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cass air force project

Cass Does its “Part” for the Commemorative Air Force

Sometimes a job is about far more than the bottom line.

Cass Precision Machining was honored to recently volunteer their time, material, and machines to produce a part for the Commemorative Air Force Airbase, located in Mesa, Arizona.

The Commemorative Air Force are flight museums dedicated to the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans with a fleet of historic aircraft that recreate, remind, and reinforce the lessons learned from the defining moments in American military aviation history.

With a mission to educate, inspire, and honor through flight and living history experiences, the Commemorative Air Force offers flights to museum visitors four days a week in various planes, including the B-25 “Maid in the Shade” bomber, built in early 1944. With so many flights under its belt, the B-25 bomber had worn out its bushings on the arms for the Cowell flaps—parts that open during takeoff to allow air to flow through the engine and close during landings.

Cass Precision Machining was more than happy to volunteer their time and expertise to get the B-25 bomber back up in the air, flying more safely than ever. Airbase Arizona offers a rare and exciting opportunity for a living history flight experience. Guests are allowed to take a ride and soar among the clouds in the B-52 “Made in the Shade,” and hear the rumble and roar of the engines, feel the wind in their face, and imagine themselves as part of the flight crew from over 70 years ago. The B-25’s most famous exploit was the April 18, 1942, Doolittle Raid on Japan.

Whether you visit the museum in Mesa, Arizona, or catch them on one of their many summer tours, people are able to schedule a flight on one of the warbirds and commemorate history.

“Cass Precision Machining was fantastic for us. They got us the parts we needed for the B-25 faster than we expected, and we were able to get our planes back up in the sky,” said Dick Clifford, Commemorative Air Force Airbase, Arizona. “Cass could not have been nicer to work with; they provided high-quality parts to make our deadline.”

Cass’s bushings for the Commemorative Air Force plane are much better than the original as they are heat-treated, centerless ground and fit better, and last longer.

“The bushings Cass made for our planes are far superior to the ones they replaced, and will help in allowing us to fly these historic planes for years to come,” said Clifford.

“It’s an honor for Cass to be able to volunteer our expertise to help restore and keep the B-25 bomber flying for the Commemorative Air Force,” said Jim Garvin, Cass President. “Cass started as a company the same year WWII ended, and we’ve always done everything we can to help support the armed forces. To be able to provide a part that lets the B-25 bomber continue to fly and to fly safer than ever before is a thrill for us.”

Cass was more than happy to volunteer their time and professional expertise with the replacement bushings that allow the famous B-25 bomber to remain flying.

We were also happy to see that the story of our contribution was picked up by newspapers and websites across the country, including Yahoo Finance, the Associated Press, and the Chicago Herald.

Quality Machined Parts

Cass is More Than Quality Machined Parts

When Cass Precision Machining rebranded itself just over three years ago, we added a pretty simple tagline that speaks volumes: Consistent. Reliable. Trusted. Those are three personality traits that we all look for in the most important people in our lives—our parents, teachers, coaches, significant others, and our closest friends. What it comes down to is quality. The more quality people you have in your life, the better off you’re going to be.

It’s the same in business. The more quality people you work with and work for, the more successful you’ll be. At Cass, we take our tagline to heart every single day. We want those three words to be among the first ones anyone who does business with us thinks of when they think about our business relationship.

What goes unsaid in our tagline is quality. But without quality, none of those three words would be applicable, now would they? Quality is supposed to be a given in a machine shop. Unfortunately, there are too many occasions in business when one of those three traits are breached. Production lines and business flows are damaged when any of those adjectives falter.

Our mission every day at Cass is to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Investment Leads to the Best Products

Cass has customers that have been with us for over 50 years. Those long-term relationships last because we’re continually willing to invest in efficiency improvements, new technology, and our employees. Not necessarily in that order. Yes, we’ve outfitted our machine shop with the best CNC Machining, Precision Grinding, and Screw Machining Products, but without a significant investment in our employees, we wouldn’t be able to live up to your quality standards. With those investments, we’re able to offer our customers the best solutions at quality pricing.

