Why All Metals Fabricating Is Boldly Investing in Automation

December 20, 2022

At All Metals Fabricating, we have a ten-year plan to become the most automated job shop in the world. With automated manufacturing capabilities already implemented in six of our shop’s 10 departments, we’re well on our way to achieving this goal.

How Automated Manufacturing Benefits Customers

We’ve invested boldly in automation already, acquiring roughly $5 million in state-of-the-art equipment over the past five years. We plan to double this investment in the next few years.

Why are we so committed to automating our processes? 

Automation allows us to offer our customers:

  • More competitive pricing
  • Faster lead times
  • Increased throughput 
  • Larger orders (2,000-3,000+)

Simply put, automated manufacturing helps us grow our business, decrease lead times, and make parts more affordable.

Our Automation Journey

In 2016, we experienced a massive surge in orders that doubled our business within a matter of months. Fortunately, our automated capabilities enabled us to ramp up operations quickly and fulfill these orders without massively expanding our team. 

Since realizing that automation could help us scale our business practically overnight, we’ve steadily added new machines with automated capabilities in over half of our departments: 

What’s next

We’ve made great strides, but we’re just getting started! In the near future, we plan to add a fully integrated cut-to-bend solution with a laser-punch combination machine that will feed parts to a robotic bend cell. 

We are starting phase 1 of a $5-6M automation plan that includes fully automated material handling and integrated cut to bend (ICB) technology. ICB technology allows the parts to go straight from cutting on a laser or punch press to bending on a press brake, all of which is handled automatically through robotics.  

Once complete, this solution will relieve our team members from performing many of the monotonous tasks of loading material into the machine, removing the material, and breaking out and deburring parts. 

Automation and Labor

Automation sometimes gets a bad rap due to the misconception that it replaces human workers. In our experience, this dystopian vision couldn’t be more inaccurate. 

Instead, automated solutions provide job security for our existing team members and help us attract a new generation of workers to manufacturing roles.

Troubleshooting the labor shortage

Automated solutions enable our operations to run smoothly even as certain positions that are notoriously difficult to fill remain vacant amid the ongoing manufacturing labor shortage

Finding a skilled press brake operator, for instance, can be challenging. Fortunately, our automatic bend cell alleviates the need to fill that role. 

With automation, we can adapt quickly to increases in business with fewer people and—crucially—avoid layoffs when business slows down. 

Future-proofing our operations

Automated manufacturing doesn’t just enable us to retain our valued team members. It also helps us attract new employees who have recently entered the manufacturing workforce. 

Today’s manufacturing recruits are digital natives who innately understand the value of technological solutions. For these potential team members, the opportunity to gain experience in automation and robotics as they advance in their careers is highly valuable.

Becoming the Most Automated Job Shop in the World

Since 2016, All Metals Fabricating has nearly doubled in sales while growing our staff by only 30%. 

In fact, you could say that automated solutions have empowered us to take a leading role in the reshoring efforts that are bringing manufacturing operations back to the United States. We’re seamlessly scaling our business so that we can make more parts faster, better, and more cost-effectively than ever before, positioning us as a formidable global competitor.

If you’re looking for a manufacturing partner that champions innovation, let’s work together. Request a quote today!