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Advice-ready to close doors unless we get help :(

It depends on if the other workers or lead man can do *anything with the press brakes...

I would dumb it down and get a lesson on the most basic operation (bending 90 degress) on my most common material.

Then I would contact those local shops and start feeding them the more complex jobs to buy some time.

(I get that it may be too late and there are other factors we're not seeing).

Re: using the latest press brake technology: Unless you're doing 1000's of something I don't see how a small job shop can do it.
I'm both amazed and a little scared by sendcutsend...I'm sending them some jobs my shop couldn't touch for good $$$. I guess this is the future....

Point being you don't just need a new press brake, it has to have a fast laser to feed it and good software/tooling...etc etc. and the work to make the payment.

I have a guy doing some marketing for me who also makes some of his own products...His use of Xometry and sendcutsend really opened my eyes.
 
Re: using the latest press brake technology: Unless you're doing 1000's of something I don't see how a small job shop can do it.
I'm both amazed and a little scared by sendcutsend...I'm sending them some jobs my shop couldn't touch for good $$$. I guess this is the future....

Point being you don't just need a new press brake, it has to have a fast laser to feed it and good software/tooling...etc etc. and the work to make the payment.

I have a guy doing some marketing for me who also makes some of his own products...His use of Xometry and sendcutsend really opened my eyes.
I love sendcutsend.com and oshcut.com. But they aren't going to replace local shops for bigger parts or for quantity. Somebody posted an invoice from the OP for a cross break'ed panel. Sendcutsend.com isn't going to do that. Anything big they aren't going to do. Anything moderate sized in moderate quantity is going to be way too expensive to have them bang out. They are a hell of a deal for some small parts or small formed parts. Their process and software is dialed for quick setups and their press brakes have auto tool change so doing 10+ setups per hour isn't a big deal. And the cool thing with sendcutsend.com, as far as I can tell, is they essentially give away the material on tiny parts that fill in space that would be wasted.

Bread and butter for a lot low-end sheet metal of shops is bending endless brackets and covers. At a couple bucks a bend the online places aren't going to do that. And "free" shipping sheet metal around the country definitely costs something.
 
I love sendcutsend.com and oshcut.com. But they aren't going to replace local shops for bigger parts or for quantity. Somebody posted an invoice from the OP for a cross break'ed panel. Sendcutsend.com isn't going to do that. Anything big they aren't going to do. Anything moderate sized in moderate quantity is going to be way too expensive to have them bang out. They are a hell of a deal for some small parts or small formed parts. Their process and software is dialed for quick setups and their press brakes have auto tool change so doing 10+ setups per hour isn't a big deal. And the cool thing with sendcutsend.com, as far as I can tell, is they essentially give away the material on tiny parts that fill in space that would be wasted.

Bread and butter for a lot low-end sheet metal of shops is bending endless brackets and covers. At a couple bucks a bend the online places aren't going to do that. And "free" shipping sheet metal around the country definitely costs something.


I didn't mean to imply the OP could use SCS...only that if you're going all in on technology you better have the systems and the work for it.

Catch 22 for the OP's shop I'm sure.

I can have a bunch of stuff lasered locally for cheap...but currently I can't have (or don't know) where to get bending done similarlly....it's still all old school apparently. But I'm sure soon that will change...probably the metal suppliers will do it if they're smart...all mine already have a fair bit of processing.

Finally, just ordered 10 parts as a package with some other stuff from SCS. (yes it's small footprint) and these are the instant quotes for one of them.

3"x4" part with 2 internal holes and one 90 degree bend from 16ga crs.

Q1 $7.49
Q10 4.38
Q100 $2.54
Q1000 $1.96
Q10000 $1.84
 
Re: using the latest press brake technology: Unless you're doing 1000's of something I don't see how a small job shop can do it.

There's a big difference between the latest press brake technology, and a decent modern CNC with 2D graphical controls.

