• Jan 1
    C&R Installs Another Live Tool Lathe
    Read More

    C&R recently purchased another Okuma Live Tool Lathe with Y-axis milling. Currently in our plant we have 4 live tool lathes and 2 live tool Tsugami swiss turn lathes.  This machine allows us to complete a part in one operation that previously would have taken both a mill operation and a lathe operation. Less part handling means less handling time and faster throughput. This also allows for greater accuracy since it eliminates moving the part to another fixtures. Instead of having two machines tied up with a single part, the CNC mills can be used for making other parts. 

  • Students have 20 minutes to repair their robots between rounds.
    Mar 30
    Community Involvement: Promoting Manufacturing Through Fighting Robots
    Read More

    C&R Manufacturing employees cheer as they watch the parts they machined get destroyed.

    It's all part of the fun that is the Battlebots competition.

    High school students, local manufacturing companies and teachers partner together to help create a robot that will fight other robots to the death.

    The manufacturing industry is facing a wave of retirements in the labor pool, and this program offers a way for high school students to get involved in manufacturing and meet industry professionals. The robotics program supports STEM and is fun and engaging for the students.

    C&R Manufacturing worked with several local teams this year. The students start the design process, then consult with C&R staff to ensure they have created a machinable design. They work with engineering software to create the drawings which they provide to C&R to have the parts machined. After assembling and learning to drive their robot, they test their creation at the Regional competition. If they survive that one, its off to the Nationals in Pennsylvania in May.

  • Jan 1
    Building a Company and a Long Lasting NTMA Connection
    Read More

    As featured in the December issue of NTMA's The Record magazine:

    C & R Mfg was founded in Ron Wosel’s basement-- the classic beginnings of a machine shop as many who have started before and after us. The shop was assembled during the mid-70s to machine parts for my outboard boat racing hobby. We applied for a sales tax number in 1979 and that becomes the company’s actual start date. I was introduced to the NTMA in the mid-1980s by a shop owner friend and I immediately joined the organization. My first annual meeting was in Acapulco, Mexico in 1988. The business content was very good, and it was also held someplace warm in the winter, and I’m sure that’s what kept us coming back all these years. We felt a little out of place being the youngest family there by many years, until we met Steve and Vicky Hasty who became our lifelong friends. Steve Bhas recently sold his business and retired, but we keep in contact. At the local chapter level, we started as the newest member and have progressed to being an old-timer active member. We still enjoy supporting our local chapter and networking with everyone.  I have only missed a few annual meetings over the years, and usually regretted doing so. I have made many friends and acquaintances over the years and also enjoy seeing and visiting with everyone at the conferences. I am proud to have been a part of NTMA for 30 years now. So how did NTMA make us successful and why do we come to all the meetings? I tell everyone that there are two reasons for our success, in no particular order. One reason is the caliber of speakers and presenters at the NTMA conferences, as well as the roundtables. My wife and two children have accompanied me at every annual meeting. Our goal is to bring back business ideas that we can use to make our company more efficient, which offsets the cost of the meeting. I admit there have been times I’ve returned home with information I’m not sure what to do with, only to have it become applicable at a later date. The other reason is the great information in Modern Machine Shop magazine, it is our metalworking bible. In 2011, we were honored and proud to receive Modern Machine Shop’s first Top Shop award. With Modern Machine Shop’s close association with the NTMA, it only makes sense that these two things have worked hand-in-hand for our business. My daughter Andrea and my son Brian are the next generation of C & R. I’m sure you’ll see them at future conferences as part of the Emerging Leaders group. NTMA has become a family tradition.


  • Nov 10
    Incentivized Automation
    Read More

    The Role of Employee Incentives in Successful Automation

    Originally titled 'Incentivized Automation'

    This shop doesn’t emphasize lights-out production so much as leveraging automation while the lights are still on. One key to this is a wage and compensation plan that rewards employees for maximizing automation’s impact.

    Think “automation” or “automated manufacturing.” What do you see?

    You probably imagine a highly mechanized process. Perhaps there are robots moving production parts from station to station. Chances are, in the immediate mental picture that you summon to envision an automated process, there are no people in view.


    Ron Wosel of C&R Manufacturing in Shawnee, Kansas, has a different picture. The hope of unattended production across hours at a time perhaps informed his aims when he first began to explore and embrace automation decades ago. But he soon found a different purpose for automation that has shaped the way he values it now. Unattended production is not the point, he says. In his thinking about automation, the people are very much in view.

    Today, the shop routinely does leave some machines running into the night to achieve “lights-out” manufacturing without any staffing present. This is particularly true of the shop’s pallet-pool-equipped horizontal machining centers. But for C&R, this unstaffed production represents a side benefit of having automated systems in the shop. The main benefit of automating is realized while the lights are still on. Mr. Wosel—along with his adult children Andrea and Brian, who have also moved into leadership of the company—sees automation principally as a means of enabling employees to do more. Continually expanding the amount of production that employees can oversee has allowed the company to grow in output while keeping its staffing small.

    Read Full Article Here:


  • June 17
    Machine shop leaders share observations after Japan Manufacturing Tour
    Read More

    NTMA Members Share Observations after Japan Manufacturing Tour

    Machine shop owners and managers, NTMA leaders and representatives of the host companies all toured Japan together for a week, visiting advanced manufacturing facilities as well as one small shop.

    Last month, I spent a week in Japan touring manufacturing facilities with a group of machine-shop owners, managers and leaders who are active in the National Tooling and Machining Association, or NTMA. MazakBig KaiserMemex and Blaser Swisslube all hosted the trip. The U.S. group toured various Mazak machine-tool production plants near Nagoya, Japan, as well as the Big Daishowa production facility on Japan’s Awaji Island that is the source of tooling products supplied by Big Kaiser. Memex and Blaser Swisslube gave technical presentations. NTMA has taken to organizing international trips such as this on an annual basis. (The destination last year was Switzerland, and many of the travelers in this group had been on that trip as well.)