            “At Arctic Cat, we refer to Cass as our ‘rock-star’ supplier. We’ve worked with them for over 20 years, and they’re always really fast and helpful with great quality. I love their shop, it’s immaculate, and they have the benefit of actual machinists on staff, emphasizing the quality of product they deliver. If we are ever in a pinch, our first call is to Cass, and they came through for us like they always do.”—Sean Sorteberg, Lead Commodity Manager, Arctic Cat

At Cass, we’re proud of everything in that testimonial from Arctic Cat; how could we not be? Obviously, it’s great that they mentioned quality and speed, but we might be most proud of the line about our machine shop being immaculate. That’s workers taking pride in what they do and having respect for their coworkers and their company. That leads to having a quality business.

We have worked with Cass now for several years, and not one problem. The quote response time, price, quality, manufacturing, flexibility, and lead times are far superior to other suppliers we have worked with in the past. They do what they say they’re going to do and nothing less. Suppliers like Cass are few and far between, and at the end of the day, they make our jobs at UniPunch easier.“—Mark Smith, Operations Manager, UniPunch

At Cass, we’ve developed a baseline quality assurance system that guarantees we will ship high-quality parts on every order. Everything we make passes several in-process checks and a final inspection or won’t go out the door. When your requirements dictate, we can customize our baseline system to your specifications, tailoring our quality assurance system to fit your business needs. We have 75 years of experience with quality assurance tools—SBP, PPAP Cpk, 1st Articles, and more—to help you get exactly the results you require in your precision machines parts.

Cass strategically invests in automated quality control and inspection equipment and strictly maintain and calibrate to NIST traceable standards all of our inspection equipment.

Our promise to our customers is high-quality machined parts delivered on time, from prototyping to high-volume. At Cass we understand that it’s our team that makes the difference that drives best-in-class results for our customers.

Quality people lead to producing quality products. Consistent. Reliable. Trusted.

single-spindle screw machining

Announcing Single-Spindle Screw Machining Availability at Cass

At Cass Precision Machining we hope the end of the year finds you and your business safe and healthy. We are encouraged to see that, according to Deloitte Insights, the global manufacturing sector performed exceptionally well in November. The global manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ indices) increased to 53.7, a 33-month high and one of the highest levels in the past decade. Deloitte states that the PMI (forward-looking indicators meant to signal the direction of activity) was driven by strong growth of output, new orders, and favorable sentiment. The PMI in the United States alone is at 56.7, a six-year high.

That’s great news for everyone in manufacturing as we head toward 2021!

We have more great news for all of you who are trying to fill all of your year-end orders and need parts. Cass has availability on our 17 single-spindle Brown & Sharpe automatic screw machines. These machines feed single bars at a time and ideal for making washers, smaller pins, service parts (that are smaller orders), smaller bushings, and some specialty parts that are usually under a ½”. These single-spindle screw machines typically do short runs, anywhere from 100 to 1,000 pieces at a time, and can process a wide-variety of materials, including cold-rolled carbon steels, alloys, aluminum, brass, bronze, some series of stainless steels, tubing, and selected plastics.

The bar diameters our machines can handle range from .125 inches (3.175 mm) up to 2 inches (50.8 mm). From a part geometry perspective, the overall length of parts start at .030 inches (.762 mm) and run up to 4.0 inches (101.6 mm). When work on one or both ends is exclusively required, part lengths as high as six feet can be run on this equipment. Standard tolerances on our single-spindle screw machines are +/- .005 inches (.127 mm); however, depending on the material selected, +/- .002 inches (.050 mm) can be achieved.

Again, our Brown & Sharpe single-spindle automatic screw machines can handle part diameters up to 2 inches (50.8 mm), and lengths up to 4 inches (101.6 mm) and in some instances up to six feet.

If you’re in need of short runs on smaller parts, give us a call immediately at 763-535-0501 to see if the availability of our single-spindle screw machines can help you expedite your parts manufacturing needs!

reshoring manufacturing

Reshoring Manufacturing Will Trend in 2021 and Beyond

That collective sigh of relief you hear is that 2020 is winding down. Let’s be honest, some words nobody ever wants to hear again include pandemic, unprecedented, protocols, and coronavirus. 2020 was a rough year for a lot of different reasons, but as always, a new year brings with it a renewed optimism and new things to look forward to. Plenty of business models were stretched to their limits in 2020, and reshoring manufacturing looks to be an obvious trend in 2021 and beyond.

