Everything About MIM Parts *

* That you didn’t know enough to ask.

I just finished reading a three-part series on MIM or metal injected molding by Mike at the Revolverguy.com and why Smith & Wesson adopted it for some of their revolver parts. The series dealt with both the myth and realities of MIM parts, the details of the molding process, their strengths and weaknesses, and the engineering that must go into designing the molds as well as the metal mixture.

One common misconception is that it is just a cheap way to make parts. Given that each mold can cost upwards of $150,000 and that engineering a proper part can take from six months to a year, this is definitely a myth. Another myth is that MIM parts are weaker than those made using other methods. This is not true especially when compared to stamped parts.

Part One – The Basics

Part Two – The Pros and Cons

Part Three – The S&W Experience

If you have any interest in how firearms are made or in Smith & Wesson revolvers, I highly recommend this three-part series. You, like I, will learn a lot from it and you don’t have to have a degree in engineering or metallurgy to understand it.

H/T SPW-DUF

A College Minor In Changemaking?

With Smith & Wesson moving a lot of their operations to Tennessee, I was checking to see what colleges and universities in the area offered that might be useful to that company. I was particularly interested in engineering and STEM programs.

Along the way I stumbled across a school that had a minor in “Changemaking”. I thought that it was good that this school was offering a practical minor for those students who had majored in fields with less than optimal job prospects. You know, the majors where graduates will be asking “do you want fries with that?” Now, at least, they would be equipped with the skills to handle a cash register and make correct change.

Unfortunately, it seems more about community organizing and “positive social change”.

The Changemaking minor equips students with the mindset, knowledge, and skills to effect positive social change in their communities. Grounded in theories and methodologies of social innovation and social entrepreneurship, the minor affords students opportunities to study, develop, and implement regional social change projects in collaboration with partners in education, government, industry, and nonprofit sectors.

I am not going to name the university lest it embarrass my good friend David Cole. I do expect that school to kick one of my alma maters in football when they meet in November.

I will note the school does have a good number of engineering technology programs including in fields like product development, industrial engineering technology, and mechanical engineering technology. It also has the full range of business majors. Thus, not all is lost.

I think the move of Smith & Wesson to east Tennessee is a great win for that state and their industrial recruiters should be congratulated.

Goodbye Massachusetts; Hello Tennessee!

An alternate title could be “How to Drive A 165 Year Old Business Out of Your State in Order to Appear Woke”.

What I’m referring to is the decision by Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. to relocate their headquarters and a significant part of their firearms manufacturing from Springfield, Massachusetts to Maryville, Tennessee. While they will have a number of jobs left in Massachusetts, they expect to have over 750 jobs in Maryville with employees relocating from their operation Massachusetts, Missouri, and Connecticut. The move comes due to proposed anti-gun legislation in Massachusetts.

SCCY Firearms had proposed moving much of their operations to Maryville but last year decided to expand in Daytona Beach, Florida instead. They closed their Maryville plant. I wonder if S&W will be using any part of that.

As a resident on the other side of the Smokies, I say welcome to the Great Smoky Mountains.

The full announcement is below:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Sept. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. , one of the nation’s oldest firearms manufacturers, announced today that it is moving its headquarters and significant elements of its operations to Maryville, Tennessee in 2023.   Smith & Wesson has been based in Springfield, Massachusetts since the company was incorporated in 1852.

Smith & Wesson Logo (PRNewsFoto/Smith & Wesson)

   

Mark Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, said “This has been an extremely difficult and emotional decision for us, but after an exhaustive and thorough analysis, for the continued health and strength of our iconic company, we feel that we have been left with no other alternative.”  He specifically cited legislation recently proposed in Massachusetts that, if enacted, would prohibit the company from manufacturing certain firearms in the state. “These bills would prevent Smith & Wesson from manufacturing firearms that are legal in almost every state in America and that are safely used by tens of millions of law-abiding citizens every day exercising their Constitutional 2nd Amendment rights, protecting themselves and their families, and enjoying the shooting sports. While we are hopeful that this arbitrary and damaging legislation will be defeated in this session, these products made up over 60% of our revenue last year, and the unfortunate likelihood that such restrictions would be raised again led to a review of the best path forward for Smith & Wesson.”

Smith indicated that the company vetted a number of cities and states and, after careful consideration, made the decision to relocate 750 jobs and its headquarters to Maryville, Tennessee.  The key factors in the decision included the following:

  • Support for the 2nd Amendment
  • Business friendly environment
  • Quality of life for employees
  • Cost of living and affordability
  • Access to higher education institutions
  • Availability of qualified labor for its operations and headquarter functions
  • Favorable location for efficiency of distribution

Smith continued, “The strong support we have received from the State of Tennessee and the entire leadership of Blount County throughout this process, combined with the quality of life, outdoor lifestyle, and low cost of living in the Greater Knoxville area has left no doubt that Tennessee is the ideal location for Smith & Wesson’s new headquarters. We would like to specifically thank Governor Lee for his decisive contributions and the entire state legislature for their unwavering support of the 2nd Amendment and for creating a welcoming, business friendly environment.”

