily. He has a special interest in prioritizing on-time delivery, quality, and customer satisfaction performance. To read the entire interview – visit https://digital.ffjournal.net/issue/september-2020/fast-adaptation/

SuperHard Materials : Harnessing the Hardest Materials on Earth to Advance Your Industrial Equipment

Develop a top-level understanding of SuperHard materials that will spark ideas and interest regarding how to harness these materials for the advancement of industrial equipment.

Achieving a Robust, Dynamic, & Innovative New Product Launch Cycle through Strategic Partnership

Analysis of a New Product Launch Cycle that identifies how partnering with a strategic supplier achieves expedited & enhanced results.