Made in the USA: Part I

Last week the engineering drafting students at NTI went on a whirlwind tour of manufacturing companies in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.  Over three days we covered 450 miles while traveling to 10 companies in Red Wing, Faribault, Somerset, Wyoming and St. Cloud.  It was an encouraging look at the strength of many local manufacturing  – several of which have expanded in the last few years to the point of needing additional buildings.  Many of these companies have employed NTI graduates.

Our first stop was in the Red Wing, Minnesota area where we toured Red Wing Shoes, MACTECH and Capital Safety.   Red Wing Shoes has been making shoes for over a century.  I was amazed at how many steps it takes to make one boot – and the number of hands that touch the boot before it is completed.

MACTECH is a mobile on-site machining company that will machine whatever you need, wherever you need it – on oil rigs, ships, underwater, etc.  NTI has an alumni working at MACTECH who travels all over the world to help with projects.

Capital Safety was our third stop of the day. Capital Safety specializes in fall protection equipment such as harnesses, winches and other safety gear for work and recreation.  We visited with multiple NTI alumni drafters & designers at Capital Safety, modeling harnesses, anchor systems and other fall protection equipment.  In addition to the factory floor where the equipment is assembled, we also toured the testing facility where they perform tensile tests, cyclic tests and drop testing to assure product assurance.

After lunch we then drove to Faribault to a relatively new but expanding cable and power equipment company, TryStar.  TryStar manufactures coats and labels copper cable of all sizes as well as manufacturing the cable connectors and sheet metal boxes for industries such as entertainment, disaster relief, telecommunications, military and retail.  It was a pleasure to see NTI alumni working on Solidworks at TryStar.

This blog was contributed by Todd Bade.  Todd is a current engineering drafting instructor at NTI, highly proficient in Pro-Engineer software. When he is not teaching drafting, Todd loves spending time with his family and friends on their camping property in western Wisconsin. He has worked as an accomplished designer in various fields including medical and telecommunications and has been awarded numerous design patents.