The Other Two and a Half Men

Here’s how one shop learned to add automation rather than extra employees.


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Dennis and DJ Paulson are two members of the small machining staff at Straitline Components.

“2 1/2” is the number that best captures Straitline Components’ commitment to manufacturing technology investment.
Back when the Paulson family founded the shop, younger brother DJ Paulson was still learning machining. Elder brother Dennis and their father Mike worked full time, while DJ was essentially at half capacity.
Since then, the decision to develop a line of mountain bike parts has dramatically increased the shop’s production volume. There are more employees today, but they generally do work such as marketing and order fulfillment. In the machining department, DJ is full time and so is employee Eric Stade, but Dennis can afford to give just half of his time to machining. Thus, the staffing is still 2 1/2

Rather than adding people, this shop has increased machining capacity by adding automation. Its most significant purchase to date is an HMC with a pallet system. Its latest automated system includes a robot. Read about Straitline in this article. Plus, watch for Straitline to be featured in the newest episode of The Edge Factor, debuting September 15.