Nobody was prepared for a pandemic in 2020, and one of the issues brought to light in the manufacturing world is just how many domestic brands relied heavily on China for fulfilling some, part, or nearly all of their supply chain. The economic challenges brought on by the disruption in the supply chain have forced manufacturers to change their business models in a hurry to stay competitive. What they’re learning is that reshoring manufacturing can not only help in recovery but bring about unprecedented growth.

The Reshoring Initiative was founded in 2010 and is focused on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. by helping manufacturers realize that in some cases, local production reduces their total cost of ownership of purchased parts and tooling.

Harry Moser is the founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative and is also on the Commerce Department Investment Advisory Council. Moser was recently asked what the key considerations are for reshoring pre-and-post COVID-19.

“Multi-step, multi-country manufacturing was already under stress even before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely disrupted the global logistics network,” Moser said. “Our intellectual understanding of trade wars during this crisis now reveals the supply chain weakness—we simply don’t make enough components on our own shores. The global supply chain as we knew it is essentially a dangerous supply chain which has lead us to the current result of death and economic disaster.”

Manufacturers Revaluate Shoring & Sourcing

The Reshoring Initiative has worked. Reshoring manufacturing—bringing imported goods or materials back to domestic production—was well on its way to becoming common practice amongst U.S.-based manufacturers before COVID-19. According to some reports, well over 700,000 jobs were brought back to the U.S. between 2010 and 2018 as a result of reshoring.

Along with the initiative, there are a number of reasons for this:

  • The cost of transportation continues to rise
  • Manufacturers now use advanced software programs and robotics to automate many of the processes that once required human work
  • Many of the go-to offshoring countries have seen their economies strengthen in recent years, leading to an increase in wages for their citizens
  • Countries in which labor remains inexpensive lack the infrastructure to support complex manufacturing operations

The pandemic of 2020 adds an exclamation point to that list.

“COVID-19 has really gotten people’s attention. It’s revealed the U.S. dependency on offshore manufacturing, especially China,” said Moser. “As the pandemic shows, we can suddenly be in the impossible position of not having enough critical supplies. That is not because we didn’t try it; it’s because we had almost no base from which to build here in the U.S.”

In addition to prompting a renewed reshoring effort, COVID-19 has also led manufacturers to reevaluate sourcing. The pandemic has caused great disruption to the global supply chain, making it more challenging for manufacturers who source from other countries to get a hold of materials.

An Uptick in Reshoring Manufacturing

Establishing solid partnerships with domestic manufacturers makes all the sense in the world heading into 2021 and beyond. As Moser says, “The supply chain math is obvious, and developing partnerships is the new reshoring. Customers, in most cases, are willing to pay a premium for on-time, as-promised delivery commitments. The goal is to convince companies to do the math and decide what to re-shore now.”

Look for both reshoring and near-sourcing (also known as local sourcing, is the process by which a business brings operations closer to where its finished product is sold; in manufacturing, it typically refers to sourcing raw materials from U.S. suppliers) to be leading trends in 2021, as manufacturers try to reduce or eliminate dependence on foreign materials. These trends will not only help manufacturers remain resilient to future COVID-related disruptions they will also provide a much-needed boost to the U.S. economy.

Cass Precision Machining has a long history as an established and trusted U.S.-based manufacturer committed to delivering on-time, high-quality machined parts. We welcome the opportunity to help your organization establish a reliable and consistent partnership. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 763-535-0501 to see if we can service your needs!

prototype machining

Top 5 Questions to Ask When Considering Prototype Machining

Cass Precision Machining is proud to unveil Cass Rapid Prototype Machining (C-RPM), a new independent business unit operating within our five-building campus. C-RPM significantly ramps up our ability to serve you with prototype build-to-print contract machined parts services with accelerated delivery responsiveness. Operating as a business within a business, C-RPM’s “high touch” service connects you directly with our prototyping team. C-RPM continues our 75-year commitment to providing the “Best-in-Class” service.

