“If we make a board-level shield that encompasses a circuit board, there might
be multiple levels of draw features, and each is formed individually. In a pro-
duction environment, this kind of forming tool might cost as much as $60,000.
But if you do it in a hand-form environment, you create a separate form tool
for each of those pockets that are drawn. This might require 15 setups, but the
total tooling investment is very low. Should the design change—and it always
does when you’re in the early stages of product development—you can just
swap out one of those tools.”
It’s an age-old process, going back to Shkarovsky’s grandfather’s day, applied
to form high-tech components. Training such workers involves shadowing and
a lot of hands-on trial and error. This isn’t a CNC operation, and much of it is
about getting the right feel.
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Expanding to Conventional Fabrication
As the company grew, the shop changed its name to Faspro Technologies Inc.,
and this year it moved in a new direction—into the “macro” arena of conventional fabrication. Faspro’s electronics customers not only use thin material inside components, but they also house those components in sheet metal racks
and other structures.
“About 90 percent of our metal fabrication starts with photochemical etch-
ing blanks,” Smith said. “But this year, with the acquisition of new machinery,
we’re now going to take our same business model and apply it to material
from 0.050 in. up to 0.250 in. We’re going from board-level components to the
thicker components that wrap around the board, including the rails, the racks,
and the enclosures.”
To start a sheet metal division, Shkarovsky didn’t want to hire dozens of
people. Instead, he invested in systems such as an Amada punch/laser combi-
nation machine and a CNC press brake with an automatic tool changer with
manipulators that switch out punches and dies.
“[These machines] condense our time to produce the prototypes and short
runs tremendously,” Smith said. “The electronics business is a got-to-have-it-
yesterday industry. That’s just the way it is, and we’ve found a way to support
“We like to take on what’s difficult,” Shkarovsky said, adding that such chal-
lenging high-product-mix work hits the sweet spot not only for his own busi-
ness, but for U.S. manufacturing overall.
Images courtesy of Faspro Technologies Inc., 500 W. Campus Drive, Arlington
Heights, IL 60004, 847-392-9500, www.fasprotech.com.