Manufacturing Services

Barnes Blog

Category Archives: Manufacturing Services

City of Hiawatha and Barnes Manufacturing Team up!

By | Manufacturing Services


 In 2016, Hiawatha held a city wide survey for its residents, asking what improvements they would like to see in the city. A local dog park was the number one request. To accommodate the dog park, the city of Hiawatha contacted Barnes MFG to help with a special project, supplying a pedestrian walking bridge to connect areas of the park split by a ravine. Not only was this a fun project for Barnes, but also provided a great example of local government listening to its community as well as keeping its money in the local economy. 

A project like this allows us at Barnes MFG to flex our manufacturing muscles. Incorporating multiple facets of our business into a single project allows us to keep costs down and due dates in sight. “This is an ideal project for us,”  says engineer Scott Owen, “a project that hits multiple departments makes sure we are affordable and efficient. Its a real win-win for the customer,” he continued.

Using a local manufacturer along with local products was a major sticking point for this project all along. Hiawatha Parks and Rec Director Kelly Willadsen and City Engineer John Bender made staying local a point of importance. Barnes Mfg partnered with Langhoff Log and Lumber of Marion, Iowa to source the native oak which was used for the decking and railing of the bridge. The bridge structure was constructed of COR-TEN steel, which will develop a surface rust/patina to add to the rustic appeal of the bridge. The COR-TEN for this project was purchased from Liebovich in Cedar Rapids. 

 “Working within the community we live, on projects that will be used by the public is something that we are passionate about.” Company President Bob Barnes said, “It’s great to go to places like Lowe Park and see our work (Klopfenstein Amphitheater), I look forward to taking Monte to the park and crossing that bridge.” 

The Hiawatha dog park will be opening by year end 2019. The 2-acre park will be located south of Boyson road right by the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. 

With Barnes MFG’s ability to engineer and custom design projects like this, customers get exactly what they are looking every time. Consistency and quality of the products delivered are what keeps customers coming back.

Do you have a public project you would like help with?  if so, reach out to us via our contact form, phone, email, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook to discuss working with us on your project

The Manufacturing Community

By | Manufacturing Services

How to use the manufacturing community to offset labor shortage.

With the relatively reduced price of machine tools and fabrication techniques, many businesses brought their manufacturing work in-plant. It was easier to keep control of your inventory if it was right there in the plant. However, we are now suffering from a shortage of trained technical labor. So how do you deal with looming deadlines and not enough workers to make your products?

Knowing what you do best, and who is best at the other things.

Barnes manufacturing recruits and trains employees to provide high-quality machining, fabrication, and painting. However, we can’t do it all. That is why we have made sure to embrace the manufacturing community here in the Midwest. Through our network, we are able to quickly outsource the work that does not fit into our shop and maintain excellent employees that are highly skilled and kept busy in the areas that we specialize in. That way, we can better serve customers by managing the product from the beginning and are able to deliver a finished product. This means that the project managers and buyers that we work for do not have to spend their precious time searching for the right vendors and managing the shipping back and forth.  

Manufacturing community.

Iowa is a hub of manufacturing. It is the second largest industry in our state. With so many other shops in our area, some would assume that the competition is fierce. While there is some competition, mostly there is comradery. We all have things we excel at, while others have their things. At Barnes, we maintain communication with many other shops and are able to share work with them when needed to meet a delivery. They do the same for us. This network enables Barnes Manufacturing to meet the ever-changing production needs of our customers.

Barnes manufacturing

If you want to join our community of vendors and manufacturers, contact us. We can give you a quote on your project and help you manage your labor needs. To reach out to us use our contact form, give us a call, email, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook to discuss working with us on your project.

Manufacturing for Food Industry

Manufacturability and Production

By | Manufacturing Services

There is never enough time or money. In the manufacturing world, it seems like we are always trying to find more of both. However, often steps are missed early on in the design process that could help save time and money in the future.

Barnes Manufacturing has worked with many businesses to streamline their designs to increase manufacturability. It could be as simple as choosing a more readily available material. We have also helped companies plan for future repair by designing projects with wear parts that are easier to fix in the field.

Scott Owen sitting at desk with project design open on computer monitor

Scott Owen designing a project for a customer.

Coating is an area that is often a burden for designers and engineers. Trying to decide what will last longer over time, or what coating is the most cost effective can be a time-consuming task. Whether you want powder coating, metalizing, two-part epoxy, or straight out wet coat paint, we can talk you through the options.

Twin wire plasma arc equipment

Metalizing parts for a customer to ensure they last longer and withstand the elements.

Working with manufacturer early in the design process can save production time, material costs, installation time, and longevity of the part. We are very familiar with the vendors and manufacturers in the area and can help design your project with efficiency and manufacturability in mind.

This is especially true in prototype design when little improvements can make a huge difference in the production success of a new venture. For more information on how we can help you with your prototype, check out our prototype page.

If you are engineering a manufacturing project, use the form on this page, give us a call, email, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook to discuss working with us on your project.