News of the launch of our C-RPM unit was recently in the news, getting featured on websites MarketWatch, the Chicago Daily Herald, and Minnesota Metals News.

When considering outsourcing your prototype machining requirements, here are five questions you should be asking your supplier candidates:

1. Will I have access to DFM (Design for Manufacturing) resources?

When optimizing functionality and cost of new parts, the most experienced design engineers will seek to collaborate with production engineers to assure that their designs take full advantage of the lowest cost options available for the part, while still achieving desired functionality.  Your supplier should be able to provide your design team access to the right folks to review and confirm your prototype design or suggest options that assure production-ability within cost targets.

2. Are design intent, application specifics, and life cycle requirements part of the pre-order dialogue?

Best DFM practices suggest that designers collaborate with the supplier to understand the fit of the part into the overall design, the functional requirements, and the life cycle volume expectations so that your supplier comes to the table with recommendations to improve your design while optimizing your cost position.

3. Are material selection, critical tolerances, and general manufacturing standards addressed and confirmed at time of order entry?

Industry experts claim that 70 to 80% of the life cycle cost of a part is locked in once the design is finalized and released to production.  Before building that first prototype part, checking in with your supplier to confirm that your material selection is the lowest cost alternative for your application and that the critical tolerances can be achieved, but also have been reviewed and optimized with your supplier helps assure that the best starting point for cost can be delivered.  Don’t forget to compare your general drawing requirements (e.g. tolerances, finish specs, etc.) with your suppliers’ shop standards as another means of identifying areas where production costs can be minimized.

4. Can the supplier provide you with a “complete part”?

It is a challenge – particularly under design-build schedules calling for breakneck speed to market responsiveness – to choose a supplier and then have to vet, select and qualify additional suppliers for finishing services or value-added features on your part. Shop for the prototype supplier that can coordinate it all for you and relieve some of the hassles that quick turn manufacturing presents to your supply chain professionals.

5. Can the supplier support the full life cycle requirements for your parts?

There is no doubt that when working with rapid prototype machining, there is an advantage to being able to partner with the same supplier. Clearly, the costs of switching suppliers can be prohibitive and logistically challenging as well. An often overlooked benefit is the ease of processing rev changes over the life cycle of the part to respond to functionality needs or to aid in cost reduction/management when your supplier remains a constant.

We encourage you to build these five questions into your prototype machining supplier selection process. We look forward to being challenged to reply to your specifics when you include Cass into the mix. We think you’ll like our answers and look forward to building strong partnerships with you for the long haul!

New Business Development

Cass Hires Director of New Business Development

Cass Precision Machining is excited to announce that Derick White has joined Cass as the Director of New Business Development. Derick has a successful background in marketing and sales, along with developing strong sales organizations. “Derick and I have known each other for over eight years and have combined efforts in the past to strengthen sales,” said Jim Garvin, President of Cass.  “I am thrilled that he has decided to join the Cass team.”

White will spearhead new market expansion initiatives for Cass, including prototyping services, pre-production services, as well as help lead new equipment investments that connect to growing industries, including forestry, agriculture, electronics, and more.

White comes to Cass with three decades of sales experience, including senior consulting and sales management coaching roles. “I’ve worked with and coached manufacturing companies on appropriate sales, and I know how to get sales going.”

An accomplished and versatile sales leader with a focus on B2B sales and business development, White has a proven track record of generating sustainable revenue and growth in rapidly changing, dynamic environments. White believes his pragmatic approach to developing high-performing sales teams is an excellent fit for Cass.

“Price is not the only factor in serving our customers. If you don’t deliver product on time, with great quality and effective communication, it impacts the production line. These factors affect the ability of the manufacturer to do an efficient and effective job of delivering their product to their customer in a timely manner, so I don’t buy into the ‘price is the only factor’ line of thinking,” said White. “You don’t grow and sustain the strong customer base Cass has for decades on price alone.”

Manufacturing on the Rise

White begins at Cass at a unique time in manufacturing when the global pandemic caused uncertainty throughout the industry.  The pandemic certainly caused problems for manufacturers across the board in getting product out the door. Six months later, however, Cass is seeing an increase in orders as manufacturers are now playing catch up.