    I was privileged to get to go along. Usually, I visit manufacturing facilities on my own or in the company of other media people. This was better. Typically, I report on what I see and learn by trying to view it through the imagined perspective of a plant manager or shop owner, but on this trip, I had direct access to that very perspective. At the end of the trip, I asked my fellow travelers to share their take-aways. Here is a sampling of their observations of Japanese manufacturing, spinkled with some of my own observations of the travelers’ reactions to what they saw:

    Grady Cope of Reata Engineering & Machine Works had his eyes opened by the extent and success of automation at the toured facilities. He wrote me to say:

    “The use of automation at both Mazak and Big Daishowa was incredible, considering that both companies are high-mix, low-volume manufacturers. Many times in the United States, we have the thought pattern that high-mix, low-volume shops can’t automate or can’t justify automating. Of course, multitasking machines and linear palletizing lines [like we saw at Mazak] are making their way into high-mix shops in the United States, but we still haven’t seen the level of multitasking machines served by versatile robots that we saw in Japan. I have no doubt that many of us visiting Japan made note of this, and I would expect that over the next five years, you will begin to see more use of robots in U.S. job shops.”

    He also made an observation that hadn’t occurred to me, but that I recognized as true as I read his words. He said (emphasis mine), “As a result of this automation, I noticed that manpower allocation was somewhat different than you see in the United States. In the businesses we visited, the machining areas had the fewest people, with assembly and inspection having considerable more, while it appeared that most of the workforce was working at an engineering level, directing the automation process.”

    “That was one the more impactful take-aways for me,” he says. “This feeds right back to the need for a much more highly skilled manufacturing workforce in the United States.”

    One of the production facilities we toured was a Sumitomo plant in Kyoto producing cutting tools. Heidi Baney of Wagner Machine enjoyed this, for the simple reason that it helped her understand the beginning and creation of a product she encounters routinely.

    “I am always handling the receiving of the tooling,” she says. “To actually see how everything was made was eye-opening.” In her conversations about this just after her return, she says she was able to instill in her shop’s sales representative and plant manager something like her own new appreciation for tooling.

    She experienced something similar in getting to meet Marc Blaser, CEO of Blaser Swisslube (see below), a company supplying a product Wagner Machine regularly uses.

    Big Daishowa
    One of the treats for the NTMA group was touring the Big Daishowa plant. This group was made up of machining professionals and machine-shop owners, and the production of Big Daishowa’s core product (toolholders and toolholding devices) consists largely of machining. The company uses many different machine tool brands and types throughout its plant, because it needs to “spread the wealth” among machine-tool builders in the interest of maintaining good relationships with all of them. But many (and perhaps most) of the machine tools the group saw during its extensive tour of the plant were fed by FANUC robots.

    Big Daishowa also showed the limits of automation. For a rough grinding operation on precision toolholders, the grinding machine is robot-loaded. But for the finish grinding of the same holder, a skilled machinist performs manual loading and operation of the grinding machine in order to achieve the company’s specification of a 3-micron tolerance on runout.

    Andrea Wosel of C&R Manufacturing said, “Their commitment to quality as shown by 100-percent inspections, extremely clean and well organized shops and attention to detail was inspiring.”

    John Zmuda of Moseys Production Machinists offered, “They do not have to go to the level of fine aesthetic appearance in their shop to achieve the results they advertise, they simply choose to. This is a level of pride in craftsmanship that we at Moseys try to fold into our evolving culture and I found it motivating to see it in action.”

    The tour of Big Daishowa also included demonstrations of some of the company’s products. Big Kaiser’s Jack Burley (shown) oversaw machining demonstrations including comparison cutting with and without a damped toolholder for vibration control, as well as comparison cutting between two otherwise identical machining centers with and without dual-contact toolholding via the company’s Big Plus system.

    Blaser Swisslube
    This company’s CEO, Marc Blaser, is a gracious, soft-spoken and personable man. At one point, I happened to observe him give his thanks to his Japanese hosts in an expression of gratitude that seemed fully genuine rather than just polite. He is also an excellent public speaker, and I had the feeling some members of the group must have seen give some version of his presentation before, but they gladly sat through it again out of regard for him.

    The message of the presentation he gave is that coolant accounts for only 1/2 percent of the unit cost of a typical machined part, but the choice of coolant has a dramatic effect on the performance of other, far more significant sources of cost in the process such as the tool, the machine and even the employee. As a result, there is little money to be saved by economizing on coolant, but significant value to be obtained by searching for the coolant that performs best.

    Mr. Cope later wrote, “Blaser brought home everything we were seeing about attention to detail. If you don’t pay attention to the little things, then it doesn’t matter how much you spend on hard technology. The machining process truly is a system, and if you’re going to invest in technology, then this requires that your commitment go all the way down to the tool and the coolant/lubricant interaction.”

    Chuo Ironworks
    One of the facilities the group had the chance to see was not a highly automated facility, but instead an example of a small Japanese job shop. The extent to which a small independent shop in Japan resembles a small independent shop in America was one of the more interesting (even reassuring) observations to many of the visitors.

    Courtney Wagner of Wagner Machine says, “Chuo Ironworks is similar to my small 30-man job shop in Ohio. It even smelled like home.” Here most of all, she saw the extent to which manufacturing prospers in Japan. “Walking through the facility, I saw how in Japan, the companies buy Japanese equipment, Japanese raw materials when possible, Japanese tooling—there were Japanese products everywhere.”

    Something else struck here in this shop, an idea to which the hosts at this shop made reference. She says, “The owners spoke about monozukuri, and how this means ‘making things,’ in the sense of devotion to manufacturing. Specifically Japanese manufacturing. This reminded me of the ‘American Built’ idea that Titan Gilroy is promoting. In the United States, the ‘American-made’ trend gets traction sometimes. But the similar idea is really ingrained throughout the culture of the Japanese people.” As, she realizes, the idea is ingrained in her.

    “I love bringing non-industry people through my shop,” she says. “Like this shop, I love explaining how we ‘make things.’”

