Many industrial knife customers prefer to order blades that are made in the United States. For most, this distinction connotes quality and provides a sense of patriotism in that American jobs are supported by the order. But, where are your American made knives really from?
However, understanding the origin of your blades is not as simple as a “Made in America” stamp. True understanding requires taking a deeper dive into each step of the procurement and manufacturing process.
5 Questions to Ask About the Origin of Your Industrial Knives
1. What is the country of origin for your tool steel?
Tool and High-Speed steels are the raw material used to manufacture many industrial blades. Most of this is produced outside the United States. It is only available from within the United States for a very high premium and is typically utilized in applications that require 100% of the product come from within the United States, such as Government and Military contracted parts.
If you are unsure about the origin of the tool steel, request a copy of the material’s Certificate of Conformance, Certificate of Inspection, or Military Certification. Law requires each of these documents accurately list the country of origin.
Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. - John Ruskin
2. Does procuring materials from overseas compromise quality?
There are many high-quality steel and industrial knife suppliers in India, China, and Europe. However, knowing where to go for each application is essential. American Cutting Edge has built partnerships with overseas suppliers over several decades. Our deep experience directs the selection of suppliers that are uniquely suited to the application.
We know which suppliers are best suited to manufacturing large knives and those that excel in fine detail. We also have the ordering history and order quantities to negotiate the lowest prices and to take advantage of bulk shipping rates to ensure that our customers receive the best product at the best price.
In addition to the experience needed to vet overseas suppliers, American Cutting Edge has the facilities, materials, and engineering expertise to design and manufacture industrial American made knives entirely in-house to meet specific demands.
3. Is it possible to have an industrial blade made entirely in the United States?
For many years, all of American Cutting Edge’s knives were manufactured entirely in the United States. However, even then, the base material was often procured from outside of the United States since the majority of the world’s common knife steels is available only from Canada, Europe, and Asia.
In recent years, the production capabilities of overseas suppliers have dramatically improved, which provides industrial knife customers with access to lower cost, high-quality blades. In some cases, semi-finished blanks are procured by precision knife manufacturers and then processed through a series of finishing procedures.
Finishing the blade may include bevel cleaning, cutting holes, or applying specialty coatings. The amount of finishing work completed by the manufacturer is driven by the tolerances required by the OEM and the cutting application.
Quality means doing it right when no one is looking. - Henry Ford
4. What is the difference between "Made in America" and "Made in the USA"?
Products that bear a marking of “Made in America” can be manufactured (or finished) anywhere within North America, including Canada and Mexico. Products that bear the marking of “Made in America,” may be manufactured entirely in the United States but are more commonly finished in the United States.
5. If my equipment is made the United States, do my knives have to be as well?
Quality and precision are not limited to the United States. In fact, many OEMs procure their knives from overseas and only manufacture their cutting equipment in the United States.
While some applications such as aerospace, food, and packaging do require knives that are made in the United States, it is important to know that there is a premium associated with this distinction. In many cases, procuring the steel or the finished blade from overseas saves customers a considerable amount of money without compromising quality.
Asking about the origin of your industrial knives opens a dialogue with your supplier and provides you with an opportunity to understand their processes. In industrial cutting applications, the most important questions do not revolve around the origin and instead center on procuring American made knives that are correctly built to OEM specifications, on-time, the first time.