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Addressing Critical Labor Shortages Through Die-Cutting and Converting

Much has been written about severe supply chain shortages, bottlenecks at our ports, the cost of fuel, and high inflation, but one of the most critical ongoing needs facing manufacturers today is the labor shortage. The difficulty in finding employees is related to both the hiring of entry level workers and skilled laborers.

According to a study of the manufacturing industry by Deloite Insights, manufacturing executives say that it is 36% harder to find workers than it was in 2018 and more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs remain unfilled with projections that this number may grow to a couple million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030. The combined effect of all these unfilled positions has a staggering effect on US manufacturing productivity, cost and throughput.

Halco Has a Unique Vantage Point in Serving Manufacturers

The causes of the manufacturing labor shortage are numerous and to remain competitive will require a holistic approach dealing with many issues. However, manufacturers can take practical steps to revisit their product design and manufacturing process to make it as labor efficient as possible and improve productivity levels.

Halco is unique in that the entire focus of our organization is based on serving manufacturers via our unique portfolio of fastening materials and our custom converting and fabrication services. We have conversations with hundreds of engineers, operations managers, purchasing agents and business owners every day and so we have a unique vantage point into their designs, manufacturing processes, and business challenges. Often times we see processes that can be simplified and streamlined by changing the inputs to those processes.

The Opportunity to Achieve Higher Productivity

To state it simply, what we see on many occasions is the opportunity to improve production efficiency by taking more labor hours out of the process. Many of our customers buy hook and loop rolls from us, either plain back or adhesive-backed, and then use internal labor and hand tools, like scissors, to “convert” or cut these rolls into the lengths or shapes they need for their production process.

And though the cost of a hook and loop fastener is typically a small percentage of any manufacturer’s product, it is the cumulative effect of these labor hours to cut the hook and loop and prepare it for assembly that really adds up. By utilizing Halco’s converting and fabrication services, manufacturers can receive a hook and loop fastening component that is tailored or die-cut to their needs to help them reduce the labor component and improve manufacturing efficiency.

Halco’s Converting Services Simplify Your Processes

The specific converting services that Halco provides to improve productivity are numerous and, ideally, require conversation with one of our account representatives. Here is just a sample of some of those converting services:

  • Perforating. Rather than having your workers hand cut to length hook and loop, let use perforate it to the lengths you use in your assembly process. This eliminates the need for hand cutting and is most often done with plain back hook and loop materials. Workers simply tear off the exact length part they need.
  • Kiss Cutting. For adhesive-backed hook and loop materials, we can kiss cut the desired shape and length down to the liner and leave those fastening components on the liner. Your workers can simply peel those hook and loop components off the liner.
  • Die Cutting. Some of our customers cut or use old style steel rule presses to stamp parts into the shape they need for their design. Let us use our high speed rotary die cutting press to rapidly and accurately produce the parts you need.
  • Level Winding. We have the capability to level wind hook and loop on spools to create very long length rolls. This reduces the need to shut down a production line and implement a change out of a hook and loop roll. It also helps support automated application of hook and loop components.
  • Sewing and Welding. There are many occasions when a hook and loop material is used to fabricate some kind of strap. Halco manufactures straps for all kinds of clients in many different industries, many of which require sewing or welding. For more about fabricated straps, please visit
  • Printing. Finally, Halco now has the ability to print information like part numbers on hook & loop in-line with our converting process. This may eliminate the need for separate labeling.

Talk to Us About How to Help

Yes, we supply a wide selection of specialty hook and loop materials, but we are also a high-performance converter and fabricator of hook and loop components. We’d love to have a conversation with you about how we can use our converting services to help reduce the labor in your process. So tell us a little more and then let’s talk! Contact Us