Bob in Barnes delivery truck

Weekend Plans

By | Manufacturing Services

Like many people, our weekends are busy, especially in the summer. Between reunions, birthdays, vacations, and friends visiting, we also have to tackle the yard work and grass that never slows down in Iowa. Weekends are for friends and family, of course with a family business, sometimes the weekends are for work as well. Our customers and vendors become our friends, and like all of our friends, sometimes they call needing help in a hurry.

One weekend this summer was no exception, a company we have enjoyed working with called. They were working on installing a large piece of equipment and a large gearbox was machined too tight to fit on the driveshaft. Of course, they had a team of international investors and installers on site and could not wait until Monday to get it fixed, the expenses were piling up by the hour!

Part of the manufacturing community.

We had not done the original machining, but they knew we were in the area and could help. As part of the manufacturing community, we know these things happen all of the time. We try to be prepared and plan for problems, but we never truly know what will come up. Therefore we are empathetic to our fellow manufacturers when emergencies arise. A few calls were made between our team and other manufacturers in the area and we were able to get the part machined correctly with 36 hours.

Working together to get it done

Tom and Bob took turns working on the part and driving it across town, in between birthday parties and planned outings. It made for a busy weekend, but everyone worked together to get done what needed to get done. We are proud of our Iowa manufacturing community and our role in it.

If you want to learn more about how Barnes manufacturing can partner with you to get your work done or more about the amazing manufacturing community in Iowa. To reach out to us use the form on this page, give us a call, email, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook to discuss working with us on your project.


Manufacturing Careers - Marion, IA - Barnes Manufacturing

Giving Kids the Edge on a Manufacturing Careers

By | Manufacturing Services, Uncategorized

Community College and Machining Companies Show Students Need for Skilled Trade

You can’t push a square block into a round hole, much like you shouldn’t force a student who succeeds in creating things toward a career where they will not have the opportunity to push the limits of their creativity. High school students of the last generation were driven toward four year colleges, academic majors, and Master’s degrees, and away from skilled trades and manufacturing careers like machining, welding and mechanics. Kirkwood Community College has partnered with Eastern Iowa machine shops and welding companies to introduce students to skilled trades earlier.

Fifteen companies manufacturing companies in Iowa’s Creative Corridor participated in the 2015 Advancing the Future: A Tour of Corridor Manufacturers. They opened their doors to high school high school students who participate in shop classes, and some invited the public in to find out more about the careers they offer and services they provide. Read More

Custom Manufacturing B to B - Cedar Rapids, IA

Business to Business – Building Relationships with a Custom Manufacturer

By | Manufacturing Services

As a business, whether you are in manufacturing, food service, renewable energy, or heavy equipment operation, it is imperative to have allies who employs skilled in custom fabricators. If you work with machines that are largely comprised of metal or plastic parts, a custom manufacturing company can offer simple weldments and quick metal machining services, as well as, custom designed parts and even custom fabricated machines and equipment. Read More

Communities Partner With Custom Manufacturers

By | Manufacturing Costs, Manufacturing Services, Sandblasting

Eye-catching public artwork spruces up a community and helps create interest in parks and government buildings, so having a custom fabrication company that knows the goals and image your community is trying to create is imperative. Create a public partnership with a metal manufacturer who understands your community vision, will listen to your community’s needs and will guide the process of creating metal projects, both large and small, in order to help your board stay under budget for projects of all sizes. Read More

Architectural Steel for any Location

By | Manufacturing Services

Finding a Great Manufacturer for Architectural Steel Structures


the peak is lowered into positionDo you have an artistic vision for a metal structure, but lack the equipment and skills to make it a reality? Maybe you need to replace a metal part from a large structure that is no longer sold or needs to be replicated. Architectural steel structures can be strikingly beautiful and unique, or simply functional and load bearing.

Whether you need creative architectural steel design that is engineered with a purpose in mind, or a replacement piece or structure for a decorative metal roof, you should seek out a company that has expertise in working with a huge variety of different types of metals.

Some architectural structural steel fabricators are focused solely on one metal type or medium, but if you find a custom manufacturer who can partner with you from design to delivery, the entire process can be more collaborative and seamless. Read More

Sandblasting in Iowa - Cedar Rapids and Marion, IA

Sandblasting Metal

By | Manufacturing Services, Sandblasting

Sandblasting Offers Best Surface for Paint or Metallizing

That old tractor or antique piece of equipment is just sitting in the shed and every year the humidity makes it rust and corrode a little more. It will look new again with the help of professional sandblasting and powder coat painting services, or even zinc metallizing on parts that would look great in silver.

Read More

Custom Manufacturing Company - Barnes Manufacturing Services - Serving Midwest United States

Diversified Custom Manufacturing Under One Roof

By | Manufacturing Costs, Manufacturing Services

Are you depending on multiple companies to produce one part, because none of them can do the project from start to finish?

Some metal parts manufacturers are increasing their offering by providing value-added services that go above and beyond machining. Not only does this type of diversified custom manufacturing company to serve a larger customer base, it also allows customers to have all of their parts manufacturing needs completed under one roof.

That comes with even more benefits that you may not think of when you are seeking the best place to have manufacture your parts or machinery.

Read More