    Meanwhile, Jonathan Veteto of Cogitic noted this detail: “The shop was obviously busy with lots of material stacked up at each workstation. There were work instructions everywhere (I took pictures of some of them), but not a computer to be seen.  I think that goes to show that a well-run shop depends on good instructions, but less so on the actual ‘technology’ used to deliver them.”

    Dave Sattler of Sattler Companies said, “What struck me was when the manager of this shop was asked, ‘What’s your biggest challenge?’ His response, which is my response and that of all American manufacturers, was ‘A skilled labor force.’ Workforce development is not just a problem in the U.S., but around the world.”

    The small shop was not exactly identical to an American small shop, because all of the facilities we saw on the tour, large and small, had something in common that was distinctively Japanese. In part, this came down to focus and lack of distraction among the employees. In no shop or plant, for example, did we find a radio playing.

    John Belzer of TCI Precision Metals says, “The heads-down attention to the task and the physical acknowledgement of the guest on the shop floor was amazing. If only we could approximate that kind of behavior here. Don't misunderstand, we have excellent and capable people, as well. I suppose, really, it's all about deep cultural differences. We experienced somewhat the same in Switzerland last year, just in a little different way.”

    Mr. Zmuda describes it further: “One take-away from this event for me would be the attentiveness of the employees in the factories. It seemed that they really focused on perfection and looked happy doing it. I did not see anyone sweating or frantically running around, just simply and purposefully performing their tasks.”

    The extent of this machine tool builder’s production resources within its home country is vast. The NTMA group spent a day and a half touring three Mazak plants to get a sample.

    Herb Homeyer of Homeyer Precision Manufacturing observed, “Mazak is committed to employing the new manufacturing techniques that they are selling to their customers. We saw firsthand some of the largest pallet systems used for lights-out operations, and automation in all aspects of their production. This technology is utilized not just for cost savings and quality, but also as a solution to the skills gap.”

    Mazak’s production is so extensive that the members of the tour group invariably siezed on different details here and there as particular interesting. Ron Wosel of C&R Manufacturing gives this example: “The take-away for me at Mazak related to the workpiece storage racks and the conveyers they used. They held many parts and were easily converted to the next job. I would have liked to have known more about their in-process measuring. If they can machine the components of their own CNC machines unattended, then we ought to be able to machine most any parts unattended at comparable accuracies.”

    The promise that machine shops see in machine monitoring and data-driven manufacturing was apparent in the high level of interest given to Memex CEO David McPhail when he gave the group a presentation on this topic and fielded questions (of which there were many). The majority of the trip members who responded to me cited this presentation on the use of data in manufacturing as one of the notable points of interest on the trip. Mr. McPhail gave his talk at one of the Mazak plants, because Mazak uses Memex software to monitor and improve its own operations.

    Mr. Cope wrote, “Managing highly engineered shop floors [like those we saw] calls for some kind of monitoring and feedback system. The Memex presentation couldn’t have been more timely. Without a basic tool like this, a shop might either be blind or chasing the wrong problems. These digital feedback and monitoring systems will in many cases be the next level of productivity improvements for shops. Big Data is here. We now need the tools to parse the data and present it in a way that lets us make decision on the changes we need to make to improve our processes. ‘What gets measured, gets done.’”

    Another valuable aspect of the trip consisted in the other travelers also on the trip. Mr. Belzer says, “My best take-away wasn’t a direct result of any of the tours. It was, instead, what I learned along the way in conversations with the other participants. Although the windshield time seemed a bit much, it allowed me to get to know some people better and to understand how they run their shops and why.”

    Ms. Wosel adds, “Dinners with the executives of our host companies were great experiences—just to be able to sit down and speak with them directly in a casual setting. Networking with them as well as our own NTMA members is valuable. Great stories and advice were exchanged during the bus rides between our different stops.”

    International travel can be exhausting. It’s also hard to accommodate, because we are almost always too busy to comfortably schedule in the trip. Mr. Cope summed up the value of making the effort.

    He said, “I have never been on a trip like this before. Not only does it let you see how the different parts of the world process products, it allows time with colleagues to reflect on what we are seeing. I think for NTMA and their presenting partners this trip shows how working with customers and members is evolving. We are in a global economy that will eat us up if we don’t take the time to learn how everyone is changing and thinking differently about manufacturing. To keep U.S. manufacturing moving forward, we have to participate, innovate and evolve. The rest of the world pays attention to what we do; we have to pay attention and learn from them as well.”

    Comments are reviewed by moderators before they appear to ensure they meet Modern Machine Shop’ssubmission guidelines.


  • Jun 1
    Sparks fly in National Robotics Competition
    Read More

    C&R is always excited to be a part of the robotics competition by supporting several local high school teams!

    Sparks Fly in National Robotics Competition [NTMA Feature]

    Sparks Fly in National Robotics Competition [NTMA Feature]
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    By: Stephanie Ritenbaugh