OP claims 2 supposedly qualified people showed up, but left saying they couldn't run the machines. Running parts on a 30 year old machine with no control, or a basic single line numerical control takes an old school manual sheet metal guy. That guy is probably retired, but if not, he's got pick of pretty much anywhere he wants to work. OP isn't going to be able to steal that guy away for 'average' pay.

But, for basic parts, it doesn't take a huge amount of training and experience to make good parts with a modern graphical machine. I'd be willing to bet the two guys that showed up then promptly left were probably expecting something like that. It's 2024, most younger guys will have gotten all their training on CNCs. They probably have no idea how how calculate K factor, bend allowance, or bend deduction. Why would they? The control does all that.

There's a lot of parts out there that don't need super high tech equipment, but are still very profitable. There's a huge demand for bent sheet metal components that are measured with a tape measure and a $10 stainless protractor, so not every shop needs to be setup with the latest and greatest Amada or Bystronic. They've been running 30 year old Cinci's, so they're clearly not competing with the high precision shops.

It's possible I misunderstood the direction of your post, so forgive me if that's the case. But, it sounds like the OP could benefit from modernizing that section of the shop somewhat (along with an attitude adjustment, perhaps).
 
There's a lot of parts out there that don't need super high tech equipment, but are still very profitable. There's a huge demand for bent sheet metal components that are measured with a tape measure and a $10 stainless protractor, so not every shop needs to be setup with the latest and greatest Amada or Bystronic. They've been running 30 year old Cinci's, so they're clearly not competing with the high precision shops.

It's possible I misunderstood the direction of your post, so forgive me if that's the case. But, it sounds like the OP could benefit from modernizing that section of the shop somewhat (along with an attitude adjustment, perhaps).

Point taken.

I think I was responding to some earlier posters who seemed to indicate people bolted when they saw the equipment...it's getting kinda muddled...

You're preaching to the choir here...I have some manual brakes, an old Amada CNC that needs some tooling and a Chicago D&K a lot older than me that we use for a product....tape measure is a-ok.
 
Point taken.

I think I was responding to some earlier posters who seemed to indicate people bolted when they saw the equipment...it's getting kinda muddled...

You're preaching to the choir here...I have some manual brakes, an old Amada CNC that needs some tooling and a Chicago D&K a lot older than me that we use for a product....tape measure is a-ok.
Yeah, 7 pages of replies, and what? 5 or 6 posts actually discussing the issues with their equipment?

Waters definitely got muddied on this thread.
 
It looks like they have a really nice shop if I'm looking at the right place... If you're going to work in a Fab shop, you're lucky to get to work in one that looks that clean.

If the pay is in line with all their competitors, it's probably just a case of 10 jobs in the area but only 9 operators. More money doesn't easily fix that problem anyway. If anything, take a known good employee and pay to send them for training somewhere? Maybe a safer bet than continually risking it on new people for higher and higher pay.
 
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100% Your company needs investment. Time and money.
Take a hard look at the books. The business environment.
Is it worth investment. Is the roi there? If you had $300,000k today. Would that be your top pic to sink it into?
Should you love the buissness, close it? Invest in people/procedures? Equipment?

don’t feel obligated to take on a sinking business and go down with the ship of you don’t see profitability.

If you think it’s a good investment I’d be looking at hiring a consultant or very well paid manager that has knowledge of the processes and equipment.
 
Fast food workers in your area are making that much. And I bet they get better benefits. Also looked like the folks working at In-N-Out were having a pretty good time too. I was actually just in that area this week, its incredibly expensive. Houses in your area, are like 800k. If you can't charge enough for your services to account for that, yeah its time to close up shop.

Since when are they paying fast food workers $60K+ to flip burgers?

People are completely out of touch with wage expectations...and what people are paying. $60K for a basic press brake operator position isn't bad pay (at least in my area). Just because house prices have doubled in the last few years doesn't mean businesses can now afford to double their wages to match that, they can't afford that even if they wanted to.

