I'm going to stray from gaming for a post and talk about the family business. While I don't work for the family business (we have an employee for that!), I am involved in the decision making. Recently we have been having to run overtime to meet demand. Usually this kind of thing only runs a month or two so we suck it up and work the overtime. This year the demand has increased and stayed steady at those levels since the beginning of the year. Since the work demand was starting to have an impact on our only employee it was apparent that we needed to increase our production capacity and that meant biting the bullet and building two additional machines.
In the shop we straighten fine, stainless steel wire and cut it to length and ship it out to a manufacturer that uses it as their raw stock to create different types of medical guide wires. If you have had the pleasure of dealing with a catheter or even worse an angioplasty odds are good that the wire came out of our shop. This business was purchased by my parents and originally came equipped with 10 machines all hand built by the original owner using whatever materials were at hand when he had to expand his production capacity. You can see the progression as each succeeding machine became more efficient and I can even tell when different machines came online because of the materials and frame design. The basic principle though is that two electric motors spin a series guides that the wire is threaded through to straighten it out. Since the wire comes wrapped on spools it has to be straightened to be usable (but not over stressed either). As the wire advances through the machine it will trip an electronic eye that activates the cutter and cuts the wire to the proper length as specified by the client.
To add two more machines to the line we had to make some changes and move the cutting operations to a garage in the "Barn" (its shaped like a barn and it has a barn loft but the main floor has a garage and a finished space that we use for meetings and parties, although not so much since my dad passed away last year). Now the cutting of the PVC pipe and cardboard tubes used for shipping takes place in the garage and we can avoid making a mess in the main shop.
The new machines will bring the total up to 15 and these are basically identical as my dad had plans drawn up so that we could add capacity relatively easily. Unfortunately the machines hadn't been delivered when I was there so there are just a couple of empty work areas just waiting for them to show up.
Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)