    CALIFORNIA, Pa. — In one of two the rings set up for the double-elimination competition, two remote-controlled robots faced off. Sparks flew when they clashed, and finally, the bout was stopped due to “smoke and fire,” the emcee announced to the auditorium.
    “That’s going on the website,” Bill Padnos said to a cheering crowd.
    The winner of that round was a team from Beaumont School, an all-girls school in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. They were one of 63 teams to participate in the National Robotics League competition held this year at California University of Pennsylvania. The competition drew teams from seven states and Puerto Rico.
    The bouts alternated between two rings, where battle bots went head to head in a gladiator-style competition and, frequently, flipped each other around like pancakes.
    In the end, it was Pine-Richland High School in Pine Township whose robot, The Punisher, battled to grand champion honors. A trophy and $500 prize goes to the team with the highest combined score. First place went to Conchranton Junior-Senior High School and their bot, Juggernaut, in Meadville. Second place went to Carnegie Mellon University’s Disko. Third place went to Ebensburg’s Admiral Peary School District and their bot, The Joker.
    After their round, the Beaumont team could be found in the pit behind the stage, with their bot “Stobor” opened up for repairs before the next fight. The name is “robots” spelled backward “because we reverse engineered the robot,” said Margaret Schiffer, a junior.
    Developing Stobor took seven months, with the team working with their sponsor Christopher Tool Manufacturing in Cleveland, to use equipment and other resources they may not have access to. One member of the team drives, while the other operates the weapon.
    One local team from Plum School District worked with Jennison Corp. in Carnegie for their robot, Knockout. They retired their last one Still N Shock after last year’s competition in Cleveland.
    “This one is smaller and faster,” said Joe Doerfler, a senior at Plum High School. He said he is going on to The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg to study mechanical engineering.
    The National Robotics League is a program under the Cleveland-based National Tooling and Machining Association that encourages students to explore Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM-related, subjects. Students design and engineer their robot and have to provide extensive documentation of their process from conception on.
    The program also fosters connections between students and manufacturing companies that are in need of skilled workers, especially as the industry braces for a wave of retirements and a shrinking pool of young workers to fill in the gaps. And that’s even taking into account jobs that can be performed through automation, said Steven Tamasi, NRL commissioner.
    The organization cites a Deloitte study for the Manufacturing Institute stating that the country faces a need for nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs over the next decade.
    “This promotes STEM education in a way that’s fun where they can be more engaged, and, in some cases, not intimidated by science or math,” Mr. Tamasi said. “The kids aren’t really thinking about physics as they’re doing this. They’re figuring out how their robot can beat another one.
    “They flip each other like quarters in the ring,” he said.
    Students from South Park School District, like many others, also had their robot open up for repairs between fights. Julietta Maffeo, a junior, and Sam Hartman, a sophomore, were bent over the machine with tools in hand.
    The team worked with Durametal Products in Irwin to develop their bot, The Millenium Falcon — armed with a metal disk with large teeth.
    While most of the participants came from schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio, some came from as far away as Arizona and Puerto Rico.
    The students from the University of Puerto Rico took it upon themselves to revive interest in the competition after the last team graduated and there was a lull in interest.
    “There are no regional competitions like this in Puerto Rico, so it’s the NRL competition,” where the team gets to see how the robot, Carey, performs in the ring, said Reinaldo Alciade. The name is in tribute to an endangered turtle species in the Caribbean, they said. They worked with GM.
    Alberto Rosado said the team is trying to get more interest from other schools to start up similar robotics programs on the island.
    He pointed to the binder on the work table with their documentation and noted they want to be able to pass on their knowledge to other students. “We don’t want them to have to re-learn everything, but to keep improving on the base we created and take it to new heights.”
    “We don’t want this to die off after we graduate,” said Mr. Alciade.

  • Mar. 10th
    2016: The Year Of The Internet of Things for Manufacturing
    Read More

    This will be the year of action for manufacturers. The industry has had enough talking. We’re through with speculating, forecasting and trying to wrap our heads around abstract projections and drawing board concepts. Plans are moving from the “maybe” stage to the “make it happen” stage. Manufacturers are ready to focus. And, ready to invest. That’s a good thing.

    As we begin 2016 and file away last year’s research reports and analyst whitepapers, we can easily see that 2015 was dominated by hype. The Internet of Things topic reached mega proportions with sensor suppliers and network providers projecting global economic value in the trillions. The potential was so staggering we had trouble getting our arms around the real issues and separating vision from action. But once we realized IoT technologies can help us put “the customer in the center of everything,” the digital string made sense.

    IoT wasn’t the only disruptive technology fueling the modern Industrial Revolution rhetoric. Experts also called for digitalization and smart manufacturing, shifting to customer-centric operations, adopting mobile and social platforms and, of course, the virtues of cloud deployment. Manufacturers were forced to stop, listen and consider. You would have to be operating in a vacuum to have missed the passionate conversations about paradigm shifts and the factory of the future.

    That was last year.

    As we move into the second half of the decade, we predict that the mood will shift away from talk and toward action. Leaders in the industry are typically described as pragmatic, bold decision-makers — often valuing the entrepreneurial spirit. History shows that early adopters often make the largest gains. Those famous change agents don’t hide from challenges. They embrace the opportunities. They will forge the path for the remaining majority of manufacturers who recognize they have to keep up, remain relevant or fail.

    This is now.

    This will be the year when leading manufacturers will be ready to prioritize, plan and form partnerships as they embark on reinventing their enterprises. Watch for team plays and partnerships between data scientists and technology, supply chain, logistics and platform providers. The potential of the various informational technologies and operational technologies converging on the industry are too massive to take on alone. You need partners who are willing to dive in with you. This will be the year of choosing teams and creating a strategy.

    Our crystal ball shows that manufacturers will prioritize their investments and make incremental steps toward their personalized vision of the future. Disruptive technology doesn’t have to be overly disruptive to your daily process flows if you plan carefully.

    Every manufacturer has to make choices and start somewhere on the journey to the future. The logical place is with cloud deployment. The disruptive technologies that will transform manufacturing all rely on vast storage of data, data and more data. Cloud deployment makes that possible — and affordable.

    As cloud is recognized as the logical deployment option, hybrid and tier systems will be used to test concepts and transition organizations to cloud solutions, leaving their heavily modified legacy solutions behind. Although some organizations will opt for the bold “rip and replace” implementation, many will test the waters with edge applications in the Cloud and tiered systems where one division or department is moved to the Cloud as a pilot. Any step toward the future, even cautious, incremental ones, are good.

    Cybersecurity will also be recognized as a critical factor in the future’s equation. Watch for strides to be achieved in network security as manufacturers adopt more mobile and social solutions. Security will become a mindset as well as technology. Industries like medical device manufacturing and aerospace and defense — which have already mastered this topic — will be role models and drive a heightened emphasis on security, mission-critical reliability, traceability and regulation compliance.      

