We’d just installed a new 3300 Bescutter Fiber Optic Laser cutting system in our PA facility and committed to buying a hydraulic CNC press brake by U.S. Industrial Machinery with custom tooling when we were told the economy had to shut down for two weeks to help manage a coronavirus pandemic from China.

Now two years later, as each day passes and we try to get back to our lives, it gets more and more difficult to remember how it felt at the time – the uncertainty, the alarm, the non-stop, fear mongering headlines – wondering how we’d keep the lights on and meet payroll when small businesses were being so rudely and arbitrarily shut down as non-essential.

The investments in the laser cutter and the press brake were part of a longer term growth and expansion plan that called for even more investments in automated metalworking equipment over several years. But our plan didn’t call for a virus. Under the circumstances, we had to consider putting everything on hold just to weather the storm.

Luckily, we didn’t put anything on hold. Instead, we took delivery of the press brake, then moved ahead with our second laser cutter, a new FLY3015 Bescutter Fiber Laser Cutting Machine, and installed three new welding workstations including storage racks, fixtures, tables, accessories, and an electrostatic cleaning station for stainless steel. For our final equipment purchase in 2021, we added a new Arclight Dynamics EZ Sander Widebelt Metal Finishing Machine with a dust collector for automated deburring, grinding, and slag removal on large, metal parts.

Once we put our new equipment to work in the metal shop, it became clear the investments in automation allowed us to keep quality production going and meet our deadlines without being subject to outside vendors with their material shortages and staffing struggles. Even as some of our own employees faced unexpected positive covid tests and quarantines, our automated equipment actually increased our capacity in cutting, metal fabricating, finishing, and other operations. It allowed us not only to deliver for our existing customers but also to take on new customers, all while running a leaner, more efficient operation.

Now that we’ve closed the books on a record-breaking year and paid off our machinery, we can look back at the Covid-19 years as a pivotal point in our history when committing to automated production turned out to be the solution to the economic unknowns.

For a free quote on your project, call (610) 921-0012, info@tabindustries.com.