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.

Hyperion Materials & Technologies Announces Acquisition of Crafts Technology

Crafts Technology has been acquired by Hyperion Materials & Technologies.

Women in Manufacturing Hosts a Virtual Tour of Crafts Technology

Please join us for a free Virtual Tour of Crafts Technology on Thursday February 25th at 8:30am CT. This special event is being hosted by WiM IL (Women in Manufacturing) along with SME Chicagoland and IMEC.

Women in Manufacturing® (WiM) is the only national trade association dedicated to providing year-round support to women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry. At present, more than 5,800 individual members representing nearly 1,000 manufacturing companies have joined our growing ranks of industry professionals. WiM encompasses manufacturers of all types and welcomes individuals from every job function – from production to the C-Suite. Membership is available to women and men working within the manufacturing sector.

Some highlights of this Virtual Tour of Crafts Technology will include the following:

  • Micro Manufacturing – Producing features below .001″
  • Skills Matrix – Visual Representation of Cross Training and Addressing the Skills Gap
  • KPI Management – See how KPI’s throughout the operation help promote efficiency and company success. 
  • CNC Precision Grinding – see the evolution of manual to CNC while holding tolerances below .0001″
  • Ownership – See how Equity for all translates to success for the company. 

Crafts Technology is a leader in manufacturing precision parts from superhard materials that deliver optimum life and corrosion resistance for the most demanding applications. Our expertise includes micro-manufacturing, composite fabrication, and new product development that benefits the entire value stream. Products range from tungsten carbide core pins for injection molding to nozzles and needles, cutting tools, modular composite countersink drilling, AFP blades, and wear parts. Crafts harnesses a 4 pillar approach to provide significant value to the industrial marketplace including:

  1. Culture of Ownership
  2. Materials Engineering
  3. State of the Art Manufacturing
  4. Engineering Innovation

* Registration is free and open until 2/24/21 at 4:00 PM (EST)

The Manufacturing Workforce of Tomorrow

Jeffrey C. Roberts MS, Vice President of Engineering for Crafts Technology along with Erin Guthrie, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) describe what the manufacturing workforce of tomorrow will look like and what young people have to look forward to when developing an interest in a manufacturing career. With $4.6 Million manufacturing jobs opening down the road, Crafts Technology is committed to developing the workforce of tomorrow through:

  • Technical programs to help unskilled labor develop careers
  • Engineering Internships with major colleges and universities
  • Developing relationships with local manufacturing associations
  • Working with local communities to find and promote talent
  • Showcasing employee accomplishments along the way

At Crafts Technology, we have identified more clearly the skills necessary to execute our business plans and improve our strategies and we train and recruit for those skills. We are developing the workforce of tomorrow, come learn about our company and join our team.

How Manufacturers Respond to a Pandemic

Mr. David Boulay, The President of Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) highlights in this video how manufacturers have come together as one unit to help the community. Over the past few months, Crafts Technology – the same makers who power electronics, aerospace and medical products companies around the world – have pivoted their business to help other manufacturers and their community by:

  • Developing and sharing a COVID Response Plan 
  • Helping the city identify manufacturers that may be able to produce PPE
  • Working directly with the city to develop the Elk Grove COVID-19 response site
  • Producing 3D printed mask adjusters for employees and donating them to Mariano’s Food Store to help prevent damage to the back of the ear from wearing a mask all day at work.

“Illinois has been an early leader on building out testing capacity – just recently reaching the 5 million test mark – thanks in part to local companies like Crafts and the ‘makers’ they employ who are making a difference,” according to the governor’s office.

State leaders kick off Manufacturing Month at Crafts Technology

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity joined manufacturing industry leaders and members of the community at Crafts Technology to proclaim October as Manufacturing Month in Illinois. “Kicking off October’s National Manufacturing Month, the event recognized the contributions by Crafts Technology as one several Illinois companies that have stepped up and joined the statewide response to the pandemic,” according to the governor’s office. The kick-off took place on Friday, Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. at Crafts Technology at 91 Joey Dr. in Elk Grove Village.

Since COVID-19 hit, more than 1,000 Illinois manufacturers and distributors shifted operations to manufacture and deploy personal protective equipment. Crafts Technology – the same makers who power electronics, aerospace and medical products companies around the world – have pivoted their business to produce a tool for COVID-19 test equipment. “Illinois has been an early leader on building out testing capacity – just recently reaching the 5 million test mark – thanks in part to local companies like Crafts and the ‘makers’ they employ who are making a difference,” according to the governor’s office.

DCEO will host a number of virtual events throughout the month of October to recognize the essential role in Illinois communities, and to highlight its growing role in the economy. For more on these events, visit DCEO’s website or follow us on social @IllinoisDCEO.

Governor JB Pritzker Gives Special Thanks to Manufacturers in Illinois

“Illinois manufacturers have a proud history of ingenuity, innovation and resilience. And, despite the extraordinary challenges presented by COVID-19, they continue to persevere by adapting operations and offering life-saving solutions to this crisis,” said Governor JB Pritzker.  “During this year’s National Manufacturing Month, we must give special thanks to the hardworking men and women who have gone above and beyond to create new products and devices and to put their communities first so that we can deploy the level of health response that this crisis has demanded from all of us. With the industry on pace to grow and to become even more critical in the years ahead, I encourage Illinoisans to join us this month to honor the role of our manufacturers.”
 