    This will also be the year of the data scientist. For years now we have been bandying about the term “Big Data” with varying degrees of understanding how to leverage it. It has become such a buzzword that the true definition and potential have often been glazed over. No more. Manufacturers are ready to get serious about data. They have to be. Planning a working IoT strategy requires finally facing the data deluge and deciding what to do with the mountains of data that has been collecting — and will only grow as more sensors are put into use. It’s estimated that 50 billion devices will be connected by 2030. With the right analytical tools put in place, manufacturers will be able reach new heights of understanding about buying triggers and products in use.

    A specialized breed of expert will be required. Although university, trade, apprenticeship training programs and government-funded STEM programs are ramping up to meet this demand, there will be a gap. Smart manufacturers will work hard to woo the best and brightest technology visionaries to their team — then work equally hard to retain them.

    Software solutions will play a critical role in these advances that manufacturers will see in 2016. A modern highly flexible ERP solution — deployed in the Cloud — is at the core of the Factory of the Future.

    Manufacturers will benefit from technology in many ways in 2016. It will be an exciting year for breakthroughs in IT functionality as well as shop floor operational technologies. Are you ready?

    About The Author: Larry Korak, Industry Strategy Direction, Industrial Manufacturing, Infor.

  • Jan 21
    C&R Manufacturing Receives 25 Under 25 Award
    Read More

    C&R Manufacturing, Shawnee, KS, is honored to receive this year’s 25 Under 25 Award, which recognizes 25 outstanding Kansas City businesses with under 25 employees.

    The 25 Under 25® Awards program is not just about honoring individual businesses; it’s also about opening the public’s eyes to the economic and community impact of small businesses. Criteria used included company vision, community involvement, and ability to overcome challenges.

    Look for the following write-up in the next issues of Thinking Bigger Business:

    Ronald Wosel and his team are the manufacturers that other manufacturers trust. Shawnee-based C&R Manufacturing produces intricate, perfectly designed parts that other equipment makers incorporate in their own finished products. Modern Machine Shop magazine has named it one of top 10 shops of its kind in the United States.

    “We are consistently rated as a top supplier based on quality, on-time delivery and service,” Wosel said. “Our on-time delivery record is above 99 percent.”

    Wosel formed C&R in his basement in 1979—he added extra insulation to the house so the machines wouldn’t wake his kids, and his first employee was a 16-year-old neighbor. Today, C&R Manufacturing operates from a 32,000-square-foot facility filled with the latest CNC, waterjet and robotic welding technology. And the neighbor kid is now Wosel’s shop foreman.

    C&R Manufacturing operates in a very competitive field, so it’s always been Wosel’s practice to reinvest in new equipment and training for his employees.

    ““Remember, if you’re not moving forward, you’re going backward!”

  • Nov 5
    Robots to Create up to 1.5 Million Jobs by 2016
    Read More

    Industry speakers make the case for robotic job creation to the Congressional Robotics Caucus Advisory Committee.


    Experts in robotics research and development gathered last week to make an important point about their technology: Robots are not a threat to employment. In fact, they will create thousands of jobs in the coming years in a variety of industries.

    Seegrid’s Chief Operating Officer, Mitchell Weiss, was one of the presenters appearing before the Congressional Robotics Caucus Advisory Committee to discuss ways to harness robotic technology for job creation.

    See Also: The New Age of Robotics

    Weiss had a favorable overall impression of the meeting. “We got some direct, important questions,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that people are looking at robots for the obvious things, the defense applications and the manufacturing applications, but I don’t think they have an understanding of where the technology is taking us.”

    In his presentation, Weiss explained that while the manufacturing efficiencies associated with robotics are important, the technology is really about operating efficiencies. He noted that robots enable growth in all kinds of industries that cannot be “sent offshore,” including space research and development, safety and security, and supply chain applications enabling same-day shipping.

    The discussion included a detailed look at the economics of manufacturing, how robots reduce the impact of costs in areas where the U.S. is less competitive (such as taxes and cost of capital), how robots help the U.S. compete internationally and to reshore jobs.

    Read the full story at mhlnews.com.


  • Oct 9
    35th Anniversary Celebration
    Read More

         C&R Manufacturing, Shawnee, Kansas, is celebrating its 35th anniversary and has installed two new Hurco machining centers and a laser marking system.


          The precision manufacturing firm, which offers machining, welding, assembly and inspection, started out in the basement of Ron Wosel’s home in 1979.

          The Hurcos include a VMX42i VMC and a second VMX30Ui 5-axis machining center with an integrated trunion table.  Newer technology helps to keep customers’ costs down.

          An Epilog FiberMark laser marking system (with 12” x 24” capacity) was also added to help improve efficiency and reduce turnaround times.

          “We needed the additional equipment to improve our capacity and efficiency,” stated Wosel.  “We now have eleven pieces of Hurco equipment.  We are pleased with the equipment and the software is easy to operate.”  

            C&R’s 18 employees operate in a 32,000-sq.-ft. facility with an impressive array of CNC equipment, including mills, live tool lathes, horizontal machining centers with pallets, and 5-axis waterjet cutting. Wosel noted that the average tenure of the company’s employees is 18 years.

          “We have great employees that make our business efficient,” commented Wosel.  “An experienced crew can identify ways to be more efficient like reducing set-up times. On-time delivery is always a major focus for us. We are the top supplier (in quality and delivery) for many of our customers, several who have been with us for 25-30 years.” 


    Published in Mid-America Commerce and Industry

    May 2015

  • July 23
    Reshoring is Reopening Doors for US Manufacturers
    Read More

    The Drivers of Manufacturing Reshoring


    Reshoring is delivering wide-ranging benefits for an increasing number of U.S. manufacturers, who see it as a way to maintain (or regain) global competitiveness. According to theReshoring Initiative, in 2003 about 140,000 jobs were lost to offshoring. In 2014, for the first time in two decades, the U.S. realized a net gain of 10,000 reshored jobs.

