The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Impacts Canadian Metal Stamping and CNC Fabricators

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Impacts Canadian Metal Stamping And CNC Fabricators

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which went into effect in 2020 replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA had largely eliminated tariffs on trade between the three North American countries, and the USMCA not only preserves free trade but also updates the rules to accommodate changes in the world since NAFTA went into effect in 1994. 

Canada exports $319.4 billion worth of goods to the US each year and imports $293 billion worth of goods. That’s more than the next 11 trade partners combined, so it was essential to allow the trifecta of countries, including metal stamping and CNC fabricators to compete in the North American market. In total, two million manufacturing jobs alone depend on North American trade.

The Impact US Tariffs Have On Steel And Aluminum Imports

It is important to note that the tariffs that the US imposed on steel and aluminum imports from sources outside the USMCA countries in 2018 (as part of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act) is evolving.

As of Jan. 2022, the EU is exempt from these tariffs and the US and Japan are in discussions about removing the tariffs. As such, it is important to monitor these tariffs and potential knock-on effects for USMCA manufacturers.

Metal components are required for a wide range of industries including Lighting, HVAC, Automotive, Consumer Electronics and Aerospace. Therefore, USMCA allows for Canadian sheet metal fabricators and metal stampers to source the raw materials in North America, manufacture a product and then ship the finished product to the U.S. or Mexico without tariffs.

The Importance Of Safety In The Metal Fabrication Industry In 2022

The Importance Of Safety In The Metal Fabrication Industry In 2022

Metal fabrication and metal stamping processes typically shear, punch, form, cut and shape thin sheet metal; leaving sharp edges on the workpieces as well as the scrap emanating from them.

Metal fabricators and metal stampers should take all necessary precautions to protect their staff and meet or even surpass all government-imposed safety regulations, but sadly, not all do.

These safety regulations include:

  • Requiring personal safety protection: glasses, safety footwear, hearing protection & not allowing loose clothing or jewelry.
  • Safety Light curtains that if interrupted, instantly stop any automated machinery
  • Physical barriers on automated machinery that are not equipped with safety light curtains
  • Two-hand controls for all non-automated machines
  • A Total Preventive Maintenance Program that identifies any irregularities and corrects them ahead of any breakdown or accident.
  • Magnetic grippers or suction cup lifters for handling large or heavy sheets/parts.
  • Maximum personal weight limits that should never be exceeded
  • Proper ventilation and personal protection for welding, deburring, & finishing operations (e.g. painting)
  • Proper and well-maintained material handling equipment, lift trucks, forklifts, cranes, carts, docks, etc.
  • Proper storage and disposal of all chemicals
  • MSDS training with up-to-date product information.
  • A material handling training & certification process (e.g. lift truck & crane operators)
  • A safety committee, with a representative from each department & management, that also meet regularly to address any safety issues.

  At Tripar, We Aim To Be A Gold Standard For Safety In Metal Fabrication!

As a metal fabricator and metal stamper, we take the utmost pride and care in prescribing to all of these and beyond. Proof of this is perhaps best demonstrated by Tripar being a finalist in a Quebec ‘CNESST’ (the Quebec equivalent of OHSHA) competition twice and receiving a safety award:

  • In 2016, for developing a concept whereby an operator could hitch a heavy metal components storage container to one of our electric pallet trucks to safely relocate it where required; see

  • There was also another instance where we developed a motorized box lifter, that allowed an operator to slide a loaded box from the machine they were working on, onto a small platform, and wheel it to an awaiting pallet. The platform was then lowered or raised to the required (and increasing) height as boxes were successively placed, so each box could be slid and placed on the nearby pallet, without ever being lifted.

It is all these practices that keep our team safe at Tripar. In fact, we just went over 400 days without a single accident; a testament to anyone who knows the inherent risks in a manufacturing plant like ours!