The problem we're finding at our manufacturing shop (Nice and modern, clean, 11 acres under roof, in Missouri) is that there just aren't any new people getting into the trades.....machine operators, fabricators, Tool & Die, ect. When older guys are retiring, there is nobody replacing them. The younger generation doesn't want to get into manufacturing.......where they have to show up on time, come to work every day, get told they have to meet certain production numbers, can't play on their phones all day, might get dirty, etc. And like it or not, that's manufacturing. You wouldn't believe the amount of people we hire that can't even make it two weeks without showing up late.

Unfortunately, ALL manufacturing companies are feeling this same thing....that's why there are so many closing shop. We have tried upping wages, offering sign on bonuses , benefit programs, etc, etc...nothing works. It's just a sign of the times. No, you aren't going to get paid $100K a year to run a press brake, a shear, a pipe bender, etc, etc........sorry, it's not going to happen. Manufacturers just have their products made overseas where they pay their workers pennies on the dollar.

And this is why manufacturing is leaving the US, and going overseas..........
 
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Since when are they paying fast food workers $60K+ to flip burgers?
Since they made minimum wage for fast food workers in CA $20 an hour.

CA (specifically the LA area) is a very different place than Missouri. I happened to be in LA one week, and then was in St. Louis the next and it was astounding how different it was. Food was at least 50% more expensive in LA.

If you can't pay enough to attract good talent, you don't have a viable business.
 
Since they made minimum wage for fast food workers in CA $20 an hour.

CA (specifically the LA area) is a very different place than Missouri. I happened to be in LA one week, and then was in St. Louis the next and it was astounding how different it was. Food was at least 50% more expensive in LA.

If you can't pay enough to attract good talent, you don't have a viable business.

$20 an hour is $41K....and yes, even that is nuts. There is a reason why they all went to those kiosks to order food, and laid off most of their actual staff. Why do you think people (and companies) are leaving CA in droves, and have been for the last 10+ year at an increasing rate? Don't use CA as your benchmark for comparison.......
 
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$20 an hour is $41K....and yes, even that is nuts. There is a reason why they all went to those kiosks to order food, and laid off most of their actual staff. Why do you think people (and companies) are leaving CA in droves?

We're talking about manufacturing companies in general....not CA's insane minimum wage.
Thats the minimum wage, folks who have been there awhile are making more than that. I wasn't arguing that wage made sense, but it is what it is. The op (who has disappeared) is in CA, and thats what she has to compete with.
 
$20 an hour is $41K....and yes, even that is nuts. There is a reason why they all went to those kiosks to order food, and laid off most of their actual staff. Why do you think people (and companies) are leaving CA in droves, and have been for the last 10+ year at an increasing rate? Don't use CA as your benchmark for comparison.......

The original posters business is in California, specifically Los Angeles. That is why people are referencing California.
 
$20 an hour is $41K....and yes, even that is nuts. There is a reason why they all went to those kiosks to order food, and laid off most of their actual staff. Why do you think people (and companies) are leaving CA in droves, and have been for the last 10+ year at an increasing rate? Don't use CA as your benchmark for comparison.......
Wonder how much the fast food minimum wage is relevant to skilled trades employment?
Calfornia has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. so it's not that the workers are not out there but those available for work do not have the skillsets to match the need of manufacturing.
Lots of fast food workers is a bonus if California's economy highest need is....fast food workers.
 
Wonder how much the fast food minimum wage is relevant to skilled trades employment?
Calfornia has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. so it's not that the workers are not out there but those available for work do not have the skillsets to match the need of manufacturing.
Lots of fast food workers is a bonus if California's economy highest need is....fast food workers.

If California is anything like here, you can make similar income and have more government provided benefits by not working than you do working for minimum wage or just above it... Keeps a lot of people not wanting to work or seeing little benefit in working when they can hang out and smoke weed or do other drugs all day long with their friends that also don't work. The whole don't feed the animals they will become dependent type scenario. I have an ex wife that has been doing exactly this for the past 11 years.
 








 
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