    I expect to see more deep drawn reshoring in particular, because Boston Consulting Group predicts fabricated metal products will be one of the top sectors to benefit from this growing trend. In fact, the Reshoring Initiative says through 2014, 30 companies in this sector have already restored 1,721 jobs to American soil.

    During the late 20th century, manufacturers saw financial salvation in moving production facilities overseas. They saw the lower cost of labor and processing, and at the time, lower material costs.

    But, as so many American manufacturers have seen, the lower price tag came at a cost.

    Times have changed, and not just economically. Wages in Asia have risen dramatically in recent years, especially in China, reducing or virtually eliminating any cost advantage. Meanwhile, lengthy supply chains eat up time and expose companies to multiple vulnerabilities from inconsistent product quality to costly port slowdowns. The lower material costs that many countries could boast was due to lower quality materials. With our high quality standards, those countries just can’t get away with that anymore. As we’ve seen for many back home, offshoring has lost its luster.

    One of the drivers of reshoring I find most interesting is actually China’s booming infrastructure. Previously, people simply could not travel easily, so they stayed where they were and worked. Now, ease of travel enables workers to relocate to areas that pay more money, drying up labor wells in the low-cost parts of the countries. In turn, this has created higher labor costs and more service and quality issues. Offshoring doesn’t provide value anymore.

    In fact, the opposite is true- companies with operations remaining overseas are hurting. Consider higher labor costs, higher transportation time and costs, poor quality, higher shipping risk, and the emergence of port strikes. Weak engineering services are getting weaker, and workers are moving to more glamorous service jobs.

    That’s not to mention the intangibles- travel, minimum order requirements that increase inventory and affect cash flow, late deliveries, poor communication, long response time. Companies are also concerned that environmental and social issues surrounding foreign production facilities are damaging their reputations.

    American manufacturers once saw their streets paved with gold by keeping their work off their own streets. Now that picture is bleak. So what are companies to do? As we’ve been seeing in mass numbers, bring the business back home.

    Reshoring is reopening doors for U.S. manufacturers. Bringing jobs and production facilities back home increases agility and shortens lead times, enabling companies to reduce inventories yet still meet fluctuating delivery requirements and respond quickly to customer needs. After being in this business a while, I can tell you that companies want to be physically closer to suppliers, not just to tighten the supply chain but to facilitate more collaborative working relationships.

    Reshoring allows companies to take advantage of tax incentives, have skilled workers available and innovate while protecting intellectual property. For some, the ability to operate facilities using inexpensive natural gas now makes U.S. locations far more cost-effective than foreign countries where electricity and coal are considerably more expensive. Eliminating import duties and reducing transportation costs can also improve profitability, enabling manufacturers to lower product prices or finance new R&D.

    And I don’t have to explain the resurgence of pride that comes with the Made in USA label. In short, manufacturers are looking at the total cost of off- versus reshoring and seeing greater ROI on the home side. And so the tide has turned.

    Hundreds of companies in dozens of states are already reshoring. The vast majority of those jobs have returned from Asia, primarily China, though a significant number have returned from Mexico and other countries. States that are the biggest winners thus far in terms of job increases are:

    • South Carolina – 7,780
    • Michigan – 6,721
    • California – 6,014
    • Kentucky – 4,612
    • Texas – 3,712

    So what does the future hold? Most industry watchers agree with me that the trend toward reshoring is just getting started. We expect the U.S. to produce more manufactured goods domestically in the coming years, and manufacturers will continue to reassess their individual circumstances in light of the latest global conditions and domestic opportunities. Harry Moser, founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, points to the fact that somewhere between 3 and 4 million jobs remain overseas as an indicator of reshoring’s potential.

    Beyond precision metal fabricators and their customers that can benefit specifically from deep drawn reshoring, manufacturing in general can reap comprehensive financial and reputation management benefits from this trend. And our country as a whole stands to gain as well, through increased employment, a reduced trade deficit and greater overall economic sustainability.

    Rich Regole is the president and CEO of Accurate Forming, a leader in the art and science of deep-draw metal forming. Accurate Forming supplies complex deep drawn components and value-added operations such as in-house polishing, nickel & chrome plating, high performance powder coating, notching, slotting, thread rolling, and assembly.


  • May 28
    C&R partners with National Robotics League to sponsor robotics teams
    Read More

    C&R partnered up with Olathe Northwest High School to sponsor three robotics teams this year. High school students worked hand in hand with area manufacturing companies to design, create, and assemble 15lb fighting robots. It was exciting to see our local robotics teams do so well at the National Robotics League Competition in Ohio. C&R is invested in the future of manufacturing, and what better way to encourage interest in the manufacturing/ engineering industry than a little friendly competition! Or, not so friendly, as these robots were out to destroy! C&R sponsored Team Rhino, who ended up 10th overall out of 64 teams. You can see their story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKYEDj2a6t4 and visit the NRL site to see more robot-fighting footage from the national competition here: https://lnkd.in/bgmvPQx https://lnkd.in/b6SAJHx

  • May 15
    C&R receives Safety Award
    Read More

    C&R Manufacturing is proud to receive the 2014 Safety Award from the National Tooling and Machining Association. See full article below:

    2014 NTMA Safety Award Recipients Announced

    The NTMA's Annual Safety Award Survey is based on the OSHA Form 300A which Federal Law requires companies with more than ten employees to complete and post visibly in their plant February 1 through April 30 of the year following the year covered by the form.

    The purpose of the survey is to present the top-performing companies with an NTMA Safety Award Certificate that can be proudly displayed in their company, as well as provide NTMA the composite data that will allow them to represent the member with OSHA and other regulatory agencies. A company’s eligibility to receive this award is determined by a calculation using the number of injuries versus the total number of man-hours worked in that calendar year. Those eligible to receive this award are among the best in the industry and something the owner and employees should be proud of.

