The Manufacturers Consortium (TMC) is a new association in the North West Metro joining members of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), local manufacturing businesses, and higher education institutions, including Hennepin Technical College and North Hennepin Community College. Together, we’re developing a Technical Internship Proposal that focuses on two goals: employee skill development and skilled employee acquisition. The National unemployment rate dropped below five percent, and the Twin Cities unemployment rate is below four and a half percent. Employers need to take an active role in acquiring and training talent. We were asking, “How do we get the...

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Design Ready Controls is currently pursuing ISO 14001:2015 registration, a choice that reflects our company culture’s passion for the outdoors and the knowledge that this registration will bring long-term value to our organization. The ISO 14001 standard establishes the framework for an Environmental Management System (EMS), which defines how Design Ready Controls will map, measure, and reduce our environmental impact. There are two approaches for achieving this registration: apply for all company locations or implement one location at a time. Our plan is to establish and execute an initial audit in Minnesota, then refine our EMS (the Plan, Do, Check,...

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“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.” ― H.G. Wells. Bulk was boss: bulk buying, bulk design, bulk manufacturing, bulk shipping, bulk selling. Bulk was the best way to save on storage, material, and shipping costs—but it had its own price. Domestic manufacturing jobs began to disappear, shipped abroad to cheaper workforces. Massive cargo ships delivered bulk-crated products across oceans, to be carried across country by rail and road at great cost and complexity. Products languished in storage between manufacturing and delivery. Consumers had to wait for a mass-produced item or spend far more to have a...

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A new 3D printer recently joined the ranks at Design Ready Controls—the Ultimaker 3. Along with our Makerbot Replicator and Markforged 2, the Ultimaker is an investment in process improvement and advanced manufacturing. For companies of all sizes, 3D printing can add significant capabilities at low cost. It allows in-house production of prototypes, custom tooling, and one-off project builds, eliminating the time and expense of using external suppliers. With the purchase of the Ultimaker, engineers at Design Ready Controls spend far less time troubleshooting. We rely less on trial and error, and save hours of experimentation and failed prints. Additive manufacturing...

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For years, AutoCad has been the leading CAD software in the United States. AutoCad Electrical is more focused on the generation of electrical schematics. In Europe, however, EPLAN is the leader in electrical CAD. Its software suite includes Electric p8, Pro Panel and Harness ProD, all developed with a focus on electrical design. Design Ready Controls has been using EPLAN for the past 10 years. As an early adopter in this country, we get to shape and standardize some of the details before others even begin. Two of our departments—electrical controls and mechanical engineering—are using the Pro Panel feature of...

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"We came to a point where our brand was worth managing." —Mitch DeJong, PhD At Design Ready Controls, we create products for original equipment manufacturers. Our control panels and wiring products become part of their systems, and end users may never see our name. So why do we have a marketing brand manager? Here’s her answer. “When most people think of brands, they picture logos and taglines,” said Amanda Gregory. “But those are just symbols. Whenever our customers and vendors interact with us, they get impressions about our people, our products, and our company. Over time, those impressions become a...

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Lighting affects the quality of working conditions in every profession. Not many people are productive and happy working by the light of a single, bare bulb in a dim room. In manufacturing, poor lighting can affect employee well-being, productivity, product quality, and safety. Facility lighting design that meets the needs of a business is essential to its success. Dim lighting in work environments can cause eye fatigue, drowsiness, lack of focus, loss of productivity, and diminished quality. Poor lighting has also been shown to reduce employee morale, increase employee absenteeism, and contribute to higher employee turnover. Harsh lighting can cause...

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Our Automated Manufacturing Expert  (AME™) software was originally intended to reduce the volume of printed material required for building control panels. This exclusive software, conceived and created by our Research and Development team, has since transformed our entire production process. In its simplest form, AME is a digital, paperless system for delivering manufacturing documents and information for each control panel build through the production process. It was first launched in 2012 at our Minnesota production facility, and was eventually implemented at all our plants. Our R&D team continues to find ways for AME to drive innovation at our company, and...

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