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2014 Metal Forming & Fabricating Outlook

As the relationship between oems and contract manufacturers evolves and the rising cost of healthcare in the U.S. makes it increasingly difficult to be competitive, Burke Doar of TRUMPF explains why it is necessary more than ever for fabricators to invest in flexible solutions that can process a wider variety of high precision parts efficiently and reliably.


As we enter the New Year, business is stable and increasing. We continue to see strong performance from the agricultural and industrial equipment industries. As the U.S. continues to improve its performance exporting goods to overseas markets, we expect industries such as home appliances to continue their positive growth. In addition, we see increased activity surrounding other high-end stainless applications such as those in architectural design.

Regardless of the industry, fabricators are looking to lower their part piece price, reduce time and take advantage of flexible options in material handling from highly reliable equipment and software. As a laser and equipment provider, we are focused on providing flexible and reliable solutions so our customers are able to manufacture parts with the highest speed and quality.

In recent years, the interest and dissemination of solid-state lasers has steadily increased in the sheet metal market and new fiber technologies now enable fabricators to process thicker materials with a solid-state laser resonator at the same quality and speed as was once only possible with a CO2 laser.

This groundbreaking technology allows shops to competitively produce a broader spectrum of parts that includes a wider range of materials and thicknesses as well as more complex part geometries.

Flexible automation solutions have also become a necessity, not just to keep pace with the speed of solid-state laser machines and other advanced technologies, but also to minimize operator intervention.

The relationship between OEMs and contract manufacturers has also evolved. Some companies have turned to insourcing while others look to consolidate the number of contract manufacturers used in the supply chain.

There is interest in reshoring to North America, but companies must be able to manufacture parts cost-effectively and the rising cost of healthcare here in the U.S. has made it increasingly difficult to be competitive, especially for small businesses. More than ever, it is necessary for fabricators to invest in flexible solutions to process a wider variety of parts efficiently, reliably and of high quality.


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