    Please join the NTMA in congratulating the NTMA members for receiving the award for their company’s excellent safety performance!
    AccuRounds (Boston Chapter)
    Advanced Tooling Specialists, Inc (Milwaukee Chapter)
    Allied Specialty Precision Inc. (Michiana Chapter)
    Apex Tool & Mfg., Inc. (Indiana Chapter)
    Applegate EDM (North Texas Chapter)
    Applied Engineering Inc. (General)
    Armin Tool & Manufacturing, Inc (General)
    Beaver Tool & Machine Co. (Philadelphia Delaware Valley Chapter)
    Bendon Gear and Machine, Inc (Boston Chapter)
    Betar Incorporated (Philadelphia Delaware Valley Chapter)
    Bogue Machine Co. (New Mexico Chapter)
    C&R Manufacturing Inc. (Kansas City Chapter)
    Cardinal Machine Co. (Cleveland Chapter)
    Colonial Machine Company (Akron Chapter)
    Criterion Tool (Cleveland Chapter)
    Dekalb Tool & Die (General)
    Designs For Tomorrow, Inc. (St. Louis Chapter)
    Disposable Instrument Company (Kansas City Chapter)
    DPI Inc. Philadelphia Delaware Valley Chapter
    DRT Holdings, Inc. (Dayton Region Manufacturers Assn.)
    Exact Tool & Die, Inc. (Cleveland Chapter)
    F.H. Peterson Machine Corp. (Boston Chapter)
    Fitz Machine Inc (Boston Chapter)
    FM Machine Company (Akron Chapter)
    Fox Valley Tool & Die, Inc (Milwaukee Chapter)
    Great Western Grinding, Inc. (Los Angeles Chapter)
    Grind All Inc. (Cleveland Chapter)
    Hans Rudolph, Inc. (Kansas City Chapter)
    Hellebusch Tool and Die (St. Louis Chapter)
    Horst Engineering (Connecticut Chapter)
    Howard Tool Company (Boston Chapter)
    JD Machine Corp. (Northern Utah Chapter)
    Jig Grinding Service Co. Inc. (Cleveland Chapter)
    Kentucky Machine and Tool (Louisville Chapter)
    Kuhn Tool & Die Co. (Northwestern Pennsylvania Chapter)
    Laser Tool, Inc (Northwestern Pennsylvania Chapter)
    Layke Inc. (Arizona Chapter)
    M&H Engineering Co., Inc. (Boston Chapter)
    Mahuta Tool Corp. (Milwaukee Chapter)
    Major Tool & Machine (Indiana Chapter)
    MIC Group LLC (Houston Chapter)
    Micor Industries LLC (General)
    Milco Wire EDM, Inc. dba Milco Waterjet (Los Angeles Chapter)
    Mitchell Machine, Inc. (Western Massachesetts Chapter)
    Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool (St. Louis Chapter)
    Moseys Production Machinists, Inc. (Los Angeles Chapter)
    Nolte Precise Manufacturing (Tri-State Tooling & Machining Assn.)
    North Easton Machine Co., Inc (Boston Chapter)
    NuTec Tooling Systems, Inc. (Northwestern Pennsylvania Chapter)
    O-D Tool & Cutter, Inc. (Boston Chapter)
    Overton & Sons Tool & Die (Indiana Chapter)
    Patterson Mold and Tool (St. Louis Chapter)
    Ponderosa Industries (Rocky Mountain Chapter)
    QME Inc - Quality Mold & Engineering (Michiana Chapter)
    R&M Manufacturing Co. (Michiana Chapter)
    RM Machining, Inc. (San Francisco Bay Area Chapter)
    RS Precision Industries, Inc. (General)
    Sattler Companies (Akron Chapter)
    Southeastern Technology (Tennessee Chapter)
    Southern Manufacturing Tech., Inc. (Florida West Coast Chapter)
    Stuart Tool & Die, Inc. (General)
    Systems 3 Inc. (Arizona Chapter)
    The Lloyd Company (Houston Chapter)
    ThermoFusion, Inc. (San Francisco Bay Area Chapter)
    Trec Industries, Inc. (Cleveland Chapter)
    Tri-Craft Inc Cleveland Chapter
    United Centerless Grinding & Thread Rolling (Connecticut Chapter)
    United Tool & Machine Corporation (Boston Chapter)
    United Tool and Engineering, Inc. (Michiana Chapter)
    Upland Fab, Inc. (Los Angeles Chapter)
    Warmelin Precision Products (Los Angeles Chapter)
    WESCO Laser Machining (Rocky Mountain Chapter)
    West Hartford Tool & Die Co Inc. (Connecticut Chapter)
    Western Gage Corporation (San Fernando Valley Chapter)
    Win-Tech, Inc. (General)
    Wire Tech EDM, Inc. (Los Angeles Chapter)


  • Waterjet
    Jun 4
    5-axis Waterjet Cutting
    Read More

    C&R recently installed a 5-axis head for the waterjet.

    This brand-new technology allows taper elimination for a more true cut. 

    It provides bevel cutting +/- 60 degrees in any direction.

    There is currently capacity on most workdays, allowing for quick turnaround.

  • Robotic Welder
    May 9
    Superior Quality Welds on Robotic Welder
    Read More

    Robotic welding not only enhances the appearance of your product but is economical for small lot runs of as few as 10 pieces. C&R Manufacturing's 9-axis Panasonic Welder has a 440 lb capacity on both rotary indexers.

    • Weldments up to 1000 lbs
    • Short and long production runs including pre-production prototypes

  • Jan 31
    C&R Mfg is honored with the coveted "Top Supplier" Gold Award
    Read More

    C&R accepts the 2012 Gold Tier Supplier Award from Script Pro. This is our 9th gold award from this customer. This award is based on a cumulative score measuring quality, delivery, and price, in that order with Quality receiving the highest score.