The Benefits Of Having A In-House Toolroom

The Benefits Of Having A In-House Toolroom

While submitting an RFQ, customers and prospects often ask if the die is made in Canada. Currently, Tripar owns 1,600 dies. The overwhelming majority are “open tooled” dies (available for all customers’ use) which were all designed and fabricated at our facility.

Thanks to our in-house toolroom, we can also assist during modifications and maintenance to accurately and efficiently meet all needs and requirements. We’re very proud to offer this service in North America. Our toolroom team is highly skilled and designs the dies respecting the limitations of our capabilities along with the specification of the customized item. If this cannot be achieved, we propose our own design to match & offer the best solution.

What Is The Stamping Process?

The die is a fundamental element of the metal stamping process. Metal stamping involves placing a high-quality piece of sheet metal, in either coil or blank form, into a metal stamping press. While in the press, a tool and die surface form the metal into the required shape. Some of the more common stamping techniques include:

  • punching
  • blanking
  • bending
  • forming
  • drawing & deep drawing
  • coining
  • embossing
  • flanging

All of the above are used to shape the metal based on the design, for which die design and build is carried out using CAD/CAM engineering technology.  

Advantages Of Metal Stamping

Metal stamping is a low-cost high-speed manufacturing process that is able to produce a high volume of identical metal components and is suitable for medium to long production runs. The benefits of stamping include:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Lower secondary costs (e.g., cleaning and plating),
  • Faster production rates as compared to CNC fabrication processes
  • Greater precision & accuracy
  • Reduced labour time

Disadvantages Of Metal Stamping

The disadvantages of stamping include:

  • Longer lead time to design & build the die, thus,
  • Longer lead time for the first production run
  • Die maintenance may be required during the various production runs

Customer Owned Dies

It is important to know that for customer-owned dies (that which a customer initially paid for), Tripar maintains the die for life, or for as long as that customer keeps ordering parts that use it. Such maintenance is normally sharpening, or repairing a broken punch should that occur, but also applies to any catastrophic failure. In fact, the only time a customer will know of die maintenance or repair is if it is of such a nature that may delay a shipment. We will of course work with that customer to alleviate as much inconvenience as possible.

Tripar’s Internal Process And In-House Toolroom

Tripar has an internal process to quickly react to any production issue. Indeed, having an in-house toolroom allows us to always be on top of any problems that may occur, supporting production efficiently & quickly.

If a die goes down, whether the repair requires sharpening, machining of a new die component, heat treating, or wire EDM cutting (an ultra-precise CNC machine process that can cut hardened die components), we are in full control as to what priorities these take, without having to rely on subcontractors, their schedules, and lead times.

We invite you to read our TriparTech if you’d like to discover more about the following subjects:

Knockouts 101

This TriparTech provides an overview of knockout requirements in luminaires, which are governed by UL1598, Standard for Safety for Luminaires.

Continue reading

Voice of Customer

Some of you were recently contacted for an exercise we referred to as “Voice of Customer” (VOC). Several themes emerged, and we are pleased to report on three elements Tripar has implemented; Finishing, Low Profile Insulated Ceiling (IC) Box & Engineering Services.

Continue reading

Assemblages de Downlight UL1598 et nouvelles capacités de fabrication

Downlight Assemblies Catalog

In January 2021, Tripar added the Downlight UL1598 Assemblies section to its online catalog.   We are pleased to now offer this as a pdf; a concise 14-page easy print option, that still displays the different assembly options available.

Click here to download this new version of our online catalog.

New CNC Punch Press

We also recently acquired a new major piece of production machinery: another Trumpf, this time a TruPunch 1000 CNC Punch Press.

This further expands Tripar’s CNC metal fabrication capabilities, adding to its previous compliment of two CNC Lasers, a CNC Punch/Laser Combination machine, and a growing number of CNC Press Brakes. All of these, together with our huge compliment of metal stamping presses, allows Tripar to offer the Hybrid Manufacturing.

What’s Hybrid ManufacturingClick here to read our dedicated TriparTech on this subject.