Each year, National Manufacturing Month represents an opportunity to recognize the essential economic contributions manufacturers provide and to call attention to the importance of this growing industry and the 21st century job opportunities it can provide to Illinois residents. Over the next eight years, it’s estimated that 4.6 million new manufacturing jobs will need to be filled nationwide.
  
Crafts Technology, an employee owned company, designs and produces advanced systems and tooling supporting some of the largest electronics, aerospace and medical manufacturers in the world. The company history of producing critical tooling paved the way for it to ramp up production of COVID-19 test equipment earlier this year. Its production scale-up has been central in the efforts of global medical diagnostics companies as testing capacity emerged and remains a critical need in the fight against COVID-19. These products are essential to the mass production of medical products such as vials, syringes, blood tubes and medical electronics, specifically helping frontline healthcare workers battle the virus. 
  
Under the leadership of Governor Pritzker, the state of Illinois has made continued investments to bolster the manufacturing industry and to prepare communities for the future growth of the industry – with extensive investments in workforce training programs, transportation infrastructure, and with an expansion of economic development tools, like the apprenticeship tax credit to expand the manufacturing pipeline of talent and extension of the research and development tax credit to ensure cutting-edge products are developed here in Illinois.

Governor JB Pritzker gives thanks for Manufacturers in Illinois

“As home to more than 400 manufacturers that employ 15,000 Illinoisans, Elk Grove Village salutes innovators like Crafts Technology and all the companies that have answered the call to produce goods and materials that are helping the overall effort to mitigate this global health crisis,” said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson.  “Because Elk Grove Village is home to the nation’s largest industrial park, we are keenly aware of the vital role our manufacturers play in helping communities and families thrive and in keeping the Illinois economy moving forward especially during these very challenged times.”
   
For more information on webinars and manufacturing resources offered by the state of Illinois, visit DCEO’s website. Additionally, DCEO encourages you to join the conversation on manufacturing by following us on social @IllinoisDCEO and signing up to participate in free virtual events held all month long.

State of Illinois Proclaims October Manufacturing Month

​The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is joining manufacturing industry leaders and members of the community at Crafts Technology to proclaim October as Manufacturing Month in Illinois.  

Since COVID-19 hit, manufacturers have played an increasingly important role in protecting and powering Illinois communities. It’s estimated that over 1,000 Illinois manufacturers and distributors stepped up to support Illinois and the broader community by shifting operations to manufacture and deploy the life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to fight the pandemic.

“Stepping up to the needs of medical product manufacturers was no different than stepping up to a war effort, however, this time, the threat was a virus,” said CEO and President of Crafts TechnologyJeffrey Taylor. “Manufacturing is a central part of Illinois and for any healthy economy, and the pandemic actually reinforced our team’s resolve to expand our operations, increase employee training and to expand investments in equipment and technology to meet the ever-evolving needs of the medical products companies.  Crafts Technology has been producing high performance engineered wear solutions for critical and essential industries for more than 100 years in Illinois and we look forward to our next 100 years in the great state of Illinois.” 

DCEO was joined at Crafts Technology by industry organizations including the Illinois Manufacturing Association (IMA) and Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC). Manufacturing is the number one contributor to our economy, employing more than 550,000 Illinoisans and producing $108 billion in total output.  

“Illinois’ manufacturing industry is one of our state’s greatest prides. Not only do our manufacturers create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, but they also keep the rest of our economy moving, providing the supplies our essential workers need to continue serving our communities,” said Deputy Majority Leader Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “We are grateful for Illinois manufacturers year-round, but Manufacturing Month is a great opportunity to celebrate their contributions to our state’s growth.”

     Click to view a video on how Crafts Technology helped with a COVID-19 testing solution.

For more information on webinars and manufacturing resources offered by the state of Illinois, visit DCEO’s website. Additionally, DCEO encourages you to join the conversation on manufacturing by following us on social @IllinoisDCEO and signing up to participate in free virtual events held all month long.

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/

Providing a Helping Hand

Crafts Technology is a member of ENCLAVE for Entrepreneurs Foundation Inc., a not-for-profit economic development education initiative. The foundation focuses on finding highly personal ways to support entrepreneurial individuals and their influencers through capabilities assessment, educational programs, and professional support.

During an Enclave’s Founders First Academy meeting, Crafts technology met Chris McCarthy of Earthpaint.org.  This charity organization does paint recycling with an emphasis on hiring and training people with special needs. They have created a program that empowers adults with disabilities and trains job/life skills by collecting unwanted paint and recycling it into new paint and other products.

Earlier this year Earthpaint.org’s production facility became flooded.  It was during the Enclave’s meeting that Crafts decided to help this company by hiring a restoration firm to clean up the water damage at their facility.  As part  of Crafts COVID-19 Operational Response Plan they had hired BAC Restoration.  BAC is a family owned business that is certified in inspection, cleaning, and restoration.  They utilize EPA approved hospital grade disinfectant to clean work environments using protocols established by an Environmental Hygienist.   BAC also performs water restoration and was hired by Crafts Technology to assist Earthpaint.org.

According to Chris McCarty, “The restoration company that Crafts Technology sent worked hard all day to remove the water and left us with enough fans and dehumidifiers to solve the problem quickly.  Our mission of recycling and providing work for people with disabilities was barely interrupted thanks to your immediate response to our need.  We are fortunate to have your support and we look forward to a busy summer now that our building is ready for our team and our customers”.

At Crafts Technology, all our employee owners share our fundamental values, including transparency, innovation, and integrity in all we do.  Our shared commitment is seen in the quality of the parts we make, the advanced designs we conceive, and the way we interact with our clients and our community.