Smith & Wesson will also close facilities in Connecticut and Missouri as part of consolidating in Tennessee. This process will result in the company reducing the number of locations it maintains from four to three and will significantly streamline its manufacturing and distribution operations.

The company emphasized that the move will not begin until 2023 and will not have an impact on employees’ jobs until then.  “Our loyal employees are the reason for our success and are always our number one priority. We are deeply saddened by the impact that this difficult decision will have on so many of our dedicated employees, but in order to preserve future jobs and for the viability of our business in the long term, we are left with no choice but to relocate these functions to a state that does not propose burdensome restrictions on our company.” Smith said. “We are making this announcement now to ensure that each employee has the time to make the decision that is right for them and their families. We are firmly committed to working on an individual level with each and every one of those who will be affected. We will assist any affected employee who is willing and able to move with financial and logistical relocation assistance. However, we also fully realize that this is simply not feasible for some. Therefore, for any affected employee who cannot move with us, we will offer enhanced severance and job placement services. We understand that this announcement will be very difficult for our employees, and we will do everything we can to assist them during this transition,” Smith said. All employees whose jobs are moved will be given these offers.

Key Facts:

  • The facility in Springfield, Massachusetts will be reconfigured but will remain operational.
  • Smith & Wesson will keep some of its manufacturing operations in Springfield, Massachusetts, including all forging, machining, metal finishing, and assembly of revolvers, and will continue to have over 1,000 employees in the state.
  • The new facility will be built in Maryville, Tennessee and will comprise of the company’s headquarters, plastic injection molding, pistol and long gun assembly, and distribution.
  • Total investment in the project is estimated at $120 million, will be funded from cash on hand, and is expected to be accretive to EPS by $0.10 to $0.12 per year once fully operational.
  • Construction in Maryville, Tennessee is expected to begin in the calendar fourth quarter of 2021 and be substantially complete by the summer of 2023.
  • Upwards of 750 jobs will move from Springfield, Massachusetts; Deep River, Connecticut; and Columbia, Missouri to Maryville, Tennessee.
  • The company’s plastic injection molding facility in Deep River, Connecticut, which services both Smith & Wesson as well as a significant number of external customers, will be sold. The Smith & Wesson portion of the operations will be moved to the new facility in Maryville, Tennessee, however, the external customer business will remain in Connecticut and will be divested.
  • The company’s distribution operations in Columbia, Missouri will be moved to the new facility in Maryville, Tennessee, and the Columbia, Missouri facility will be marketed for sublease.
  • The relocation will have no impact on the company’s operations in Houlton, Maine.

Tweet Of The Day

It seems that Everytown Law and the Brady United are trying to get the Federal Trade Commission to come down on Smith & Wesson for false advertising. You can read their letter here.

However, as Rob Romano of the Firearms Policy Coalition points out, their argument might backfire on them elsewhere. That said, neither Everytown nor Brady have any problem with hypocrisy.

Smith & Wesson Selling Thompson/Center Arms

It looks like Smith & Wesson is planning to divest their Thompson/Center Arms subsidiary. According to the press release below, it will allow them to shift production capacity to the S&W line where sales are booming. Their last financial report issued in March said that sales were up 102% over the same quarter a year ago.

They say the company will remain committed to both hunting and long-range shooting. That said, I don’t see anything in the existing Smith & Wesson product mix other than big boomer revolvers that is really hunting-related. The only long-distance rifle is a T/C bolt action on a chassis.

They did not announce a buyer for the company but merely said they plan to divest it. Looking at potential buyers, I think Savage Arms might be the most likely candidate. They would probably ditch the T/C bolt rifles as they compete with their own but could add the Contender and Encore lines. I really don’t see RemArms as being able to buy them and I don’t see Ruger being that interested now that they have Marlin.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., May 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Select Market: SWBI), a leader in firearm manufacturing and design, today announced that it plans to divest its Thompson/Center Arms brand. This decision is part of the Company’s broader strategic plan that will focus on its core Smith & Wesson brands.

Mark P. Smith, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., said, “Thompson/Center is a beloved hunting brand with a longstanding heritage, and we are committed to ensuring a smooth transition. Thompson/Center Arms’ loyal consumers should rest assured that they will continue to receive the world-class firearms, accessories, and customer service support that the brand has been known for since its founding in 1965.  We remain fully committed to the hunting and long-range shooting market, and with this divestiture we will be able to now focus on these categories under our iconic Smith & Wesson brand.  Additionally, this will allow us to immediately redirect manufacturing capacity to increase overall production volumes, allowing us to gain additional market share while simultaneously increasing profitability.”

At this time, a buyer for the Thompson/Center Arms brand has not been identified; however, the divestiture is not expected to have a material financial impact on the Company’s first quarter fiscal year 2022 results and the Company expects the divestiture to be accretive to the Company’s full year fiscal 2022 through higher overall production levels, increased margins, and lower marketing costs. The Company states that this decision will not result in a workforce reduction as its flexible manufacturing model allows it to repurpose capacity immediately to other areas without a headcount reduction.

If you want to buy them, they say to call them at 413-747-3448.