“Cass has made every effort to support our clients and help them through the pandemic. This has included operational changes so that we can make sure that their product gets out the door on time and with good quality,” said White. “Now the demand is a lot higher as clients have adjusted their businesses. For instance, the demand for retail lawnmowers has gone through the roof, with so many people working from home. We’re helping our customers manage these new demands by making the necessary changes internally.”

White believes firmly in enhancing Cass’ CRM platforms, including a focus on quarterly business reviews with customers that strengthen partnerships and improves performance. “We need to understand how we’re performing, where our clients need support, what their vision is moving forward,” said White. “That gives us an opportunity to pause and assess and to make adjustments on both sides to get the highest level of results.”

“It’s an exciting challenge for me, and I’m a big believer in the Cass tag line: Consistent. Reliable. Trusted,” said White. “Those are three traits that everyone in this industry is looking for, and certainly three words that I try to live up to every day.”

Away from the office, you’ll probably find Derick and his wife up in northern Minnesota, either hunting or fishing. “I’m passionate about pheasant hunting, deer hunting, and fishing for trout, bass, walleye, or muskie. We regularly head up to the Gunflint Trail or the Boundary Waters once or twice a year as our family vacation.”


Cass’s 1st Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive

We had a blast teaming up to support the North-Suburban Emergency Assistance Response (NEAR) organization in Brooklyn Center, MN with our 1st annual food drive.

Cass invited associates to bring in non-perishable food items or monetary contributions to donate to NEAR. We collected the items and added the monetary donations into the mix ($1=1 pound of food), organizing the donations by department. Read more “Cass’s 1st Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive”

Cass Precision Machining Celebrates Another Great Year

Cass Precision Machining Celebrates Another Great Year With Its Hard-Working Team

For many of us, a large portion of our days are spent at work; in fact, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. So, it’s probably safe to say your job can make a huge impact on your quality of life. What’s more, without our employees, we don’t have a business. They are the heart and soul of everything we do. Showing our appreciation helps remind our team that they are valued, and it affirms the commitment we have to the team.

Cass Precision Machining Celebrates Another Great Year

At Cass, we feel it is vital to acknowledge and thank our great employees for their contributions. It is our philosophy that when you show your employees that you see and appreciate their efforts — and take the time to demonstrate the impact they’re having on the business — those employees feel good about what they do, and they take those feelings home with them. We feel it is important to invest the time to celebrate the legacy of the hard-working people at Cass who make us who we are.

To celebrate this year, Cass had a full “backyard” barbeque, with pulled chicken and pulled pork sandwiches with all the trimmings catered in. The event was hosted outside on the lawn in front of Building 1, which is the original/1st building that Cass moved into in 1965 when Lester Cass brought the business to Crystal from Minneapolis. Read more “Cass Precision Machining Celebrates Another Great Year With Its Hard-Working Team”

JIT Inventory Management

How a Just-In-Time (JIT) Inventory Management Strategy Can Help Reduce Costs

In today’s manufacturing environment it is harder than ever to maintain your competitive position, and keep the right parts in stock that support your production floor. Partnering with your suppliers to manage your inventory and forecast your future requirements are the cornerstones of Just-In-Time (JIT) production planning and inventory management.  If JIT is not integral to your supply chain strategy you are likely leaving money on the table.

5 JIT Planning Questions You Should Consider

Read more “How a Just-In-Time (JIT) Inventory Management Strategy Can Help Reduce Costs”

Brooklyn Center High School ECA

Cass Retools “Dream It. Do It. Minnesota Tours of Manufacturing” for Local High School Students

It was a real pleasure to welcome students back to Cass Precision Machining on Thursday, October 4th.  Last year’s participation in Minnesota’s Dream it. Do it. Minnesota Tour of Manufacturing Day was so successful that we decided to reach out, in coordination with our sister company, Ajax Metal Forming Solutions, to a few of our local high schools to offer a field trip. The result was Cass hosting over 70 10th through 12th-grade students and six faculty members from Brooklyn Center and Patrick Henry high schools.

Read more “Cass Retools “Dream It. Do It. Minnesota Tours of Manufacturing” for Local High School Students”