    Script Pro, a Mission, KS manufacturer of robotic prescription dispensing equipment, has a unique way to measure the effectiveness of their suppliers. The program, called the "Vendor Certification Program," is based on three categories in which each supplier is measured every month. The categories are Quality, On-time Delivery and Price. They are weighted at different percentages to develop a total cost of procurement. Quality is the most important factor in ScriptPro's evaluation and makes up 50% of the supplier's overall score. Second is Ontime Delivery, which accounts for 30% of the overall score. Last in the equation is Price, which is factored in at 20% of the total score. Mike Coughlin, President and CEO of ScriptPro says, "While price is an important part of a product, it's far from the most important. Anyone can cut corners to reduce cost, but a well built product that is there when you need it is what separates outstanding suppliers from ordinary suppliers and C & R has excelled in all categories."

  • Feb 15
    Can High School and Jobs Work Together?
    Read More

    Of the quotes from President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech this week, this one seemed particularly out of the blue:

    “Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so those German kids, they’re ready for a job when they graduate high school.”

    The business community needs to think about that.

    Companies almost never hire people with high school diplomas now, only for minimum-wage positions. The mantra in San Antonio and elsewhere is that young people starting to work need useful skills. Skills don’t come from public education systems filled with standardized tests and curriculums.

    Young people receive skills after high school, current thinking goes, with post-high school training, either with one-year program certificates, two-year community college associate degrees or four-year college degrees. Too many students don’t finish high school, much less enroll in classes afterward.

    Decades ago, high school diplomas were more acceptable to employers. High school curriculums were different then. Trade skills and craftsmen classes were taught. In Texas, they were called “shop.”

    The workplace changed, however, and high school curriculums did not adjust. Public education systems somehow gave up on workplace skills and re-imagined their role as being one of preparation for post-high school education and training. Shop classes disappeared. High school counselors aimed everyone to college whether students wanted it or not.

    Now, 91 percent of U.S. manufacturing businesses experience “severe” or “moderate” problems finding qualified employees, according to a National Tooling and Machining Association survey. A large percentage of high school students enrolling in community colleges are not ready for college-level classes and must take remediation courses before starting skills-development curriculum.

    Are high school students smart enough to take skills classes for today’s workplace? The answer apparently is yes. Proof comes from Alamo Colleges’ Alamo Academies, a high school-to-career program in the sectors of aerospace, information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care.

    The programs for high school juniors and seniors are designed by area companies that give students paid internships. The students often start working full time after high school graduation, and they are free to pursue associate or four-year degrees as they continue their career.

    The question then becomes, can public school systems in general go back to preparing students for jobs, not just college?

    That’s a tall order. Even educators understand that skills alone do not make anyone “ready for a job.” Students must be taught soft skills: ethics, to come to work on time and every day, financial literacy and to work on teams.

    Curriculums would have to be overturned, and that’s always a difficult political fight. The Texas Legislature is looking at some proposals, as it happens.

    Obama didn’t explain all that in his speech this week. He just threw it out there. Business and industry must decide if they like the idea of employable high school graduates and then push for it, like they did locally. The public school systems won’t do anything by themselves.

  • Jan 21
    Made in USA Makes Comeback
    Read More

    It’s becoming downright American to make stuff in America.

    Small manufacturers, craftsmen and retailers are marketing the Made-in-USA tag to score do-gooder points with consumers for employing stateside, says Margarita Mendoza, founder of the Made in America Movement, a lobbying organization for small manufacturers.

    It’s working: Over 80% of Americans are willing to pay more for Made-in-USA products, 93% of whom say it’s because they want to keep jobs in the USA, according to a survey released in November by Boston Consulting Group. In ultra-partisan times, it’s one of the few issues both Democrats and Republicans agree on.

    When considering similar products made in the U.S. vs. China, the average American is willing to pay up to 60% more for U.S.-made wooden baby toys, 30% more for U.S.-made mobile phones and 19% more for U.S.-made gas ranges, the survey says.

    Now Wal-Mart wants a piece of the action. The behemoth, embroiled over the past year with worker protests and foreign bribery investigations, pledged recently to source $50 billion of products in the U.S. over the next 10 years, says Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove. They’re not alone. Mendoza says both Caterpillar and 3M have also made efforts to source more in the U.S.

    "Regardless if this is a PR ploy or not, it doesn’t matter. A lot more people will look for the Made-in-USA tag," she says, adding that, considering Wal-Mart’s size, $5 billion a year is only "a drop in the bucket," for the retailer whose 2012 sales reached almost $444 billion.

    Kyle Rancourt says his American-made shoe company, Rancourt & Co., hit it big as concern over U.S. jobs mounted when the recession hit in 2009. But he says he lies awake at night worrying if Made-in-USA is just a passing fad.

    "It’s inevitable that times will change," Rancourt says. "But I am still holding out hope that this has become a core value of our country."

    Mendoza says that if buying American turns out to be a passing fad, the country is in trouble.

    "If they don’t understand the economic factor, we need to pull on their heartstrings," she says. "The thought of having a country like China taking over, that alone is bone-chilling."

    But do folks care enough about U.S. manufacturing jobs to permanently change the way they shop? David Aaker, vice chairman of brand consulting firm Prophet, says the companies that get the most credit for being American, such as Apple and Cisco, don’t even source products in the U.S.

    "I don’t think it matters unless it becomes visible," Aaker says. "The most common way for that is if something bad happens, like if Nike gets some press about conditions in factories overseas."

    But Rancourt says his customers believe foreign-made shoes lack the soul of their American counterparts.

    "There’s hundreds if not thousands of workers working on those factories. They do one specific job, maybe put an eyelet into a specific place," he says. "They don’t have an idea or concept of a finished product and how that should look."

    Just watch out for phony Made-in-USA claims. It’s illegal to claim a product is U.S.-made unless both the product and all it’s components are sourced in the U.S. Even products that could imply a phony country of origin with a flag or country outline are verboten. Julia Solomon Ensor, enforcement lawyer at the Federal Trade Commission, says the FTC gets "several complaints each month about potentially deceptive ’Made-in-the-USA’ claims."

    It sets a bad example. Mendoza says the U.S. needs to let kids know it’s OK to work in manufacturing. "Not all children are going to grow up to be dentists, and lawyers, and investment bankers."

Website Developed and Hosted by Digital Lagoon